Welcome investment in Dalkeith is motoring ahead

Dalkeith new town centre under construction
Dalkeith new town centre under construction

Dalkeith was in the middle of a massive boom in 1962 with investment guaranteed to bring change the town and community.

The Dalkeith Advertiser (February 1962) heralded the ‘Town’s Face-Lift’ hailing the improvements to the town centre and other projects around Dalkeith.

“Dalkeith is now grappling with the biggest industrial and building boom in its history. Over half-a-million pounds will be spent in the next few years on projects which will change the face of the ancient burgh.

“First in the pipeline is the shopping centre and this week, after months of preparation, the first bricks will be laid on the first part of the shopping centre development which is estimated will cost £250,000 before the work is completed in the next two of three years.

“Despite weather conditions, which were not favourable for building operations, the contracting firm, Messrs Dennis & Co., has been able to prepare the special foundations for the curved block of shops and houses which will rise in the months ahead.

“Councillors and officials are now on the point of witnessing actual results of their long deliberations, which in turn have produced fears and hopes. But the present shops in the High Street will not be touched for some time yet. Certain difficulties have still to be resolved, but there is an easing of tension and the Town Clerk, Mr J Finlay Kerr, who has many responsibilities, feels that the all-clear signal is now to be seen.

“Hard on the heels of the shopping centre is the housing plan approved by the Town Council with building projects at Hunt’s Close, costing £11,000; Duke’s Park (£48,000), and Shadepark (£61,000).

“Guided by Provost J Quinn, the town is also the possessor of an Old People’s Club, for which an appeal for £5000 has been made to defray the cost. It is proposed to build the Old People’s Hall near the health centre, which the County is to provide at an estimates cost of £40,000. The centre has been under consideration for many years and the Medical Officer of Health for the County has on various occasions expressed his displeasure at the delay in starting this important project.”

While Dalkeith’s town centre is set for a face-lift, 55 years ago plans were revealed for a kart track. As reported in the Dalkeith Advertiser, “A cost of £7000 or £8000 may not deter Dalkeith Town Council from going ahead with the construction of a fully equipped kart track at either Island Park or Ironmills Park.

“This was the outcome of discussions on the subject at a meeting of the council on Monday evening, when the Bugh Surveyor, Mr J Lawrence, submitted a report on his consultation with the Royal Automobile Club on possible costs and layout.

“At a meeting of the Parks Committee, eight representatives from the East of Scotland Kart Association had been present when their president Mr McLaren outlined the RAC rules under whose aegis the sport was conducted and meetings held. Having surveyed Island Park and Ironmills Park, he said that a standard track could be built for £1,600.

“At the meeting, it was decided that the Burgh Surveyor, in consultation with the Kart Association, should prepare a full report on capital costs.

Referring to information which had been supplied to him, the Burgh Surveryor said that the RAC had made it clear that the total cost of a 350 yard circuit would amount to more than £5000.

“A longer track measuring 600 yards could be laid out at Ironmills Park with considerably more facilities. It would cost up to £8000.

“Provost Quinn brought up the question of whether thenwhole scheme was worth considering in view of the heavy cost.” Councillors agreed to defer a decision until more information had been obtained.

Meanwhile, Bonnyrigg’s twinning plans looked to be taking a different tack with the Dalkeith Advertiser reporting a link with Germany.

“Bonnyrigg and Lasswade will twin with the German town of Aichach, the Twinning Committee decided last week. The decision was reached after towns in France, Germany and the Netherlands had been discussed. ‘This is an important thing for the burgh and it should be spread among as many people as possible,’ said Councillor R Addison, chairman. Aichach, a town of similar size to Bonnyrigg, is situated in Bavaria, a few miles from Munich. On the River Paar, it is a town with a history stretching back almost 1000 years.”