Pencaitland | Population

By Parish, from the General Registrar’s office By locality – census – ie Pencaitland village itself
1931 1398 727M 671F
1951 1413 742M 671F
1961 1620 819M 801F
1971 1542 767M 775F 828 407M 421F
1981 1906 934M 972F 978 474M 504F
By Small Area Statistics – census
1991 2163 1074M 1089F 1244 608M 636F
2001 2467 1205M 1262F


By parish, from ELDC By settlement, from ELDC
1991 1969 1287
1997 (est.) 2497 1230M 1266F 1697 89 New Winton
2001 NO DATA 1566 (ELC)

Population figures are difficult to compare, as no two sources extract data in the same way.

Regional statistics are produced on a decade basis. The base year for the second half-century census would have been 1941 but it could not be carried out due to the 1939-45 war, hence the inclusion of 1931.

Population Census by Decade

Year 1951 1961 1971 1981 (1991) 2001
Population 1413 1620 1542 1906 2163 2467
Decade Change 20 yrs +15 + 207 -78 +364 +257 +304
% rounded +1% +15% -5% +24% +14% +14%

The increase of 207 between 1951 and 1961 can be mainly attributed to post-war private and council building in Wester Pencaitland; the council supported the expansion of Pencaitland to encourage people to the county (this was at the same time as the Glasgow overspill initiatives at Haddington and Dunbar). The high percentage increases in the 1981 and 1991 figures reflect the substantial amount of new houses built on land acquired by a developer from the Winton Estate, in Easter Pencaitland (Tindall, F.P. pp149-151).

In January 1985, the district council announced that they had reluctantly agreed with the developers on a compromise plan to develop the Easter Pencaitland site in phases, with a mixture of council and private housing. The council would have to pay compensation up to £2.5 million if they refused to grant planning permission (East Lothian Courier, 10 January 1986). The failure to achieve Tindall’s planned designs was partly due to his promotion to a Lothian regional planning appointment and was a considerable disappointment to his colleagues.

There is no categorisation of employment and location that would help future planning but it is largely a commuter population.

There has been no wholesale emigration in the parish. There have, of course, been individual cases of people leaving the country and settling abroad (Australia and New Zealand for instance) and going to live in England, but no mass exodus.

Immigration to the parish is a different matter. Prisoners of war remained in the parish for some time (both Italian and German, but not in great numbers); displaced people from Europe settled in small numbers in the parish and some foreign troops, particularly Polish ex-soldiers, elected to stay in Britain, some of them settling in Pencaitland.

Liz Strachan and Jan Bundy interviewed Janet Bassett (b1934) on a wide range of topics –

After the war, five or six Polish soldiers stayed in the village. German POWs were invited to tea eventually. [There is] a bit of anti-English [feeling]. [There were] no coloured [people] except the Barnardo’s children. [There was] prejudice there, but it was not put to the test.

Janet Bassett

Glenkinchie, looking south, 1940s

Glenkinchie, looking south, 1940s

Although it is unwise to compare figures drawn from different sources, it would seem that the result of large-scale new housing schemes in the east village is that the population of Pencaitland has doubled in the recent past.

The parish has three main centres of population – the combined villages of Easter and Wester Pencaitland, and the settlements of New Winton and Glenkinchie. The latest estimate (1997) of the population of New Winton was 89 and the Glenkinchie population, for which no settlement figure is available, was about the same. From East Lothian District Council’s Small Area Population Estimates, the largest increase in population is in Pencaitland itself with a population of 981 (1981) rising to 1287 in 1991. In spite of estimated increases to 1347 in 1994 and 1697 in 1997, the 2001 figure was less at 1566.