Midlothian Lives - Loanhead linen bank family

In the first of our new Midlothian Lives series, taking a look at local lives past and present, we hear from Janet Storey, whose family resided in the British Linen Bank.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 3:12 pm
David and Betty Sharp on daughter Janet's wedding day.
David and Betty Sharp on daughter Janet's wedding day.

Janet told the story of how her father David Sharp joined the Loanhead branch and later moved into the house above, which she grew up in.

She said: “In 1914 my father was recruited directly from school to join the British Linen Bank. Opened in 1875, the office was then in the parlour of the manager’s house.

"In 1935 he moved into the upstairs flat, created when the building was re-modelled, his home until his death in 1981.

The British Linen Bank on Clerk Street c 1967.

“The house was commodious with indoor facilities but was freezing in winter, particularly my room, once that of the maid, which had no fireplace.

"Our garden, extending up to Hunter’s Garage, was the scene of childhood adventures. I was often teased that we had bank notes instead of wallpaper.

“Our closest neighbour was Louisa Brown, her family had run the tailor’s shop on the corner. This was demolished to widen the junction leaving a patio with benches.

"After the creation of the current footprint, the Bank of Scotland emerged in 1969.

David Sharp (r) outside the bank while it was still the agent’s house c. 1916.

"After my father’s death further expansion removed access to the wonderful garden and the beautiful flowering cherry tree, planted by my father, was felled. My mother remained in the house until her death in 1990.”

Speaking more about her parents, Janet added: “Having met during WW2, fire-watching in Edinburgh, they married in 1949 and my mother Betty became a key contributor to local life. Imagine people’s surprise when the once confirmed bachelor became a father at 52!

“He volunteered for the army at 18. Fortunately, hostilities ceased, while he was training as a signaller, so he travelled to Germany as part of the British army of the Rhine. He rejoined the bank on returning home after his older brother’s death in the 1918 pandemic.

"In the 1920s he took the lead in the Station Iron Works Choir’s productions in the town hall. And f or many years he was an elder and organist in the West Church.

Aerial view of our garden and Clerk Street 1963 before the demolition of the corner houses.

“Despite a successful career in the Edinburgh head office my father remained proud of his Loanhead roots and was always grateful to the bank.”

If you have an interesting Midlothian family history story that you would like to see appear as a Midlothian Lives article, please send the story (350 words max) with photos, to our reporter Kevin Quinn. Please email [email protected]

Final year at Loanhead School. David Sharp back row, 2 nd left