Loanhead set to celebrate Royal Charter anniversary

In May 1669 King Charles II granted a Charter permitting Loanhead to have a market cross, with a weekly market day and an annual three day fair.

Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 10:18 am
Celebrations in Loanhead for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. On 22 June 1897, a huge procession of local school children marched around the town before taking part in sports and musical events. Children were presented with a commemorative mug and a bag of sweets. In the evening, there was a chain of bonfires across Midlothian.

The Charter was confirmed by an Act of the Scottish Parliament later in 1669. This was, of course, a highly significant development in the early history of Loanhead.

To mark the 350th anniversary, Loanhead Gala Committee has co-ordinated a programme of events across the town arranged by various groups, organisations, public bodies and even some local businesses which, when amalgamated with the annual Gala celebrations, extends to almost 100 events, now underway, running until the final week in June. Events are being staged by 26 different groups and involve 25 different venues in and around Loanhead.

Alan McLaren of Loanhead Gala Committee, explained more about the Loanhead 350 programme. He said: “A primary aim of the programme of events is to highlight the wide range of activities currently taking place in Loanhead and provide opportunities for more local residents to become actively involved.

The cover of 'Loanhead, the Story of a Barony, a Burgh and a Community', by Alan McLaren

“Loanhead 350 is an opportunity to find out more about the town’s history and traditions, to welcome new residents into the community and to encourage everyone in and around Loanhead to play a full part in the life of the town.

“Loanhead 350 seeks to help preserve Loanhead’s separate identity at a time when major new developments are taking place around the town’s boundaries.”

Full details of the programme of events are contained in the free 132 page full colour Gala programme dropped through letterboxes in Loanhead recently. Additional copies are available at Loanhead Library.

Loanhead 350 includes events such as Loanhead 350 – A Celebration in Flowers at Loanhead Parish Church (May 30- June 1), a brewery tour at Stewart Brewing (May 31, June 7 & 21), The History, Here And Now Of Springfield Mill And Mavisbank (June 1), Paradykes Primary School Summer Fun Day (June 7), The Link Open Day (June 9), Straiton Campfire Cafe (June 15) and Air Cadets’ Open Night (June 27).

2019 Loanhead Queen Maja Zynda, Herald Luke Simpson and Crowning Lady Catherine Paterson. Photo by Sarah Elizabeth Photography. Maja is a pupil at St Margaret's Primary School. Luke is a pupil at Loanhead Primary School.

The programme of events will culminate with Loanhead Children’s Day on June 22.


Alan added: “As ever, Midlothian’s oldest and largest local festival will feature traditional ceremonies, huge street processions and an extensive programme of family entertainment.”

To coincide with the Loanhead 350 celebrations, a new book, ‘Loanhead, the Story of a Barony, a Burgh and a Community’ by Alan McLaren was launched on Tuesday. It comprises almost 900 pages and is published in two volumes. This long-anticipated work is the result of detailed research on the history of Loanhead conducted by the author over many years.

All aspects of the development of Loanhead, from earliest times to the present day, are covered under 48 chapter headings.

The text is enhanced by over 1,000 photographs and illustrations, many in full colour and many being published for the first time. The print run is limited and only a few hundred copies of the two volume set are being made available for public sale, at a price of £30 per set.

All publication costs have been met by private donations, allowing the entire sale proceeds to be retained by a number of community organisations which have been allocated copies to sell for the benefit of their own funds.

These groups are: Loanhead Children’s Gala Day Association; Loanhead Community Development Association (to support the Community Fireworks display, Remembrance Sunday parade and Christmas lighting display); Loanhead Parish Church (particularly the church’s community outreach fund and the weekly Lunch Club); Girlguiding Loanhead; 1st Loanhead Company Boys’ Brigade; Loanhead Miners’ Youth Football Club.

The publication is now on sale.

Further information on the book is available from the author on 0131 440 3830.