WW1: Midlothian Remembers

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World War One logo

The Advertiser returns with its regular series remembering the months in the lead up to the start of World War 1 in 1914.

This week, 100 years ago, Midlothian residents had their minds cast on a variety of subjects. The 1914 edition of the Midlothian Journal reported a seasonal vacation: “Gorebridge- Wednesday was observed by the local merchants as the Spring Holiday. Favoured by good weather a large exodus took place to the City and the Borders.”

The monthly town council meeting had been held in Penicuik: “A letter was read from Messrs Alex. Cowan & Sons, Ltd., with reference to the slight structural alteration in the proposed storage tank for Saltersyke water. Their engineer approved of the alteration, and recommended that special care be taken.”

The monthly meeting was the talk of Bonnyrigg, too: “A letter was also submitted from the secretary of the Lothian Lodge Scottish Mechanics, Newtongrange, intimating that the arrangements to pay £100 of the loan on the 18th March and the balance of £400 on 16th May would suit the requirements of the society.”

Military force was being built in Pathead: “Quite a number of young men have joined the Territorials (army) this year, and their drills under the new drill instructor began on Wednesday.”

The army was also news in Glencorse: “Leiut-Colonel the Hon. W. G. Hepburne-Scott, who has since February 1908 been in command of the 8th territorial Battalion Royal Scots, has been transferred to the Territorial Force Reserve, and Major C. M. Cowan has been promoted Lieut-Colonel to command the battalion.”

History was on the agenda in Roslin: “Under the auspices of the Hope Trust, Mr D. Moir Douglas, of Edinburgh, delivered a lime-light lecture in the Public Hall, the subject being ‘Italy: Past and Present’.”

Not unlike modern Britain, the budget dominated the national column: “It was the intention of Mr Lloyd George to introduce the Budget one day next week, but he has postponed the date for a week, in order to be courteous to the Opposition, as Mr Austen Chamberlain cannot be in the House of Commons next week. One cannot but remember the doubts this time last year when Mr Lloyd George made his financial estimates.”

None of this would seem relevant, of course, in just a few short months come the outbreak of The Great War.

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