WW1 - Midlothian Remembers

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

The Great War would begin in just a few months back then, but the local people of Midlothian had their minds cast on a number of other issues. The warmer weather meant the Golf was on in Gorebridge: “Golf Club- There was a good entry for the first play of the season for the monthly medal. The course was in excellent trim, and low scores resulted. The winner was Mr John Williamson, with the score of 77 net.”

The roads were the talk of the town in Penicuik: “From the minute of a special meeting it was shown that the Council propose to spend about £676 on the roads this season, the larger part being devoted to completing John Street and Edinburgh Road.”

Meanwhile, an appointment had been made in Newtongrange: “Mr Hamill, Selkirk, has been appointed caretaker in the Institute. There were 250 candidates, from which the committee had to make their selection.”

Over in Lasswade, the Boy Scouts were in the news: “The 25th Midlothian Troop were inspected by Sir Henry Dundas on Friday, May 8th, at the Lasswade Hall, whither owing to the torrential rains the venue of the parade had to be hastily transferred, instead of being held in the open at St Leonard’s Rectory.”

Tempers were flared in Bonnyirgg during a council meeting: “Bonnyrigg Town Council had a pretty animated discussion over the rent charged them by the Library Committee for the use of the room in which the meetings of the Council are held.”

Council Officials in Dalkeith were happy: “Increases to officials’ salaries- at a meeting of Dalkeith Town Council on Monday night, the question of raising the salaries of various officials was before the meeting. After discussion the meeting decided that the salary of Mr Sturrock, the Town Clerk, be raised from £90 to £110 per annum.”

In Roslin, praise was heaped on the dramatic society: “For the third time the members of this Drama Club have justified their existence as an efficient and thorough going company. On the evenings of Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week, a successful attempt was made to give a striking representation of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’”

In the national column, Midlothian people were informed about economic issues: “Mr Lloyd George announced on Monday some small but important modifications in his budget proposals. He said that it was impossible on the first charge to make a graduation in the tax on unearned income which is being raised from 1s 2d to 1s 4d in the £”

This small snapshot is from a time when Midlothian residents had their minds cast on a number of issues, little did they know the back pages of every newspaper in the country would soon be filled with talk of the Great War.

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