Oldhamstocks | Population
|By parish, from the General Registrar’s office|
|By parish, from ELDC||By settlement, from ELDC|
Population figures are difficult to compare, as no two sources extract data in the same way.
Following a post-war (1951) parish high of 269, changes in agricultural practice meant there were far fewer local jobs in the parish and commuting was not then the option it was in 2000. A low figure (167) in 1981 climbed in 1991 (204), almost evenly split between males and females. The 1991 demographic profile showed a fairly balanced spread with 17% aged 15 and under; 25% aged 16-34; 39% in the 35-59 bracket and 18% over 60. In the village, in 1953 there were just 33 residents including one child; 23 were aged 50 or over. The council’s latest figures (East Lothian Local Plan: 22 May 2001) for Oldhamstocks village indicate about 50 residents.
Most of the houses are now occupied on a permanent basis but census figures have always been slightly distorted by holiday residents (+13 in 1981 and +11 in 1991).
Here (and elsewhere throughout the text) Jean Yule shares her recollections of Oldhamstocks – or ‘hamstocks – with Sally Smith
… in those days all the cottages were full of people. And if you had a family you would be hired to work on the farm before anybody that didn’t have children at all because the youngsters would grow up and work on the farm. And it would be far better that way than taking on a single couple. The cottages were all full of people, big families, small families. There were always people to work on the farms, especially the big farms.
In 1950, notable village residents included Robert Henry, a blacksmith 65 years old and still working at his forge; Mr Stobie, formerly a shepherd but then the local registrar who compiled a 1950s statistical account of the village and parish; Mrs Stobie, president of the local WRI and in charge of the only remaining shop; George Darling, senior elder of the church, flower show organiser, keen angler and local historian; and Joseph Scambler, the oldest man in the village who told stories and ‘played fiddle as young folks danced on the green’ (T.L. White (1950) Farmers’ Weekly).
In general, the population was elderly. As for post-war incomers, the only ones were Jean Yule, land girl at Cocklaw; the Kinghorns from war-bombed Coventry and the Nisbets from Glasgow, a family who had a holiday house in the village. None of the prisoners of war stayed on.
In the 1940s, itinerant labourers who worked on the farms stayed in bothies. They were
…great characters [but] difficult because they had rather a lot of temper… At Cocklaw… they made porridge … and … put the porridge in a drawer… and then in the morning … cut sections out of the drawer, put it in their rolls … and that was what they ate because every penny they could save was spent on drink at Co’path’s pub.
In 2000 seasonally employed Irish workers lifted potatoes and sprouts and stayed in a hostel beside Dunglass Dean.