National Records of Scotland

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Alastair Sim (1900-1976)

Alastair Sim (1900-1976)

Actor and director

Alastair Sim set up a school of drama and speech training in Edinburgh which was attended by his future wife, Naomi Plaskitt - they married in 1932. Following his stage debut in 1930 he joined the Old Vic Company and also worked closely with James Bridie, the Scottish playwright, as actor and director. He appeared in many films including 'Scrooge', 'The Happiest Days of Your Life', 'The Belles of St Trinian’s' and 'An Inspector Calls'. He was elected rector at the University of Edinburgh in 1948, given an honorary degree in 1951 and appointed CBE two years later. He died in London on 19 August 1976.

Birth in 1900

Alastair George Bell Sim was born at 1 am on 9 October 1900, the son of Alexander Sim, tailor and clothier, and Isabella McIntyre. The entry in the statutory register of births for the district of St George in Edinburgh gives his place of birth as 94 Lothian Road.

Birth entry for Alastair Sim

Birth entry for Alastair Sim (46 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1900/685-1/2220

1901-1911 censuses

In both censuses Alastair Sim's forename differs from the standard spelling. The entries were traced using the 'Names that begin with' option on the ScotlandsPeople website.

In 1901 Alister G B Sim, aged five months, was enumerated at 94 Lothian Road with his parents, maternal grandmother (Cathrine McIntyre), brother, two sisters and two general domestic servants. The census return for the district of St George in Edinburgh gives his father's birthplace as Braemar in Aberdeenshire, his mother's as Oban and his grandmother's as Muick both in Argyll. It also records that his mother and grandmother spoke Gaelic and English (G & E).

1901 census return for Alastair Sim

Detail from 1901 census return for Alastair Sim (73 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/685-1/25, page 1

In 1911 Alistair Sim, aged 10 years, was enumerated with his family at 73 Viewforth. The census return for the district of Morningside in Edinburgh shows the household includes his parents and brother William (Wm), an apprentice (app) law clerk. Alastair Sim and his sisters, Kathleen and Johanna, were at school. The 1911 census included questions on 'Particulars as to marriage'. The columns with data for married women record that the duration of his parents’ marriage was 18 years, they had four children born alive and four children still living.

1911 census return for Alastair Sim

Detail from 1911 census return for Alastair Sime (49 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/685-6/47, page 12