25 years ago
▼ people in Dunbar have been left stunned by a fire which destroyed the town’s Old Parish Church at the weekend. The fire, which is believed to have been started by an electrical fault reduced the historic monument to a shell. The blaze, which was first detected at 9.40pm on Saturday, was fought by nearly 50 firemen from East Lothian, Midlothian and Berwickshire, and fire engines remained in presence at the church until Sunday afternoon. Damage is estimated at £900,000 but the minister, Rev. William Chalmers said the church’s 1500 members were determined to rebuild.
▼ residents in the village of Coldingham have been encouraged to report any drink-related incidents or cases of vandalism to the police. The encouragement has come from Inspector Bill Angus and follows concern being expressed by members of Coldingham Community Council about an increase in drunkeness and violence in the area. The Community Council raised a number of recent incidents including: a car being vandalised, as well as some being set on fire; a fire being started in the public toilets and greenhouse windows being smashed.
▼ south of Scotland Euro MP Alasdair Hutton has been awarded an M.B.E in the New Year’s honours list for his services to the T.A. Also honoured is Professor Rosemary Cramp who received the C.B.E and Hector Clark, Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police who is given the Queen’s Police Medal. Professor Cramp has led teams of archaeologists to the Hirsel, Coldstream.
▼ unemployment in Berwickshire has increased. Latest figures show that over 700 people were out of work in the district in November- an increase of 14.2 per cent on the figure for the previous month. A spokesperson for the Job Centre in Galashiels said the increase- which brought the level of unemployment in Berwickshire to 14.6 per cent- had been caused by the continuing run down of employment at Torness nuclear power station and lay-offs from seasonal food processing.
▼ a COLDSTREAM boy met with considerable success last week in the Triathlon Championship held at Grangemouth Sports Complex under the auspices of the British Pony Club. Fourteen year old John Woodcock, a member of the North Northumberland Hunt Pony Club and a pupil at Longridge Towers, fared extremely well in all the three disciplines- shooting, running and swimming, finishing runner-up in the intermediate class.
▼ two Coldingham people who assisted in the arrest of two youths who were attempting to break into a diving shop in the village have been honoured by Lothian and Borders Police. Nicola Allan and Graham Renstead, both of High Street, were sitting in their car opposite the shop at Scoutscroft Caravan Park in the early hours of a Saturday when they were alerted to the incident. While Miss Allan phoned the police, Mr Renstead gave chase and caught one of the youths. The other was traced and later arrested.
▼ being installed as red hot favourite for the race, Trish Calder’s The Divider was unable to follow up his recent win at Kelso at Ayr last Friday. Continuous rain on New Year’s Day had made the going very heavy indeed, and The Divider looked anything but happy with this give in the ground as he was beaten by the Gordon Richards-trained Dark Ivy.
50 years ago
▼ following the thaw, signs of the recent snowstorms and big freeze-up are disappearing from Berwickshire. The thaw brought with it one incident - the closing of the ford at Cockburn Mill, not far from Milburn School, a few miles from Duns. The pressure of hundreds of tons of thick ice and snow which had frozen the River Whitadder tore a large hole in the tarmacadam approach road to the concrete bridge which fords the river at this point. Ice floes piled up more than six feet in height around the bend of the river from Cockburn Mill and under pressure the road gave way.
▼ a GRANTON lorry driver kept hold of a rope as he toppled from the quayside into the freezing waters of Eyemouth harbour on Wednesday. He had been loading fish from Eyemouth when he overbalanced as a rope slipped from a hook. Assisted by fishermen he was hauled by to safety and he was taken by ambulance to Berwick Infirmary where he was treated for exposure.
▼ THE branch line between Burnmouth and Eyemouth will be closed on February 5. The decision to close the line follows protests to the Transport Users’ Consultative Committee by Eyemouth Town Council, Berwickshire County Council and a local farming authority. After considering the representations the committee came to the conclusion that the British Railways were justified in taking steps to close the branch line in view of the fact that among other things it was planned to substitute the service by having an alterantive early morning bus service between Eyemouth and Berwick.
▼ DESPITE the fact that weather conditions stopped many people from attending the Berwickshire Farmers’ Ball which was held in the Drill Hall, Duns, on Friday, once again it was a success.
▼ NOW in its third season Duns Rugby Football Club has become a force to reckon with. So far they have played 13 fixtures, have won 12 and lost one. A young club, the players are also young, their ages range from 19 to 27.
▼ THE question of “dirty” water from the Watch Water Scheme was raised at a recent meeting of the Berwickshire County Council. It was stated, however, that there was no cause for alarm. The Landward Public Health Committee had been very disturbed for some considerable time about the water from the Watch Water Scheme - especially the difficulty in producing a crystal clear sparkling water for the consumers. A consultant had been engaged and sample of water were being taken regularly and analysed by a water research team. The evidence pointed to the necessity of settlement tanks. There was, however, no need for alarm for the samples taken showed that the water was satisfactory of dietetic purposes.
t DESPITE the icy road conditions three fire brigades rushed through Berwickshire in the early hours of Tuesday morning to an outbreak of fire at the farm of Cowrig, near Greenlaw. Duns, Coldstream and Kelso fire brigades were called out and were on the scheme within half an hour by which time the fire had got a complete hold of the roof of the building and nothing couldbe done except keep the outreak from spreading. About 17 tons of bagged and dressed potatoes were lost in the outbreak as well as some valuable machinery. Damage is estimated at between two and three thousand pounds.
100 years ago
▼ The Public of Coldingham District were provided on New Year’s Day with a dramatic entertainment of no mean order, and they showed their appreciation of the energy of 18th Berwickshire Troop Boy Scouts and their local friends in carrying it out thoroughly, by turning out in large numbers and giving the performances enthusiastic reception. The Public Hall was beautifully decorated with evergreens kindly supplied by Mrs Denholm, of Press Castle, and bunting graciously lent by Mrs Fitzroy-Bell of Temple Hall.
t In the Public Hall, Gordon, on Friday, a very pretty “Leap Year Ball” was held, and was exceedingly well conducted, thanks to the committee.
t This week’s snowstorm has been rather severe on the Borderland, the fall varying from 8-10 inches. During Monday night there was much drifting and that even early in the evening. On Tuesday morning the first train from Lauder to Fountainhall got into a wreath near Middletown, and came to a stand. The wreath was a deep one, and the stoppage was due to one of the carriages becoming derailed when the train encountered the drift. The steam crane had to be requisitioned before the carriage could be replaced, with the result that the train was about four hours late in reaching the junction, and Lauder was without a train service for half a day.
t On Tuesday the lying snow decreased considerably in bulk owing to a slight freshening in the atmosphere, but at nightfall it was frosty again. Fortunately flocks have not suffered, as flockmasters were prepared by Monday’s slight fall for the heavier one which followed.
t The pupils attending Cranshaws school presented their teacher, Mrs Tompson, with a pretty ornamental flower pot. The presentation was made by James Coltherd and Robert Mack.
t The children attending the Sabbath School at Auchencrow were entertained by their teachers to a New Year treat. After partaking of liberal supply of tea and cakes, games were heartily engaged in. Several songs were sung and the entertainment was brought to a finish by the National Anthem.
t The ex-volunteer rifle competition at Coldstream on New Year’s Day was won by Henry Kirkup. Ford. Ex-Pre Kirkup who fired eight shots, had seven balls and a centre.
t A concert was held in Eyemouth Town Hall on Saturday night, in aid of funds for the Disaster Memorial. A very successful programme was carried out by local talent, along with the assistance of Miss Wilson and Mr Scott from Ayton. All the artistes did themselves great credit in their efforts, and were heartily applauded by the appreciative audience which almost filled the hall.
t Large numbers of potatoes have been railed from Cockburnspath within the last few days. Ewes on Pathhead Farm have begun to lamb.
t STormy weather during the early part of the week retarded very considerably the prosecution of the fishing at Eyemouth. Considerable excitement prevailed on Monday, when all the line boats being at sea, a sudden change in the weather took place, and the sea rose gradually from daylight till about 2 o’clock, when great risk was involved, especially for the small boats, in taking the harbour. The lifeboat crew were summoned to be in readiness at the lifeboat station, in case any accident took place, and the fishermen’s coble, with a willing crew, did good service running ropes out to the boats as they neared the harbour entrances.