Enterprising businessman shuts up shop

Dalkeith High Street in the 1950s/60s. 'Photos courtesy Midlothian Council Local Studies
Dalkeith High Street in the 1950s/60s. 'Photos courtesy Midlothian Council Local Studies

At the beginning of August 1960, Councillor Hutchison announced that due to ill health he was giving up his business, a furniture and furnishings shop in the High Street (now occupied by Semi-Chem).

Robert Hutchison had arrived in Dalkeith in 1938 and taken over Mr. Wilson’s shoe shop (now the opticians). During the War, he served in the RAF and Mrs Hutchison ran the shop.

After the War, he sold out to Bairds and started up a drapery, which he converted in 1959 into the furniture business.

So he was obviously an enterprising businessman and he had been an independent councillor for the past few years.

You may remember that he had been re-elected in May. Two days after the election his dogs escaped from his garden in Park Road and attacked a neighbour’s hens. When Mr Hutchison himself reported the incident to the police, he was charged with not keeping his dogs under control.

At the Sheriff Court in June, he pleaded guilty and explained that the dogs had escaped after a van had broken his gate.

He said that he had kept hens himself for seven years and the dogs had never bothered them.

The Sheriff replied “If what you say is true, I do not know why this prosecution was brought before me,” and admonished 

In Bonnyrigg, Sonny Fletcher’s motor scooter was stolen. Sonny was “Dalkeith’s own comedian” and was due in Ayr the next day for rehearsals, which he had to cancel as he had intended to travel to Ayr on his scooter. Somehow, I can’t see Bruce Forsyth or Ronnie Corbett travelling to rehearsals on a scooter!

Dalkeith laid claim to a few entertainers at the time. As well as Sonny, we had Alex Don.

I believe he was a bit of an athlete and used to pole vault on to the stage! In February Alex reported he had been busy in Germany in 1959 and had received a call to come back home to do a panto, then he was off to Calcutta for a booking at the Great Eastern Hotel – doesn’t seem too bad a gig to me!