William Douglas Locke Scobie was born on 30 April 1928 at No 62 Craigie Street in the Pollockshields district of Glasgow. He was the first child of Norman Douglas Locke Scobie and Eleanor Hunter Cairns, who had married in the nearby Govanhill district on 14 June 1927. Norman Scobie, described as a “spirits salesman” (presumably whisky) on William’s birth certificate, had been born at Ardrossan in 1900; Eleanor was born in Edinburgh in 1898. Norman lived to the age of 93 and died at Strathaven, Lanarkshire in 1994.
William spent his childhood in “a large house, with servants” as he told his class in 1965. After attending Glasgow School of Art he worked for the Civil Service, firstly in the Ministry of Labour and then the Inland Revenue, before reading English at Oxford University. He then began to teach in private and public schools, and in 1962 he came to King Edward’s, where he soon became a very popular master. He left in 1967, to become a lecturer in Liberal Studies at Liverpool Regional College of Art. This is presumably how he met the Liverpool-born Patricia Rhodes. A man of many talents, he later became Head of the Art History department at the college, taking early retirement in 1983. In fact he was basically forced out, for as he said “...they expected me to pass students who couldn’t write”. In retirement he was joint owner (with Peter Ferrett) of an antique shop in New Brighton; he and Peter lived over the shop. He died at New Brighton in 2008.
Both photos courtesy of Donald Bunce