Retro Nostalgia 1997: Centenarian recalls life in ‘the big house’

Annie Dougall at Laurieston Primary School.
Annie Dougall at Laurieston Primary School.

Thousands of visitors have poured through the doors of Falkirk’s Callendar House since it was saved from near-dereliction just a few years ago – but one special lady can remember the way it was almost 70 years ago.

What’s more Annie Dougall, who will be 100 years old tomorrow (Friday) knows the famous old house better than most folk.

After all, she worked there as a maid for seven years when Callendar House was the residence of Falkirk’s famous Forbes family.

But tomorrow it will be Annie’s turn to be waited on, as she chalks up a century at a party with friends and family.

Annie, nee Travers, was born in Laurieston on St Valentine’s Day 1897 and attended Laurieston Primary School where she was a pupil teacher – similar to today’s school captains. Her father, Francis, drove horse-drawn trams between Laurieston and Falkirk and her mother, Bridgette, was a kitchen assistant at Callendar House.

After a spell of wartime work putting caps on explosive shells at the Nobel dynamite factory Annie decided to follow her mother’s foosteps.