Earlston's more recent past is the focus of this article with a look at what topics were making the headlines in the local press. Some issues still sound familiar today, with items ranging from concerns on the state of roads, and a village hall venue, to housing in the village, and leisure activities.
ROADWAY AT THE GREEN
"A Petition on the State of the roadway bordering the Green was considered at the Berwickshire West District Meeting with the claim that:
"The road was in a disgraceful condition and the state of the drainage was disgusting. It was suggested that the balance of £230 in the Wallace Trust* could be used." (Berwickshire News: 31st January 1950)
VILLAGE HALL FOR EARLSTON
The Berwickshire West District Committee also discussed:
"The acquisition of a village hall for Earlston as there were two church halls for sale. It was left to local members of the committee to see if the inhabitants would raise funds to buy one". (Berwickshire News: 31st January 1950)
GAS SUPPLIES - Berwickshire News: 4 January 1950
This was the claim at a meeting of BerwickshIre Health Committee, with the housing of agricultural workers the focus of this discussion.
" People are being denied the essentials of life such as water".
(Berwickshire News: 31 January 1950)
EARLSTON HOUSING APPALLING
The housing issue remained a key topic of concern at council meetings with the comment:
"The housing situation is most acute. There are 390 houses in Earlston and 230 workers coming into the village every day to work with the desire to live here. 18 houses are only one room, sublet to a families; 57 have two rooms sublet and 28 homes are overcrowded. 16 families are living in caravans ............It was proposed a site be selected with a plan for the development of 50 houses." (Berwickshire News: 16th May 1950)
A HANDYMAN FOR EARLSTON -
At the same meeting, it was suggested that in the more populous villages, including Earlston:
"A handyman be employed - his duties to include street cleaning etc , burial grounds, water, lighting, drainage and public conveniences. he scheme was agreed on in principle." (Berwickshire News: 31st January 1950)
GEORGEFIELD EGG PACKING STATION ADVERT:
Advertisement in the Berwick Advertiser:25th July 1957
Below: Two photographs of the workers c.1950s - from the Auld Earlston Collection
SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTING
Berwickshire News: 28th June 1958.
EARL OPENS WEST GREEN GARDEN"Six buses conveyed to Spittal 150 children from Sunday Schools at Earlston, Redpath, Fans, and Mellerstain, together with 100 adults. A "Tide Fight" was held at Spittal along with paddling, races and a sandcastle competition. The outing was favoured with brilliant sunshine."
"There was a large attendance at the West Green Garden for its official opening by the Earl of Haddington, accompanied by the Countess of Haddington. .......All this had been made possible by the generosity of a very kind benefactor Miss Wallace,* who had left a fund to make Earlston a pleasant to live in. Grateful thanks were also extended to Lord Haddingon for the gift of the land." (Berwickshire News: 4th August 1953)
The small stone plaque (across from the War Memorial)
acknowledging Isabella Wallace's * generosity
Other newspaper editions of the decade abound with reports on leisure activities - Corn Exchange concerts and dances, rugby and football matches, the Bowling Club, and Tennis Club, etc., plus groups that we no longer hear about such as the:
- Weekly Whist Drive Club
- Earlston Budgerigar Society
- Earlston Ornithological Society
- Earlston and District Ambulance Association
Tennis Club Dance, held in St. John's Church Hall, 1959.
A CINEMA ADVERTISEMENT FROM THE 1950S.
A CINEMA ADVERTISEMENT FROM THE 1950S.
* the references to the Wallace Fund and to Miss Isabella Wallace:
Isabella Wallace (c.1854-1920) was the unmarried daughter of John Wallace, joiner. In her will she left money to Earlston Parish Council for "For the purpose of improving the amenities of the Town of Earlston including footpaths, paving, and lighting, and similar objects".
She never forgot that in 1874 a devastating fire had destroyed the family home and bushiness. But the Earlston community rallied round and gave generously to support the family and enable her father to resume his business. Isabella Wallace repaid this generosity through her will, to become "Earlston's Friend and Benefactor".