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Charles Bannerman

Diggar McGillivray.

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One thing about the Gents' Barber's in the market... the conversation is always that bit more interesting than "have you had your holidays?" or "are you working today, then?" In fact, sitting in the chair there on Saturday morning, the subject of Diggar McGillivray came up.

Does anyone else have memories of haircuts (or buying coupons for that matter) in Diggar's shop in Greig Street?

Mention of the man and the place brings me back vividly to the days of my early youth!

Diggar had been a Burma Star veteran (artillery) and I believe began barbering in the army at Fort George. His shop was a mecca for those of the Bluenose persuasion and Diggar was staunch Caley and Rangers.

You would go into the shop and Diggar would be brushing up hair clippings. You would read a Beano lying beside you on the wooden bench... then a Dandy... then a Beezer... then a Topper. Diggar, meanwhile would have someone in the chair but would most likely be out on the street shouting good natured abuse in a broad Inverness accent at various passers by... especially John Brooman. Then someone would come in to pay for their coupon. Then Diggar would return for a minute's hair cutting before disappearing into the back shop.

At last it would be my turn and the board would go across the arms of the seat so boost me up to Diggar's level. Diggar's first line of conversation would be "so that's the way, Charles" ... even though I hadn't actually said anything by this stage. He would then launch into the customary monologue but before any proper conversation could get under way, there would be another interruption for another coupon or torrent of abuse but eventually the mandatory short back and sides would be completed.

Diggar took his son Dennis into the business for a while but for some reason Dennis didn't keep it up although the shop is still there as a barber's... one of the few on Greig Street whose deisgnation has not changed..

One memorable Diggar anecdote relates to a meeting about the heating systems in the houses where he lived in Ballifeary Road. At one point in the debate Diggar (never short of a view on anything) was heard to observe "But I'm all gas of course...."

The place fell about laughing!

Thanks to a tip off, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Caley Rebels in the Ordnance on the Sunday following the merger votes in September 1993. Diggar had just died and one of the Brooman boys (John's grandson) put it to me forcefully "Diggar McGillivray is hardly cold in his grave and look at what they're doing to the club!"

I wonder what Diggar's view on ICT would have been?

Any other memories of him... for instance in the Howden End?

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Like Charles, I remember my regular trips for the old short back and sides at Diggars.

Perhaps my favourite memory was walking along Telford Street to a midweek evening game when I encountered Diggar outside the ground.  He walked past me and suggested a willingness to help me jupe into the ground.  I thought he was pulling my leg but in the end he insisted and gave me a leg up over the wall.

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Was Geordie Horn a butcher or a barber?! Always remember knocking at the knees when I heard my dad saying, 'that's a good haircut' following a trip to Geordie's! Think Geordie was Caley or Clach but his 'young' apprentice Jim? was a Jaggie. Reminiscences appreciated.

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Does anyone remember a shop in Academy Street with a tobacconists at the front, of the shop, before you entered the salon, (loose word) it was modern with basins, I was sent by my late Father to get a haircut and asked for the works, brylcreem hair wash etc. My father said next you go to Diggars!!!

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Yes I think you are referring to Wilson's shop which was next to the infamous Dorandos.I think they went for the hairdressing image rather than the barbering .And yes the front of the shop sold fancy goods etc.I think the cottage Indian is there now.

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Was Geordie Horn a butcher or a barber?!

Given the origins of barbering (they were originally surgeons - hence the red and while pole representing blood and bandages) there's possibly not a lot of difference!

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Now there's an interesting recollection! I simply assumed that Diggar was a natural Howden Ender and he never struck me as a "stand" person but I don't have the benefit of your direct experience.

Diggar was my granda. At the games he took me to we always sat in the stand on the comfy seats. At half time we would get taken down the tunnel with the directors for tea and sandwiches. To add a correction to an above post, Denis still has the barber shop on Greig street although it is only open for short hours each day.

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Now there's an interesting recollection! I simply assumed that Diggar was a natural Howden Ender and he never struck me as a "stand" person but I don't have the benefit of your direct experience.

Diggar was my granda. At the games he took me to we always sat in the stand on the comfy seats. At half time we would get taken down the tunnel with the directors for tea and sandwiches. To add a correction to an above post, Denis still has the barber shop on Greig street although it is only open for short hours each day.

Aye.. hair doesn't grow like it used to..

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A real Inverness celeb indeed. Before I went to Diggers, I used to go to Dunky Holmes "Salon" which I think was on the corner of Celt St or thereabouts. I would say he was more savage with the shears than Digger!

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Diggar was my granda.

So are you Denis's son or Jill's?

Obviously Diggar was enough of a Telford Street legend to be afforded Boardroom hospitality on a regular basis.

I have a clear recollection of being in Finlay's Bar on the Sunday afternoon (Sep 12th) following the September 9th 1993 Merger votes, getting the exclusive story (sorry if I sound like Chic :rolleyes: ) that there would be organised opposition to the Merger. This was immediately after the inaugural Rebel meeting there and I well remember a quote from young Brooman, grandson of Diggar's great mate John Brooman, who made the rather dramatic statement that: "Diggar McGillvary isn't even cold in his grave and look what they're doing to the club."

Diggar had indeed died just a few weeks previously. I sometimes wonder what Diggar would have thought about the merger..... and indeed about his equally beloved Rangers getting beaten home and away by an Inverness team?!

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I don't remember Diggar but I do remember one Mr Scott in that self-same Greig Street location, fondly known as Scotty.

One of his favourite quips in answer to the question"Can I just have a back and sides please " was 'I am not cutting hair any longer"

Does anyone remember him?

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I don't remember Diggar but I do remember one Mr Scott in that self-same Greig Street location, fondly known as Scotty.

One of his favourite quips in answer to the question"Can I just have a back and sides please " was 'I am not cutting hair any longer"

Does anyone remember him?

Was Scotty's not further up Greig Street nearer the bridge, the shop eventually taken over by Pat Young the hoover repair man?

PS - oops... I must be getting old. I see that in my post last night I actually repeated the anecdote about the meeting in Finlays which I initially quoted in my original post!

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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I don't remember Diggar but I do remember one Mr Scott in that self-same Greig Street location, fondly known as Scotty.

One of his favourite quips in answer to the question"Can I just have a back and sides please " was 'I am not cutting hair any longer"

Does anyone remember him?

Was Scotty's not further up Greig Street nearer the bridge, the shop eventually taken over by Pat Young the hoover repair man?

PS - oops... I must be getting old. I see that in my post last night I actually repeated the anecdote about the meeting in Finlays which I initially quoted in my original post!

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I don't remember Diggar but I do remember one Mr Scott in that self-same Greig Street location, fondly known as Scotty.

One of his favourite quips in answer to the question"Can I just have a back and sides please " was 'I am not cutting hair any longer"

Does anyone remember him?

Was Scotty's not further up Greig Street nearer the bridge, the shop eventually taken over by Pat Young the hoover repair man?

PS - oops... I must be getting old. I see that in my post last night I actually repeated the anecdote about the meeting in Finlays which I initially quoted in my original post!

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Scotty's shop was indeed at the bridge end of Greig St. at the corner of Huntly St. # 5 Greig St. My sister stayed at #3 next door in one of the top floor flats. Scotty and his wife stayed in one of the nice little bungalows in Wells St. He was well known for his corny jokes, he cut my hair for years when I went to the Central School.

Dunky Holme's barber shop was on Huntly St. just before Celt St. my other Sister's husband had a hoover/ appliance repair shop next door. Many years ago Dunk and his family bought one of the houses at the very top of Fairfield Rd. on the right hand side of the Road just before the Canal.One of his 2 Sons Mike was quite well known in local football circles.

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Two great Greig Street characters indeed.Does anyone recall ?Scotty Bernardi who had a barber's shop in Young Street, next to what is now the Tarry Ile corner? Scotty was said to have escaped from a prisoner of war camp in Germany during WW2 and made his own way back across Europe to Inverness The original Glen Bar was also next to Scotty's before it was moved up to the corner of Huntly Street.

Another well known character was Tavvy Smith whose barber shop was along Tomnahurich Street,next to the May Court close entrance.

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my other Sister's husband had a hoover/ appliance repair shop next door.

So was your sister's husband Pat Young then? And was it next door to Scotty's barber's shop that the hoover place was rather than him becoming the next tenant after Scotty?

And exgrover... would Scotty Bernardi's barber's shop therefore have been where they eventually built River House in the early 60s to allow the Tax Offices etc to move from Longman Road?

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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Yes Charles.River House would be on the site of what once was Scotty Bernardi's and the original Glen bar

I only have the most fleeting memories of River House's predecessor which would have been demolished maybe about 1961 when I was still quite young. My father worked in the Tax Office which moved from Longman Road (where DVLA etc are now) into River House when it opened and had the Inspector of Taxes offices on the top two floors.

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Aye! Scotty was a character and a dapper lad to boot. At the time I went to him under father's orders, I did not know there was any other barber's shops on Greig Street , or indeed anywhere else nearby. However, I do remember it was close to the Greig Street bridge.

Does anyone remember Georgies general store at the junction of (I think) Telford Street and Telford Gardens?

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I had a Sunday paper round with Georgie's on Lochalsh Road.The shop was run by' young' George whilst his father 'old 'George and the uncle Rod ,used to dole out the Sunday papers for the boys to deliver.

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ExGrover--that's him. Rotund individual who was wont to call me by my last name only.

I took that as a mark of respect. Not sure what he was after, though? Smile.

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