Dunbar and District in old picture postcards

Dunbar and District in old picture postcards

Auteur
:   Dr. David M. Anderson
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Lothian, East
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-6232-6
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Dunbar and District in old picture postcards'

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9 In this picture the bastion mentioned in the previous note towers over the Fisheries Board marine fish hatchery, accommodated in the sheds on the left. The bastion was a very early artillery emplacement and is still piereed with a tier of gunports, comrnanding all the landward approaches; at one time it is thought a further tier was above. The main part of the castle extended over what is now the harbour entrance, which was blasted through the living rock. The remains only hint at the strength of the fortress, but the sole inhabitants are nesting kittiwakes. These normally timid, retiring birds make this end of the harbour their own,

bringing up their young on precarious ledges. There are many boats in this picture but the harbour still looks empty. It was busy only during the herring season and saw few merchant ships. Only a few in

the potato and animal feedstock trade could be called regular visitors and even those only in the appropriate season.

10 The Bass Rock marks the mouth of the Firth of Forth. As an attraction, it is generally considered to fall into the sphere of Dunbar's great rival burgh North Berwick, the 'Biarritz ofthe North'. None the less, as can be seen from the inscription, a bit of poaching went on and it could be claimed by bath places; the tradition is continued here. The rock, a vast volcanic neck over 300 feet high, presents the aspect of a vast water beetle, an impression only enhanced at dusk when the Iighthouse gleams exactly where one might expeet an eye. It is really toa far from Dunbar for regular baat trips, as conditions can change extremely quickly.

However, fishermen would aften chance out with a boatload of sightseers. This happy set is just approaehing the isle and will shortly appreciate its main attraction.

THE BASS ROCK. DUNBAR. 59

1 1 In September 192 7 our baatlaad of excursionists might have diverted inshare to have a good look at the rernains ofthe luckless S.S. Elterwater, ashore on the Carr Rocks under Seacliff. This card was sent not long after the wreck occurred, having been rushed out to record the event (it found its way to Dublin and someone who had helped launch the lifebaat) and before the vessel broke up and sank. A lot of local interest stemmed from the performance the salvage company went to in getting at the cargo, 3,000 tons ofpigiron. First they tried diving and then they tried a Witton-

Kramer lifting magnet, rnanufactured by General Electric, mounted on the salvage vesseI. Needless to say, this caused na end of comment, sucking ofhollow teeth and knowing looks from the sea-

wise fraternity; just like the concrete baat of many years later.

1 2 The vast white cliffs of the earlier picture resolve into a teeming mass of nesting seabirds. The Bass holds one of the foremost colonies of gannets, or Solan Geese. These birds are still familiar on inshare waters as they plummet and dive for their food. This is their home and a trip to the Rock farmed a highlight far the many naturalist and bird warehing visitors to East Lothian (at another time a trip to the Bass meant food: eggs and seabirds salted ar preserved in oil). Birds have sole dominion now the light has been automated, but once the Bass held a fortress, aften used as a prison. A group of prisoners turned on their guards in 1691 and held the

island for the exiled Stuarts until April 1694 - the last place in Britain to so hold out. The oldest references to the Bass concern the locally revered Saint Baldred, who is said to have died there; re-

markably, three parishes claim his grave: a miracle meant each had a body to bury.

13 Phillimore of North Berwiek published a unique series of postcards based on his own drawings. Their popularity stemmed from vignettes and tales tucked into odd corners, so the cards both entertained and informed. An entire book in this series is devoted to his cards. This example presents the formidable curtain wall of Tantallon Castle, another of the fine local fortresses. Behind the wall was a secure clifftop compound with a landing stage below. It was probably a Douglas family stronghold from its inception around 1370 and later it featured in the animosity between that

family and ]ames V, who eventually obtained it for hirnself. He needed to bribe the Governor of the castle to do so: 'ding doon Tantallon, build a brig to the Bass' is alocal couplet celebrating two im-

possibilities, the first part meaning to take the castle by siege.

14 Rural Whitekirk was originally the three parishes ofAuldhame, Hamer andTyninghame. The church and village of the first are lost. The hamlet ofTyninghame will be shown below. Hamer became Whitekirk and here is the ancient church of St. Mary. An early tradition of miracles mediated by a holy wen encouraged a flow of pilgrims

to the parish. The first is reputed to have been a Countess of Dunbar whose hurts were cured by drinking its water. Another became Pope Pius II (unfortunately, he came away with rheumatism) and large numbers of ordinary folk followed over the years. The visitors in 1 9 14 were a little bit different because the church

was set afire at night by suffragettes and the fire taak a good grip bef are local people were roused to tackle it. Charles Bruce's photograph shows the smouldering af termath. Many ofthe interior fit-

tings were lost, but a sympathetic restoration by Robert Lorimer removed most traces of the darnage.

15 Binning Woods he between Tyninghame and Whitekirk. The woods and the park ofTyninghame House are the result of apianeering planting commenced in the early 18th century byThomas, Sixth Earl afHaddington. He was encouraged by his wife to embark on the project as an exarnple of agricultural improvement and the result was hundreds of acres of braad leafed and evergreen forest interspersed with wide avenues and viewing points on a continental pattern. This early exarnple was followed all over the county, which had been denuded of trees by extensive agricultural demands,

to produce the variegated landscape of the present day. In Victorian times the estates were very popular sylvan resorts, where aften trippers and picnickers from the eities were allowed to explore. To-

day they are reservoirs of wildhfe and refuges for scarce red squirrels.

16 The Earl of Haddingtori's great forestry project meant that the old village round the kirk of St. Baldred had to make way. Only parts of the kirk, reserved as the Earls' family burying place, remain to mark its site. A new village was built which today stands as the very model of an ear1y nineteenth century rural development. Although built by different hands and at different times the buildings form a much admired and very popular whole. They run from a Factor's House and a Sawmill (for the estate) through terraces of cottages to a school and schoolhouse. One group is called Widows' Row, ance occupied by retired estate labourers. Virtually

all the inhabitants worked on the estate when this photo was taken; taday most of them find emplayment away from the land or in the city.

1 7 Preston Kirk gives its name to the surrounding parish although it has been called both Pestonhaugh and Lyntoun at different times. The kirk was originally dedicated to St. Baldred and old stories claim a statue ofthe saint stood in the kirkyard: its disappearance is put down to the stone being recycled for walling. Visitors carne to see a fine old chancel dating from the 13th century, a1though like many of the local kirks this building was remodelled several times; in this case in both the 18th and 19th centuries. The kirkyard contains some fine old stones, arnongst them that of Andrew Meikle. His claim to farne was as an agricultural engineer and mill-

wright and it is fair to say that the equipment he developed gave Scottish farmers a techno1ogical edge. It is said there were over 600 threshing mills of his pattern installed across the country; some survive 10-

cally in one form or another. He died in 181 1 at the age of 92.

18 Preston Mill is still a beautiful and much visited part of the county. lts tranquil nature made it very popular with both amateur and professional artists. Now, the National Trust for Scotland cares for the mill. It was working regularly at the turn of the century, the last survivor of many such mills on the Tyne. However, it suffered from frequent closure because it lies in the floodplain of the river. The wooden machinery, easily maintained, was powered by an undershot wheel, in turn driven by a lade from the nearby river. A key feature is a polygonal kiln with an 'oasthouse' ventilator capping the day pantiles; the local weather meant it was necessary to

dry the grain before milling. Iust over the river is the farm of Phantassie, where John Rennie was born and his father was tenant farmer. Iohn was the great engineer who (after a brief spel! as a teacher

in Dunbar) designed and built London Bridge and other engineering landmarks!

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