Inveresk | Homes
The heart of Inveresk Village remained largely unchanged over the period, with the notable exception of Inveresk Gate and grounds; by the mid 1990s planning permission had been given for 34 dwellings here (see also Townscapes, Buildings & Landscapes of Distinction and Revisiting the Past). There was a degree of development in the vicinity of Inveresk Village Road, Crookston Road, Wedderburn Terrace, Carberry Road, Delta Place, Smeaton Grove, Carberry Grove and Carberry Close.
In contrast, both Wallyford and Whitecraig were transformed. During the 1930s much of the nearby mining village of Smeaton was demolished, its residents transferred to new council homes in Wallyford and Whitecraig (Kirkland, 1985 p133); folk from Cowpits and Deantown (many of whom worked at Carberry) were relocated to Whitecraig. In both Wallyford and Whitecraig the miners’ rows were being replaced with modern homes. The 1945 Valuation Roll reveals both the extent of the villages and the occupants; this re-housing resulted in both settlements having many new council homes set beside houses owned by the colliery.
This recollection of how people were treated is a sharp reminder of how unfeeling ‘the authorities’ could be:
The families of Smeaton village began being rehoused in 1938, mainly to Wallyford and Whitecraig, although a few families went to Dalkeith. The families were collected in an old fashioned taxi (complete with speaking tube) and taken to a centre in Whitehill for delousing. Since the purpose of this centre was to remove any bugs from the individual’s person it became know as the buggery. On arrival at the buggery, males and females were segregated, all of their clothes were removed, and they were given a small blanket with which to cover their modesty, and to keep warm.
One family who removed to Wallyford on 1 December 1938 recall sitting around a tiny stove at Whitehill and the mother had to use her saucer to stoke the stove with coal dross, to try to get some warmth into the place. This same family arrived at their new home in Wallyford where all their furniture had been left outside by the fumigators. Furniture and household effects were taken to Dalkeith colliery pit head for fumigation and then delivered to the new address, where it had to sit in the fresh air until the fumes had dispersed. In the case of the above family, an uncle had taken the cat, dog and goldfish to the new home, and when the family arrived from the buggery, fires were lit in the living room and all of the bedrooms in their new home in St Clements, Wallyford.
In 1945 Midlothian County Council owned the following houses; built in 1930: numbers 1-16 Albert Place; 1-8, 19-22, 27-34 Albert Crescent; 1,2,7,8,13-16 Wallyford Road [Salter’s Road].
Built in 1935: 9-18, 23-26 Albert Crescent; 3-6, 9-12 Wallyford Road; 1-20 St Clement’s Gardens North.
Built in 1938: 21-24 St Clement’s Gardens North; 1-24 St Clement’s Gardens South; 1-40 St Clement’s Crescent; 1-16 St Clement’s Terrace.
The Edinburgh Collieries Company Ltd, Wallyford owned the 170 houses that comprised Forthview; numbers 61-68 were empty. These houses were demolished c1951 and the site is now occupied by Drummohr Gardens.
Over the years Wallyford had rebuilding schemes and expanded beyond its 1945 bounds. The main developments, with approximate dates, were as follows;
The Fa’side houses, built 1951/2, were built to accommodate the miners from the west of Scotland – the ‘Westies’. These were followed by Wemyss Gardens (initially prefabs, then replaced, 1955-65); Drummohr (1961); a further phase of Albert Place (1964); Forthview (1965/6); and at Inchview, replacing prefabs, the 96 houses built on the brown field site – 88 in the Crescent and eight in the Road (1971/2). These were all public – council – housing.
In June 1975 the new East Lothian District Council was pushing to modernise 342 houses in Wallyford, Whitecraig and Old Craighall as a matter of urgency.
In 1987 East Lothian District Council purchased the British Coal houses in a number of ex-mining villages, including Wallyford. The Castle Rock Housing Association now own the Salter’s Road houses – built on the site of the old Coal Board offices.
Albert Place, Wallyford, 1992
In the 1990s Wallyford Farm was granted planning permission for housing development, with 18 privately owned homes (Oliphant Gardens, opposite Inchview, are where the No.1 and No.2 pits had been and Oliphant Way is on the site of the old Chucker’s Row) appearing by 1994. In 1998, 22ha of ex-green belt at Barbachlaw Farm was granted planning permission for 250 houses and industrial and leisure development. The discovery of Roman remains appears to have delayed, but probably not halted, this development.
By 1997 plans were coming forward for the expansion of Wallyford – new housing, possibly a new primary school, a by-pass for the village – as well as a community stadium. Proposals encompassed some 23 acres at Barbachlaw (delayed for archaeological reasons, so the new dog track, kennels and houses there were on hold) and 22 acres at Levenhall. At Goshen the Goose Bay proposals remained at the planning stage in 2000.
Housing at Levenhall, 1994
In 1945 (Valuation Roll) and until c1957 (Church of Scotland Annual Yearbooks), the village seems to have been also known as Deantown, then Deantown & Whitecraig, perhaps reflecting the residents’ need to remember their old homes, long demolished.
In 1945 the Edinburgh Collieries Company Ltd, Wallyford, owned the 42 houses that comprised New Row, Deantown.
Midlothian County Council owned all the houses at Whitecraig Road, Inveresk in 1945. These were built over the period 1924-35. Built in 1924: 25-28, 37-48 Whitecraig Road. Built in 1930:1-24, 29-36, 51-58 Whitecraig Road; 29-40, 45-60, 65-68 Whitecraig Crescent. Built in 1935: 59-66 Whitecraig Road; 1-28, 41-44, 61-64 Whitecraig Crescent.
The piecemeal development of Whitecraig was reflected in the move in 1971 to re-name the houses on Whitecraig Square, where the numbering was proving unhelpful. The result was Whitecraig Avenue, Deantown, Deantown Path and The Lane (Musselburgh News 1971 February 5).
In December 1983 a joint venture with East Lothian District Council was launched by J. Smart & Co. plc. to build six semi-detached villas and four villa flats.
By 2000, Whitecraig had expanded to add Whitecraig Gardens, Whitecraig Avenue; Deantown Avenue, Deantown Drive; the Lane and Carberry Court.
Housing at Whitecraig
Homes in other areas
A.G. Moore & Co. Ltd, Glasgow, owned numbers 1-66 Smeaton Cottages in 1945. In 1945 Midlothian County Council owned the 28 houses at Old Craighall, built in 1930.
The sewage works at Wallyford – the Sewage Purifications – affectionately known by locals as ‘The Filters‘ dated from the pre-war era to c1967; this and its replacement were part of the Esk valley regional sewage scheme, serving Wallyford, Whitecraig and the surrounding area. In February 1997 it was announced that the whole scheme was to be upgraded by c2000. The subsidence problems that characterise this part of the county meant that the old sewage pipes were prone to collapse and for years the outfall to the Forth was less than ideal. The new works were to be located at Barbachlaw.
The Filters were located near the dog track and were an open sewage treatment plant. You could get from here under the railway arch to Pinkie Hill. Kids would come back from the Filters soaking wet and smelly.…they were always being chased by the watchman.
Gas came to Wallyford in 1949, when a valve in Wallyford Toll was opened. Not all homes could utilise the gas immediately.
In Inveresk parish, as elsewhere, mobile phone masts appeared almost overnight; the appearance of a concrete base in fields near Crookston Road early in 2001 led to local uproar. 18 months later BT Cellnet gave up.
In Wallyford, where Oliphant Way now is, was until 1969 a rubbish dump – overrun with rats. Two more tips were located at Beggar’s Bush – a large one where the Wimpey houses now are, and a smaller tip across the road at Ravensheugh.
Around 1950, just before the Wimpey houses were started, an eyewitness saw rats flitting from the large tip. This man stood on the wall as the rats headed off in a southerly direction. He says he had never seen anything so frightening in his life. The blind rats were led by a sighted rat by means of a straw held in the mouth.
Until the late 1960s the municipal tip was located at Newhailes; in spite of local concerns regarding the health issues around this location, it continued in use until March 1980, when the council opened a refuse baling station at Barbachlaw. The rubbish collected from around Midlothian and other waste from civic sites was taken to Barbachlaw, baled and then taken by skip to be dumped in the old six-acre opencast quarry at Carberry (which was in operation c1981-2000). Once Carberry closed, all waste was transported, unbaled, to Dunbar (McMorland, P. 1996 p30).
Shops & Services
In Inveresk Village the village shop has witnessed a variety of uses from a post office to a sweet shop and briefly, in the 1990s, an Italian restaurant/ takeaway. None of these uses was ever profitable and today the shop is only used on occasion for charitable fund raising events.Immediately post-war there were a number of mobile deliveries but these had ceased by the 1980s. Fords the baker used to deliver three times per week and two grocers – Niven’s and Cooper’s – had bicycle deliveries. A fish van also called once or twice per week. As late as 1956 milk was still delivered by a horse drawn cart. The ‘Brushman’ from Crosses in Victoria Street, Edinburgh, continues to call round in 2001 and still asks if customers want ‘pig-bristle’ or synthetic brushes.
Painting the village shop in Inveresk
Immediately after the war there were two blacksmiths in the Village. The last smiddy (in Double Dykes) closed in 1980 when the smith retired. Today a travelling blacksmith visits the Village and sets up in Double Dykes to shoe local horses.
Until the late 1990s there was a substantial boarding kennels business on the southern outskirts of Inveresk. The land was sold and in 1999 new houses were built, where the kennels used to stand.
Of all the settlements outwith Musselburgh, Wallyford has had the greatest range of facilities. However, like so much else in the town, many of the shops faltered once the mining industry went into decline, leaving a limited range of local shopping services.
In the 1940s the Co-op – one of the Musselburgh & Fisherrow group – was the general store, with butcher, drapery and shoes, grocery and bakery, as well as travelling shops. Bit by bit each part of the Co-op shut. By the end of the period the building was home to the Wok Inn (a Chinese takeaway); by 2003, this had also closed.
The post office has ‘moved’ a number of times; pre-1970s it was located in a store where the present Chinese take away is. This was also a barber’s shop in the 1950s. Between c1970s and 2000 it was run from a general store further west in the village and from 2000 it moved across the road to Ross’s general store. For a number of years a shoe repairer – Ovens – operated from the rear of this latest post office.
BP Garage, Wallyford, 1960s now Strawberry Corner on old A1
W&D Gordon’s general store, Wallyford
A chip van served the town, then the famous shop in a Nissen hut – Jock McMillan’s – opened c1960, located where the chippie is now.
On the present site occupied by Belmont, Wallyford there was a garage and repair service and a small general store.
The Coal Board and property offices on the south side of Salter’s Road closed c1960s. The building was empty for a while, then used by a Mr Archibald from Musselburgh as a caravan sales office and a general handyman supplier in the 1970s. Thereafter the building stood empty for a time; it was later demolished for housing.
The pub – the Fa’side Inn – has experienced mixed fortunes; it is currently closed. The clientele have been described as ‘lively‘.
The first library in the town was held in the Miners’ Welfare, followed in 1956 by a library in the old primary school. This was taken over by East Lothian District Council in 1975 but problems with decay and vandalism led to its closure in 1980, when it was replaced by a mobile service. In 1981 the new library opened near the Fa’side housing scheme, located in what had been a chemist’s shop and a general store.
Whitecraig has never had a large number of facilities; in 1955 a public house licence was applied for by the Dolphin. This and the Miners’ Welfare have been open throughout the period.
By 2000 the old Co-op was a general store; the fish and chip shop – previously Tommy Dunn’s general store – was closed. The post office, threatened with closure in 1995, continues to date.