Armadale in old picture postcards

Armadale in old picture postcards

Author
:   William F. Hendrie
Municipality
:   Armadale
Province
:   Lothian, West
Country
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-1155-3
Pages
:   80
Price
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

Delivery time: 2-3 weeks (subject too). The illustrated cover may differ.

   


Fragments from the book 'Armadale in old picture postcards'

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1 9 This very early photograph looks down South Street to the Cross. It first appeared in Townson's Grand Photographic View Album, where it was described as Hill Street. Later it was also known as the Toll Brae, as it led to the toll booth at the Cross. Although the road was the major route from north to south the surf ace had still not been tarred, with only the gutter at the side of the street paved.

20 South Street takes on a more familiar aspect in this late 19 3 Os postcard view of it taken from the Cross looking uphill to the south. Notice the inn on the right and the marquis advertising canopy of the popular Regal Cinema jutting out on the left.

Opened by Provo st Calder on 4th December 1937, The Regal, seating 1,160 cinemagoers, provided entertainment for all age groups from the children who crowded its Saturday matinees, through the courting couples who vied to occupy the back row on Saturday nights, to married couples and pensioners, who aften went twice a week, as films were changed every Monday and Thursday. Audi-

ences expected value and programmes were three hours long with a newsreel, cartoon, trailers and a 'B' film as well as the big picture! The Regal closed in [une 1972 and was demolished in 1984.

2 1 Even befare the opening of the Regal, going to the pictures was a popular leisure pastime in Armadale, with the aId Empire Palace Theatre in George Street providing the town with some of its earliest cinematic experiences. It also lived up to its theatre title as it sometimes presented what was known as eine variety, which mixed short films with live stage acts. Opened in 1910 the 5 OO-seat Empire Palace was owned by Mickey Burns, who converted it from an existing billiard hall and roller skating rink. When it was replaced by Mr. Burn's

1 ,OSO-seat Star Cinema, behind the inn of the same name, it was converted into

the ambulance station for the tewn's first ambulance and Councillor Joe O'Brien became the first tenant of the ambulance house. Annadale's other cinema, the I,OOO-seat Pavilion, provided entertain-

ment from 1912 to 1927, when it was destroyed by fire.

22 Apart from going to the pictures a night out in Armadale tended to involve drinking in one of the many local pubs, but until weil after the end of the Second World War this was largely a male-deminated option. Concern at the start of the 20th century about the amount thatArmadale men were drinking resulted in the founding of the Goth. It takes lts name from the Swedish port of Gorhenburg, where to try to curb drinking by sailors an expertmental pub run by a co-operative society had been established. The idea was imported to Armadale by Provost Smith and with a laan of;Cl, 000 from local mal master [ames Wood, the Armadale Public

House Society was set up in

1 90 1 with the premises built the foilowing year. It proved so successful that profits paid for a district nurse and the town's first ambulance. The tower was added in 1924 to

mark the services of the societ y's president, Maleolm Mallace, from 1901 to 192 2 and despite or perhaps because of lts list like Italy's leaning Tower ofPisa, it is Armadale's most famous landmark, and

has featured on the Secret Scotland relevision programme.

23 This fine Clydesdale horse with its well fitted harnass

and collar was pietured outside the wrought iran gates of Woodbank Cemetery. The stone-built, slate-roofed cernetery lodge, which provided shelter for mourners on inclement days, ean be seen in the background with its notiee board for the display of funeral times and other details on its gable.

24 Around the year 1910

Dr. Anderson Sn. becarne the owner of one of the first motor cars in Armadale. He did not drive himselfbut was chauffeured on his rounds by his smartly unifonned driver, Mr. J O'Btien, who appears also to have driven the ambulance. This photograph shows Dr. Andersen about to drive off in his new car from outside his horne on the north side of West Main Street. Notice the car's weil upholstered buttoned leather-covered seats, made very necessary by its solid rubber tyres. Note also the running board stretching between the high metal mudguards protecting bath the spoked front and rear wheels. The larnps were

lit with paraffin bought from the local oil works.

25 Dr. Anderseri's two-storey residence can be seen on the left in this early 1900s photograph of West Main Streel. Something has obviously attracted the crowd of children down the brae from the school in Academy Streel. Could they just possibly be awaiting the arrival for the first time of the doctor's new car, seen in the previous picture? A century later, it is intriguing to wonder.

26 Still on the subject of cars, this sporty model with its racing number on the side was pictured outside one of the buildings at the Atlas Steel Foundry Among the men are Mr.]. McNeil and Mr. Fergus Notman.

27 This wee lassie was pictured pushing her teddy bear in her doll's pram past the long line of rows in Bathville. The picture was taken looking towards Bathville Cross. The rows were all heated by coalfired iron ranges, which also heated the water supply including the gallons needed at the end of each shift to fill the miners' tin baths and provided a versatile means of cooking. Food could be baked in the oven, boiled on the top or simrnered on the hob. 'Stovies', a cheap and popular dish of potatoes, anions and scraps ofleft over meat, taak its name from the fact that it was fried on this kitchen

stove, around which so much of the life of the row revolved.

28 Agreement between the recently formed Monkland Railway Company and the trustees of [ames McHardy of Bathville on 11 th November

1 855 to lay track through his estate resulted in the railway coming to Armadale. At first the new railway only transported goods traffic comprising mainly loads of coal, charcoal and iron ore from the local pits, but soon in 1858 a passenger station was built to serve the town, Local historian Mr. Hynd-Brown describes it as being built at Capers and states that it was 'an unpretending (sic) little building, with a waiting room on the left side of the door capable of accommodating about a dozen passengers,

and the booking office on the other side, with little room for the stationmaster, who was also booking clerk, to move about in. It was erected on the south side of the single line of rails, a few yards west

of the bridge.' In 1861, with the amalgamation of the Monkland Railway Co, and other local companies to form the North British Railway, it became possible for passengers from Armadale to

enjoy direct through travel to bath Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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