Innerwick | Leisure

Innerwick is a relatively small rural parish with a nucleus of a settled population. There is a strong sense of community and village tradition. The oldest event in the village is probably the village flower show, which was established in 1873 and is still an important local event.

Innerwick Parish Welfare Association was set up to provide trustees for the hall and the park. The hall was built in 1909 but it was to secure the position when Thurston estate was to be sold that action was necessary. The committee consists of chairman, secretary and treasurer, of representatives of the village organisations and of the community councillor, the schoolteacher and the minister ex officio. It is a good strong committee. It limits its fund raising activities because it appreciates the needs of the other organisations to raise funds but it had a Millennium Hogmanay Dance and has continued this tradition. It has one other function – the Christmas Bazaar.

Before traffic became a major part of life, children played where they could.

Games were played in the Main Street area. Peevers and skipping for the girls and the boys indulged in a game called ‘all over’ with teams spread along each side of the road. Someone shouted ‘all over’ and then all hell broke loose!

There were a fair number of ponies and horses in the village, which provided amusement. Mrs Goodall’s horse, Billy, had to be looked after.

At Braidwood the gardens were always lovely and there was a pond, which was used for skating in the winter. The scouts also camped at Braidwood.

Innerwick Exhibition

And for adults too, fun could be spontaneous

Ralph Willens often went along to the Main Street area with his melodian and an impromptu dance was held on the road. This informality had come to an end by 1945.

Innerwick Exhibition

The main venue is the village hall

Private functions like weddings and anniversaries have always meant dancing in the hall and various organisations have held events. [Included in the rich village archive] there are photographs of bowling club dances, held usually after their presentations. There were concerts and dances in the village hall, and while all-ages dances continued in the 1980s, there were also discos for the young. The flower show dance is the only fixed yearly dance that is held nowadays. Was it Death by Disco? A Millennium dance was held on Hogmanay 2000.

Pearl Young

Earlier, there was a wide range of organisations; nowadays, there are fewer. There was a local branch of the Royal British Legion formed in 1926; the original office bearers were Mr George Durie, Mr Thomas D. Henderson (tailor and session clerk) and the Rev T.G. Sutherland. It united with that in Dunbar before the second war. There was also a branch of the Woman’s Guild (see Belief) and the SWRI; it began in 1924, closed during the war, restarted in 1946 and played an active role in the post-war period. Like so many other branches, Innerwick SWRI closed in April 1985. The rural and guild choir gave occasional concerts.

The Innerwick Flower Show, organised by the Horticultural Association remains a highlight of the year and requires endless preparation.

There was also the bowling club; the youth club which for a time was run in conjunction with Spott; and the Bible class. The quilters, inspired by Mrs Rowena Reamonn, were set up in 1989 at Thurston manse, and still have eight members. The Rainbow Club – which in Innerwick are senior citizens not junior guides – was formed in 1986.

Innerwick has a long history of dedicated people who were, and still are, willing to give time, commitment and talent in running the youth groups in the village.

Long gone are the days when the minister and the headmaster not only worked at their jobs bur literally ‘lived’ them. Many teachers and ministers in the parish have given ‘out of hours’ commitment to youngsters – like the youth club held in the basement of the manse, boxing lessons in the hall, scouts, guides, dancing lessons, cooking lessons, drama groups, groups going to the ends of the parish to sing carols.

Innerwick Exhibition

The various organised youth groups in the village have come and gone during the 55 years of this account. They include:

  • Guides – started 1932 (Mary Christison); resurrected 1959 (Mabel Ness); resurrected again 1979 (Norma Watt, Nancy Crossley and Jessie Wilson); resurrected again 1984 (Fiona Oliver), and finally ended c1990.
  • Brownies – established 1959 by Margaret Nicholson; resurrected 1984 (Sue Sandeman and Morag Ellis), and continuing.
  • Cubs – established 1988 (Janet Ainslie), and continuing.
  • Beavers – established 1988 (Janet Ainslie), and continuing.

So in 2000, there were beavers, brownies, cubs and a youth club.

Some evening classes were organised by the minister or the schoolmaster. People played dominoes, draughts and cards either at home or socially in the village hall. At the beginning of the period, toys were not plentiful and were often home made. Greetings cards were less plentiful then. There would be a few birthday and Christmas cards and most homes would have a calendar, often in a village like Innerwick, from firms such as Bibby’s cattle food. After 1960 there was more money and children got more liberal presents at Christmas and birthdays.

There was a Sunday school party. Sometimes the Welfare Association and the WRI held parties.

The only holiday for most people was New Year’s Day but as the years passed holidays are taken in the same way as in other rural localities.

Home entertainment was provided by the wireless (radio), in the early years powered by accumulator batteries. Popular programmes were the news, Big Bands, ITMA, the McFlannels (a happy saga of Glasgow life) and Scottish dance music. Some entertainment was provided by local music-makers. Westwick is a group made up from Westbarns and Innerwick – the Innerwick input is Alastair Laing and David Patrick.

There were also wind-up gramophones in many homes and a few 78 records of a very limited repertoire of Scottish dance music and entertainers like, Harry Lauder and Will Fyffe. The better off would have classical music on bigger records designed for radiograms.

In the 1950s, most homes had electric-powered radios or radiograms and some had TV, which was given an impetus by the Coronation in 1953. There were fewer radios and more TV sets in the 1970s. Princess Margaret’s wedding and the Silver Jubilee were a stimulus to colour TV.

The picture houses in Dunbar were popular probably as the climax of a Saturday expedition. After 1970 more people went outwith the village for entertainment and the Blue Circle Social Club at the Deer Park, Dunbar was very popular. When the labour force at Blue Circle declined, the social club was closed but was replaced as venue for Innerwick folk by Thurston Manor. More people went further afield for entertainment.

Pearl Young & Stephen Bunyan

Kirns were important but came to an end with the second world war. They were held in October after the harvest was in. C Gregor – Innerwick Farm – and his son, Clunie Gregor – Thurston Mains Farm – held a combined kirn in the village hall. Hepburn and Pearson played Scottish set dances such as quadrilles, eightsome reels etc. Miss Gregor and John Jaffray, the grieve, always started things off with a Circassian circle waltz.

There was a barrel of beer and tea and sandwiches. Although Innerwick’s was always a good kirn, the ones held in barns were better. There would be bags of wheat or barley to sit on and stable lamps for lighting. The Brunt always had two nights. On Friday night Hepburn and Pete Stenhouse played and on Saturday night Pete Stenhouse (fiddle) played by himself.

‘Big Jim’ Thorburn always wanted a ‘shot at the fiddle’. Halfway through his turn, Pete Stenhouse would roar ‘You’re ower heavy on the bow’. The kirn would finish about 5am with everyone being urged to come back on the Saturday night to ‘finish off’. Everyone walked or cycled to the kirns and this added to the time factor. If you were ‘walking a partner home’ you could be trailing the roads for what was left of the night. Arriving home about 6am and leaving for or starting work at 7am wasn’t unusual. You always went to work! Then back again for a repeat on the Saturday night.

Middle Pinkerton was another good kirn. It would cost approx 5/- per couple, but if you didn’t have a partner, it still cost 5/-!

The kirns were good fun.

In the 1900s, dances were held in Innerwick Hall nearly every week. In the early days it would cost 9d and bands for these would be: J Hepburn (Innerwick) – fiddle; C Pearson (Birnieknowes) – accordian; D Glass (Crowhill) – drums. They would play Scottish dances but also fox-trots, modern waltzes etc. The tunes they played, as well as Scottish ones would be ‘Red Sails in the Sunset’, ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Tiptoe through the Tulips’. There was no bar in the hall, but refreshments were on offer.

Joe Togneri would appear with a motor bike and box side-car and you could have a drink or a ‘slider’. Peter Greco came sometimes and there was great rivalry for the best ‘stance’.

Dod Wood had a lovely ‘party piece’. In the intervals he would cartwheel up and down the hall.

Once a month there would be a ‘Carnival Dance’ and these would cost 1/- but we are talking big band names – Bunny Martin, Sammy Strang’s Band, Johnston Bros., Wattie Frater and his Hawaiian Serenaders.

During and after the war the dance music became much more Americanised with music from Glen Miller – the Big Band sounds and tunes that were popular during the war. Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ etc.

One memorable occasion in Innerwick, just after the war, was when Jimmy Shand’s band was booked to appear and there was a very heavy snowfall. Many people from outside, after paying big money for tickets, couldn’t get into the village and others who had managed to get in could not get out again and had to stay all night. The band managed to get to the hall and then back to the Royal (Mackintosh) Hotel in Dunbar where they had to stay for almost a week because their gear was still in Innerwick! That was the story anyway!

In the 1950s the People’s Journal newspaper subsidised a series of dances in some of the villages. They would have a People’s Journal Belle of the Ball. The photographs show how popular they were – the hall is packed.

Innerwick Exhibition