Gala days weren’t quite so glorious...

Newtongrange Gala 1954
Newtongrange Gala 1954

June was gala day month throughout Midlothian, although earlier in the year, it seemed that some galas wouldn’t take place due to lack of interest.

Poltonhall gala was abandoned, and only Dalkeith and Newtongrange looked safe.

To raise funds for Dalkeith, a concert – described as “quite successful” was held in the Pavilion. It was arranged by Edinburgh’s Chief Constable, Willie Merrilees, who “fixed up” the artists to appear.

It was Dalkeith High School’s turn for the gala, with Wilma Stirling of Cemetery Lodge as Queen and Tom Lean, son of Baillie Lean, as King.

As an aside, my uncle, Jimmy Vickers, an old Dalkeith man, had calculated that if I went to Dalkeith High School Primary, I would be King in Primary 7. I duly went to the High School for my first day, but after only one day there, I was transferred to the Burgh School. And that, my friends, is why Archie Cameron was King in 1955 instead of me! I never took part in any gala day.

Read Alan Mason’s monthly history feature in this week’s Advertiser.