WW1: Midlothian Remembers

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The Advertiser returns with its regular series remembering the months in the lead up to the start of World War 1 in 1914.

To give our readers a feel for what was going on at the time, we’ll be taking a look back on what was happening in and around Midlothian 100 years ago.

School Board elections made a regular appearance in 1914, and this week was Gorebridge’s turn: “School board election: The local Labour Party have adopted and intend to push forward the two candidates at the coming election. It is understood that Messrs Burnside and Darling have been selected for this purpose.”

Roslin’s schools were starting back from a holiday: “News notes- the public school was reopened on Tuesday, to the regret of many of the scholars, who were not content with having had freedom from school lessons since Good Friday- Monday was recognised as a holiday by employees of the Gunpowder Works and Carpet Factory Works.”

A fair had been celebrated in Loanhead: “On Friday and Saturday of last week a grand bazaar and fancy fair was held on behalf of St Margaret’s School, Loanhead. The bazaar was held in the school, and a large selection of plain and fancy goods contributed by friends from near and far were shown to advantage on eight nicely decorated stalls.”

Emergency services were being added to in Musselburgh: “It is likely that the Town Council will soon be called upon to provide more motor fire engines, and it is not unlikely that there will be the same desire to fight over the different kinds of pumps as has hitherto been the case.”

Tellingly, military service was on the agenda in Pathhead: “Pathhead, we are told, is doing well by the Territorials this year. One can only hope other communities will follow the example of Pathhead and by the end of the year Midlothian will be able to give a good account of itself. However much some people cry for conscription, I cling to the good old voluntary system.”

The 1914 Midlothian Journal also looked abroad to fill it column’s: “Drinking in Russia- The consumption of the Russian national drink, vodka, last year amounted to 282, 301,200 to gallons, representing an increase of 21,962,800 gallons, or 8.43 per cent, on the preceding year.”

World War 1 would be declared in just a few months, and Midlothian’s press would no longer be able to focus on school board elections and the like. It would be filled only with talk of combat.

If you have any anecdotes, memories, or thoughts from the time, then get involved.