The Honour of Russian Seamen

At the old Leith Academy in Edinburgh, which is being converted into apartments, students had to walk round the corridors in one direction. God alone could help you if they caught you walking in the wrong direction.

The ladies adviser made girls stand with their hands out palms up, and if she could see the underneath of any nails, she would cut them with a large pair of scissors carried for this purpose, before sending the unfortunate girl to the janitor’s office for a brush and pan to sweep up the clippings. Fifth and sixth year girls were not allowed out of school grounds when Russian ships were in docks so as not to entice the seamen. I don’t know why only the Russian sailors posed such a threat; perhaps the school was worried about the spread of communism? Fourth and third year girls were considered safe to leave the grounds because they were younger and therefore not attractive to a crew of hearty seamen.

In some freak arrangement between the local education system and the master of Leith Docks, girls who were learning Russian at the Academy were taken down to the docks on a Saturday morning by the French and the Russian masters so they could converse with real Russians. Just try and picture that today.


Hello sailor...whoops..privet moryak
Hello sailor…whoops..privet moryak

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