Wrestling David sets sights on Empire Games

Elsie Hairdressing Company, based on Dalkeith High Street, advertises the 'Rolls Royce' of permanent waving machines.
Elsie Hairdressing Company, based on Dalkeith High Street, advertises the 'Rolls Royce' of permanent waving machines.

In March 1935, a new hairdressers, Elsie’s, opened at 8 High Street, writes Alan Mason (Dalkeith History Society).

They had installed “The McDonald Permanent Steam Waving Machine, the Rolls Royce of Perm Machines” and as an introductory offer were giving perms for 25/- (£1.25). I’m not sure how many customers they had, as this was more than a week’s wages for most people.

On Saturday, March 17, Andrew Davidson from Millerhill, was walking past the wood at Melville Gate and saw a man lying beside a bush. He passed by and thought nothing of it. On Wednesday, March 21, he was passing the same way and guess what? The man was still lying there, in the same position! The police were called and they found that the man had been reported missing the week before and had lain there for six days, without shelter, food or water. And they say society was more caring then!

Midlothian County Council were considering proposals to build a Forth Road Bridge. Earlier proposals had been put forward in the 1920s.

In October 1935, the matter was put before Parliament in Westminster and the Minister of Transport said: “I received a deputation a few days ago when for the first time the responsible authorities were able to submit proposals upon which they were agreed for a new bridge across the Forth. Many important aspects of the proposals require to be taken into account, and no time will be lost in giving them consideration.” Thirty three years later, work started on the bridge!

The Dalkeith Hiring Fair took place on March 21. In 1935, farm workers had a six or 12 month contract with their employers and the fair, which took place twice a year in March and October, brought together farmers and workers who were looking to change jobs.

The Advertiser reported that this year, numbers attending were lower than normal, probably due to private arrangements having been made outwith the fair. Wages were reported to be 30/- (£1.50) a week for men and £1 for women. The streets filled up in the afternoon, once the “shows” got going, and dances took place in the Corn Exchange in the afternoon and evening.

In the Burgh Court, a Newtongrange man was found guilty of assaulting two girls by deliberately riding his bike at them. He claimed that they had “tried to make a monkey out of him”, but Baillie Cochrane said he couldn’t take the law into his own hands and fined him 10/-.

The Music Hall, in George Street, Edinburgh, was the setting for the Scottish Wrestling Championships, where the featherweight division was won David Findlay of Dalkeith. As a result, David was selected to represent Scotland at the Empire Games in Manchester later in the year.

Also in March, there was a letter of complaint in the Advertiser about the behaviour of people in the Dalkeith cinemas.

“I refer to the distressing habit of a large section of the cinema audience of rising from their seats and preparing to leave the building at what they judge to be a few moments from the end of the entertainment.” This might mystify today’s young people, but us oldies all know that they were trying to escape before the National Anthem was played.

More on the cinemas (or picture houses as we called them) next month.