Papers of Elizabeth Neill Reid (née Gardner), 1918-2003, University graduate and teacher, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Vale of Leven Academy: notebooks. examinations, report card & leaving certificate, 1933-1936
  • University of Glasgow: notes, essays, exam scripts, newscuttings, 1935-1939
  • Jordanhill Teacher Training College: draft notes for lessons, exam paper, certificates, correspondence, 1940-1941
  • Aberdeen College of Education: certificate, notebook [closed access], 1971-1972
  • Perth Academy prospectus, 1981-1982
  • Scottish Association for Remedial Education: newsletters, constitution, ms notes for speeches as chair of branch, correspondence 20th century
  • National Association for Remedial Education: newsletter and publications, 20th century
  • Scottish Country Dancing: programmes, certificates, correspondence, notebooks, 20th century
  • Scouting: Dunbarton County Scout Council Annual Report 1961, badges, certificates, correspondence, programme for scouting exchange, 1940s-1961
  • Personal diaries & notebooks, 1940s-2002
  • Teaching notes & handouts: 1968-1982
  • Pupil reports [closed access] 1974-1987
  • Material relating to conferences, 1974-1979
  • Work diaries, 1973-1987
  • Certificates of membership: EIS, GTC, 1942-1963
  • Photographs, 1940s-1980s

Administrative / Biographical History

Betty Gardner was born in Duror, Argyllshire, the fifth child and only daughter of Mary Auld and James Gardner, a station master with the Caledonian Railway Company. The family moved to Kenmore in c. 1920 when James Gardner was appointed station master of the Loch Tay steamer and her youngest brother was born there in 1922. In 1923 the family moved to Renton where James Gardner was station master until his retirement in 1946. James Gardner took part in the General Strike in 1926 and remained an active union member thereafter. He was originally a member of the Independent Labour Party.

Betty Gardner attended Renton Public School and then Vale of Leven Academy, from 1930-1936. There she excelled in English and History, and also played hockey and athletics. On leaving school, Betty applied to go to Jordanhill College to train as a gym teacher but since she was not 18 until December she was too young and so instead she went to Glasgow University where she took an ordinary MA. She then went to Jordanhill training as a primary teacher but also qualifying to teach secondary pupils. She continued to play hockey with Vale of Leven Academy FPs and won the Women’s Hockey League several times. (In the 1930s and 1940s, League and Association teams were separate and only Association players were eligible to play in the national side).

Her teaching career began in January 1941 with three months in Dunbarton, a month in Renfrew and then six months in Stranraer. She then took up a permanent post in Arrochar Public School from 2 February 1942 until her marriage in July 1952. Although no longer enforced it was common practice for women teachers to resign on marriage, which she duly did, but unusually she continued to teach on a supply basis for the next ten years and returned to full-time teaching in June 1963. By this time she had moved (in October 1959) from Arrochar to Stanley. She taught in the primary section of Stanley Junior Secondary School from 1962 until 1968 and then transferred to the Secondary section. She moved to Perth Grammar School in 1972 when the Junior Secondaries were closed and Perth adopted comprehensive schooling. She became one of the earliest Remedial Specialists in Perthshire, taking the Aberdeen University Diploma in Remedial Education in 1972. She became active in the Scottish Association for Remedial Education and took her turn as President of the Tayside Branch. She was also a member of the EIS and went on strike in the 1970s. In 1975/6 she transferred to Perth Academy where she taught Remedial classes and provided support to pupils learning English. She retired on 17 August 1982 but then took up a part-time position at a private school, Strathallan School, for a few years providing learning support to pupils with English as a second language and pupils with literacy or numeracy difficulties.

Betty married the Rev Iain Dunnet Reid on 16 July 1952. They had two children, a son in 1957 and a daughter in 1960. They moved to Stanley in October 1959 (with their son, her father-in-law, her mother, a dog, four cats and at least three hens). They moved to Dunkeld (with a dog and a cat) in January 1981 following Iain Reid’s retirement. He died on 27 October 1983 (note: the Fasti gives the wrong date of retirement and death).

Apart from her teaching Betty was active in a number of other areas. Betty was Akela to several generations of Wolf Cubs and Cub Scouts, taking on her first pack in Renton when she was 16 and retiring when she left Stanley (and she founded the pack there). She was awarded the Medal of Merit as well as a long-service award. She produced children’s shows in Stanley - for about 15 years the Junior Choir performed an operetta every summer and a nativity play (usually written by her) every Christmas. Junior Choir was very popular in its heyday and as the members had to be in the Sunday School to be allowed to take part, the Sunday School was also very well attended. Betty was also a keen member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, in Arrochar and Stanley, holding classes for children, teenagers and adults, and regularly entering teams in the Perthshire Musical Festival from her schools and from the Guides and Stanley SCD club.

Like many minister’s wives of her generation she was also President of the Woman’s Guild in Arrochar and Stanley - she kept trying to persuade them to elect someone else but they felt it was the role of the minister’s wife and she felt obliged to support her husband in this way. She did manage to stop wearing a hat to church in the early 1960s and so enabled other women to stop wearing hats. More significantly she had full-time paid employment at a time when married women were not expected to work especially when they had young children and were married to a minister.

In retirement, Iain and Betty both joined the Dunkeld and Music Club when it was formed in 1983 and following Iain’s death, Betty became Secretary for some 14 years. Prior to this in Stanley Betty regularly organised concerts on behalf of the Guild and the Church through her teaching and Festival connections. She built up the Music in the Cathedral series of concerts in Dunkeld, which had been started by the congregation but handed over to the Club on its formation.

Betty joined the Scottish Liberal Democrats in the mid 1980s after a lifetime of supporting the Labour Party, and became an active member, canvassing on behalf of local candidates and fund-raising.

Betty became a Christian when a child, dragging her younger brother off to Sunday School at Renton Union Church. Her parents were not church-goers and one of her brothers was an active Communist. Her faith was her own, not a product of her upbringing or of marrying a minister, and she remained an active church member until her death.

Source: Biography written by Betty’s daughter, Elspeth M Reid


Listed by box. Items are generally listed in their original order

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to the Data Protection Act 1998 . Note that Aberdeen College of Education notebook (ref ACCN2424/1/8) and pupil reports (ref ACCN2424/2/21) are closed for 100 years as they include personal information about children.

Acquisition Information

Deposit : Elspeth Reid : 10 Jul 2003 : ACCN 2424


Collection listed by Elspeth Reid, depositor, 2003. Collection level description created by Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist (Accessions), 31 Jan 2013

Other Finding Aids

File list available by request to the Duty Archivist