Bathgate in old picture postcards

Bathgate in old picture postcards

Author
:   William F. Hendrie
Municipality
:   Bathgate
Province
:   Lothian, West
Country
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-3167-4
Pages
:   160
Price
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

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

   


Fragments from the book 'Bathgate in old picture postcards'

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29. St. John's United Free Chureh, Torphiehen, was the first stone built Free Chureh built in Seotland, after the disruption of the Chureh of Seotland, in 1843.

As quarrels split the established ehureh throughout the length and breadth of the land, half of the eongregation left Torphiehen Parish Kirk and built this small independent ehureh on the hillside overlooking their former plaee of worship.

lts eongregation stayed apart for over a eentury until in 1930 a well-loved parish minister, the Reverend Hugh P.R. MaeKay was at last able to heal the breaeh and it was agreed that all of the villagers would onee again worship together and that St. John's should beeome the ehureh hall, a role which it still serves to this day, although the exterior has recently been altered.

The gateway to the left now leads to the Manse, a modern villa built to replace the parish minister's original residenee, the mueh more interesting and historie Glebe House, whieh was sold by the Kirk Session and is now owned by the Wishart family. Glebe is the old Seottish word for the manse garden, which the parish minister was expeeted to eu1tivate to make up his meagre stip end or salary. Today the Wishart's use the Glebe to graze their horses, whieh are a popular sight when ridden through the village, bringing baek memories of older, quieter times.

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30. Torphichen's biggest day of the year is still its annua1 Gala held on the third Saturday of June.

In this early picture, believed to have been taken in 1910, the village's school girl queen hasjust been crowned and parish minister the Reverend George Beale, who compered the proceedings, just as his successor the Reverend Tom Crichton still does to this day, is ab out to introduce the young maypole dancers.

Behind the platform the village well has been decorated, and although the coronation ceremony has now been moved from the Square to the more peaceful playground of the village school, it is at the old well that the young herald reads the proclarnation announcing the crowning ceremony on the preceding Friday evening.

Across the road from the crowning ceremony, it is interesting to note that the McNair family in the one business combined hiring cabs and carriages with the sale of wines and spirits in their village grocery store, a combination, which in our 'don't drink and drive' days would no doubt prove more controversia1. In the pre-First World War days pictured in this postcard, however, Scot1and's roads were still peaceful enough to accommodate both the graceful open horse-drawn land au and the new fang1ed petrol driven motor car, which was soon to replace it.

McNair's shop, with the ground floor windows much enlarged, is now an antique store.

31. Torphichen Gala Day procession winds its way around the lawn in front of Wal1house, whose large estate lies a short distance to the west of the village.

For over three centuries Wallhouse belonged to the same farnily, the Gillons, one of whose number, Henry, provided the ;(300 required in 1750 to build a new parish church for the village to replace that originally built by the Knights of St. John. Wallhouse is said to have had close connections with the Knights, because the name is c1aimed to be a corruption of WeH House and a stained glass wind ow in the staircase, depiets the members of the order coming to the well to draw water for use in the hospital and monastery which they established around the Preceptory, as their church in the village was known, from their acknowledgement of the Christian precepts. Another conneetion between Wallhouse and the Knights is the fact that the Gillon family's motto is 'Protection and Refuge', which is derived from the famous law of sanctuary, which the Order of St. J ohn operated for one mile to the north, south, east and west of their headquarters, taking in the Wal1house Estate. This law of sanctuary meant in the rough, tough times of the Scottish middle ages, when people were liable to take the law into their own hands, th at any accused person ab Ie to reach these lands was assured of a fair trial.

Carved on the fa├žade of the present house, shown in the picture, which was built in 1846, is the Gillon family coat of arms, whose ravens are a reminder that the name Torphichen is Gaelic for the hill of the ravens or magpies.

Wallhouse was for many years alocal authority children's home, but as it is no longer needed for this purpose, now stands boarded up and deserted. Plans have however now been announced to re-open it as an old folks' horne.

32. From the smallest baby, the children of Torphichen gathered on a gala day of days gone by to pose in front of the whitewashed cottage, which gained first prize as the best decorated house in the village, a competition, which is still held annually each June.

Most of the children are all dressed up for the big day, inc1uding three of the boys wearing white Eton collars, but notice the laddie in the middle, who despite the occasion still has bare feet. Notice too the boys' caps, the girls' buttoned boots and the white pantalettes of the litt1e girl in the white sashed dress.

33. Proud villagers pose beneath their prize arch, built at the foot of the High Brae to mark Torphichen's gala day in the year 1910.

The single storey building immediately behind the arch has long since disappeared, but the houses on the brae itself still remain.

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