Rogues Gallery back on show

Alan Dearling presents the 'Rogues Gallery' to Garry Bolton, Manager of the First and Last
Alan Dearling presents the 'Rogues Gallery' to Garry Bolton, Manager of the First and Last

THE burning down of The Flemington Inn, Burnmouth in 2006 was a big shock not only to its regular clientele but the whole community and it wasn’t just bricks and mortar that were lost in the blaze.

Back in the 1980s, Alan Dearling produced an eight foot long photo collage of Burnmouth residents and scenes taken during his time living in the village between 1983 and 1988, when he was local editor for the Fishing News.

Alan, who is a writer and photographer, now lives in Eyemouth, and has painstakingly recreated some sections of the original collage, which was known as the Flemington Rogues’ Gallery, and presented them to Garry Bolton, landlord of the First and Last pub, next door to what used to be the Flemington but is now just a piece of land.

The collage is on display in the main bar, which is also a veritable museum of local people and the fishing industry.

The photo-collage has provoked plenty of reminiscing among locals in the bar – fond memories about those who are no longer with us, the first up-the-brae cycle race, the original Flemington Rogues’ Cricket team and a time when there were so many fishing boats in Eyemouth harbour that you could walk across them from Harbour Road right over to Middle Pier.

And having spent a number of years away from the area in the 1990s and early 2000s, Alan said he was pleased to give something back to the village he still has a great affinity for. “I left Burnmouth initially to be publishing manager at Longman,” Alan explained.

“From there I travelled all over the country with different jobs but I always kept up a connection with Burnmouth to a certain extent.

“I moved back up to the area not long after the Flemington burnt down.

“Unfortunately things like that happen but it’s particularly sad in a small community. Until 1985, the Flemington was the only pub in Burnmouth. I’m not one for self praising but I’d definitely say I’m pleased to have been able to complete the collage; it’s nowhere near as big as the 8ft original but it’s a piece of history and goes well with the other artefacts in the bar.

Thinking back to the 1980s when he first had the idea of producing a collage for the Flemington, Alan said he felt it appropriate to do something which reflected life in Burnmouth at the time.

“I took photos as part of my job; I had hundreds so I thought I might as well do something with them,” he continued.

“I had photos of everything and all of the interesting characters in the village.

“I mentioned it to the then owners, Roger and Jackie, and they were really keen to have it in the bar so they put it in perspex and it hung in prime position.”

“There are a lot of people in the pictures who are still alive and in the area such as George Turbull, who I know still enjoys a good pint of Guinness and a glass of wine now and again but unfortunately others, such as legendary character ‘Jonny Poo’ (slang for crab), are no longer with us.

“I saw one of the guys in the collage - Peter Hill - for the first time in 24 years the other day. Finding the photos to create an exact replica was quite hard as although I had prints of some of the originals I didn’t have all of them.

“For that reason I included some of the other photos I took back in the 80s. I ran an informal youth club at the time so I’ve included pictures of the kids in that, who will all be in there mid-30s by now and probably drink in the Flemington.”