The village hall was built in 1948, partly with funds from the Common Good Fund collected during the war. In years when there was no television and few cars, the hall was the centre of the village’s social life.
Clubs & organisations
The annual horticultural society show of flowers and vegetables and local games has continued to be held in the third week of August. By 2000, the show had outgrown the hall and so the hotly-contested entries in flower, vegetable, art and craft categories were moved to a tent. Teas were served in the hall and games held on the green. The show is widely-attended and acknowledged to be the best of its kind for miles around.
The Oldhamstocks Recreation Club was active in 1945 and still going in 1970. An offshoot was the Young Men’s Recreation Club, which had a post-war membership of 30. Their main activity was to organise a carpet bowling team, whist drives and dances. The club later became the Oldhamstocks Carpet Bowling Club and was active mainly during winter months.
The Dunglass Ladies’ Guild (formerly the Woman’s Guild) organises talks and fund raising events. Also connected to the Dunglass parish churches is a children’s Sunday Club where activities include singing and art projects. The local branch of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institute (SWRI) remained very active in 2000, with monthly meetings and a varied programme of demonstrations and lectures.
From the 1990s, many leisure activities were disturbed by low flying planes on practice runs from Leuchars in Fife and other military bases. It was not unusual to be ‘bowled over’ while gardening or on hill walks by the sudden scream of jets flying overhead. In November 1999, the engines of an RAF Tornado flying at 500 feet and 420 knots failed and caught fire. The two pilots bailed out on Birnieknowes fields and their plane plunged into the sea less than half a mile east of Torness. Widespread concerns about the potential danger of planes crashing into the nuclear power station were brushed aside and the flights continued on most days and many evenings.
The wireless was a main source of entertainment before television. Because electricity was not available until about 1953, radios were run on accumulators. Bob Cribbes, the Cockburnspath grocer used to service them and deliver the spares.
If your accumulator dried up, you didn’t have a wireless to use. You had to be jolly careful to have your spare accumulator serviced. You would say to Bob “Have you got my accumulator today?” “Oh no my dear, I’ve completely forgotten it, but I’ll give you Mrs Gibson’s because she’ll not be needing hers. I’ll just give you hers instead” and you’d get Mrs Gibson’s, and you were all right. Probably Mrs Gibson gave him hell when he went back. Word travelled very, very quickly because everybody was interested in everybody else.
Mr Grant, a Dunbar chemist, used to hold concert parties, which were very well attended by farmfolk as well as villagers. There would be singing, monologues and sketches and a great time was had by all. In between Mr Grant’s concerts, there were charity fund-raising events organised by local people who would write and perform their own monologues and music. Dances were also held in the hall on Saturday nights. For a while in the 1990s, the charity concerts were held in the church with music provided by local musicians whose instruments included the violin, cello, organ and guitar. Use of the church in this way was not universally accepted.