WW1: 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 1 in 1914.

In May, 1914, the First World War was only a couple of months away. Midlothian resident’s weren’t to know, however, and the May 8 edition of the Midlothian Journal focused on the infrastructure in Dalkeith: “The burgh of Dalkeith is coming into line with Bonnyrigg and is erecting effective sewage works. At Loanhead a sewage extension scheme is also to be carried through. When one looks back on rive pollutions of past years he is compelled to express surprise at the fact that such drainage vagaries were tolerated.”

People were also talking about the opening of a sports arena in Polton: “Opening of the bowling green- the green was opened for the season on Tuesday night with a game between the president, Mr Gray, and the vice-president, Mr Sanderson, which resulted in a victory for the vice-president by 23 shots. There was a large turnout of members.”

A new show was on the agenda in Roslin: “Dramatic Display- The third attempt of the Roslin and District Amateur Dramatic Club was given last night in the Public Hall. There was a crowded house, and the production reflects credit upon the performers.”

Other news in Roslin was the Boy Scouts: “The Roslin Troop of Boy Scouts, after two months’ strenuous work, have been engaged this week in the annual competition for the County flags presented by Lord Roseberry.”

Newlyweds led the Bonnyrigg column of The Journal: “On Wednesday evening there was a happy gathering in the Public Hall, Bonnyrigg, when Dr and Mrs Young, recently married, were made the recipients of gifts as a mark of esteem and respect. There was a large attendance of friends and well-wishers, and on the platform were quite a number of ladies and gentlemen.”

In the national column, the government’s budget was a hot button issue: “It is sufficiently obvious that the Government’s programme for the Session will be made considerably heavier by the necessity of debating and passing the legislation consequential to the budget.”

The budget dominated the news as Lloyd George, who would later become the Secretary of State for War, was due for an announcement: “Mr Lloyd George, in making his budget statement on Monday, was considerably handicapped by two facts which are worth noting. As readers are doubtless aware, the Chancellors throat has not been its best lately. The second cause for the comparative lack of clearness was the fact that Mr George had arranged his notes for a speech lasting well over three hours.”

Despite the stories on the minds of people in Midlothian and around Britain, they would all take a back seat come the outbreak of WW1.

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