The Last Forty Years
The Dean Committee had bought an empty church in the village
in 1939. The congregation of Newtongrange Parish Church
had completed their new hall and were using if for worship
until the church was built. The Dean intended to let the
drams club use the old church and the boy scouts to use
the former church hall but the outbreak of war prevented
this. The old church was used as a British Restaurant during
the War and in 1946 it was sold to the Masons, who had shared
the Band Hall with the silver band until then.
Andrew Aikman was called up in 1940 and his wife managed
the Dean in his absence. Alex Menzies was put in charge
of the cellar. Of the two barmen, Tom Reid joined the Guards
and John Lockhart was called up. For the first time a barmaid,
Jessie Robson served at the Dean.
The profits for the first three years of the war were between
£1,200 and £1,500 but in 1943 they fell to £550
in what was "the worst statement for over 40 years."
1945 was another very bad year but in the first full financial
year after the war (1945-1946) profits reached the record
level of £4,800.
The most significant event of 1947 was the transfer of
the coal mines in Britain from private ownership to public
ownership. This took place on 'Vesting Day', January 1st.
Anderson Duncan: "Everythin' was tae be a bed o' roses
but it was still the same team in different jerseys. There
was nae difference until they brought in mechanisation.
Nationalisation was a good thing right enough, when ye got
guaranteed wages. A lot o' them could of worked harder,
The Lothian Coal Co. continued for a further five years
to wind up its affairs. Their lawyers asked to see the books
of the Dean Tavern in 1948 to find out if the Dean owed
the Coal Co. any money. Details of the final payment were
found and the lawyers were satisfied that the Coal Co. had
no legal claim on the Dean.
The Dean celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1949 and, on
the 29th of October, there was free beer to celebrate the
occasion for the customers supplied by Murray's Brewery.
Remarkably, John Gilmour had been clerk to the Dean Committee
all those years.
The Committee Members at this time were George MacKay,
who had been appointed on the death of his father, Mungo,
in 1939, David Haldane, William Darge, John Ross and Andrew
Aikman. Mr. Aikman, as manager, had a full-time bar staff
of six in 1949. There was Tom Reid, head barman, Gerry Daly,
Ben Daly, Tom Haylott, Willie Mitchell, who stoked the boilers,
and an eighteen year old called William Yuill, who had just
come from the Hunterfield Goth.
There had always been bad feeling between the Dean and
the Welfare Committees. The Dean felt that the Welfare was
asking them for too much money and the Welfare thought the
Dean was refusing to pay money that was due to them. In
1948, after a dispute over payments, the Welfare secretary
wrote to the Dean Committee alleging that the Dean owed
them £4,000. The Committee consulted their solicitor
who said they had no case to answer. Accounts were produced
to show that the Welfare had received almost £20,000
over the previous 24 yedrs, an average of £830 a year.
The Welfare also received a levy on every ton of coal produced
at Newbattle and 3d. a week for each miner. Out of this
they had to maintain the park, pay the district nurse, maintain
the two Institutes and the two bands.
In 1950, the Welfare Park was taken over by the County
Council and this saved the Dean hundreds of pounds a year.
The Welfare people frequently asked to see the Dean's accounts,
their constitution and for representation of the Dean Committee.
All these requests were turned down. In 1954, John Rutherford,
a life-long trade union official and a man who had been
involved with the Newbattle Welfare since its beginning,
was asked to be a member of the Dean Commmittee. He was
not, however, officially representing the Welfare
Mr. Rutherford certainly livened up the Dean Committee
meetings. He asked for more meetings, for more details about
the accounts and he persistently pressed for a formal constitution
for the Committee. Talks about a constitution had begun
in 1952, when a Q.C. had been consulted, but the issue took
many years to resolve.
The Welfare was getting further into debt after the war
and, in 1949, asked for help from the Dean to pay off a
loss of £1,000, run up by the pit canteen during the
war. The Dean turned down this request and sent a lawyer's
letter to say so.
The Dean had owned the Institutes at Newtongrange at Easthouses
until 1943 when it was arranged to sell them to the Welfare.
Extensive repairs were needed and Central Welfare funds
were only available for buildings belonging to them. The
two Institutes were valued at £8,250, altogether,
and the Dean planned to spend the money on houses for retired
miners. However, no money was ever paid to the Dean although
the Welfare became the owners.
In 1952 the Miner's Welfare organisation was re-organised
under the title of the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation
(C.I.S.W.O.). The central body was funded by a grant from
the National Coal Board. Miners pay a voluntary levy for
the upkeep of local Welfare schemes, including institutes
In the mid 1950s, Newbattle District Council, C.I.S.W.O.
and the Education Committee of Midlothian County Council
gave a joint grant to build a large hall at the Institute.
At the same time, Newtongrange Community Association was
formed to manage the former Institute and the new hall,
which together were called Newtongrange Community Centre.
Membership of the Community Centre was 6d. a week for miners
and non-mine'rs, alike. The only difference being, the miners
had 6d. deducted from their wages every week (although they
could opt out) and this gave them access to billiards, dominoes
and the reading room. The public library was also in the
building and was run by the Education Committee.
It transpired that the membership fees were insufficient
to cover the running costs and the District Council had
to bail them out two or three times. Finally, it was agreed
that Newbattle District Council should take over the building
and it was sold to them for I/-. Johnjenks, one of the councillors,
recalls, "The miners felt the District took the Institute
from them but, in actual fact, we saved it for them. The
District Council spent quite a lot of money on the building."
Financial troubles continued to plague the Community Association
and a meeting was arranged with the Dean Committee to seek
support from them.
A special Meeting was convened for 15th July 1967 at 3
p.m. to receive a deputation from the Trustees of the Newtongrange
Welfare Institute. Composition of the Meeting:
|For the Institute
||For the Dean Tavern Committee
||Mr MacKay, Chairman
|Secretary Mr Cowan
Mr Cowan spoke for the Institute on its financial position,
pointing out that unless it received immediate financial
aid it would in the meantime have to close down. They, in
order to keep going, required an immediate sum of £600
to pay off their outstanding debt and promise of continuing
financial aid. They had decided that if this was not forthcoming
from the Dean, they had no alternative but to carry on with
a proposal to go forward with a scheme of using a part of
their premises for the purposes of a Licensed Club. The
discussion then became general, during which the Dean Secretary
pointed out that the Dean was not at present in a position
to grant this aid, in view of large sums which, in recent
years, had been spent on making the Dean more modern in
the Bars and adding a Function Hall to the already large
premises. Mr Cowan conceded that it was very obvious that
the affairs of the Dean had been well managed, a remark
to which there was no disagreement. Mr Steel, who represented
the District Council, indicated that so far as rn knew that
body would not assist financially in the meantime. The Dean
Committee regretted their inability to assist them in the
meantime." (Dean Committee Minute Book)
The Community Association got a club licence in 1967 and
re-named the premises Newtongrange Community Association
Social Club (generally known as the 'Top Club', as they
are at the top end of the village). The Community Association
is now more or less defunct and the club is run by a committee.
The Dean had had a virtual monopoly in Newtongrange since
1899 but after World War Two competition developed from
licensed clubs. Jim Reid says, "Mind you the Dean wasnae
pleased when a' these licences got up, ye know. Ye see,
it was takin' custom - and the worst blow was the Morris
Club. John Morris was a rabid Labour councillor, despite
the fact he had a shop. Some o' the men went tae him, 'We'll
have tae get some place else tae drink. We'll have tae break
away frae the Dean.' It was that crowded on a Saturday night."
The Morris Club took Bernard's beer and in retaliation the
Dean stopped buying Bernard's beer, even though it was a
The Bowling Club wanted a club licence in 1947 and they
needed the agreement of the Dean, which still owned the
green and pavilion. George MacKay supported their application
and he convinced the other Committee members that it was
a good idea. The Bowling Club got its licence. In 1979,
the Bowling Club negotiated a 40 year lease with the Dean
Tavern and the club now manage their own affairs entirely.
The British Legion also got a club licence and, in 1958,
the Star got a licence - without the blessing of the Dean.
The Star park and pavilion had been handed over to the football
club in 1948, as the Dean were anxious to get rid of a property,
which had cost them thousands since it was built in 1924.
There were three conditions: (1) There was to be no dog
racing (2) The Club was to use the Dean for refreshment
sales and (3) The Park and pavilion were to be returned
to the Dean if the Star failed. At the same time the Dean
Committee gave the Star a loan of £200 for ground
repairs. When the star got their licence the Dean asked
for the loan to be repaid. A rumour current at the time
had it that the Dean had 'fined' the Star £200 for
opening a club.
Three public houses had opened in the neighbourhood in
the 1940s. John Black got a licence at Newtonloan Toll in
1946; Peter Robertson opened the Sun Hotel in 1948 and Andrew
Aikman became licencee of the Barley Bree at Easthouses
in 1949. Mr Aikman brought Bernard Daly from the Dean to
be his manager and remained as Dean manager himself.
The Dean, for the first time in its history had to attract
customers and a modern lounge bar was created in the upstairs
room. When a TV was installed there in 1951 the takings
increased by £30 a week.
A vast new council housing scheme was being built on the
side of the hill above Newtongrange at this time. The National
Coal Board were building modern pits at Bilston Glen and
Monktonhall and Midlothian County Council were constructing
over 1,000 houses at Mayfield to house the incoming miners.
They came mainly from the West of Scotland, where old mines
were being closed down.
Usher's brewery built a pub in Mayfield (the Country Girl)
and the Dean applied for the licence but the licence was
granted to David Cochrane instead. The Dean never took Usher's
beer after that.
The Dean Committee had plans for a pub at the West end
of the village in the 1950s to combat competition from the
clubs. It was intended to build above the corner shop ('Jenny
Scotts') next to the picture house and the proposed premises
were to be called the 'Club Bar'. The idea was to catch
the men coming down from the pit. Mr. Twatt who owned the
shop objected bitterly, but the Committee had reserved the
right to build above the shop when they had sold it. The
committee applied for a licence first in 1956, in the name
of committee member, David Haldane, and were turned down.
A second application in the name of Willie Yuill, barman,
was refused in 1957 and a third application in manager,
Andrew Aikman's name was also refused in 1959.
The court had no obligation to give reasons for their refusal
but privately it was said that there were sufficient licences
in the village and that the proposed premises were on the
corner of two busy, converging roads. Willie Yuill thinks
the Council were against the Dean and says, "The council
thought the Dean weren't doing sufficient to let the people
know what they were doing."
With the failure of their attempt to build a second pub
at the top of the village, the Dean Committee turned their
attention to their own premises and a large extension was
built in 1962. The Evening Dispatch reported "'TAVERN
HAS BROUGHT CHANGES IN DRINKING HABITS" Great changes
in drinking habits have been witnessed by the chairman of
the Dean Tavern Trust, Councillor Andrew Aikman. Councillor
Aikman started serving in the pub as a boy of 14. He has
now 39 years service with it, including 12 as the licensee.
Some indication of the respect in which the trustees are
held in the village may be gathered from the fact that Mr
Aikman was returned as the only independent councillor in
a village which is overwhelmingly a Labour stronghold.
Mr Aikman recalls the day when women used to creep into
the old jug bar, push a jug across the counter to be filled
with beer, and whisper "A nip and a half-pint".
Today the womenfolk join their husbands for a quiet drink
in the attractively furnished cocktail bar - as swish as
anything Edinburgh has to offer-or for a dance in the functions
hall on a Saturday night.
"We very, very seldom have any drunks here",
Councillor Aikman told me, "but when we do see that
they are taken home."
Draught beer still maintains its place as the most popular
drink. It is sold at Is Id a pint compared with the usual
Is 3d. The price to old age pensioners is even cheaper lid.
Bottle beer is also cheaper, and an export is sold to old
age pensioners for Is.
"The reason we are doing this," said Councillor
Aikman is because the customers have after all made possible
all the various schemes which we have helped to finance.
We felt they themselves should have some concession.
Newtongrange has two public-houses including the Dean and
seven clubs. It seems rather odd that the seven clubs are
open on a Sunday while the Dean, which has done so much
to help the welfare of the people of the village remains
closed. "If it was left to the customers we'd certainly
be open on Sundays," commented Councillor Aikmari.
The people of Newtongrange are very proud of the place
said Mr W. Yuill charge hand. "The public bar is a
real man's bar."
It certainly must be one of the largest and best-stocked
in the Edinburgh area. The four trustees of the Dean are
Councillor Aikman, Mr George MacKay, son of an original
trustee; Mr David Haldane, a retired mining engineer; and
Mr John Rutherford a retired trade union official. The secretary
is Mr Norman Currie, of Caledonian Breweries.
The £20,000 alterations to the premises have converted
them into an attractive, cleverly designed roadhouse with
a wineshop (orders are delivered by van to customers), lounge
bar, functions hall and dance floor, with bar, games room
and public bar."
There was a big controversy before the extension was opened.
Willie Yuill: "When they did the alterations they'd
no room to store coal or coke so they decided to heat by
gas. Well, that caused a furore! From then on the unions
came down on us. There were some of them, then, threatened
a boycott because we were using gas."
An offer had been made to buy the picture house in 1947
but the Committee turned it down. The picture house was
doing very well after the War and the Committee was getting
£800 a year in rent from the Burntisland Picture Palace
Co. It was decided, however, to sell the shops and flats
attached to the picture house and these realised £4,300.
In 1956 the Dean Committee bought, from the Marquis of
Lothian, the feu of a piece of ground containing the picture
house and all the shops at the top of the village. By an
oversight, this did not include the Institute. The Dean
was then in a position to prevent any of these premises
obtaining a licence in competition to themselves.
Attendances at the picture houses were dwindling and it
was closed down in 1962. The County Council bought it with
the intention of converting it into a swimming pool but
this did not prove feasible. A fine new swimming pool was
built in 1969. The picture house is now Jackie Williamson's
Members of the Dean Committee had always served for life,
with the remaining members choosing a successor on the death
of one ot them. There had originally been five members but
in 1962 there were just four. One member, David Haldane,
died in 1965; another Andrew Aikman, resigned in 1965; and
a third, John Rutherford, died in 1966. Andrew Ross replaced
Mr. Haldane but the other two were not replaced on the advice
of Mr. Murray, the lawyer. For the first time,'the Dean
Tavern was to have a constitution and protracted negotiations
were taking place. It was thought that no new Committee
members should be appointed until a Trust was formed and
Court of Session approval was necessary for this. In 1969,
Andrew Ross died leaving George MacKay as the only member
of the Committee. For a year and a half Mr. MacKay supervised
the running of the Dean himself, visiting the premises every
month or two to check the books and sign cheques.
Andrew Aikman, the manager suffered a stroke in August
1970 whilst on holiday and Willie Yuill took over in his
absence. Mr Aikman was unable to resume work and resigned
on February 5th 1971. He had worked 44 years at the Dean
Tavern, 37 of them as manager. He died two months later.
Willie Yuill the head barman, who had been running the Dean
since the onset of Andrew Aikman's illness, was then appointed
manager of the Dean.
A second Committee member, Tom Irvine, was appointed in
1970, as two names were needed on the Court ot Session.
Finally, in 1971, the constitution was approved and the
Dean Tavern Trust was formed. There were to be seven Trustees,
as follows:- The chairman and vice -chairman of the South
Welfare Sub-Committee of C.I.S.W.O., the chairman of Newtongrange
Community Association; the manager of the Bank of Scotland,
Dalkeith; a councillor nominated by Newbattle District Council;
and George MacKay and Thomas Irvine who, on their death
or resignation, would be replaced by nominees of Newbattle
District Council. Meetings must be held at least four times
a year and a quorum of five was needed at meetings.
Currently, steps are being taken to alter that part of
the Constitution which refers to the appointment of Trustees.
It is proposed to have one councillor nominated by Midlothian
District Council, one community councillor nominated by
Newtongrange Community Council, two people nominated by
C.I.S.W.O., the Dalkeith Bank of Scotland manager and two
local people nominated by Midlothian District Council. The
councillors and the C.I.S.W.O. nominees would serve for
three years (as at present) and the two local people for
five years and they would all be eligible for re-nomination.
The Dean Tavern Trust is "to apply the whole free
profits of the trading carried on, or in connection with,
the Dean Tavern for the benefit of the people of Newtongrange
Grants may be given to promote the following objects: "Youth
and adult education or training; the study, exposition or
practice of the arts; literature, music and drama; sports
games and athletics, cultural arid recreational activities
of all kinds; and the care or recreation of aged, infirm,
incapacitated, handicapped or needy persons." Applications
for grants are dealt with once a year and have to be made
by the end of January. Below is a list of grants awarded
|Fishing and Flytying Group
|Newbattle Community Old Time Dance Section
|Newtongrange and Bilston Glen Colliery
|Newtongrange Junior Silver Band
|Newtongrange Star "A"
|Easthouses and Mayfield O.A.P. Association
|Newtongrange O.A.P. Association
|Darby and Joan Club
|Newtongrange Cage Bird Society
|Dean Tavern F.C.
|Phoenix Youth Club
|21st Midlothian Scout Troup
|Gorebridge Police Bowling Section
|Scottish Brewers Silver Band (Newtongrange)
|Dean Tavern Darts Club
|Newtongrange Accordion and Fiddle Club
|Newtongrange Homing Society
|Newbattle District Gardening Club
|Newtongrange Star Football Club
|Newbattle Bowling Club
|'The Grange' newsletter
Mostly, awards are made to groups or societies but occasionally
individuals are helped. In 1986 £50 was awarded to
Debbie Smith, a talented gymnast, to help with her training
Alec Trench says, "The Dean's no' changed much since
ah started drinkin- there in 1945. It's a lot quieter. Of
course it looks quieter but there could be two hunder people
in there. Yer lucky if ye see them for there's two lounges
and a dance hall and then the big bar. There can be 30 to
40 men sittin' in thon manholes. It's very seldom ye see
many men standm' roond the bar nowadays. Ye ken. they get
their drink and gaun and sit doon. Before, ye used tae stand
at the bar, feet in the sawdust an' that. There's very little
o' that anywhere."
Dominoes were first allowed in the Dean in 1934 and the
first dartboard was bought in 1941. When the alterations
were made in 1962, a large games room was made next to the
This is an extract from a Committee meeting in December,
1965: 'Before the meeting convened the members viewed a
new type of Amusement Machine, commonly called a "Fruit
Machine" or a One-armed Bandit. Under new regulations
it is now quite legal to instal this type of machine in
licensed premises. The prizes are strictly limited to one
shilling in cash or a disc token valued at 5/- and exchangeable
for goods only.
It was finally decided to make formal application to the
local Authority tor permission to instal this machine on
a trial period only."
The darts and dominoes were in the games room and there
was also a pinball machine and a football machine but the
games room was never very popular. People did not really
want to be apart from the rest of the company in the pub
and in 1972 the games room was made into a lounge bar. Alec
Trench recalls, "There wis a lot o' cairry oot. There
wis the Dean barry jist tae deliver thir orders on a Seturday
night. People that wis havin' a cairry oot - maybe a dozen
o' them - the Dean barry would take them up tae thir hooses.
If ye see somebody half drunk ye'd say, 'Better get the
Dean barry!' Ye could borrow it for fh'trin's."
The Dean barrow was eventually stolen and in 1951 the Dean
van made its appearance. It was mainly for carry outs but
it was also used to take home drunks.
Gorebridge Store was the only off-licence grocer's shop
in the village and the Dean did a great deal of off-sales
business, especially at
New Year, but the Dean cannot now compete price-wise with
supermarkets and cut-price stores.
Willie Yuill recalls that the Dean was mainly a beer shop.
"We used to sell 20 barrels of light beer a week, no
problem. The breweries all got a turn, Dalkeith might get
an order for two hogsheads. McEwans and Murrays might get
The following brewers all supplied the Dean with draught
|Aitkens of Falkirk
|Campbell Hope and King
|Youngs of Musselburgh
|Lorimer and Clark
Beer from two breweries was available at any one time but
they were never named. To sell beer from so many breweries
was a practice unique to the Dean. Willie Yuill: "The
customers wouldn't put up with it nowadays. You were changing
a man's palate every week."
Latterly, William Murray and Co. began to get more business
than the other breweries, partly because they were the first
brewery to deliver locally. Other breweries delivered by
train to the nearest station and the order was picked up
by a local carrier.
Murray's had guaranteed the bank overdraft at the time
of the Dean extension in 1960 and had given the Dean a loan
to build the new Bowling Club pavilion in 1962. In return,
the Dean made a commitment to take a certain amount of Murray's
In 1962 the Dean Tavern was the first pub in Scotland to
have beer delivered in tanks. Willie Yule: "If they
could sell it here they could sell it anywhere. This was
the test bed." It was at this time that heavy beer
became popular and the demand for light beer dropped away.
The large-scale extensions and improvements completed in
1960 had cost £20,000 and this had seriously over
stretched the Dean's resources. It took a long time to pay
off the overdraft and it was not cleared until the mid 1970s.
Each time a new club had opened in the village the Dean's
trade was affected. It largely recovered after a time, but
business was not as good as it had been in the past. The
biggest blow came when the Top Club opened in 1969 and,
for a while, it was very popular, to the detriment of the
Dean. At the same time, the Dean had no proper committee,
Andrew Aikman took ill and died shortly after and so did
the secretary, Norman Currie.
Geoff Craythorne was appointed secretary in 1970 and Willie
Yuill took over from Andrew Aikman that year. In 1971, the
Dean Trust was formed and from about this time the fortunes
of the Dean improved. By 1978, the annual turnover had risen
to £125,000 a year, although a lot of that was due
to inflation. Since then, trade has been very good and the
business is now on a firm footing. For a number of years,
some of the profits have been set aside annually to build
up a reserve fund. Necessary structural repairs currently
taking place to the Dean will cost many thousands of pounds
and the whole burden can be met from the reserves. The fabric
of the building has deteriorated fairly seriously over.
The turnover of the Dean Tavern for the year 1985-86 was
£212,000 leaving a net profit of just under £5,000.
Of this, just over £2,000 was given out in donations
to local organisations and the rest was put into the reserve
The costs of running *he Dean are relatively high in comparison
to those of other pubs, due to the size of the building.
It's a big, rambling place that requires more to heat, light,
repair and staff than would a smaller place.
Willie Yuill: "We try to sell drinks as cheap as we
possibly can sell them and still keep up the standards.
Our drinks prices are the same as the club's - cheaper than
other pubs, well below them. My view is the customer should
get back a bit more because he's the man who frequents it.
The customer should get the benefit. The Christmas gift
is a way of thanking the regular customer."
Since 1899 over £1000,000 has been spent by the Dean
on village amenities. Most of the profits from the first
twenty five years were spent on big projects like the bowling
green, the football park, the two Institutes, the picture
house and the nurse's cottage, etc. For a few years after
that, the Dean's funds were used to maintain the facilities
they had provided in the early years, the Welfare Park,
the Institutes and the Star Park proved particularly expensive
to maintain. Beinning in 1943, the Dean Committee (with
hindsight, very wisely) began to divest itself of these
properties. Over a number of years, they were able to give
away or sell the properties they owned except the Dean itself
and the bowling green. The land they were built on, however,
still belonged to the Marquis of Lothian and the lease was
due to terminate in 1982. One of the first aims of the newly
constituted Dean Trust in 1972, therefore, was to secure
The Lothian Estates asked for £20,000 but eventually
the Marquis, on a visit to the Dean, accepted the Trust's
offer of £2,000. He said he was happy with the management
of the place but wanted a promise that good quality bowling
would always continue at the bowling green.
The National Coal Board inherited just over one thousand
houses in Newtongrange from the Lothian Coal Co. in 1947.
It was the largest coal mining village in Scotland, but
the Coal Board never made very great landlords and gradually
the houses deteriorated, due to lack of maintenance. There
was concern in the village when the Coal Board began moving
out tenants in parts of Fourth and Fifth Streets in the
early 1970s and demolishing some of the houses. Newtongrange
Housing Action Group was formed and representations were
made to the N.C.B., the N.U.M., and Midlothian District
Council. Newtongrange was then made a Conservation Area
and the demolitions stopped. An independent feasability
study, commissioned by the Action Group, proved that the
houses were structurally sound, though in need of costly
rehabilitation. The N.C.B. had no interest in modernising
the houses as the lease of the land from the Lothian Estates
was due to end in 1982. The lease stipulated that the land
the houses were built on was to be returned to the Lothian
Estates in its original condition and suitable for agricultural
use. The District Council were unable to help without Government
funding and a general feeling of depression and despair
overtook the village. Nevertheless, a survey made by Newtongrange
Community Council revealed that the great majority of residents
not only wanted to stay in the village but would prefer
to have their present houses modified rather than have new
A significant factor in the campaign was a BBC TV programme
about the plight of Newtongrange called 'The Village That
Nobody Wants.' This brought home the village's problem to
a much wider public.
Eventually the Government intervened and the Housing Corporation
compensated Lothian Estates for the land not being returned
to agricultural use for an undisclosed sum. The Housing
Corporation then bought 116 houses from Lothian Estates
for £200,000 and transferred them to Castle Rock Housing
Association with a grant for their rehabilitation. A company
called Grange Estates is modernising other properties for
sale or rent and some houses have been sold privately. A
large number of houses have yet to be modernised and more
Government money will be needed to complete the work. A
private developer is about to begin building a new scheme
of up to 100 houses on reclaimed land at Lingerwood Pit.
During the worries over the housing, a major blow to the
village had come with the closure of the Lady Vie, the last
family pit in Midlothian. Some of the men took redundancy
and others transferred to Monkton Hall or Bilston Glen.
During its lifetime 39,524,215 tons of coal were wrought
from the Lady. It closed on the 27th March 1981, much lamented.
One good thing that has come out of the closure of the
Lady is the birth of the Scottish Mining Museum on part
of the site. The magnificent steam-operated winding engine
has been retained and a display, with re-constructed scenes
from village life, has opened in the old Colliery Office.
There is a museum shop and a good tea room. The other half
of the Mining Museum is at Prestongrange in East Lothian.
The Dean has had some ups and downs over the last thirty
years or so. Every time a new club opened (and there are
now six) business fell away for a time but usually recovered.
The biggest threat, at the rime, appeared to be the miner's
club (the 'Top Club') when it opened in the old Institute
in 1967 but the Dean weathered that storm.
During the 1960s and much of the 1970s, the Dean was saddled
with large debts, incurred in the building of the extensions
in 1962, but over the past ten years substantial reserves
have been built up. Business is good and growing under the
ebullient management of Willie Yule. The Trust supports
a lot of village societies with annual grants. During the
miner's strike of 1984-85, the Dean provided the Women's
Support Group with £50 worth of food a week.
The Dean is looking remarkably hale and hearty after its
86th birthday and has a long way to go yet.