In 1948 the worst floods in living memory took place in Lothian and the Borders. Roads and fields were flooded, parts of the East Coast Railway Line were cut and the river bridge separating the two parishes of Pencaitland and Saltoun was washed away.
Spilmersford Bridge, damaged in floods of 1948
In 1992 we had more flooding – not a particularly unusual event on low ground, but 1992 was worse than usual. What used to be called the August floods have now extended their presence to any time of the year.
The end of rationing in 1954 was joyfully received, but for a while some commodities were still difficult to get.
The Suez crisis in 1956 was a bit of a debacle causing some loss of life on both sides.
In 1960 National Service was ended, and for most young people was a cause for jubilation, but a fair number of young men stayed on and made a future of ‘soldiering’.
Foot and mouth disease reared its head in 1967-1968. Unfortunately we are in the throes of an even worse outbreak (2001) which is still continuing to cause misery and financial difficulties for farmers and the tourist industry.
Wars appear to be endemic, e.g. The Falklands War, The Gulf War and the Balkan fighting, with the Irish troubles being near the top of the agenda.
The ‘Poll Tax’, which was tried out in Scotland, affected everyone.
Some writers are and have been residents of the village. Mona Macleod has written a number of historical works. Miss Chloris Wood is a poet of great repute in East Lothian and writes largely in the Scottish dialect. There is extant a poem dated 1920 by ‘J.K.’ describing a Pencaitland Sunday school trip to the sea; a valiant effort, but it can be classed as doggerel.
Hugh Buchanan is an established artist of architectural studies.
Jock Taylor was a noted motorcycle sidecar rider who was born and grew up in the parish. He was Scottish Champion in 1977, and World Motorcycle Sidecar Champion in 1980. He was killed during a race in Finland on 15 August 1982.
Archie Livingstone played football for Newcastle and Manchester United 1945-53.
Willie Young played football for Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal late in the 1960s-early 1970s.
Ian Davidson played football for Newcastle in the early 1970s.
THIS ACCOUNT OF PENCAITLAND PARISH WAS WRITTEN BY RALPH BARKER ON BEHALF OF THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP (PART OF THE PENCAITLAND AMENITY SOCIETY). ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, RESEARCH AND ESSAYS WERE PROVIDED BY THE FOLLOWING:
- Dr I. Buchanan – Landownership; Population
- Jan Bundy – Interviewer of Janet Bassett – standards of living
- Dr A. Davies – Healthcare Margaret Jones – Crafts; Economy – agriculture (interviewer)
- Dr G. Kennedy – Healthcare
- John Landon – Belief
- Dr R.R.B. Leakey – Environment – Jerusalem
- George Livingstone – Leisure; Miscellany – personalities
- Ian Mackenzie – General
- Mona Lewis Mcleod – Leisure – Pencaitland Lecture Society
- Beryl McNaughton – Leisure – the Boggs community hall; Economy – agriculture: the Boggs
- Dr M. Matthews – Healthcare
- Reginald McVie – Leisure; Miscellany – people
- Russell McWilliam – General
- Dr J. Milne – Healthcare
- James Robertson – Leisure; Miscellany – people
- Miss Ross – General
- Liz Strachan – General; Interviewer of Janet Basset; Leisure – Pencaitland Music Club
and the recollections of Janet Basset (home life);Ralph Barker, Margaret Fairbairn, Liz Strachan (homes); Joe Rowan (poaching) and Drew Cadzow, Mr Hamilton, George Hood, Alec King, A. Ritchie and R. Young (farming).
The text of John Archer’s piece on schooling is taken, with permission, from Village School, pp19,20.