Spott | Miscellany
Two artists have worked in the parish; Mona Robertson, Easter Broomhouse attended art college, and at least one of her paintings remains in the ownership of a resident of the parish. Fiona Malcolm DA studied at Dundee, graduating in printed textiles and embroidery. She also has a Certificate of Education from Moray House, Edinburgh. Fiona produced numerous private commissions, 1973-98. She has had a number of exhibitions, including a solo show at the Peter Potter Gallery, Haddington, 1977, 1999; ‘Embryo’ Exhibitions 1990-99, including one at the Orangery, Hampton Court Palace; Scottish Artists and Artist Craftsmen 1990-98; Visual Arts Scotland, 1999; and from 1972 to date, various local, joint and mixed exhibitions. She presently teaches art full time to children with special needs.
Two weightlifters of note are associated with Spott:
Tommy Lunan, 1971-72 Middle Weight Eastern District Champion.
Stewart Robertson, 1967 Light Heavy Weight Scottish Silver Champion; 1969 Light Heavy Weight Scottish Silver Champion; 1973 Eastern District Champion; 1974 British Universe Middle Weight Champion and Scottish Champion.
In 1998, the community hall was renovated thanks to funding from the Scottish Office Local Capital Grants scheme and a grant from East Lothian Council. This has resulted in the hall being used more for local events and for money being raised by the hall being hired out for functions.
End of rationing
Like others working in food production and rural employment generally, many in Spott had some access to supplies rationed for the urban population during the war. Thus, the removal of rationing had perhaps less effect on day-to-day living in the parish than elsewhere. Some German prisoners of war were billeted in Spott after the war and one or two married locally and stayed on in casual employment. There were also a number of Polish soldiers billeted in Spott House, but few, if any stayed on in the parish.
Employment in the parish was until the 1970s intimately linked with the rural economy and up to ten families were supported by each of the local farms; over 100 Spott men and women worked in local agricultural jobs in 1950. However, the mechanisation of farming took a mounting toll on farm employment and, by 1980 there were fewer than 40 full-time agricultural workers in the parish. In 2000, there are fewer than 20 farm workers all told, including the landowners themselves.
Conversely, the restoration of the village square in the 1980s, together with subsequent in-fill building development, more than doubled the stock of dwelling houses in the village. These new houses have virtually all been occupied by families working outside rural employment, many of them at some distance from Spott. Thus, changes in the employment base, coupled with building development in the village, have led to a significant change in the social culture of the village. These two factors have been by far the largest to affect local living patterns since 1945. However, perhaps the most important single event in the post-war history of Spott was the closure of the school in 1969. The development of the local cement works in 1963 and the building and operation of Torness Power Station at Skateraw in the decade of the 1980s have provided some new jobs for Spott residents.
THIS ACCOUNT OF SPOTT PARISH WAS WRITTEN AND COMPILED BY DIANA HARDY. THE MAIN SOURCES OF INFORMATION WERE MRS MOLLY LAFFERTY, MR JAMES MILLER AND MR IAN SANDS. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, RESEARCH AND ESSAYS WERE PROVIDED BY THE FOLLOWING:
- Gill Baillie: Environment – geology
- Joan Baillie: Shops & Services
- Esther Brotherstone: Environment – boundaries
- Nikki Brown: Utilities
- Graeme Cockburn: Leisure
- Joanna Cockburn: Economy – agriculture – interviewer of Ian Sands and David Cockburn
- Eileen Dykes: Interviewer of Moira Brad and Walter Fairbairn – Homes: living conditions
- Lorna Gillespie: Local Government & Politics
- Donald Grant: Climate
- Diana Hardy: Environment – boundaries; Economy – agriculture, and farming interviews; Revisiting the Past: the distant past
- Malcolm Jones: Townscapes, Buildings & Landscapes of Distinction; Homes
- J. McCulloch: Environment – Church of Scotland parish boundaries
- Catherine Alison McLeod: Education
- Andie Peddie: Leisure – youth club
- Bob Smith: Environment – boundaries
- Susie Wood: Healthcare
- Victor Wood: Belief – church and morality
- And the recollections of Mrs J. Auld, Mr Bertie Bald, Mrs Moira Brad, Mr David Cockburn, Mr & Mrs Walter Fairbairn, Mr Douglas Robertson, Mr George Scambler, Jimmy Sives (pest control – rabbits and moles), Mr Tommy Tear, Mr Ian Wood.
- Thanks are also due to the following members of the farming community for information on farming and field names:
- Beltondod: Jean McKinnon
- Bothwell: Mrs E. Brotherstone
- Easter & Wester Broomhouse: Mr & Mrs T. Dykes; Mr & Mrs A. Taylor; Mr D. Robertson; Mr G. Cockburn; Mr J. Miller
- Friarsdykes: Mr J. Hardie
- Halls: Mrs Elizabeth Jeffrey; Mrs Libby Jeffrey
- Pathhead: Mr G. Thomson
- Pleasants: Mr & Mrs W Henderson; Mr G. Tweedie
- Spott: Mr & Mrs I. Sands; Miss Constance Lawrie
- And to the family of the late Rev Duncan Turner, who made his notes on the Spott weather available.