The Yard

The true history of the Lochgelly Tawse
(AKA School Belt or The Strap)
(By Margaret J Dick (daughter of John J Dick & granddaughter of George W Dick)

Part 3 – The Yard

My Grandfather George Wilson Dick (1882-1955) began his apprenticeship in 1896 after a brief spell down the mining pit. His apprenticeship involved 4 years of learning to be a Black Saddler (Harness Maker), 3 years learning to be a Brown Saddler (Saddle and Bridle Maker) and a further 3 years as an improver. In these days you paid for the privilege of being trained so the first 7 years were unwaged and had to be paid for. During the 3 years as an improver George received a wage and worked exclusively for R.Philp & Son. After his 10 years were up he was free to take his trade out into the world. He then worked for a few of years as a journeyman in Cupar, Fife. In 1908 he married Janet Downie Urquart Shand (1885-1954) whose family were publicans in Cowdenbeath and who was a cousin to the world famous accordion player Jimmy Shand.

History of the Lochgelly Tawse George Dick and Janet Dick

One year later George set up in business with his brother Robert Shand Dick (1878-1953) who was trained as a Coach Builder and ‘The Yard’, High Street, Lochgelly was formed.

History Of The Lochgelly Tawse - Horse Drawn Wagon Built At The Yard

~Horse drawn wagon built at The Yard~

Around 1924 he started producing his first school belts using his own stamp G.W.DICK SADDLER & Co LOCHGELLY

Lochgelly Tawse Stamp G.W.Dick Saddler & Co Lochgelly

This stamp was superseded in the early to mid 1940’s to celebrate his last and youngest son John joining the business in the saddler’s workshop. G.W.DICK & SON LTD MAKERS LOCHGELLY

Lochgelly Tawse Stamp G.W.Dick & Son Ltd Makers Lochgelly

In 1948 James Heggie sold up the saddlery and Iron mongers business in Main Street to George Dick and his son, John Johnston Dick.

< The Beginning   The Lochgelly Tawse    Roaring Success >

How to care for your tawse

The Tawse are hardwearing and durable, but by following proper procedure you can make sure they look the best for as long as possible.

Caring For your tawse