‘Dalkeith: aspects of the history of a Scottish burgh’, a fully-illustrated book compiled from articles researched and written by David R Smith has recently been published.
David R Smith was elected to Dalkeith Burgh Council in 1952 at the age of 21, the youngest councillor in Scotland. Thereafter he served continuously as a local councillor for more than 40 years including periods as Provost of Dalkeith and Convenor of Midlothian District
Despite his busy involvement in local politics and holding down a full-time job, David somehow found time to research and write about various aspects of the history of Dalkeith.
Over several decades, much of this work was published as a series of articles in the Advertiser and this new volume comprises a selection of these.
The book provides an entertaining read across a remarkable range of topics. In describing the local characters Showman John and Biting Mick, the author’s humour and humanitarianism are evident; in looking at slavery, witchcraft and grave-robbing, the rich and often dark tapestry of life in Dalkeith through the ages is revealed; in dressing up as a tramp and spending a night in a working men’s lodging house (and surviving the experience!), the length to which David was prepared to go to gain knowledge of an issue is apparent.
Copies of the book are available from Dalkeith Library and Dalkeith Museum priced £10.