Pencaitland | Leisure

The ways in which people used their time changed over the period.

Post-war, there were radios and very few TVs or cars. In general, mothers did all the [house] work, but children had to help. The family did the washing-up together. [In some households] a woman did not go out to work because the man didn’t like it.

[That great leisure activity of courting] took place at local cinemas at Ormiston and Tranent, or at the dance halls – Trevelyan Hall, the Ballroom, Ormiston or Haddington. [There were] lots of places to walk, still asked parents for permission. Had to walk home, opportunities for courting. Married in church (vestry or manse if baby on way). No white dresses. Now some marry in hotels. Guests still get dressed up, but much less formally, eg Elvis gear or fancy dress; hats no longer de rigueur. Hire of kilts and dress suits now, used to be own best clothes – reception has not changed. “Pour-outs” went out as traffic increased and it became dangerous in 1960s; confetti was not allowed on the streets.

Janet Bassett

The unlicensed premises of the Miners’ Institute (later a house) closed c1965 with the end of mining; it could be hired, and as well as the social club, there were weekly whist drives, snooker and darts. Outside the village, there is a small community hall at the Boggs:

Mrs Main (at No 38 The Boggs) has been the treasurer for the Boggs Community Hall for 40 yrs. The hall was built in 1951 with money collected from the holdings. Members met in the hall for certain social events – whist, carpet bowls and country dancing as well as the women meeting to prepare for the summer fete. They would do knitting, sewing and crafts such as basketry and pokerwork items for sale, along with the baking and preserves. This fete was the highlight of the year being held during August in the grounds of the Boggs farmhouse, although organised by the Boggs Community Association. It attracted large numbers of people from surrounding communities and was very popular. There was a children’s party organised in the hall. Today the hall is used infrequently except for the Boggs Country Dance Association, which is still enjoyed.

Beryl McNaughton

The Trevelyan Hall is now managed by East Lothian Council. For a number of years, it was run by the Pencaitland Community Association, and was available for hire to members of the public. From the mid 1970s the Church Centre was available, and in 1992, this was succeeded by the Carriage House complex (see Belief).

These halls were used for dances; in the past there were dances every weekend, with the venue alternating between Pencaitland, Saltoun, Ormiston, Crossroads school and Humbie. One particular dance band – Craig McVie – played all over the district until the 1990s. There are also many informal groups of pipers, accordionists, fiddlers and singers who perform on an ad hoc basis. An instructor in square dancing represented dance for a couple of years.

The halls were also used for parties, flower shows, as community centres and in fact all types of social occasions and small exhibitions. Up to the 1960s, the Rev George Morgan encouraged young people to appreciate music and several singers entered into musical concerts. Mr Morgan and others coached young people in drama and several shows were performed in the Trevelyan Hall, which boasted a small stage.

Painting was successfully undertaken and at the end of the period, a very small number of local people attended classes within the parish. There were a few informal art displays in the parish. One was held in the Trevelyan Hall by the local amenity society in the 1980s, featuring paintings by L. David Levison (the minister) and by Richard Baillie who was largely a painter in oils and was a good minor artist. There were also photographic exhibitions of local scenes; in 2000, one has been mounted for the Millennium, when a village calendar was produced.

Organisations and clubs came and went; brownies, guides, cubs, scouts, rover scouts and boys’ brigade were all active 45 years ago; over time, some fell by the wayside but by 2000, scouts, guides and others were once again flourishing.

In later years, the primary school acted as a focus for the community. The cub scouts and rainbows all used the school, and the after-school clubs varied from year to year. Rugby, football, girls’ football and netball were normally available. Youth clubs were run by East Lothian Council in the Trevelyan Hall from time to time.

In 2000, an application is being processed for an after-school club. This would be managed by a ‘board’ and located in the primary school. The hope is that it would cater for up to twelve children.

A playgroup also operates in the village, and play areas are sited in the public park and in the west village. Those at Woodhall Road and Lamberton Court date from c1975, and those at Trevelyan Crescent and the football park c1985.

Pre-war, Pencaitland organised a Children’s Gala; suspended during the war, this was resumed in the 1950s. Unfortunately, by the 1960s, owing to insufficient helpers, it could no longer continue. It was replaced by a sports day each summer.

The gala used to be a great treat. Daffodil teas – each person would set up a table and after cards or dominoes would serve elegant tea to invited guests.

Janet Bassett

Groups for adults included the SWRI (established 1923, and re-started in 1947), which had an active bowling team in the 1970s. From the late 1980s, the Woman’s Guild, a pensioners’ club, and a lunch club all went well in Pencaitland.

Since c1985, the local Horticultural Society has arranged annual shows and plant sales. Other groups still active include the Pencaitland Amenity Society and the Pencaitland Art Club; there was also an annual pensioners’ coach tour and, at one time, the British Legion met in the Trevelyan Hall weekly.

The Pencaitland Lecture Society organise many and varied lectures and outings to places of interest: it was started in 1986 under the wing of the extra-mural department of Edinburgh University. A very high standard of lecturing was established by inviting only speakers who were known to be able to attract and hold an audience. This has been maintained by the wide contacts of committee members and the generosity of distinguished lecturers who have been prepared to come to Pencaitland to address the members of a small society. There are now from 30-40 members drawn from as far apart as Melrose, North Berwick and Edinburgh.

From 1978-85, the Pencaitland Music Club ran a season of concerts every winter, performed largely by gifted local musicians, but also by visitors from Edinburgh and elsewhere. The music performed ranged from folk to choral and chamber music.

Kind people lent their houses for the concerts, providing perfect settings for this small-scale music. The 50 or so concerts over the years depended entirely on the goodwill and generosity of musicians, organisers and hosts. Audiences were large and enthusiastic. The committee comprised: Penelope Ogilvy (flautist); Lionel Gliori (harpsichord maker and violinist); and organisers Ralph Wyllie and Liz Strachan.

Sport: locals have always fished in the Tyne; the Pencaitland Angling Club started in 1984 to encourage and instruct young anglers. By 2000, it has 30 members fishing ten waters each season. A weekly tote-lottery subsidises the cost of summer outings.

Sports facilities are available at the public park, limited to football, a bowling green and changing rooms. The bowling green has been used throughout the period, although the associated club closed in 1998, after falling into financial difficulties. (It is hoped that the clubhouse will re-open in 2003, for the use of the community.) Pencaitland Amateurs (football), reached the final of the Amateur Cup played at Hamden 1984; they merged with Ormiston Primrose and now their home ground is at Ormiston. There is also a Youth Football Club, Veterans’ Football Club, tug-of-war team (who were Scottish Champions five times & British Champions six times). There is also a Sunday football team which is run from the Winton Arms. There was a short-lived badminton club in the Trevelyan Hall.

From 1958-64, there was a cricket club, but after an initial show of interest it waned, and the club was forced to import players from as far away as Edinburgh. This was not enough as some players turned up without notice or failed to turn up.

Other leisure activities have had their followers, including table tennis (which had a fairly short life but was successful for a while), cycling, horse riding (in which there is an increasing interest), bingo had a period of popularity, being played in the bowling club to about 1990. Dominoes, pool and darts are played in the Winton Arms, which only had a beer and wines licence until c1955; since then it has had a full licence. It also holds weekly quiz nights, monthly ceilidhs and so on.

Gambling schools met 40 years ago (c1960s) in the park, and in the cart shed of Wester Pencaitland farm.

At the gambling school in the park, [they would] sit in a ring on boulders and play cards.

Janet Bassett

At the end of the war, there were six pigeon lofts, and pigeons were bred and raced; by 2000, there are only about two. From time to time there have been people walking greyhounds. There are serious bird watchers in the parish, and country walks were enjoyed by a large group of people during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Swimming in the Tyne was popular many years ago but now with indoor pools in Haddington and Tranent there is not so much. Favourite places were the Meetings (where the Tyne and the Birns Water join, near Spilmersford), the wee dooking hole, the big dooking hole and the rock pool.

There was game shooting on Winton Estate and the surrounding farms; some shoots were in organised syndicates but there was also informal ‘walking-up’ and pest control. In February / March each year large hare shoots were organised in the district where many guns would shoot 40-50 hares. Gundogs have been kept and trained in the parish up to the present time. The rifle club held its meetings and had a 15-yard range in the Old Brewhouse near the bridge, until it closed c1970.

Like other villages sited on the Tyne, poaching is a popular ‘leisure’ activity. Additionally, a large number of deer have been taken from various properties in recent years. This rather denies the claim that it was only ‘one for the pot’ (see Police).

James Robertson, George Livingstone and Reg McVie share their memories of leisure times in the parish

[People would] travel for up to 40 miles to follow a local dance band or regularly [go] six or eight miles for a Saturday dance by public bus, minibus or taxi; as a last resort [they went] on foot. On Sundays, only bona fide travellers could buy drink so there was quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. Taits in West Saltoun was an off-licence where it was possible to consume alcohol on the premises (under the counter).

40 years ago there was no trouble between the nearby communities and Pencaitland but then trouble started and continues at a low level, more than friendly rivalry, to the present day.

In 1945, holidays were just a few days and for farm workers had to be taken at short notice to fit in with the seasonal work. Later the Trades Fortnight was taken although it is not so general nowadays. Camping was great favourite with whole families going to Oxton or Longniddry etc. They would also visit relatives and stay with friends. Until 20 years ago Butlins was popular. It is only since then that families have been going abroad to the Costas.