Midlothian Local Studies is a treasure house of local and family history. Based in Loanhead, it is run by Midlothian Council Library Service and is a unique collection about all aspects of Midlothian history and culture.
The collection is always growing and in 2012 many new donations were received from local people.
Amongst these were two collections of photographs about Loanhead. One was given by the family by the late Ernie Tiernan, a local shopkeeper, and the second from the estate of Jim Abbot, a professional photographer.
The photographs are a wonderful record of life in Loanhead in the twentieth century. They show streets, buildings, shops, people and events, including Gala Days and the Queen’s visit to Loanhead in June 1961. Each photograph is being carefully catalogued and local people are helping to identify them.
One fascinating photograph shows a women’s football team. There are no details with the photograph, but it seems to date from around the First World War and may show munitions workers either at Loanhead or Roslin gunpowder works.
Amongst other donations, Roslin Primary Schoolgave a large collection of class registers and photograph albums. These will be of great interest to genealogists in the future.
The family of James Braidwood of Bonnyrigg donated an Air Raid Warden’s notebook that he had kept during the Second World War. This shows regular nightly inspections of the local area to ensure that everybody was obeying the rules during the blackout.
Today’s news is tomorrow’s history. David Adams of Loanhead donated a set of photographs of the Olympic torch on its journey through Loanhead in June 2012, which was a memorable and historic event.
Penicuik Historical Society have recently undertaken a major project on papermaking and the Society gave Local Studies a series of transcripts of interviews with former workers in local mills. These are an invaluable record of a once thriving local industry.
Local Studies also received the records of the Pentland Conservation Group, a local environmental action group which did much valuable work to preserve historic Pentland Cemetery.
2014 will mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. One poignant donation was a memorial plaque, commonly known as a ‘Deadman’s Penny’, belonging to Private John Watson, a Bonnyrigg soldier who joined the Royal Scots and who died at the battle of Arras in 1917.
Midlothian Local Studies thanks everyone who has made donations in 2012. New material is always welcome. Any of the items mentioned here can be viewed at Local Studies which is located at 2 Clerk Street, Loanhead and is free to use.