The theme for January is hotels in Dunbar and below there are photos of and comments on 3 historic Dunbar hotels.
The first photo shows a familiar building in Dunbar – The Bayswell Hotel – which was formerly known as Kerridge’s . A 1903 commercial directory – Slater’s – lists the hotels in Dunbar and includes “Kerridge’s Family hotel (facing the sea) (Mrs.
J. Kerridge, proprietress), Bayswell Park, Dunbar”. On the Scottish Military Research Group site, one of the comments on the Dunbar War Memorial quotes a source stating “Intimation has been received in Dunbar by his relatives that Private Louis Kerridge of the Cameron Highlanders, has been killed in action. He had been out of the trenches on eight days leave, and on the day in which he returned he was killed. A post-card was received by his children from him which bore the words “Be good. And God bless you.” Deceased was the son of Mrs Kerridge of Kerridge’s Hotel, and at one time was a very prominent player in the Dunbar Football Club.” A Bayswell Hotel researcher states that “The hotel was built in the 1890s and was then known as Kerridge’s Hotel. In 1901 Jane Kerridge was the Hotel Keeper. She was a widow aged 61”. Jane and George’s daughter was Emily who married Thomas Craig jnr in 1905. Jane a widow lived at Portlodge at the time. Emily and Thomas became the owners of the George Hotel (1911 census) then they moved into the Craig en Gelt Hotel around 1920.
This advert from The Haddingtonshire Courier in the History society archives does not have a date on it but will be in the 1890s. The hotel was originally owned by George Kerridge as indicated here, although there is no mention of his wife. An interesting reflection of the times is that the hotel is offering “good stabling”, presumably for those arriving in carriages and “good baths” as if a bath might not be taken for granted when staying in a hotel.
If you enlarge the photo above, you will see that the building at the bottom right is Jackson’s Hotel. This later became the Railway Hotel and then the Dolphin Hotel. At present, it is empty and awaiting development. Across the road is the house that would later become the Royal Mackintosh Hotel. The photo is part of the “Dunbar, From Church Tower” series.
This photo is of what is now the Hillside Hotel but at one time was a YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) guest house. Jim Herring recently met a 92 year old man from Edinburgh who remembered staying in the Hillside YMCA as a youth in the 1950s.
We’re sticking with hotels for February – 2 Temperance hotels and 2 others.
Wilson’s Temperance Hotel was where the Bank of Scotland is now on the High Street. On the A1 History site (scroll down) – where the photo was first put online, it states “Wilson’s Temperance Hotel at 95 High Street occupied the site where the Bank of Scotland now stands. The next door flats, now demolished, have boards up advertising a business run from each house. The lower one is for A W Anderson, Watchmaker”.
The following – on the origins of temperance hotels in Scotland – is taken from a Glasgow University thesis.
“The most obvious avenue for enterprise was temperance hotels. Some dated from the anti-spirits era but more were from the Forbes MacKenzie Act era – counter-attractions to dubious ‘commercial hotels’ connected like brothels with after-hours drinking, spurred by expansion of the temperance press. They were regarded as “practical protests” against drinking and ‘safe places’ for the eternally vigilant. Their numbers rose sharply in mid Victorian Britain. Like coffee houses, they often provided reading rooms and ‘stock rooms’ for businessmen. They were used by itinerant dental surgeons, and as community facilities, as temperance halls were”.
The Albert Temperance Hotel was on Newhouse Terrace and later became the Goldenstones Hotel. It was built as a hotel in the early 20th century and is now the very successful Dunmuir Hotel, which notes on its website that “Work to create a hotel on this site began in 1898, when construction began on an elegant Victorian building in red sandstone. It had a grand oak staircase, ornate plasterwork and art nouveau fireplaces, and opened for business in 1902 as the Albert Temperance Hotel”.
The next hotel is The Castle which stands there today and has a long history in the town. It opened as the Castle Inn in 1867 and was later changed to the hotel name. The shops around it are interesting also. If you enlarge the photo, you will see Mr Folkarde’s West End Store on the corner. Mr Folkarde was the father of DDHS Secretary Pauline Smeed. Next to the hotel is Gordon’s Provision Stores, with the lorry being unloaded outside. Next to that is John Cowan and Sons, Summerfield Mains Dairy. Summerfield Mains was the farm which stood on the land where the new council houses were built in the late 1940s/early 1950s. The name of the next shop is unclear but after that, the Danish Creamery shop can be seen.
The final hotel is referred to here as the Edenholme Private Hotel. DDHS member Dr Pat Simpson has been researching this hotel and provides the following information: Built in the 1820s, the Eden Hotel was originally the family house of the Sked family, who ran the Dunbar Foundry next door. They built huge steam driven threshing machines. Part of the foundry walls can still be see today at St Pauli. Bought by retired Lt Col William Purves of the East India Company, in the 1850s, he named it Edenholme. It remained a 2019 private house until the 1930s, when it became a hotel under various names, such as Edenholm Guest House and Edenholm Private Hotel. In the late 1940s, it adopted the name Eden Hotel, finally reverting to a private residence in 2018.
This month, we move on to cafes in Dunbar in the 1950s and 1960s. Click on all photos to see an enlarged version.
The first cafe to be highlighted is the Doric which was situated in the High Street where the present Pound Shop is. John Janetta ran the cafe and in the 1960s, it was a haunt for teenagers to meet up. This cafe was probably best known for its jukebox and John Janetta always had the latest pop chart songs. So it was a very social place but many people from the 1960s will remember it as a place where romances blossomed and faded. To the right of the cafe was the ironmonger Universal Supplies which was run initially by the McLuckie family and later by the Jamiesons.
This photo is taken outside the Lido Cafe which was located in the High Street where the Chinese restaurant – the one down from Umberto’s) now stands. The photo is dated 1938 and shows Guy Togneri on the left, John Togneri on the right. The woman in the middle is as yet unidentified. The billiard hall was attached to the Lido Cafe and was a very popular venue for young men until the 1970s. It was where many boys met after school – and sometimes during school hours. The cafe is remembered for its ice cream and hot orange amongst younger people and its meals and snacks amongst older visitors. It was always packed during the summer with visitors.
The 3rd cafe is Carruthers’, which was a restaurant, cafe and sweet shop combined. It was situated on the High Street where Fade Lasers now stands (2 doors down from Dunbar News). It belonged to the parents of DDHS member Charlie Carruthers, whose family took over the shop from the Misses Main in 1954 and expanded the range of meals offered. This was another cafe which had visitors queuing down the High Street all summer and was the lunch venue for young women taking part in the swimming pool beauty contests in the 1950s and 1960s.
Lauderdale Cafe opposite The Glebe
The final cafe is the Lauderdale Cafe which stood opposite The Glebe and next to the present Lauderdale Garage. The first photo shows the side view of the cafe which was later demolished. The cafe was run by Kitty and “Gentleman George” Armet and was previously owned by the Hallam family. There was a sweet and ice cream counter at the front of the shop and a cafe at the rear. Kitty Armet is seen in the middle of the 3 women. In the enlarged version, you will see that the cafe sold Hood’s ices, Dunbar lettered rock and local postcards. It was very popular with visitors to Lauderdale Park and Dunbar swimming pool.
This month features one shop in Dunbar – William Main & Sons – the recently closed Saddlers’ shop and cafe. The shop was situated on the West Port and the shop building, with its large windows is still there. The brochure below was donated to the Society by David Main and is published here with his permission, as are the photos of the shop’s unusual clock.
The front page of the brochure (best enlarged) which celebrates one hundred years of the shop’s existence, shows the original shop which was in the High Street, just along from the Town House, and the newer shop in the West Port on the site of the former West Port Temperance Hotel.
The second page of the brochure (best enlarged) reads “In 1881, Haddington born WILLIAM MAIN started the saddlery and harness making business in the county town, moving to Dunbar in 1887. The premises then were in the centre of the High Street, adjacent to the Town Clock. At that time, the saddler was an essential member of the community, both rural and urban, and continued in this essential capacity until the horse was ousted by the combustion engine. William married in 1887 and a son, David, was born in 1892”. The photo is of William Main 1857 – 1923.
Below this, the text reads “It was with David at the helm that the business was moved, because of municipal developments, from the High Street to the West Port. Here he purchased what was the West Port Temperance Hotel and converted it into Dunbar’s first iron beam construction, double windowed shop. Saddlery work decreased as mechanisation on the land increased, and by the mid thirties, the trading description was ‘Saddlery and Sports Outfitting’. The development of sports outfitting was appropriate in a small town that was beginning to make itself known as a holiday resort”.
The third page of the brochure (best enlarged) reads “David was joined in the business by his son William in 1948. In these post-war years, there was a marked revival in horse and pony ownership and at this point, the premises were enlarged to make a large modern workshop and tack room to display the full range of saddlery and riding wear. The next stage was hardly diversification but an extension of the horse and pony scene. Pony trekking was still in its infancy when the Dunbar Pony Trekking Centre started with Exmoor ponies. The herd of Exmoor ponies has now been increased and it is recognised to be one of the largest, if the not the largest in the world. It is interesting to note that this breed of pony is now on the ‘species at risk’ list and is in great danger of becoming extinct.
The sixties saw a further branching out when an agency was acquired from a national seeds firm and a large trade was also established in seed potatoes – naturally of East Lothian origin. The following twenty years saw a major modernisation programme and a further expansion to accommodate the latest diversification. Now in 1981, one hundred years on, the Garden Centre proudly opens its doors into the second century”.
The clock in Main’s shop was on the far wall of the shop but could be seen as you entered the shop. The clock was made in Plattsburgh, New York and advertises Vanner and Prest’s Molliscorum which was used to cure muscular problems in horses, and sold in bottles. The company also made harness oil.
This month’s photos are taken from the exhibition, curated by Pauline Smeed, which is available in the History Society’s room in the Town House. The exhibition is entitled “Summers in Dunbar” and covers a number of aspects of Dunbar as a tourist destination.
Returnable keys from the Roxburghe Hotel
The photo above shows 2 keys from the Roxburghe Hotel which was situated at the east end of Dunbar, next to Dunbar Golf Course. Room 42 was, according to Nigel Marcel, son of the former owners of the hotel, on the top floor, facing the sea and he confirmed that when guests did go off with keys from the hotel, they were inevitably returned with a stamp affixed to the key. At its peak, the hotel was one of the most important in Scotland and attracted many famous golfers who stayed in the hotel when taking part in major tournaments in Scotland.
Town Council booklet on Dunbar
This photo shows the cover of a publicity booklet published by Dunbar Town Council in the 1960s, with its claim to be the Sunniest resort in Scotland. Dunbar did have a high number of hours of sunshine during the year compared with other towns, although whether it had more hours than other resorts would have been difficult to prove. The swimming pool, with the main pool, the children’s pool and the boating pond can be clearly seen. The water was filtered, but not heated, so it was generally cold. The bottom of the main pool was painted turquoise, so that the pool looked more inviting – and warmer – in the sun. The anguished yells of those who dived straight in confirmed the coldness of the water.
This early advert for the Palace of Pleasure, which was situated near the east beach, sought to attract visitors to the various attractions available. Interestingly, the advert asks visitors to spend “a pleasant half hour” at the amusements, perhaps suggesting that the owners expected a quick turnaround of customers. The Palace of Pleasure had slot machines, a monkey house and a rifle range. Bingo was added later as was an external area where kids could play on dodgem-like cars. This space is now a children’s playground.
One of the attractions in Dunbar in the 1960s was the series of cycling events known as the Dunbar Kermesse. The races took place in Church Street, Castle Street, Victoria Street, Lamer Street and Woodbush. These streets were closed off when the races took place – at weekends during the summer – and cyclists raced at great speed round the streets in circular laps. The events always attracted large crowds of visitors, some who came specifically for the races.
The following photos are of pages in another 1960s brochure produced by Dunbar Town Council. There is no date on the brochure but it was before 1969 as the cost of a caravan space at Winterfield was given as 7/- a night for July and August and 45/- a week. On the title page, it states “Dunbar: the official guide book. Issued by Dunbar Town Council. Produced and compiled by John L Grainger, Publicity and Entertainments Officer for the Royal Burgh of Dunbar”.
The photo above shows the Lothian Hotel which was run by the Togneri family and was recognised as a slightly more upmarket private hotel, well known for its good food. Note the attractive flower pots all along the front of the hotel. Interestingly, it refers to the “right” atmosphere – and if you did not know what that was, well….. you shouldn’t be asking. The photos also shows Starks Motor Services office next door and people could buy bus tickets or book places on tours here. To the right is Downie’s paper shop and next door to that is Melvin Smith’s Ladies and Gents Outfitter, then Knox’s paper shop and then Grahame the baker’s. All of the businesses shown here did very well with the large number of visitors which Dunbar had in the 1960s.
There was excitement to be had at Belhaven beach in the form of the two sports above. Stock car racing attracted many visitors and locals, who came to see the thrills and (especially) spills of the battered cars which raced around the beach on summer evenings. Some cars came off the “track” which was roughly marked out, and ended up in the water, having to be quickly rescued by drivers and spectators.
Many of the tourists to Dunbar in the 1960s stayed in guest houses and 4 of these are shown above. You can see that two of the residences have “Hot and cold in all rooms” noted in their adverts i.e. this was not guaranteed in all guest house rooms. There were of course, no ensuite rooms available in these guest houses or indeed hotels at this time – there was no expectation of such luxury that we now take for granted 60 years later. Also, three of the four adverts indicate that guests should expect “personal supervision” and this was one of the attractions of guest houses – a friendly welcome. Some people returned to the same guest house every year and became well known to the proprietors.
At this time in the summer, people turned up in droves to the 2 caravan sites shown above. The top site was at Winterfield and the caravans started at the bottom of the main rugby pitch. In the photo, you can see at the top right, Knockenhair House and further to the left, after the trees, the large house which also dominates the skyline. Further to the left, just above the caravans, you can see the old rugby club house which was replaced by a new club house in the early 1970s. To the left of the man standing in front of the fence, was a building which contained the site administration office as well as showers, changing rooms and toilets. The site below was at Kirk Park and is now a housing development. This site had similar facilities to the one along the road at Winterfield. In the photo, you can see the top of Belhaven church on the left and the caravan site bordered the land behind the church.
This month features the Playhouse and some surviving photos of the exterior and interior of the picture house/cinema
The Playhouse stood at the Abbey Church end of the High Street and the space is now occupied by the Cherrytrees Nursery. The photos shows the Art Deco exterior of the Playhouse, with steps going up the middle and a board showing what films could be seen that week. In the 1950s, on the left hand side of the cinema was Frank Shield’s shoe repair shop and when you entered, there was a wonderful smell of leather and glue. On the right hand side at that time, there was Birrell’s sweetie shop. People bought sweets here before going to a film but there was also a counter which sold sweets inside the foyer.
The photo above shows part of the foyer in the Playhouse and this was taken after it closed in 1984. On the left is the where you paid for your ticket, and next to that is the entrance to the stalls. The stairs led up to the extensive balcony. For town the size of Dunbar in 1937 (when it opened) the Playhouse was a huge cinema and it was said that the people who came to judge the size of the potential cinema came in the summer months, when Dunbar was full of tourists.
The above advert from December 1950 shows the films – the “big” film and the “wee” film on Monday to Saturday. As there was no television, people often went to the picture house more than once a week. The advert also shows that it was Gaumont British News which was shown in Scotland, and not Pathe News shown elsewhere in the UK. You can see a trailer for Challenge to Lassie here – and you may be surprised by the location. Listen out for some truly awful accents.
The final photo above shows the inside of the cinema and it is in this photo that you can really see the Art Deco features – on the wall next to the screen, in the ceiling patterns and in the stylish lights. You can see the balcony upstairs and just catch a glimpse of the front row of the stalls. On Saturday mornings, when the matineees were shown, there was a mad rush of kids trying to get a seat in the front row.
This month and September 2019 will be devoted to maps of Dunbar at different times. For August, we will look at part of John Wood’s map of Dunbar which was published in 1830. Copies of the Wood map are on sale at the History Society and Tippicanoe in Dunbar HIgh Street and cost £4. There is a very good article on the origins of Wood’s map here. David Anderson has contributed to the notes below.
This part of the map looks at the eastern end of the High Street. Key features of this map are on the left hand side, the Masonic Lodge which was situated on the High Street next to what is now Douglas Reid’s showroom. You can read more about Dunbar Freemasons here. The tron or town weigh beam was originally outside (Weights marked)On the right hand side the 1st United Secession Meeting House is highlighted and the entrance to the church (aka meeting house) was from Church Street. Wood doesn’t seem to show the manse which was on the west side of the church. One very interesting feature of this map is that it shows that behind the left hand side of the High Street, it was mainly orchards and gardens.
The second extract from Wood’s map moves us up the High Street. On the right hand side of the map, we can see that James Lorimer owned a large section of land and this was called Sandwell Gardens, which were used as market gardens. The Assembly Rooms are clearly marked. This building was erected in 1822 for meetings of farmers around Dunbar and was used by George Low and Son in the mid 20th century for auctions. The historian James Miller mentions it being for civic receptions, celebrations, balls, etc on the back of the Napoleonic period. Also on the map is Crows Wynd, sometimes called Craws Wynd, which later became Cossars Wynd. We can also see that as we move up the High Street, the trees disappear from the left and are replaced, as on the right hand side, with small fields. There is also an increase in the extent of building on the right hand side. Also of note is the extent of land on the left hand side owned by the Reverend John Jaffray, who was minister of the Parish Church which was built a decade earlier.
The final extract shows the middle of the High Street, with the West Port on the left and Silver Street on the right. At the bottom of Silver Street, diagonally opposite is Coffin Street, known today as Colvin Street. To the right of Coffin Street a brewery is marked and this was the Dunbar Brewery. The John Gray Centre has more information on this brewery and on the history of brewing in Dunbar – see here. On the left hand side going down Silver Street is property owned by the Town Council – this was the new town jail and the vacant lot at the bottom right was the site of the original gasworks. There is a well marked on Church Street.
The map this month is from 1893 and is an extract from a 6 inch map of Haddingtonshire as East Lothian was known then. The first two quadrants of the map are discussed below.
Upper right quadrant of the 1893 map (Click on all maps to enlarge – recommended)
The first part of the map to be highlighted takes in Broxmouth Estate, including The Wilderness , Dunbar Golf Course and the shoreline around the course. At the top right of the map, you will see the letters L.W.M.O.S.T. This stands for Low Water Mark of Ordinary Spring Tides. Below that is the High Water Mark. To the left of this can be seen Lawrie’s Den a rock stack off the golf course – see photo here but there is no explanation of the name. To the left of the Den, you can see Fluke Dub, described here as “A Small hollow bed of Sand Situated between high and low water mark and near the mouth of Brox Burn. Fish called flounders commonly called flukes are caught here hence the name”. To the right of Lawrie’s Den, Mill Stone Neuk is named and this was, according to the Canmore site, “A site where millstones have been quarried. Circular depressions may be visible, along with unfinished or broken millstones”.
On the golf course, you can see West Links and Mid Links as if they are two separate courses. to the left of Mid Links, is Sloebigging described here as “A Farm Steading in the policy of Broxmouth. It consists of a dwelling house two Storeys high outhouses And cottages the dwellings are Occupied by the Servants of the establishment of the Countess Dowager of Roxburgh and the land about 180 Acres is farmed by the Owner”. Under Authorities for Spelling are listed “Mr Denholm Broxmouth Dunbar, James Bishop Broxburn Dunbar, G Rennie Oxwell Mains Dunbar” but it is not clear who the owner might be. There is no information on the origin of the name. On the same site, The Vaults – see below Lawrie’s Den – is described as “A Row of three Cottages on the links at the Sea Shore about 1/2 Mile NE [North East] of Broxmouth House And derives its name from having been used as a Corn Store when the rents were taken by the Fuars; the whole basement rooms were arched or vaulted (hence the name) It has recently be converted into three commodious cottages, Occupied by Fisherman, And the property of the Duke of Roxburgh”. The authorities here are listed as “Mr Denholm Broxmouth Dunbar, G Rennie Oxwell Mains Dunbar”.
At the bottom right of the map, Strand House is named. This Canmore site which relates to the finding of burial cists, refers to “Trial trenching of the area of the demolished 19th-century Strand House and sheepfolds failed to unearth significant archaeological features or finds”.
Lower right quadrant of 1893 map