Monday, 27 April 2015

Earlston Golf Club - A Short History

With thanks to the website "Golf Missing Links" for giving  permission to use its  article on the history of Earlston Golf Club, together with the Club's recent activity which you will find HERE.

Earlston Golf Club was founded in  August 1906, making it one of the oldest in the country. The course  was designed by Willie Park of Musselburgh on land owned by Lord Binning . The nine-hole course was situated in an area known locally as “Caldies Hill” on high ground with sandy soil. At the time of its opening,  it was stated that "there were some rough and stony parts but the course was gradually improving".

Minutes of the meeting in 1906, with "20 gentlemen present", to set up the club.  
The Rev. Mr  N.C. Keith  was in the chair, with Mr Geo L. McDonald appointed  clerk. 

In May 1909 Mrs Young, captain of the ladies’ section, provided a handbag as a competition prize. It was won by Miss May Smith with a score of 58. 

James McDonald won the May 1909 monthly medal with a score of 86.

The AGM was held in the "small room" of the Corn Exchange in November 1909 with the Rev A B Taylor in the chair. It was reported that the course had very much improved and the membership was stable. The treasurer submitted the balance sheet which showed an income of £79/6s/9d and an expenditure of £48/1s/7d. The golf house fund income stood at £17/19s/10d. 

The following officers were elected
Lord Binning, president
Colonel Hope, vice-president

G L McDonald, secretary
Management Committee – J Morris, D Hogg, G Angus, Rev N C Keith and Rev A B Taylor.

Ladies’ section;

Mrs Young, captain

Miss Ethe Herbertson, vice-captain
Mrs Newton, secretary
Committee – Mrs G L McDonald, Miss Aitkenhead, Miss Hewat, Miss Archibald and Miss Hogg.   

Competitions were played on the Caldies Hill course on Saturday 31st May 1913 with the following results: 
Gents’ competition – A A Burt, 40 nett; J D McDonald, 42; Geo Simpson, 43
Ladies’ – Miss Ruth Wallace, 58-4-54; Miss Jenny Kerr, 62-3-59
Juniors – James Hewitt, 113-18-95; Alexander Blair, 112-14-98
Mixed foursome – W F Aikman & Miss E H Hebertson
Gents’ approaching – Harry Aikmen  and Hardie Readman
Ladies’ approaching – Miss Jenny Kerr. 


In 1914 the secretary was R F Garroch of the Temperance Hotel, Earlston. The club had a membership of 64 gents and 37 ladies. There was no entry fee. Subs for gents were 10/- and ladies 5/-. Visitors’ fees were 6d a day, 2/- a week and 4/- a month.It was emphasized that Sunday play was not allowed.
Results from the Spring Meeting played in May 1914; G Logan (scratch), 40; J R Borthwick (6), 41; A A Burt (11), 43. Ladies’ stroke competition; Miss Jenny Kerr (3), 54; Mrs Burt (8), 62. Mixed foursome; N C Keith and Miss Aitkenhead (11), 43 after a tie with G Logan and Miss Polls.  

During World War One, the course was ploughed up for food crops in support of the war effort, but playing resumed in the inter-war years. 

On the Monday evening of the 22nd June 1925,  the final of the juveniles’ competition was played, Tom Montgomery beat Douglas Wallace by one hole.

On the following evening twelve players motored to St Boswells to play a club match only to lose by 11½ mashes to ½. Although it was a heavy defeat for Earlston,  many of the matches were close.

Result of a mixed foursome played on Saturday 12th September 1925:
First – Miss M Crozier & Tom Montgomery
Second - Miss A Millar & Willie Anderson
Third - Mrs W M Frater & Frank Mitchell
Captain’s Prize – Mrs J Aikman; runner-up, Miss J Turnbull
September medal – Mrs W M Frater
Gent’s section;
Wallace Cup – W Messer; runner-up, J Hewitt
Weatherston Shield – W S Donaldson
Captain’s Prize – R Crozier.

Also in October 1925 the final of the juniors’ match-play competition was played -  Adam Cummings beat Douglas Wallace by 2&1.

The club was organising weekly whist drives during December 1925, which were held at Mr Bolan’s Tea Rooms on Wednesday evenings.  

The prize presentation night was held in the Corn Exchange Hall on Friday 9th October 1925. Following a successful golfing season, the club captain, Mr T Bolan, presented the prizes to the following;
Ladies’ section – Mrs Sharpe, Rose Bowl, Mrs D Broomfield was runner-up

Result of the Spring competition played in May 1929:
A. M Keillor (club captain), 74-10-64
Dickson Fleming, 85-20-65 
William Messer, 83-14-69

Result of the June 1929 gent’s monthly medal:
D Fleming, 84-20-64
W Messer, 79-14-65
A Anderson, 81-16-65
R Thomson, 93-28-

On Friday 19th July 1929 the final of the ladies’ competition for the Challenge Rose Bowl presented by Mrs Sharpe, The Park, took place. The winner was Miss Jennie Lunn;   Mrs W Donaldson was the runner-up. 

Playing in the August 1929 monthly medal, l Dr L G Campbell set a new course record of 32 – 5,3,3,4,3,4,4,3,3. The previous record was 36.   Playing in the same competition the following players qualified for the club championship; D Fleming, W Messer, J S Brockie, J A Hewitt, J Fairley, Dr L G Campbell, R Thomson and T Murray.

The annual meeting was held in the Lesser Exchange Hall in December 1936, Mr D Denham presided. The treasurer submitted his financial report which was adopted.
The following office bearers were elected:
Captain, A R G Romanes 
Secretary, A R G Romanes
Treasurer, Miss M L Milton
Match secretary, A R G Romanes 
Ladies’ captain, Mrs W S Donaldson
Vice-captain, Miss N Hunter 
Competition secretary, Mr J Fairley
Ladies’ competition secretary, Miss I Mack
Committee of management – The Misses A D Douglas, I Mack, A Aitchison, A Millar, Mrs W Frater, Messrs D Denham, W Dobson, J Fairley, J Wilkie, D Fleming, T Fell.  

The monthly medal winner for May 1939 was Miss J Whitelaw.
The June competition winner was Miss Margaret Spence.
Two stroke competitions were won by Mrs W Frater and Miss Whitelaw.
In a gentleman’s stroke competition R A Thomson and D W Denham tied.  

The final of the Wallace Silver Challenge Cup was played in July 1939 and was won by R Campbell who beat D D Fleming by 4 and 2.

The annual meeting was held in Rhymer’s Mill Canteen on Thursday 21st March 1940, Thomas Bell presided.

The whole of the committee of management were re-elected. Office bearers;
Captain, T Bell;
Vice-captain, R Henderson;
Ladies’ captain Miss N Hunter;
Joint secretaries, R Keddie and J Fairley; treasurer, Miss M L Milton;
Committee – T Bell, R Henderson, J Fairley, D W Denham, R Keddie, D Hunter; green committee – D W Denham, T Bell and J Fairley.


Play was suspended during the duration of the war, but afterwards,  the Club  could not manage to survive due to lack of funds. . The course was subsequently used as a motorcycle scrambling circuit. There were hopes that the golf club and course could be resurrected but unfortunately this never materialised. 

Earlston Golf Club has, however, continued to have outings and competitions to various other courses in the country.   In 2000, 91 years after its start, it launched a new initiative to create the first golf course on the moon! 
 Read all about it in the next post on the Auld Earlston blog. 

 Postcard of the First Earlston Golf Club Gymkhana  in 1908



Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Gen. Eisenhower Visits Polish Soldiers in Earlston

Continuing the war time theme, here are two photographs in the Auld Earlston archive collection that recollect  the time in 1943-4 when Polish soldiers from  a tank regiment were stationed in the village.

General Eisenhower arriving at Earlston Station to inspect the 
Polish Tank Regiment stationed in the village in 1944. 

 Tanks in Earlston Square - note the two little boys giving them close inspection!

Following the formation of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, in February 1942 at Duns, , Polish troops under the command of General Stanislav Maczek  trained across Scotland including Berwickshire, before taking part in the Normandy Landings of 1944.   At its peak, the division numbered 16,000 soldiers. 

In Earlston,  the rugby club pitch and clubhouse were requisitioned by the military. Approximately one third of the pitch was dug out and concrete laid to make a  "hull-down" park for the tanks  stationed in the area preparing for D-Day.  

Do you have memories of growing up in Earlston during the war.  If so,   the Auld Earlston Group would like to hear from you.   You can add a comment at the end of the article, or contact us by e-mail on:

 The booklet is available on loan  through Scottish Borders Library Service 
and at the Heritage Hub, Hawick. 


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Earlston's Wartime Meals & Healthy Hints

As we come to commemorate the ending of the Second World War, here is an  item from the Auld Earlston archive collection. 

What was your family eating in Britain during the Second World War?  How do these dishes appeal? 
  • Economy Omelet - made with dried egg.
  • Herring Sandwich 
  • Savoury Bread Pudding - made with bread, suet and oatmeal.
  • Savoury oatmeal pancakes - made with thick cold porridge. 
  • Sago Jelly
  • Semolina Cake 

These dishes are among recipes that feature in a little booklet published during the Second World War  by Earlston Women's Guild.    (Ercildoune in the title was the old name for the village).

Treats were not forgotten, with many biscuit recipes - ginger and oatmeal were favourites -   and a "Wartime Shortie"

"Work 1 dessertspoonful of sugar into 4 ounces of margarine.  Add 1 cupful of flour and work in half a cupful of custard powder.  Roll our thinly and cut into rounds.  Bake in a slow oven!

Puddings seemed to require 3-4 hours of boiling/steaming and the prospect of a "Flourless Plum Pudding" was less appealing when you realised  it was made with 3 tablespoons of tapioca.  

One recommended tip for prunes advised   "No cooking or sugar required if they are soaked in water with a clove for two days."  

One ingredient predominated in the recipes - dried egg.  Imported from the USA, it was  the  government response  to a wartime shortage of fresh eggs. which were rationed in June 1942.   Dried eggs were  easily transported and were "non perishable". But they were universally hated, mainly due to not being reconstituted correctly.

Sample 1943 rations of basics for a week for 1 person:
3 pints of milk
3 1/4Ib - 1Ib meat
1 egg a week or 1 packet of dried eggs (equal to 12) every 2 months
3 to 4 oz cheese
4 oz combined of bacon or ham
2 oz tea, loose leaf
8 oz sugar
2 oz butter
2 oz cooking fat

The Earlston booklet had an introduction by the BBC "Radio Doctor"  - Dr. Charles Hill who during the Second World War gave advice in a daily broadcast  from the Ministry of Food called "Kitchen Front".  His distinctive voice with his frankness and  down to earth approach made him hugely popular.

Chapters also featured  on diet, child welfare, first aid, fresh air, care of the teeth, feet and hair. 

In the  First Aid section, along  with the standard ailments of burns & scalds, shock, stings, bleeding nose, was something else that perhaps reflected the rural life of the readers; 

For  "Lime in the Eye" - bathe the eye with a weak solution of vinegar and water  (eight parts water to one vinegar),  Try to remove the lime with the corner of a handkerchief. 
Put a drop  or two of caster oil into the eye.  I can't say that I fancy trying that treatment!

A Handy Hint advised  " Keep potato peelings, for after being  dried in the oven, they are useful for lighting fires instead of wood."

And not forgetting livestock - there was a recipe for  making "wet mash for domestic poultry".

The booklet  is an example of the fascinating little local publications which can often  be unearthed and add so much colour to understanding  about  lives in the past.   

Do you have any memories of what was on the  table for your family  to eat during the war? 

Do share them with us 
- either by adding a comment (below) or e-mailing:


Sunday, 5 April 2015

Earlston Welcomes Prime Minister Asquith - 1908

With a general election looming in the UK, here is a topical issue from the past with a visit  by Liberal Prime Minister Asquith to Earlston in October 1908.  It  features on several postcards in the  collection of "Auld Earlston",   and old local newspapers, held  at the Heritage Hub in Hawick,  give a colourful account of the event.   

"The Jedburgh Advertiser" of October 3rd described the plans  for the visit.  These included  the erection of a tent, measuring 220 feet by 60 feet  with seating accommodation for about 4000 people - this when the population  of Earlston in the 1911 census was only 1677!   How many political meetings in the Borders attract that kind of number today?  

Special trains were laid on from Jedburgh, Kelso and Edinburgh;  a large number of M.Ps. had intimated  their intentions to be present, and it was noted that presiding over the event would be Mr H. J. Tennant, M.P. for Berwickshire.   

It proved to be a notable  occasion,  disrupted by the late arrival of reporters and M.Ps on a delayed Edinburgh train which took three hours to reach Earlston; crowds spilling out of from the crowded hot  marquee, the intervention of a woman suffragette,  and noise from the "shunt, snort and whistles" of a railway engine threatening  to drown out the speakers.  

When Mr Asquith stood to speak "He got  a warm greeting.  Mary of the people rose to their feet and waved hats and handkerchiefs and cheered with great cordiality".

However he had only said a few words when,  at the remark  "My primary purpose in coming here this afternoon is...., a woman startled her neighbours by exclaiming " Give votes to women!".  The interrupter was a young woman of graceful figure and pleasant features.  Stewards made their way to the fair  suffragette  and quickly bore the woman out,  calm and unresisting but with her sailor hat somewhat awry". 

The newspaper reporter clearly found this incident far more  interesting than Mr Asquith's speech which he described as "Unimpassioned with no striking phrases." 

But what had prompted this meeting to be held in a Berwickshire village in the rural Scottish Borders?   Mr Asquith was M.P. for East Fife and had Border connections.  His second wife was socialite Margot  Tennant, daughter of the prominent Tennant family  of the Glen, Innerleithen, whilst his brother-in-law  Mr H. J. Tennant was the local Berwickshire MP.

No general election was looming.  For Mr Asquith had assumed office  only a few months before, on the resignation of Mr Campbell Bannerman due to illness.  A turbulent political situation faced him, with issues of House of Lords reform,  home rule for Ireland, industrial strife, an increasingly militant women suffragette movement and worsening international relations with Germany, culminating in the First World War.  

But on a brief Saturday afternoon in October, Earlston was on the national stage politically.

Official photograph taken by Walter Swanston, an Earlston-born photographer
 who set up a studio on Leith Walk, Edinburgh.