Parish Representative & Parish Editor:
Haddington parish is centrally situated in East Lothian (once known as Haddingtonshire), with the county town central to the irregularly shaped parish. The total area is 4966 ha (12,271 acres), the land fertile and broken only by the rocky outcrop of the Garleton Hills. The main road east from Edinburgh (the A1) cuts across the parish, and is now duplicated as far as Haddington by a dual carriageway, opened in 1996. There are plans to extend this as far as Dunbar. Other roads radiate from Haddington to the surrounding towns and villages. The Sheriff Court stands on the south side of Court Street – once the scene of a different court when occupied by the palace of William the Lion, but no trace of this now survives.
The population of the parish in 1951 was 5731, having increased little in the preceding 20 years, but by 1991 it had risen to 9490. During the period of this account the population of the town of Haddington has increased greatly, the first influx being the result of the Glasgow Overspill Agreement in 1958, which introduced much needed new blood. New housing has since been erected all round the old town (see Townscapes, Buildings & Landscapes of Distinction), but the historic centre has been in the main preserved. In a number of cases this has been due to the work of the Lamp of Lothian Trust. Museum and information offices are, however, still lacking, to the astonishment of visitors who come into the town.
In 1945 farming was still labour-intensive. During the war every possible piece of land was ploughed, and it was not until 1951 that the golf course was re-laid at Amisfield. Over the years manual labour and horses were gradually replaced by machinery, and before 2000 a farm which had once employed six families in addition to the farmer might be operated by the farmer and his own family with little other help. Larger machinery required new sheds, and the more attractive farm steadings were converted to private housing, while redundant cottages found a ready market among people who worked elsewhere. Many farmers have become owner/occupiers, though even at the end of the century some farms are still part of the local estates.
Services in the country have improved over the period, with electricity becoming generally available, and few households still relying on private water supplies. Car ownership has increased greatly.