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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Jean Sandilands

Julie Murphy interview with Jean (Jeannie) Sandilands who talked of her childhood in East Saltoun in the 1940s and 1950s

Jeannie was born in 1937 and came to the village in the early 1940s. She lived in one of the farm cottages on the main street and both her parents were farm workers. As Margaret McCormack had also done, the family moved out of the cottages into what must have seemed luxurious accommodation in West Crescent.

Jeannie attended Saltoun Primary School and went on to Ormiston for secondary education. On leaving school she went into service in Gifford but has spent most of her married life in East Saltoun village. Jeannie is very active in the community. She is on the hall committee, she bakes enormous quantities of cakes and sweets for the Byre and Tea Room and, until her retirement in 2001, was the caretaker of the school. Her mother before her had been the dinner lady at the school and Jeannie continued this as well as many other duties. Jeannie will always be there to help with fund-raising and her community work was recognised in 2001 with the presentation of an MBE.

Jeannie remembers the Plantation in Lower Saltoun before the two houses were built there. There was a pond (still there) and wild strawberries grew there. It was a great play area for the village children. The wood is still there, known locally as Strawberry Wood and doubtless still used by the children of today. Children of the 1940s tended to play around the village, only going home for meals in the long summer holidays. Nobody worried too much about possible dangers in those days.

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