It’s not every day that you look at the Tele and see yourself staring back – from 58 years ago.
But that’s exactly what happened to 101-year-old Jack Stephen from Dickson Avenue when he turned to our regular Back In the Day feature and saw a picture of workers at Blackness Foundry from 1958.
“That’s me just right of centre in the light-coloured jacket,” said Jack.
“It was our last day in the place but they’d been running it down for years.”
He added: “I got a job at the Blackie in 1933 and became a machineman, a precision engineer.
“We were making looms, frames and carding machines for the weaving industry and when the war started in 1939 it was ammunition and parts for heavy artillery.
“I wasn’t called-up for the services because I had what they called a ‘reserved occupation’ — I was more use for the war effort as an engineer.
“But everyone seemed to have two jobs then and as well as working at the foundry I was a special constable.”
The war brought many changes, such as women taking over what had previously been male-only work — for example, Jack’s sister, Peg, was a crane driver at the foundry.
Jack recalls an event that was largely unthinkable during wartime — a strike.
“They brought in rules about when and where people could smoke,” he said.
“There was one chap we called the Fifer who was very dogmatic and insisted he was going to smoke where and when he wanted.
“The shop stewards took his side and we ended up with a strike. It was all resolved in the end but I think our card had been marked and from then on they started slowly closing the Blackie down.”
With his engineering skills, Jack didn’t have any trouble finding new work and went on to be bottling manager at a number of big-name drinks firms — Robertson’s, Morton’s and Stewarts Cream of the Barley.
That’s somewhat ironic considering he has been teetotal all his life!
Jack married in 1938 and he and wife Alice — who was from St Mary’s Road — had daughter Jacqueline and son Alan.
They’re now aged 70 and 65 respectively, and Jack has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Jack retired in 1980 and lost Alice nearly 30 years ago but he still gets out and about and enjoys life.