Innerwick | Economy

Tourism | Industry | Agriculture & Horticulture

At the beginning of the period, employment was found on the farms, on the roads on the railway or as craft apprentices. Girls might also work on the farms, in service or in shops.

A few of the young people went away for higher education or training. A few of the better off children went away to school. In the 1950s, the number of farm workers began to decline.

The opening of the Associated Portland Cement Company works at Oxwellmains, near Dunbar in 1963 gave a great boost to local employment, though after it was modernised c1983, the workforce was slimmed-down by some 200 workers. The night shift now operates with six men. From 1996, the landfill site (Haul Waste Ltd., from 1999 Viridor Waste Management plc) provided another source of employment.

The construction phase of the Torness power station (c1980-85) brought some 7000 workers to the area, and offered limited employment opportunities for locals. Employment at Torness changed and stabilised after it was commissioned in 1988. The associated accommodation village provided employment for women, and this continued in the next decade when it became Thurston Manor Caravan Park.

Some people worked outwith the parish and this trend was to continue and grow to the end of the period. Local employment on the roads (when each parish had its own resident team) came to an end as the council developed mobile squads. The railway ceased as a source of employment in 1963. Young people cycled to Dunbar and went by train or bus to Edinburgh or Haddington. Women were learning to drive which widened their employment prospects and more were looking for jobs. Mrs Cowley started up Thornton Mill Knitwear factory (1962-69), which provided work for women who had previously found employment on the farms.


For a time, c1988-late 1990s, Torness Nuclear Power Station was a tourist attraction; latterly guided tours were offered, run from its visitor centre. This service has now been discontinued.

The old construction village site at Thurston Manor is now a well-established caravan site and leisure club; taken over by Mr Dunham in 1991; the Thurston Manor Holiday Home Park also accommodates tents and tourers.

Thorntonloch caravan and camping site (Tindall, F.P. p47) is another popular venue, in spite of sheltering close to the bulk of Torness. From the 1950s, the county council leased the land to a caravan operator, who was to provide both car park and toilet facilities, for caravanners and the public. The site was not removed once the power station was operational (as had been agreed), and remains in public ownership. The site is leased to Thorntonloch Caravan Park Residents Association by a lease dated April 1996; it runs to 2011.

The Innerwick Outdoor Centre is available for hire from East Lothian Council, and offers accommodation for twelve.

There is a small amount of local B&B accommodation on offer.

For about 20 years from the 1960s, pony trekking was available from Braidwood. This was a popular activity with young people on holiday in Dunbar and indeed with local youngsters.

Many locals, as well as visitors, have lovely memories of going out on the ponies. Even the wet days were fun. After the trek, it was in to the byre for a picnic. Sore buttocks and thighs the next day were a small price to pay for the stunning scenery.

The ponies worked from Easter until October then, if they were young and fit, they ran on the hill. Mares with foals or older horses needing looking after were over-wintered at Tyninghame.

Innerwick Exhibition

The language groups organised under the auspices of the Council for International Contact c1970 certainly enjoyed it.

The group from Cuxhaven thought it was sublime.

Stephen Bunyan


Torness Nuclear Power Station. There is a lot of information on the nuclear industry’s current policy already available in the public domain. An unedited statement by British Energy on Torness is given elsewhere on the CD ROM.

Torness – chronology from the local newspaper – the East Lothian Courier

The approval, development and running of Torness power station were controversial from the start, and local concern continues. The site at Thornton Loch had been earmarked for an electricity generating station in 1972; the development of Torness was approved in February 1978.

In May 1978, Friends of the Earth, Scram and Greenpeace supporters occupied the Torness site at Innerwick over a weekend; this demonstration was peaceful. Later in the year the Torness Alliance was formed and after mid November when work began, 156 people were arrested, and a week later, 38 were arrested out of 400 protestors.

There was also a campaign by Friends of the Earth (FOE) against the siting of the pylons that were required to carry the electricity to the national grid. They were objected to on health grounds and on environmental grounds. A compromise was reached and the cables went underground for the first two kilometres.

Construction began in 1979 on a 200-acre site, 50 acres of which were reclaimed from behind sea defences with material excavated from the reactor and turbine hall foundations. To allow for direct shipment of large component parts, a berthing facility was built, but the output of its two advanced gas-cooled reactors (commissioned in 1987 and 1988) is mostly exported to England.

In 1979, a workers’ caravan site was established at Innerwick. In 1979, as a result of a £3million contract, a workers’ village was established at Thurston for Torness workers. In addition, many workers were accommodated in hotels and boarding houses in Dunbar and elsewhere.

By 1980, 1200 workers were employed at the Torness site, mainly male. The state of unemployment was approximately 20% across the whole county, there was generally a standstill in the building trade and there were in consequence complaints about the lack of utilisation of the local workforce at Torness.

It was reported in January 1981in the East Lothian Courier that dual contracts totalling £248m for the power station had been placed with Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd for civil engineering and building works, and with GEC Turbine Generators Ltd for the supply, delivery and erection of two 660 MW turbine generators plus condensing and feed heating plant and boiler fed pumps.

In 1982 planning permission was sought to extend the workers’ camp. This was refused and there was a Public Inquiry, the first of several to allay fears about various aspects of its operation. Others were held in 1984, 1992 and 1999. There were continued complaints about the lack of local jobs. In 1983, Dunbar and the East Lothian District Council were defeated in their efforts to stop the increase in accommodation for Torness workers.

By 1983 the project was half way through, but there were still only a limited number of jobs for locals. Late in 1983 plans were announced to transport nuclear waste fuel by rail; this proposal needed planning permission. The ELDC decided to support a motion to mothball Torness. In 1984 (at the height of the miners’ strike) the South of Scotland Electricity Board (SSEB) stated that there would be 500 fewer jobs and increases of 15% in costs if Torness were not commissioned.

By 1986 there was nuclear fuel on site at Torness; in June 1986, at Torness there were three Greenpeace protests against the commissioning of the station. There was further disquiet in July with the publication of the emergency plans in event of an accident at Torness. These revealed that they would only deal with the population within 3km of the station. In 1986 it was also revealed that milk churn-sized metal containers, containing radioactive material – Iridium 192 – had been arriving at Dunbar railway station, having travelled north from the south of England by goods train, and forward to Dunbar by passenger train. In September 1986 it was discovered that Lothian Regional Council had not the resources to organise the evacuation of people within a 25km radius of Torness in the event of a disaster there.

There followed the news that Nirex UK Ltd was examining the possibility of establishing a site to dump nuclear waster near Torness.

In 1988 the SSEB announced plans for the demolition of the Thurston Gardens camp following the failure to sell the property. Although the project was nearing completion there was still local anxiety; in April reactor one at Torness was on, and fully on by June. The second followed soon afterwards.

On 13 May 1989, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opened the Torness Nuclear Power Station. The local MP, John Home Robertson, boycotted the event. In August 1992, Scottish Nuclear Ltd produced plans for the construction of a spent nuclear fuel store at Torness; this proposal caused local concern, and in December 1992 there was a public inquiry on this. In 1993 fears were still being expressed re the building of a £54m nuclear fuel store at Torness; in March 1995, it was agreed that radioactive waste was not to be stored in the county. It would continue to be sent to Sellafield.

Following the privatisation of Scottish Nuclear and Nuclear Electric and the acquisition of Torness by British Energy, it was announced in October 1996 that 80 jobs were to go at Torness over the next two to three years. This matter was raised in parliament together with issues related to the coal-fired plant at Cockenzie by J. Home Robertson on 4 December 1996.

In November 1999, a Tornado Jet crashed into the sea off Torness, causing justifiable concern. Beyond our period, concern has also been caused by a major shutdown in 2002.

Unresolved problems of long-term (100 years) storage of radioactive waste – possibly on-site – remain one of the greatest potential adverse effects on the local economy, the environment and property values. Torness is due to be de-commissioned about 2020-23 and one of the options being considered at a national level is a new nuclear power station on the same site.

In 2003, some 450 employees work at Torness. Owners British Energy point out that the plant has been praised as an environmentally friendly site, and that there are many benefits to the local community (see CD-ROM).

Apart from the power station, there has been very little industrial development in Innerwick. In 1994, a roll-on, roll-off ferry terminal development was under discussion and various sites in Scotland were considered. Alex Taylor (Eweford) submitted a plan for a large-scale development at Skateraw; the idea had a considerable amount of support in Dunbar but it came to naught and the development went to Rosyth.

A number of small businesses operate in the parish, including a kennels, and a farm engineering firm – Watts – at Thurston smiddy. During the late 1990s, there was a small amount of sand and gravel extraction from Skateraw, which was used for the improvements of the A1 in the area. Since the 1990s, Watson’s Seeds have had their head office at Skateraw farm.

One exception during the 1960s was the Thornton Mill Knitwear Company Ltd. The company was incorporated on 5 October 1962, and the directors were Mrs V.C.V. Cowley and Mrs I. Stevenson (nee Wilkie). The enterprise opened on 8 October 1962 and closed on 18 April 1969.

There was (normally) a labour force of ten to twelve at most with six flat hand machines, two linking machines, and two hand finishers. Retail outlets were found in Wilkies of Shandwick Place who were particularly supportive, other Edinburgh stores and Daniel Smith (Dunbar). The Scottish Rural Industries Organisation was particularly helpful and a leaflet was circulated in farmers’ publications particularly in the Highlands. The total workforce over the period was 29 and most of them lived within walking distance of the mill.

Mrs Cowley was aware that changing patterns of employment were reducing the opportunities of work for women near their homes and was anxious to do something to improve the situation.

Thornton Mill employees were: Emily McMillan; Mrs Knox; Anne Lough; Anne George; Roberta Young; Marie Knox; Eileen Porteous; Elizabeth Angus; Mrs McKinnon; W. Tait; Eileen Tindle; Mrs Ella Watt; Mrs Bexy Smith; Nancy Chapman; Gillian Hay; Mrs Nan Smith; Janette Hogg; B. Souness; Olive Brodie; Christine George; Mrs Hay; C. Lugton; Helen Pearson; Christine Thomson and Margaret Bolton.

Innerwick Exhibition

Agriculture & Horticulture

Two new developments have occurred as we write; 2Flower, a container gardening service (making hanging baskets and the like) has been established at Aikengall by Vanessa Hamilton, and Border Belles (a hardy herbaceous nursery) has been established to the east of the village at Branxton, by Gillian Moynihan and Kirstie Wenham.

Innerwick Parish remains almost completely agricultural with the exception of the acreages occupied by Torness nuclear power station and Thurston Manor Holiday Home Park.

The overall agricultural acreage has not changed a great deal. In the south of the parish, Monynut farm was completely given over to forestry- in the early 1970s. Some farms are now larger having been taken over by neighbouring enterprises – eg Innerwick Farm and Temple Mains Farm are now run as one. A pedigree Simmental herd was established at Innerwick in the 1970s; Woodhall was split in the 1970s – Weatherly being sold off and run as a separate hill unit farming cattle and sheep. The upper part was also sold and is run as a sheep and cattle unit with a pedigree Simmental herd. The arable part was retained and now incorporates part of Thurston Home Farm. The remainder of the Home farm is a holiday home caravan park. The steadings at Thurston Home Farm and Templemains Farm are expected to be developed for housing in the near future.

Since 1945 most of the farms in the parish have changed ownership and only one is tenanted (see Land Ownership). The main change is the disappearance of the 26 individual smallholdings at Thorntonloch.

The type of farming has, due to the geography of the parish, remained largely unchanged over the years. The higher farms towards the Lammermuirs being limited to mainly sheep and cattle production and the lower units now having very little or no livestock and concentrating on arable crops – mainly wheat, barley and potatoes.

There is now one organic farm in the parish. When Aikengall changed hands in 1998, the new owner began the transition and it is now a fully organic enterprise producing lamb, beef and potatoes. Specialist growers rent, on a year-to-year basis, a number of fields from various farms in the parish to grow turnips, sprouts and potatoes for the supermarkets.

The number of people employed on farms is now- very small in comparison to 1945. The development of sophisticated machinery, which can do the work of several men, has led to most farms employing only a few full-time workers and sometimes using agricultural contractors for specialised work. The result is that most farm cottages have been sold off or rented to people with no agricultural connection. Many find work outside the parish.

Innerwick has always been and in the foreseeable future will remain, an agricultural parish.

Thorntonloch Holdings

In 1945, 26 smallholdings were listed at Thorntonloch; the wooden houses that had featured in the post-war era were gradually replaced with permanent homes. By the 1950s, the county council had acquired the buildings round the farmhouse, some of which were re-used by the caravan park (these had been unused by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, after the new buildings for the smallholdings were completed c1920s). The semi-derelict houses in the glen were developed by R Gibson, from c1975. In the 1980s, four holdings houses and their land were taken for the development of Torness, and about 50 acres were leased to Skateraw.

By 2000, four holdings remain as such, and the land of the remaining holdings is divided between them; all are now privately owned. Hamish Thorburn is farming his mother’s holding at No 9; Adam Thorburn (Hamish Thorburn’s father’s cousin) is at No 133; John MacFarlane is at No 6; and Alex Ainslie is at No 3. The Thorburns are the only original family – Hamish’s grandfather was at No 12 after the Great War.

1920 on

Thorntonloch and Thornton farms were bought by the government and split into 26 units ranging from 5 to 50 acres. This was one of the first land resettlement schemes for ex – servicemen returning from the 1914-18 war. It seems the tenants at the beginning were a very mixed bunch – farm workers, painters, even an ex-gold prospector from the Yukon.

The first tenants moved in in 1920. The usual farm crops were grown and they also kept cows, pigs and hens. Over the years, five milk retail rounds were run selling milk in Dunbar and surrounding districts. There were also two very well run poultry holdings.

Vegetables were mostly sent to the market in Edinburgh by train from Innerwick station.

During threshing, the holders had to get together a team to follow the threshing mill round the holdings. Up until the start of the second world war, times were very hard and many left the holdings to take full-time jobs.

Innerwick Exhibition

Over the period, in Innerwick as in parishes across East Lothian, farming changed completely. The principal change has been the reduction in the use of manpower and the increased use of machinery, some of it now very expensive and sophisticated and in some cases hired on contract.

Aikengall lies in the south of the parish on the edge of the Lammermuirs. Its 1900 acres is mainly grazing land and heather hill with some arable for growing feed crops. It is a sheep and cattle farm with mainly blackface ewes. Since 1973 there has also been a pig unit on the farm. The SSSI of the East Lammermuir Deans, comprising four glens on the farm, is a nature reserve with many rare plants and outstanding rock formations.

In the 1920s, TP Hope owned the farm and just before the second world war David Bowe, who also owned Skateraw at that time, acquired it. During the war the farmhouse was used by Dr Selby-Wright as a home for underprivileged boys from Edinburgh. In 1947 Kenneth Macdonald bought the farm and the Macdonald family remained there until 1998 when it was sold to John Hamilton.

Aikengall is now an organic farm – John Hamilton being one of Scotland’s leading organic farmers.

Innerwick Exhibition

George Foggo’s farm was a small farm which was situated at the back of Innerwick Farm cottages. Once a year, after harvest and before the ‘time changed’, Hives’ Fun Fair used to come to a small grass parkland area on the farm. A steam engine drove a generator so that music was available from the barrel organ which played the hits of the time.

There were three or four small marquees, a fortune teller and a rifle booth – small furry toys were the prizes. There was hoop -la and Punch and Judy. He also sold weather was bad, the show went on in the old laundry.

Innerwick Exhibition

This farm timetable from Innerwick Farm is a fascinating glimpse of an age now gone – but still in use during the early part of the period 1945-2000 – and recalled by Pearl Young’s father.

Innerwick farm – the men, their Clydesdale horses, and the daily routine

Dick & Prince (Andrew Cowe, foreman); Brisk & Bird (Adam Black); Clyde & Punch (Will Cowe); Bob & Betty (Bob Denholm); Star & Wattie (Ian Denholm, Odd Laddie).

5am Go to stables – feed the horses and clean them out.

Home for breakfast of tea, bread and margarine.

Collected pieces (cheese, bacon or eggs) and flask (flask was a tin wrapped in brown paper and then a sock to keep the tea warm).

5.40am Back to stables – groom the horses and put on their harness.
5.55am Foreman shouted ‘bridle’ and all bridles were put on the horses.

Foreman led the first pair out to the horse trough. After drinking, the horses went out in strict rotation at 6am.

The Odd Laddie always helped the shepherd (H Elliott) and the cattleman (A McCraw) to cart feedstuff over to Braidwood or whatever task needed doing.

8am Breakfast for 15 minutes.
10am ‘Mennits’ – this was literally ‘just a meenit’ – time to go behind a dyke or have a smoke.
11.45am-12.00pm Dinner

Horses were taken back to stables – unharnessed and then curry combed. Into the house for dinner. This would consist of kail, boiled beef, turnip, potatoes and then a dumpling. The kail pot hung on a ‘swee’ over the fire and was really on the go all the time. Of the above meal, the soup, turnip, boiled beef and the dumpling would all cook away in the same pot.

12.30pm Back to the stables for the same procedure as in the morning
5pm Finishing time and the horses came back to the farm in strict rotation. They were unharnessed, fed and watered so it was 6pm before you finished.

Different times of the year meant different types of feed for the horses. In spring and at harvest time, they had hay and in summer they were out to grass. Winter meant oat straw. The straw was in bunches and kept on boards along the rafters. Each man had to keep his own stable lamp clean and filled with paraffin. About twice a week you had to go back to the stable to clean the harness. Some went every night – they liked their brasses gleaming!! Ribbons were attached to the ‘haimes’ and paper rosettes and brass ‘birlers’ were put on the collars. ‘Lug keps’ were used in summer to keep the flies off and they were often tasselled.

Pete Jaffray (groom/gardener) broke in the young horses and looked after them feeding and exercising them. Initially he lunged them with one rope, then they walked with reins until they knew to stop and start. They would trail a heavy load such as a sleeper behind them until they got strength in their shoulders.

There was usually a breeding mare kept on the farm and others would be bought from horse sales or dealers’.

Innerwick Exhibition

In February 1999, James Yates moved to Thurston Mains; here Dan Yates summarises why his son bought the farm:

After selling an East Anglian farm, a search was made, elsewhere, for another. One or two in Australia were considered and rejected. Then the search was re-started in the UK, ranging from the Midlands, Devon, the north of England and, finally, Scotland. It was there and particularly in East Lothian that the appeal of its countryside became overwhelming.

After seeing round all the farms on the market, it became quite clear that Thurston Mains at Innerwick was quite the most outstanding.

A lovely home, in the midst of large easy-working fields, sheltered by attractive mature trees, and an excellent range of cattle yards, had tremendous appeal; and this was particularly so, because of the beautiful glen and burn that intersected the property.

The scope for development of this most attractive part of the Lothians proved an irresistible and wonderful challenge to everyone.

James Yates, 1952-2001

Shooting is an important part of country life, especially after the Great War.

The shoots provided social occasions and a source of additional income for estate staff and local laddies.

Beating at the shoots was hard but meant another bit of money going towards food and clothing. Shoots started at 8am and finished about 5pm; grouse shoots would go on over four to five weeks.

The lads wore their ‘old’ clothes which meant short trousers, of course, and by the end of the day knees would be rubbed raw by the heather if it was a grouse shoot and by the tattie or turnip shaws if partridge or pheasant shooting.

Innerwick Exhibition

Formal shoots did not continue in the parish after the 1939-45 war though rough shooting by farmers, continued.

Pre 1939-45, the first shoot of the season was grouse at Aikengall on 12 August. T Hope was the farmer and Adam Lothian the gamekeeper but Broxmouth Estate had the shooting rights.

Beaters were paid 4/6d a day and got a pie and a big bottle of lemonade with a clip top that could be re-sealed. This was a treat as they normally drank water or milk. Gamekeepers and adult beaters had beer with their pie. John Heggie, groom/gardener on Broxmouth estate brought the food to Aikengall by pony and trap.

The shooting party indulged in more luxury items such as whisky which meant that by early afternoon shooting was erratic and pellets were raining down on the beaters’ heads! Looking back, Ian Denholm reckons he was in as great danger on ‘shoot’ days as he was in action during the war!

Because of the terrain at Aikengall, after lunch, the pony was unhitched from the trap and Theo Salveson (who rented Broxmouth House) was transported on horseback from butt to butt. It was a big shoot as there were a lot of birds which had been hand reared.

Thurston Estate was next with partridge and pheasant shoots in September / October when fields were cleared after harvesting. There were five or six shoots here but because of the different terrain, not such hard work. Archie Campbell was head gamekeeper and Dave Lauder, under-keeper. Beaters carried their own ‘jeely piece’ and shared a bottle of lemonade. They were paid 5/- per day. There was always an abundance of game especially round the policies at Thurston. The birds had to be poked with a stick to make them rise in the air. At the end of the shoot everything was laid out and counted.

Innerwick had fewer shoots – more informal as they were held for local farmer friends. Partridge, pheasant, snipe, woodcock – everything that flew! There were also two or three hare shoots during the winter – they ate the turnips! Joe Barnet, rabbit catcher, at Innerwick organised the shoots. Usually they started with the bottom fields and worked their way to Braidwood where they had something to eat then carried on over the top fields in the afternoon. Food was brought in wicker hampers from the farmhouse by the ‘odd laddie’ in a horse and cart. This was the best food on the round! Huge dishes of shepherd’s pie and bread with water from the well to drink.

Beaters and keepers sat in the byre but shooters went into a spare cottage usually used as a washhouse. There was a good fire going in there and a table was set up for them. Plenty of whisky! Beaters were paid 5/- and had a good meal. The shoots meant a hard but enjoyable day and were a means of providing boots and clothing for the winter months.

Innerwick Exhibition