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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Farm records - Easter Meikle Pinkerton

Shortly before the Falgate family left Easter Meikle Pinkerton I was given access to three old record books, which gave an interesting insight to the Fraser family at Pinkerton from the early 19th century.

For our purpose it was the last one kept by Walter R. Falgate, between September 1928 and December 1947 that is of interest. It shows the last stages of the annual arrangements, which before the war had been concluded at the hiring fair in Dunbar.

At the end of the war, East Lothian agriculture was labour intensive; this was only possible by low wages. As wages improved the labour force was reduced. Mechanisation, itself increasingly expensive, made the modern position possible where owners may have remained gentlemen farmers but increasingly were also working farmers.

New rates of pay May 15 1944 - per two weeks:

Hutcheson's School Glasgow £26-15/- for two weeks harvest; but how many and how long and how was it arranged and why did they do it? The war effort!

In 1943 they had pupils from Daniel Stewart's College and Glasgow High School who were listed as 9 at 7/6 and 9 at 4/6.

They had other extra seasonal labour. There is a reference to an Irish squad, and in 1945 a payment of £92-13/1 for POWs for one month, and soldiers at £11-0/9 paid toScottish Command.

The fortnightly wage bill in 1945 is given as £72-12/8 for two women + Sandy, seven men + John (his son) ie eleven people (average pay £3-6/- per week). Even these low rates took four workers into the income tax bracket, paying 4/- income tax.

Other payments were equally meagre: land girls were paid £2-l/6 per week in 1944, and in 1945, singling was up to 9d per 100 yards.

Prisoners of war were present certainly until February 1947. The heavy winter of 1947 was responsible on 29th March for an exceptional payment of £32-2/6 for snow shovelling.

The new rate in October 1947 was over £140 (nearly double) per two weeks for 11 men + John (born 1918 but presumably living at home), 4 women + Sandy.

The last entry on 20 December 1947

For 4 women, Sandy, 11 men, John at £6, an extra POW at £7-14/6, + insurance £2-6/4 and agricultural insurance at 7/1 the TOTAL was £141-1/8.

Six cottages were part of the wages, plus an allowance of potatoes that varied but seemed usually 8cwt p.a.

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