Down Memory Lane

Dalkeith railway station c 1960
Dalkeith railway station c 1960

In the coming year, I’m going to take you through 1960 month by month, so if you were in Dalkeith then you might well remember some of the events and people mentioned.

Now, in my mind, 1960 didn’t seem to be that long ago, until I realised that

* we still had steam trains,

* money was in pounds, shillings and pence (£ s d),

* we only had 2 TV channels, in black and white,

* the Beatles hadn’t been heard of,

* few of us had ordinary phones,

* supermarkets didn’t exist and we only had a few self-service shops,

* and finally, I was still at school.

So it WAS a long time ago!

In Dalkeith, 1960 was a year of political argument and it marked the end of an era – the old High Street was about to disappear for ever.

The Cold War was at its height. Dwight Eisenhower was still President of the USA, though he would be replaced by John F Kennedy in November. Harold McMillan was our Prime Minister and it was the year he made his famous “Wind of Change’’ speech, predicting the end of British colonialism in Africa.

In Dalkeith, the Town Council were discussing a more important question – do old folks want electric cookers? Apparently, the Gas Board had imposed a charge of 6/6 (32p) per quarter on each gas account, and a pensioners’ representative had written to the council to see if they could change to electric cookers as they were both cheaper and safer.

The burgh surveyor said he didn’t know how many used gas, but if they wanted to change they should contact the council.

The situation was resolved two months later, when it was announced that 40 people had applied, and the cost of each cooker would be £45. When councillors realised that would total £1,800, it was decided to take no further action!

See this week’s Advertiser for Alan Mason’s full feature. On sale now.