One great bonus about living at 6 Oxgangs Avenue was that we were located almost opposite St Hilda's Episcopal Church, alas no more. It was an iconic building in its way-built in 1966 to a very modern design which was quite cutting edge.
Each summer our disposable income was considerably increased from the wedding scatters-the showers of money that would emerge from the wedding party cars. Weddings were held on a good number of weekends and were family affairs for us all because the mums and sisters would come out of 2, 4, 6 and 8 Oxgangs Avenue stairs to watch and enjoy the proceedings; they particularly liked to discuss the bride's dress.
The fun for the kids would start when all the photographs had been taken and the formal black cars would begin to depart. Oh the excitement when the cars moved slowly off-will they, won't they? Then the window slowly winds down and the groom's hand emerges to the excitement of perhaps twenty kids waiting-as the car goes by the half crowns, florins and shillings flew followed by an almighty scrum-pennies and more from heaven!
When the average pocket money might be around two shillings this was big money. I always felt the greatest largesse was shown by the fathers of the bride and groom, but we could be surprised at the amounts that came from the lesser cars. Was this only an Edinburgh tradition? Did those who provided the scatter come ready prepared, because a lot of coins of the realm were scattered.
And what of St Hilda's Church? The congregation first met in a cottage
in Colinton and then moved to the existing hall in 1951. In 1966 a striking, state of
the art Modernist building was opened; and yet less than half a century later the church knocked down only a few years after the start of the 21st century. The coming
and going of a church within a few generations says something about
Christianity and lends some weight to recording these vignettes before they disappear from life at The Stair.
ps Look out for the lovely Philip Larkin poem, The Whitsun Weddings
'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'
Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012