World War One - Midlothian Remembers

World War One logo
World War One logo

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

With the centenary of the Great War fast approaching, it’s important to take a look at the lives of Midlothian residents 100 years ago, to fully understand how everyone was affected.

This week last century, housing lead the Penicuik column: “There is a great demand for houses at present, and “those about to marry” find it exceedingly difficult to get settled. Houses of three apartments are wanted most. As soon as it is hinted the some one is removing there is a rush for the vacant house.”

Illness in Gorebridge caused an early closure: “Owing to a renewed outbreak of scarlet fever and illness among the staff of teachers Stobhll School was closed for the Easter vacation on Tuesday afternoon in place of Thursday, as previously arranged.”

Firearm sales were on the up in Roslin: “Information was received last week by the employees in the local Gunpowder Works of Messrs Curtis & Harvey, Ltd, to the effect that out of their increased profits the firm had decided to give a gratuity to their employees, according to grade and service.”

People were excited about the pictures in Bonnyrigg: “Picture House- this week’s programme is quite as good as usual. A very interesting picture is “From the Depth of the Sea”. In this picture a diver is seen descending to the bottom of the sea.”

The Home Rule debate was still dominating the ‘Notes From Westminster’ column: “Home Rule’s second reading: The main interest in the closing scenes of the Home Rule debate on Tuesday is in the contrast afforded between the heat which occurred on previous occasions in the last two years, and the comparative moderation at the present time.”

Also on the national agenda was an article on Turkey, which would prove sadly relevant in time: “Turkey’s Navy- It must be long since a squadron of flying the Ottoman Crescent visited the Solent. But Turkey is bent on a big Navy, and Enver (Turkish leader) and those in control of the Government consider that the prosperity of their country in the future depends as much upon is much to make itself respected in the Mediterranean as upon the development in Asia.”

Midlothian residents had their minds on a number of different issues back in 1914. They had no idea The Great War would begin just a few short months later.

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