Letters to the Editor

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Mauricewood Devils

Readers would be wrong to assume this letter head is about local people in the Mauricewood area of Penicuik objecting to 1000 new houses being built on greenfield landscape in 2016-2026.

The Mauricewood Devils is a book written by Peebles woman Dorothy Alexander with painstaking research into the Mauricewood mining disaster in September 1889. Please read this book, a historical gem! She found out that her great-great-grandfather was one of the men buried alive when they sealed off the pit due to fire underground, trapping 63 men and boys – the youngest aged 12. They left 29 widows and 104 children and several mothers whose sons in the pit were their only means of financial support. Thirty-six bodies were not recovered until six months after the disaster date.

In 1889-90 the inquiry that followed was that they would not have died if recent mining safety legislation had been implemented. The court sided with the mine owners. No trade union then to support the deceased men’s/boys’ families. I hope, as a lasting memorial, the developer of the new housing and Midlothian Council will consider a Mauricewood Memorial Public Park in at least half of Site D, near the old mine, and have a legacy for future people of Penicuik to enjoy recreation and leisure here in Mauricewood because we are 30 acres short in open space/playing fields in and around Penicuik (National Playing Fields 1998, SportScotland 2016).

The population is expected to increase from 17,000 to 21,000 as new housing increases demand for all services in the Penicuik and district community.

RIP Mauricewood Devils

Alan Robertson

Dykes Road, Penicuik

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