Innerwick | Homes

Utilities | Shops & services

Apart from the main village and the smallholdings at Thornton, settlement was almost entirely round farm steadings.

Like most of the county’s villages, Innerwick had a small amount of council housing.

Most of Manse View was built before the war, in 1931/32, and with a second phase in 1938/39 (14 in total by 1945). A further five houses were built here by the East Lothian Housing Association in 1994. The first phase at Kirk Brae was built in 1948, a second in 1950 and a third phase in 1952/53; a further four houses were built in 1966. Barnsness Terrace was built in 1968.

There was no incursion by national builders. New dwellings were built in the landward area by R. Gibson at Thornton Glen, Stuart Ritchie at Ogle Lodge and John Thompson at Blackcastle. The most recent building in the village was the ‘Granddad Flat’ for Ian Denholm at Burnside, and Duncan’s Park built by Ken and Ella Macdonald who having retired from Aikengall were the welcome newcomers in the year 2000.

With the changes in land ownership, many of the farm cottages and former estate houses are now owner-occupied. Some cottages are still owned by farmers and let. There are some large houses like Crowhill and Mansewood and, in the Mansewood grounds, a new house has been built.

For many years on the south side of the main village street was a row of cottages known as The Terrace. These houses were renovated in 1903, but were listed as ‘condemned’ by 1945. They were eventually taken down in 1970. A later planning application was turned down.

The following were recorded as residents, c1930

No 1 Dick Houston Lamplighter/painter
No 2 Liz Dudgeon
No 3 Kerr Laundry – Thornton Mill
No 4 Johnston Mamie Thorburn arrived aged 6, from Oldhamstocks Mains
No 5 Hendry Ganger on railway
No 6 Guthrie Thurston Estate
No 7 Mrs Hendry & Mrs Shepherd Took in lodgers. Postman stayed here

The cottages had a kitchen and a pantry except No 2, which was bigger with a bedroom. There were flagstones on the floor and an open fire with a swee. All the cooking was done on the fire. There were no toilets – a pail was used in the pantry. There were various wells in the village and cottagers from The Terrace used one situated across the road at Torry’s shop. The gardens were on a steep slope behind the cottages – you had to dig up the hill!

Innerwick Exhibition

Stephen Bunyan comments on how families lived:

In general there has been improvement in standards of living in the period. Families were in general large and space was at a premium. Young people generally lived at home until they married but some young men were in digs near employment, in bothies part of the time, or away doing National Service. At the beginning of the period children left school at 14 (15 from 1948), and so parents had some years when they were wage earners contributing to the family budget and not the liability they were to become later.

At the beginning of the period, the residents were dependent on paraffin lamps and coal or wood fires. Cooking was done on the fire, possibly on an iron range with an oven attached, (later models had tile doors which made them more acceptable in living rooms), or on an oil stove/cooker; in some cases, Calor or rural gas was used. Electricity arrived in the village c1950; as a result there was a breakthrough in cooking arrangements and ranges gave way, in the main, to slab tile grates, thus changing the emphasis of the living rooms.

On hygiene

In the circumstances of the time at the end of the war personal hygiene was difficult. Supplies of hot water were limited and bathing would probably be on a weekly basis.

And on meals and food

Mealtimes for many would be dictated by the routine of the farms. There would be a substantial breakfast probably including porridge. For some there would be dinner at midday but more likely a piece (known in the singular but usually in the plural usually containing jam, cheese, dripping or corned beef), and a flask of tea. The main meal would be at 5.30 or 6pm.

Food was simple home cooking, soups, stews and fish. Spices were largely unheard of. The diet included home-grown vegetables and fruit, and brambles gathered from the hedgerows. Fruit was bottled and made into jam. Hens and often pigs were kept by most people so eggs, boiling or roasting fowls, bacon and eggs were available as were occasional rabbits and game birds, though not always legally.

The range of food improved in the 1950s with more fruit and a wider ranger of tinned goods. While a lot of home-grown vegetables were eaten during the 1970s, convenience foods began to make an appearance with the introduction of the deep freeze. In the 1990s, the use of convenience food increased and eating out was increasingly popular.


Immediately post-war, Innerwick had no mains water, no mains electricity and no gas (C.P. Snodgrass 1953 p425). By c1950, electricity had arrived in the village. Before this, the village had twelve oil street lamps.

Dick Houston, who lived at No 1 The Terrace, was the lamplighter (and painter)

Street lighting was paraffin lamps, mostly attached to brackets on house walls. The remains are still visible at the end of Torry’s house and the grieve’s house at Templemains. There were twelve lamps altogether and they were lit with matches.

If it was wet or windy, Dick had a cover which went over both himself and the lamp. He carried a small ladder so that he could reach the lamps. He had, of course to return in the morning to put them out unless it had been very windy during the night.

Once or twice a week he would go round and fill the lamps with paraffin and give them a clean. It was the early 1950s when electricity eventually arrived in Innerwick so these lamps were important.

Innerwick Exhibition

From the late 1950s, mains water was provided from the Whiteadder, and from Whiteadder reservoir from 1969 via Castle Moffat.

There is a sewage treatment plant close to the school that serves the village; more out-of-the-way settlements have septic tanks. There is no public gas supply.

Innerwick can receive TV, but Grampian not STV.

Reception for mobile phones is not good but they are used.

Shops & Services

The village was well served in the 1900s, with two grocer’s shops – Torry’s and Goodall’s. Charlie Hunter at Floral Cottage had a sweet shop (pre 1945). Patterson’s was a bakery and shop. Peter Laing was a tailor in what is now Knock Cottage. There was a smiddy, a post office, a painter/ lamplighter (until c1950) and a policeman (pre 1945).

Pre 1945, George Foggo, from Foggo’s Farm, did contract work for the roads using a horse and cart; when necessary he was helped out by Young’s of Dunbar.

Various supplies came by van; coal, bakery, butcher meat, fish and the Co-op van with various products and the advantage of the dividend. In the early period, newspapers were collected from the station but were later delivered to the village and outlying areas.

Mary Elliot, the shepherd’s wife [at Braidwood], went to Dunbar on a Saturday afternoon. The Co-op van left her bread at Mrs Jaffray’s – enough for a week, at least twelve loaves. Back from Dunbar, she would hoist the flour sack with the loaves on to her back and walk to Braidwood.

Davie Lees with a big grey horse and a cart did a grocery round for the Co-op.

Bob Cowe did a fruit and vegetable round for the Co-op using a Ford lorry with a tarpaulin cover.

Both Robertson’s and Graham’s, ironmongers from Dunbar, did a good trade in paraffin, candles, lamps, wicks etc. using a horse and cart.

Tommy Denholm, butcher, from Cockburnspath had sausages to drool over. They weren’t linked. You bought the weight you wanted then they could be made into small, medium or big sausages. Meat bought was usually boiling beef. Tommy had a Model T Ford van. It had a wooden steering wheel and wooden spokes in the wheels. Side-screens were celluloid and could be fitted in or left open. The bodywork was tin zinc and it had, of course, a starting handle. There were no indicators or wipers.

Willie Smith, Thorntonloch, had a horse and cart and sold fruit and vegetables.

Milk was available from the farms and later the Thorntonloch Holdings.

‘Skipper’ Dickson, Cove, came in a van to sell fish.

H Pacey from West Barns came quite often with a large suitcase strapped to the carrier of his bike. He sold mostly women’s clothing, stockings etc.

Farm carts collected coal from the station. Later, D Smith, stationmaster, put a brown Ford lorry on the road.

Innerwick Exhibition (undated – probably all pre 1945)

By 1945, the number of shops was considerably reduced. Torry’s the grocer’s was still going strong, closing c1990, as was Patterson’s bakery; the latter continued until c1968. Floral Cottage (a shop in earlier times) was uninhabitable.

In 1945, Isabella Tear was named as the postmistress, with the post office located at Temple Mains, where it remained until 1955/56. Thereafter the post office seems to be in Main Street. By 1964, the postmistress was Mrs Grace Sharkey; from 1967-87 James Higgins took over, operating from Kirk Brae. He was succeeded by Mrs Ainslie and then Mrs Lawson, again both based at Kirk Brae. In 1999, the post office was opened at the rear of the village hall, and the postmistress was Pearl Young.

Members of the Foggo family still lived in the village; in 1937, Thomas Foggo set up his coal business, using Innerwick railway station until it closed in 1963. His son George joined the business in 1946-85, and his son, Tommy then took over. Foggo’s coal business moved to Dunbar station yard in 1962 (’50 years’ advert held at LHC). Deliveries continue to be made to Innerwick.

Post war, the vans still came: Will Purves, Purves of Allanton, had a draper’s van. He spent a whole week in the village. He always wore a waistcoat with watch and chain and kept a tape measure round his neck. You could get what you needed and pay for it six months later when he came back for another order.

Sparks of Haddington would do a round with a van, take measurements for suits, then return to deliver.

Innerwick Exhibition


After 1945, Tom Foggo, at May Cottage, had a large wooden shed in his garden which was a cycle repair shop. He was the agent for Raleigh bikes, which he also hired out. He also ran a taxi service. The car was a blue Renault.

Innerwick Exhibition

By 2000, there was just the one shop – being part of the post office – located to the rear of the village hall; open every morning, this enabled the older members of the community to collect their pensions, and stocked a few essentials such as milk supplied by Wiseman, bread supplied by Smith of Dunbar and Trotter of Seahouses.

Mobile shops continue to serve the village: we have a fish van, P Stitt, from Berwick who has been delivering for over 30 years; J.A. Horsburgh, butcher, from Ayton comes twice a week. A.I. & F. Robertson, newsagents from Dunbar, have delivered newspapers since 1989.

There are weekly deliveries of coal from T. Foggo & Son, Dunbar and Pearson’s of Duns.

Wiseman Dairies stopped doorstep milk deliveries this year [2003] but supply the post office.

For four years Isobel Hill marketed good Scottish products under ‘Isla Fine Foods of Innerwick’ label. She is also the agent for Border Biscuits, but departed in 2002 as she has a unit in Spott Road, Dunbar.

For many years there was a library in Innerwick House. This stopped when the house was sold with the rest of the estate, then for a time there was a small library to the rear of the hall. There is a mobile library, which comes fortnightly.

Pearl Young reflects on what people bought

At the end of the war there was still rationing so coupons were still necessary. Fully-fashioned stockings were highly desirable as were nylons recently introduced from the USA. Utility skirts were short with one pleat allowed. Lots of clothes were home made using re-cycled materials; a lot were knitted, this was not only driven by shortage of coupons but also of money. There was a fashion for wedge heel shoes and some had wooden soles. No coupons were available for purses and they were often given as wedding presents.

The wartime motto ‘Make Do and Mend’ continued long after the war. The mood of optimism brought about by the new reign was seen in the ‘New Look’ with fuller and more glamorous garments and a wider choice. After 1960, fewer garments were homemade because clothes were more available and working women had more money and less time. Knitting and sewing continued to be popular but American influences became more important especially to the young. As the years passed, people all became more fashion and trend conscious and more readymade clothes were bought and more money spent. With increased mobility and access to superstores, the drapers’ vans stopped coming.

And on hairstyles

Hairstyles were influenced by Hollywood. This was the age of beautiful and glamorous film stars (sexy too but it was not mentioned). The girls fancied the liberty cuts worn by Ingrid Bergman in ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. Men had short back and sides and boys often the same or the ‘pudding basin’ – often done at home. [Later], hairstyles reflected national trends but many men never abandoned the short back and sides of their youth.

And on furnishings

Floors were normally covered with linoleum and rag rugs, which would be homemade or locally made by an expert a friend or relative. Furniture was in short supply and, immediately after the war, was restricted. Some new, utility standard furnishings were available to newly weds, otherwise the norm was second-hand acquired by various means including auction sales which were popular. In the 1950s, furniture was more plentiful and non-fitted carpets became common. By the end of the period there was lavish expenditure on furniture, fitted carpets, and DIY and flatpacks.

The smiddy was a very busy, important and, for young people, exciting part of the village. By 1968 it had ceased to be a working venture and was offered for sale; it was demolished in 1969. Remains of the smiddy can still be seen at the end of Barnsness Terrace.

Willie Watt, the blacksmith, wore a black shirt, moleskin trousers and a long leather split apron. In the smiddy, horseshoes of different sizes hung on the walls. One end was used for shoeing with rings on the wall to tie up the horses. The large manure heap was shovelled into the garden every night.

A metal container about 4ft high and wide stood next to the forge. This was filled with water, which was always hot and was used to moisten the bellows. The water also came in useful as there was no water in the houses at that time. The bellows – about 4ft long – were used to fire up the forge to the appropriate heat. They were made of leather and had a long wooden handle. These bellows had a cow’s horn on the end. This was exciting to watch and very often boys were allowed to work the bellows

There were two presses, one large, one small to hold plates, nails etc. The anvil, situated on a wooden bench, was used to shape the horseshoes. A long wooden bench held vices and tools. A large drilling machine with a hand – operated wheel was used to bore holes.

Outside the smiddy was a round steel plate with a hole in the centre, which was used for ‘ringing’ the cartwheels. The steel wheel ring (rim) was heated in the forge until it was white hot then carried out with long tongs – one person each side – and fitted round the wooden cart wheel. Once properly fitted, watering cans filled with water were poured over the wheel to cool and contract it.

The blacksmith was a busy man as there were lots of horses to be shod and farm machinery, ploughs etc. to be repaired. Next to the forge was a stable shed. Willie had a white pony called Donald and a trap. The trap had curved seats, seating either side and a door at the back. He used the pony and trap to go out to the farms to do jobs. Most of the farms had their own smiddy. He went regularly to the one at Thurston Mains.

Once a fortnight, John Jaffray went down to the smiddy to cut Willie’s hair. He had a ‘crew cut’ because of the heat. When asked how he wished it cut he always replied ‘Bare as ye like, back and front’.

The hot water in the container came in handy for washing and Willie used a ‘tattie’ bag cut in half for drying.

The smiddy was also used at pig killings. Pigsties were near the cottages for anyone who wanted to keep a pig. Pigs might be average 12-15 stones when they were killed. Any garden that was clear of crops was used; the blood was a valuable nutrient for the soil! The grieve usually slit the pig’s throat. He had a special knife and was very quick so that it was done as humanely as possible. The pig then ran around the garden until it died. It was put onto a stretcher and carried to the smiddy.

The two back legs were cut and a cleek put through. It was then put on an endless pulley until its head was clear of the floor. The hot water in the container was useful again as the pig was scraped with knives until all the bristles were removed. The pig was then opened up and organs and entrails removed. ‘Puddins’ were much sought after to make ‘mealy puddins’ – a mixture of onion and oatmeal packed into the skins. All edible parts were used even the trotters.

The pig was then thoroughly washed and left to hang for three or four days. It was then cut down the centre into two ‘sides’ of bacon and cut again into whatever size hams were required. The hams were then salted, wrapped in muslin and hung from cleeks in the ceiling. Hams were a very important part of a family’s diet as they could be kept for a long time. They could last all year until the next pig was killed.

Innerwick smiddy was very well used. It even housed ‘the bar’ for the flower show sometimes and Willie would hold up his stick to anyone he thought had ‘had enough’ and eject them!

Innerwick Exhibition (undated)

Though not the same family, by 2000, there were three generations of Watts were still involved with the smiddy at Thurston – Tom Watt, whose father Andrew was the blacksmith at East Barns came to other premises at Thurston (a wooden hut) and then to the present location, in the coachhouse complex at Thurston. His son Andrew offers a range of services as A. Watt & Sons.

The Lifeboat Station: from 1907, the No 2 Dunbar lifeboat Sarah Kay was based at Skateraw. The last launch appears to be in 1943; the boathouse was demolished sometime late in 1960. Evidence of the old slipway remains.

The present Dunbar lifeboat the Sir Ronald Pechell Bt., formally handed over on 7 September 1996, is normally berthed at Torness. The earlier lifeboats had problems with Dunbar harbour and could not provide a 24 hour, all year round service from there. The Sir Ronald Pechell Bt. is capable of 26 knots, and the construction of Torness and its associated harbour made a 24-hour mooring possible. It was decided that the speed of the boat counteracted any delay in launching the boat if it was based outwith Dunbar.