lan’s father Arthur Donaldson grew up in the northern industrial town of Wigan and became a engineer by trade, later owning a family tool making business. He was married to Irene who came from Hyde in Greater Manchester. They married in 1953 and the couple set up home in a three bedroom semi-detached house in Hawthorne Grove, Poulton-Le-Fylde near to Blackpool, Lancashire. Ian Stuart Donaldson was born at the Victoria Hospital in Blackpool on 11th August 1957.
In the house but next to the Donaldson family was the Grinton family. Their son, John, was an Ian’s first childhood friend at age two. The twosome continued to be best-friends in later life.
He was not an only child and at the age of 5 Ian gained a brother named Anthony even though as they grew up they drifted apart and went on their separate ways. Ian loved to tease his younger brother as brothers all over the world do. His parents would regularly come home to find he had locked Tony in the coal shed, or was frightening him with ghost stories.
Ian grew as a typical child and was always out and about in some adventure or another. From tree climbing, pranks and other cheeky scrapes. But Ian’s number one past-time was football. He was quite the young athlete, supporting Manchester United.
After joining the local Baines Grammar School, Poulton in 1968 he was immediately chosen to play for the school football team. With the nickname Don, Ian spent many hours training and for his age was a talented player. He was even approached by several club scouts to be signed up, but for Ian he became bored once he knew he was the best he could be and looked elsewhere for a new challenge. Not only on the sports field did Ian show his skill, he also showed a great intelligence in the academic classroom also. Leaving Baines Grammar School with 5 high-grade O’ Levels.
Always proud and fearless, Ian grew a reputation for not being a push-over. During a Cub Scout trip to Switzerland he managed to get into a fight with an American boy. Ian enjoyed fighting and became good at hitting hard and dodging the blows.
By 1969 skinheads hit the streets and the newspaper headlines and Ian already knew his parents would never allow him to adopt the skinhead style and clothes wear.
With the first skinheads emerging in the summer of 1969 at a free Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park London a new cult was in it’s infancy. The following year Richard Allen wrote a novel telling the tale of a young Skinhead named Joe Hawkins. The book became a youth-bible and sold in it’s thousands and promoted the cult even further. With the skinhead cult gaining full momentum hitting all the major towns and city streets and newspaper headlines too, whilst Ian himself was gaining a name for himself for being a bit of a handful, he knew his parents would never approve of him wearing boots, braces and shaven head. Once a rebel, always a rebel, Ian rescued a pair of old steel capped boots from the school bonfire. With his grandfather help of some spare cash he got his hair cropped for the first time. Waiting for the weekend, Ian and his mates, the McKay brothers who lived over the road from him, John Grinton, and the school gang would jump on a bus and take a trip down to Blackpool promenade, sea front. The mob would swagger along the “golden mile” bumping into the tourists, hanging around the Blackpool Tower and stomp along the arcades in their boots and Harrington jackets. From eating chips, to having a drink and usually finding bovver was their life.
After a few years with skinheads moving out of fashion Ian grew out his crop and became what was known as a Suedehead amongst the ex-skinheads. With Glam-rock now becoming the latest fashion trend Ian and his chums preferred the harder rock of the Rolling Stones and The Who.