Born Helen Gibson Dods Henderson, Leith 23 February 1909


Attended her cousin Maysie Cavaye’s wedding in Portobello in 1934 where (one living witness remembers) she delivered an astonishingly powerful dramatic monologue.

Married to Joseph Gloag on 23 February 1935 in the little church at Temple, Midlothian

The service was conducted by Helena’s godfather, the Reverend Alfred Coutts, historian of the Knights Templar in Scotland

Helena Gloag died on 15 June 1973


A few film credits:


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Ring of Bright Water

My Childhood

My Ain Folk


Helena Gloag

in her last and perhaps greatest recorded performance

as the harsh granny in Bill Douglas’s My Ain Folk (1973)

"The dark My Ain Folk is perhaps Bill Douglas's greatest film. The awful spectre of Jamie's 'bad' granny looms over it: a more spiteful - and perhaps pitiful -character I have yet to see.  Yet for all their cruelty, these are stunningly beautiful and simple films: think of Bresson, but with immeasurably more emotional impact. The trilogy has been described as one of the heroic achievements of cinema, and it is difficult to disagree. Bill Douglas has taken the raw and painful material of his own life to fashion three of the greatest films of all time. These are criminally underrated and neglected films. If you care about cinema you must see them. They will stay with you for ever."




Helena Gloag appeared as Lady Esterhall in Scottish Television’s

serial drama, the Flight of the Heron in 1968, based on the novel by D.K.Broster.

 It was an extravagant television production for its time and gave a last screen role to Edinburgh actor Finlay Currie (1878-1968) veteran of such diverse films as Michael Balcon’s Rome Express, Michael Powell’s Edge of the World, David Lean’s Great Expectations, Mike Todd’s Around the World in Eighty Days, and William Wyler’s Ben Hur.


Finlay Currie and Esther Ralston


Helena Gloag family tree

Cavaye and Grieve families, Portobello & Leith

FILMS –Tom Kelly



Penicuik Cinema

Penicuik exhibition: Films of Alfred Hitchcock

 More LIVES & fragments




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