Since the days of Queen Margaret in the 11th century, there have been many royal and famous visitors to Queensferry. Below we have noted just a few.
On the 4th March 1890, HRH the Prince of Wales, (later King Edward VII) was in the company of Sir William Arrol, Lord Rosebery, Sir Benjamin Baker, the Marquis of Tweeddale and others, at the official opening of the Forth Rail Bridge. The Prince drove home the last rivet which was gilded for the occasion. There are believed to be no official photographs of this historical event but the image below shows an illustration from “Our Railways” by J Pendleton, published in 1896.
1940, King George VI visited and he inspected the WRENS at Port Edgar.
22nd September 1959, Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Nikolai Bulganin, Soviet politician both visited Queensferry. (no image of this event is available)
17th October 1962, King Olaf of Norway visited Queensferry. The Council Chambers was used as the Norwegian HQ during the second world war. King Olaf returned to thank the people of Queensferry and Scotland for their hospitality during the war years.
On 2nd September 1965, Queensferry had a visit from the Fijian Rugby Team (no image of this event is available )
Fijian Rugby Team 1961. Image: Wikimedia Commons
In June 1970, Princess Margaret opened Queensferry High School, marking the 900th anniversary of the arrival of Queen Margaret in Queensferry. Princess Margaret also revisited on 14th June 1972 to receive Freedom of the Burgh of Queensferry.
There have also been visits from other well known faces, most stopping at the now demolished Forth Bridge Motel. Among the big names were 'The Who', 'Status Quo', 'Cliff Richard', 'The Rolling Stones' and many more.
Some interesting extracts from West Lothian Courier Archives
April 1894 - “There is at present a unique and altogether marvellous exhibition in the untenanted shop of Mr Anderson, at East Terrace, High Street. It is a talking machine, or, in other words, an Edison’s Phonograph. By certain arrangements of tubes and dual conductors, seventeen persons can hear at one time, the buried treasured-up talents of various kinds, and of many persons they never saw. There are over a score of selections to choose from, all done by the manipulators turn of the wrist, equal to “Pull the string and the figure will work”. These consist of songs, recitations, bagpipe selections, artistic whistling, addresses and Gladstone’s reply to Edison & co. In other words it sings, laughs, and makes one feel inclined to dance as if it were alive. To be sure, the great feature about this comparatively new innovation is that it is of comparative recent origin and moreover enjoyable and cheap. I myself have tested it and heard the Airdronian by proxy, singing “The Fellow That Played the Drum”.
16.10.1897- Fire at Hawes Inn “Between seven and eight o’ clock on Tuesday night, fire broke out in the Hawes Inn, South Queensferry, and for a brief space threatened to assume serious proportions. Fortunately however the promptness and energy with which the flames were attacked by the employees succeeded in keeping the fire in check and what first promised to develop into a serious conflagration was confined to the immediate vicinity of the outbreak. So threatening was the fire at the outset however that intimation was telegraphed to the Edinburgh Fire Brigade with a request that a detachment should be dispatched to the scene. A steamer and a party of six men under Lieutenant Alan, was sent off, a with a team of four horses, taking the heavy engine out to South Queensferry in about fifty minutes. On their arrival the fire was virtually conquered and the application of a hand pump was all that was found necessary to complete the work. An examination showed that the fire had broken out in the store room, a one story building at the back of the hotel where among other things, several gallons of paraffin oil were stored. The flames soon communicated with the kitchen adjoining, but although the store was completely destroyed, only the contents of the kitchen were consumed. The bedrooms above were also affected by smoke and heat but it is not expected that the damage will exceed more than three or four hundred pounds, roughly speaking. The Edinburgh Brigade returned to the city at half past eleven.”
Copyright: Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service (Museum of Fire) A new Central Fire Station opened at Lauriston Place in 1900. The station incorporated many improvements and provided accommodation for all the firemen and their families. Horse-drawn fire engines could be clear of the station within fifteen seconds. Horses were so well trained that, on the alarm sounding, they would position themselves in front of the engine
Bicycle Accident 11.6.1898-Bicycle Accident “ On Wednesday evening while Robert Anderson, Baker, Grangemouth, was riding down the Loan, he lost control of his machine and dashed into Hill Square. He was rendered unconscious, sustained a nasty bruise on the right side of his head and was greatly shaken”
19th Century Safety Bicycle
11.6.1898- HMS Rodney “HMS Redwing, tender to the Guardship HMS Rodney, arrived off Queensferry on Wednesday evening. On Wednesday diving operations were carried on off Beimer Rock in search of the torpedo which has been lost from HMS Rodney. It is valued at £250.”
HMS Rodney - Wikipedia Commons
11.6.1898 Dalmeny - Throwing of Dirty Water “Jessie McDonald or Ronaldson, wife of a Retortman residing at Dalmeny Rows, was at the Linlithgow Sheriff Court charged with having, at a house there, assaulted Margaret Whitney by throwing a quantity of dirty water about her. The sheriff bound her over in 5s to keep the peace for six months.”
21.12.1900-Drunkeness in Queensferry and Linlithgow -(extract from article) “Since the publication of the report on the judicial statistics of Scotland for 1899, a good deal of comment has been made at the unfavourable position occupied by the county of west Lothian. The Burgh of Queensferry comes first on the list of towns which has the highest record for convictions for drunkenness per 1000 of the population, while the burgh of Linlithgow occupies third place. These Burghs have therefore gained an unenviable notoriety which perhaps they do not altogether deserve…………………………………….. Anyone acquainted with Queensferry knows that during the summer months the town is visited by hundreds of people from Edinburgh and Leith, who come to see the Forth Bridge and others, and by far, the greater number for a day’s outing, and there can be no doubt that many of the cases of drunkeness recorded in the Burgh of Queensferry are chargeable to those excursionists who chiefly avail themselves of the facilities afforded by coach and steamer visits to the town.”
27.9.1901- Mortuary at South Queensferry “At present the only mortuary accommodation at South Queensferry for the Burgh and County is the washing house at the Police Station there. This building is most unsuitable for such a purpose. It adjoins the men’s kitchen and so to gain admitance to the back garden, WC and coal-cellar, this washing house must be passed through. As many as three dead bodies have been lying there at one time while post mortem examinations are also conducted there. There is however at the new cemetery, a building originally intended for a mortuary, which the Parish Council are willing to allow the District Committee and Burgh Councillors to use. It is well adapted for the purpose, having water and drainage inside but requires to be fitted up with shelves and ventilation provided in the roof, which could be done at a cost of £10. A plan is submitted showing this building and the position of a post mortem house if required. It was agreed to erect a mortuary at Queensferry and to ask the Local Authority of Queensferry to bear half of the cost.”
Image - Old Police Station, Queensferry History Group
23.3.1917-St Patricks Day “On Saturday, a sale of flags on behalf of Irish soldiers wounded, and prisoners of war, was held in the town.”
23.3.1917 -Potato "Queue" “It was probably more with amusement than with any serious thought on the incident that passers-by witnessed the first food queue at Mid Terrace on Saturday forenoon. The importation of a quantity of fine potatoes by a local merchant led to a rush by the housewives for supplies of the reputedly scarce tubers and a roaring business was consequently done in record time. There is much talk of the holding up of potatoes but the sale as carried out on Saturday and the placing of his stock for disposal was the right thing to do, and it was business. Other supplies have since been forthcoming.”
Now that the school holidays are over and school routine is back to normal some of you may be interested in a brief history of school life in Queensferry. From early times there was always an association of the church and the school. The first school was in the churchyard of the Old Parish Church in the Vennel. In July 1671, it was decided to build a school using local stonework, at the south end of churchyard. The school was ready for occupancy in 1672 and still stands today as the Masonic Hall.
From 1866, Queensferry Primary School, or 'the Wee School' was on the land beside the Library in the west end of Queensferry. It was erected by the Dundas family in memory of Mary Shaw who was a faithful and attached nurse in Dundas Castle for 50 years
Image the wee school)- (QHG - Back Doon the Ferry)
In 1876 Queensferry Public School was built and extended in 1910. This is now Queensferry Nursery in the Primary School grounds. Among subjects taught were Music, Art, Science, Gardening, P.E., Woodwork, Latin and French, while cookery classes were held in the ‘Wee School’. Education was interdenominational until St Margaret’s RC Primary School was opened.
Image, not local! - Library and Archives Canada - children picking potatoes on Prince Edward Island circa 1920
October attendances were regularly affected by children not attending due to gathering potatoes. In fact from 8th - 25th October 1915, the whole school was closed as the Farmers needed the assistance of the children for potato lifting! In 1916, it was proposed that children would have two weeks taken off their summer holiday to allow them to help on farms during the potato-picking season in October. This suggestion was not popular with parents and school boards. The need for children to help out on the farms was mainly due to the lack of farmers and farm labourers during the First World War. Reasons for Absences other than Truancy, included Coughs and Colds, outbreaks of Scarlet Fever, Whooping Cough, German Measles, Mumps and Diptheria. Also lack of boots during very wet and cold weather!
In November 1914 the Military took possession of the Cookery Class premises at the West End (Wee School), so Cookery was held in Dalmeny Primary School. The Military eventually took over all the school buildings and Teachers and Pupils were dismissed until further notice. Schooling resumed in January 1915 and was held in Queensferry Parish Church and Dalmeny Primary School (now Dalmeny Church Hall), each for half a day. In February all older classes were moved to the Masonic Hall and the West End School building, and the Infants and Juniors were in Queensferry Parish Church.
In March, the Military vacated the School buildings and all children went back to their normal classrooms. However in 1916 the Military require the West End building again so Cookery classes returned to Dalmeny Primary school.
The Headmaster, Mr James Maxwell, retired after 44 years in Queensferry Primary School, in July 1922. He was living in the School House, Dalmeny, with his wife and 6 Children. His successor was John Mason (later to become Dr.) , Headmaster of Ecclesmachan Public School. Dr John Mason was founder of Queensferry Museum. He was a Historian, Researcher and Writer, writing the unpublished ‘History of Queensferry’ in 1963 aged 77, which the History Group use for much of their research. He was also a pioneer of Outdoor Education. John Mason retired in 1949 and was succeeded by Peter Sommerville.
Until 1970 Higher Education was in Bo’ness or Linlithgow Academy until Queensferry High School was built in 1970.
Queensferry High School, image Wikimedia Commons
The High School Arms was granted by Lord Lyon, King of Arms. It consists of a gold cross between four gold Martlets (birds) on an azure shield. This is the badge of the Atheling family to which Queen Margaret belonged. The Martlets are birds of English Heraldry, mythical creatures which represent the ceaseless pursuit of learning, bravery, virtue, endeavour, and hard work to earn your own way in the world. The chief or upper part of the shield is in white with three primroses taken from the early arms associated with Primrose of Dalmeny. Motto, ‘Mente et Manu’ - “With Mind and by Hand” Black and white image below is today's blazer badge.
Former Pupils Remember Some of the Teachers of Queensferry Public School (now Queensferry Nursery)
Miss Laura Davidson was sister of Provost Davidson, “you couldn’t have a better person to start school life”. Miss Simpson was “a grand person and a very able teacher indeed”. Miss Gregor was “a lovely fresh looking person, a good teacher, and she later married Dr John Mason”. Mary Gregor and John Mason married in 1926. Miss Dishart “Dirtyshirt” was “a good straightforward teacher”. Granny Forbes “had grey hair worn in a high hairstyle, a bit Edwardian, she wore a blouse with a high collar. She was a nice, efficient teacher”. Miss Gauld “wore gold rimmed spectacles. She shouted and pinched you on the arm to get over what she was teaching, but she was a good teacher”. “Wee Prosser never smiled, she would bite her lips when giving you the belt. She was quiet and not very effective”. Miss Sutherland at the’ Quallie’ (Qualifying Dance – forerunner of todays “Prom”), wore high heels to impress she was taller, a wee smasher with black hair, loaded with jewellery, but she could swing that tawse(belt). She was no good at imparting knowledge!”
image QHG "Back Doon The Ferry"
Dux members of Queensferry Public School, 1923 – 1938 the board is now in Queensferry Museum
As it is nearly time for this year's Ferry Fair Festival (5th - 11th August), here is the Ferry Fair song that some of you may recognise. The song may have been written for Empire Day, it was published in 1911. The music is believed to be by Gustav Holtz and the lyrics by S. Wensley. There were lots of these kinds of songs written at the time.
One local person recalls, "I was at primary school in the fifties and we had to learn it at school just for the Ferry Fair. The teachers were all involved in the fair in those days as the fair was around the end of June. We walked in our classes and usually our teacher led us. It was sung at the crowning ceremony".
Please contact us through our Facebook page (link below) if you have any memories of this we can add here.
Music (two Versions)
In loyal bonds united, Great Britain‘s children stand. Let every heart be glad today, throughout our native land. May glory undiminished be linked with peace serene May concord smile, o’er Britain’s isle and bless our worthy Queen.
Queensferry has many listed buildings, read about a few below. Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997. Listed Buildings have three categories, Category A Category A buildings are: • of national or international importance, either architecturally or historically; • largely unaltered; and • outstanding examples of a particular period, style or building type. (Category A accounts for around 8% of the total number of listed buildings in Scotland.) Category B Category B buildings are: • of regional or more than local importance; • may have been altered; and • are major examples of a particular period, style or building type. (Category B accounts for around 50% of the total number of listed buildings in Scotland.) Category C Category C buildings are simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B, or are: • of local importance; • lesser examples of a period, style, or building type; and • as they were originally constructed or only moderately altered. (Category C accounts for around 42% of the total number of listed buildings in Scotland.) Information (where indicated) below, comes from 'British Listed Buildings' whose source of information is Historic Environment Scotland. (Please don't ask for explanation of any technical terms used!) There are three button links at the bottom of this page. 'Historic Environment Scotland' will tell you about listed buildings in Scotland and 'British Listed Buildings' will tell you about listed buildings in the UK. Queensferry itself is a Conservation Area. You can read more about this in the link at the bottom of this page.
Rosebery Hall and Surrounding Area - has a mix of Category A and B
Tolbooth, West Terrace, part of Rosebery Hall –Category A. When it was first erected in the 17th century the Tolbooth was a prison. In 1770 the 1st floor was altered and fitted up as a courtroom and council chamber. In 1720 Henry Cuningham, MP for the Stirling Burghs, financed the building of the present steeple and a clock. This clock was replaced in 1888 by the current Jubilee Clock, a design that was not universally liked. MacGibbon and Ross believed the steeple to be 'greatly disfigured by the uncouth jubilee clock'. The steeple houses a bell inscribed: EX DONO HENRJCJ CVNJNGHAME DE BOQUHAN 1723. In 1750 another bell was also hung in the steeple. It was taken from Bailie John Syme's house to be hung at the Tolbooth and subsequently it was given to the Episcopal Church, where it remains. This bell bears the inscription: THE SEAMEN OF QVEENSFERRIE DID GIFT THIS BELL TO THE TOWNE ANNO 1694 ADRIAEN DOP FECIT. In the 1890s the Earl of Rosebery financed the building of a Memorial Hall adjoining the Tolbooth.
Rosebery Memorial Hall – 17 West Terrace -Category B. The Earl of Rosebery financed the erection of this hall in memory of his wife Hannah. The inscription above the door reads: 'In Memory of Countess Rosebery'. The Rosebery family were generous patrons of Queensferry. A plaque on the front of the forestair, dated 1817, thanks 'Archibald John Earl of Rosebery Provost of this Burgh ... for a bleaching green and ... supply of water'. (You can read more about Rosebery Hall and the Tollbooth in this Blog, under ‘Queensferry History’, archive dated November 2015).
Telephone Kiosk in High Street in Front of Tolbooth – Category B. This K6 telephone kiosk in Queensferry sits in the shadow of the Jubilee Clock, gifted to the town on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, and the K6 telephone kiosk design commemorated the Silver Jubilee of George V. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was asked to design the new kiosk in March 1935, and after approval by the Royal Fine Art Commission, the K6 went into production in 1936. The same commission had, in 1924, decided on the colour red for the kiosk, being "easy to spot and giving an authoritative and official character".
West Terrace, next to Rosebery Memorial Hall, Drinking Fountain, Garden, Wall and Railings – Category B. This fountain is dedicated to John Reid who was Provost of Queensferry 1884 – 1899.
Forth Rail Bridge - Category A. Description under Wikipedia - Official name ‘The Forth Bridge’-The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge across the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, 9 miles (14 kilometres) west of Edinburgh City Centre. It is considered as a symbol of Scotland (having been voted Scotland's greatest man-made wonder in 2016), and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was designed by the English engineers Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. It is sometimes referred to as the Forth Rail Bridge to distinguish it from the Forth Road Bridge, though this has never been its official name. Construction of the bridge began in 1882 and it was opened on 4 March 1890 by the Duke of Rothesay, the future Edward VII. The bridge spans the Forth between the villages of South Queensferry and North Queensferry and has a total length of 8,094 feet (2,467 m). When it opened it had the longest single cantilever bridge span in the world, until 1919 when the Quebec Bridge in Canada was completed. It continues to be the world's second-longest single cantilever span, with a span of 1,709 feet (521 m). The bridge and its associated railway infrastructure are owned by Network Rail. (Wikipedia)
Black Castle, numbers 30 and 40 High Street including 21 East Terrace – Category A. Description under ‘British Listed Buildings’ - Dated 1626 at E dormer; later alterations. 2-storey and attic, 3-bay dwelling house. Painted harl; broad painted margins. Timber sash and case windows; modern attic windows. Slate roof; crowstepped skews; tall stacks at gableheads. You can read more about Black Castle in this Blog under ‘Queensferry History’ - Archive dated October 2015.
Image Priory Church borrowed from their website http://www.priorychurch.com
The Priory Church of St Mary of Mount Carmel- Category A. The Priory Church is the only Carmelite foundation in the British Isles still in use for regular worship, out of the 12 founded in Scotland and the 39 in England. In 1441 James Dundas gifted a piece of land, lying in and around the town of Queensferry for the Church of St Mary the Virgin and for the construction of certain buildings to be erected there in the form of a monastery. Possibly their security of tenure led the brethren to rebuild their church, for from its style of architecture, it can hardly have been erected before their charter in 1457. You can read more about the Priory Church in this Blog under 'Queensferry History' – Archive dated July 2015.
Plewlands House, numbers 29/1 – 29/4 & 29/7 Hopetoun Road and 5 & 6 The Loan – Category A. Listing date 1971. Information ‘British Listed Buildings’ - House dated 1641; restored by Basil Spence 1953. 3-storey, basement and attic, L-plan dwelling house with polygonal turnpike tower. Rubble; raised ashlar dressings. You can read more about Plewlands House in this Blog under ‘Queensferry History’ Archive dated September 2015, below the information re Brewery Close.
Dalmeny House, Barnbougle Castle including Balustrade and Sun Dial– Category A. Listing date 1981 updated 1998, information ‘Historic Environment’ -James Maitland Wardrop (Wardrop and Reid), 1881, on site of and incorporating fabric from earlier castle. 3-storey and attic, Scottish Baronial house; built on projecting rock terrace. Stugged, squared and snecked rubble, with polished ashlar sandstone dressings, long and short quoins, various mouldings; stone mullions to bipartite windows; crenellated parapet; crowsteps; bartizans to NW and SW angles, with water spouts; finials to gables. BALUSTRADE: coped balustrade, enclosing castle; roll-moulded base with short rectangular and tooled sandstone balusters, with occasional panelled dies and ball finials. SUNDIAL: 17th century, obelisk style sundial, with polyhedron dials, to S.
Hopetoun House and Grounds– Category A. Listing date 2001, description under ‘British Listed Buildings’ -Hopetoun House Built by Sir William Bruce 1699-1704 but remodelled and extended by William Adam 1721-48. Consists of corps de logis linked by quadrant colonnades to advanced pavilions. All of ashlar. Before E. front lies a semi-circular terrace ornamented with sphinxes. In 1974 Hopetoun House Preservation Trust was founded to preserve the House and grounds for the benefit of the nation.
Images from https://archive.org/details/castellateddomes05macguoft (book not in copyright)
Sundials, Craigiehall–Category A. Listing dated 1891 amended 2016 – description under ‘British Listed buildings’ - First -A 17th century red sandstone obelisk sundial is situated to the east of the entrance elevation of Craigiehall House (NT16785 75439). This sundial sits on a wide, round stone base and consists of a square plinth, a moulded base, a globe, a 4-sided shaft capped by a polyhedron dial and a later sandstone tapered capital. The shaft is divided into 16 square panels, some of which have incised shapes. The dial above has four faces with hollowed out shapes. Second - Category A. - An early 18th century cream sandstone, horizontal sundial is situated to the west of Craigiehall House (NT16611 75418). It dates to between 1703 and 1714 and consists of a carved, octagonal pedestal with a horizontal brass sundial plate with decorative gnomon on top. The sundial is engraved with the arms of the Marquis of Annandale, and with the inscription, 'made by England, Instrument Maker to Her Majesty at Charing X, London'.
Dundas Castle - Category B. Listing date 1981 – description under ‘British Listed Buildings’ - Early 19th century. Rectangular walled garden. Red brick walls with sandstone coping; rubble in N wall; droved and polished sandstone dressings to openings. Gateway to S. Garden features include rockery on natural outcrop at near centre, with small, crescent-shaped retaining wall at base, to S. Various ancillary buildings projecting from N wall exterior, previously used as potting sheds and boiler houses. Square flue vents of wall heating system to right of N wall exterior. There are various unused doorways to the walled garden, with panelled timber doors. Originally there would have been a series of greenhouses along the N wall.
30 and 31 High Street, Category B. Listing date 1971 - description under ‘British Listed Buildings’ - 18th century. 2-storey shops and tenements built on slight curve. Painted ground floor; rubble at 1st floor; painted masonry margins; harled E gable. Recently attached mid 19th century style lantern at right corner at 1st floor. Shop area now houses Deaf Action Charity Shop and Leslie Deans Estate Agents.
Loan House, 10 The Loan – Category B. Listing date 1979 – Description under ‘British Listed Buildings’ -Later 18th century; late 20th century restoration by Douglas Abrahams. 2-storey, basement and attic, 5-bay former plain classical dwelling house. Coursed rubble; droved ashlar to front. Polished margins; eaves course; long and short quoins. Moulded eaves cornice.. A photograph of the house shows a formal front garden (see NMRS ref.WL/3159). A stone balustrade separates the house from the front lawn and there were steps at either end of the balustrade providing access to the house. A fountain once adorned the lawn. The formality of the house and garden design suggests that Loan House was built for quite a prosperous family. Later it was once the home of the Morisons, a prominent local family. The property fell vacant in the later 20th century and was gutted by fire in 1987. In 1990 the building was restored, with the addition of a north wing, by Douglas Abrahams and Partners for use as offices. As a result of the fire the original interior was lost and the interior of the building had to be rebuilt. Now Scottish Motor Trading Association Offices.
Images of the Doocote mentioned below can be seen by clicking on button below.
Craigiehall Doocote– Category B. Description under ‘British listed Buildings’ - listing dated 1981, amended 2001, A single chamber, rectangular-plan lectern doocot (dovecot, or pigeon-house), dated 1672, which is currently roofless and with some loss of material at wallhead (2016). The building is of rubble sandstone and has a rat course running round all elevations. The south elevation has a central boarded door, a central flight ledge above the rat course and bracket skewputts. The west elevation has a central blocked oculus above the rat course. The interior was seen in 2016. There are around 600 nesting boxes, extending from floor to ceiling on all sides of the chamber.
Priory Lodge, 8 The Loan – Category C. A good example of later 19th century gothic. This house is the only example of this style in the town centre and provides an interesting contrast to the more general domestic type of Architecture of the High Street. (In more recent years this has been a B&B establishment and has recently come under new ownership).
Queensferry Parish Church, The Loan – Category C. Listing date 2001, description under ‘British Listed Buildings’ -1893-4; later extension. Square and snecked sandstone ashlar. Aisle-less nave; tower and spire at NE corner. INTERIOR: pointed arched ceiling; timber scissor beams. 4 stained glass windows on N wall; 3rd from left is War Memorial Window. Timber communion table, pulpit and lectern from Old Parish Church. 2 doors on east wall lead to church office; used to lead to vestry and Session Room. Enclosed seating in centre of W wall originally for Stewart-Clarke family but became seats for Burgh Council members, town's coat of arms are on the wall. Organ loft above Burgh Council seats. Door on S wall leads into new extension.
Sealscraig Hotel now Miramare, image Queensferry History Group Archives
Seals Craig Hotel, 23 Edinburgh Road – Category C. Now known as “Miramare” – listing date 1979 – description in ‘British Listed Buildings’ -Later 18th century; substantially remodelled 1870; restaurant extension added by Peddie & McKay, 1956. Narrow site, 3-storey baronial hotel. Square and snecked rubble; painted ground floor; ashlar dressings, some painted. The hotel occupies a prominent location in the townscape of Queensferry; it rests at the crest of Edinburgh Road marking the old boundary of Queensferry. From the E it is given greater prominence as it is arguably the first building of Queensferry that is seen. Much remodelled in 1870 by addition of baronial details.
There are many private dwellings along Queensferry High Street that are listed buildings dating from 16th century onwards. B and C category dwelling houses are spread right along Edinburgh Road, Queensferry High Street, East Terrace, Mid Terrace, West Terrace, Bellstane and Hopetoun Road.
Part Two, along the High Street to Hopetoun Road. Reminiscences by local residents. Dates unknown Remember these are memories of people in Queensferry at a much earlier date than now so shop names will be different and may be out of sequence. They in no way cover every premise. Some updates as to name changes have been added in brackets. (You may find more information on some of the places named in this blog, search under "Index of Archived Posts" for the heading and date to look up.)
"We leave 'Mauritzios' and continue along the High Street and we come to the Council Offices and Museum on the right. This building was previously a Temperance Hotel named ‘Viewforth Hotel’.
Then we see the car park below which was the Ferry Swimming Baths
Across from the car park and to the right a little, we see a very old building named Black Castle (built in 1626). Part of this building was occupied by Coal Merchants and other families until approximately 1980 (now private housing).
Going up the stairs on the left as we pass Black Castle, we find the Old Parish Church built in 1635 and a very old graveyard which is kept locked due to its fragile condition. Looking to the top of the church you will see the old church bell which was rung by the beadle of the church for 10 minutes before the church service began. (There is a curse on this bell).
Now back towards the street we find ourselves on Mid Terrace. Looking over the railings and over the street there was a little Barbers Shop-Sinclairs, the Chemist -Listers /Watsons and the Stationers -Rae/Edmunds. In the space adjoining Fairlies the butcher (now Maisies) was a little pub, there was a ring on the wall for tying the horse to while the owner had a little refreshment. The Pub was called “The Hole In The Wa”. (This collapsed just after WW1 and was demolished in the 1930’s)
Off Mid Terrace and on to West Terrace there was a Drapers shop-Willie and Johnnie Grahams and an Ironmongers-Sullivan. This Terrace like the Main Street, Mid Terrace and East Terrace were occupied by many families in small one and two apartment houses. Looking over the railings at this point were Drapers-Miss Cameron, a Boot Shop-Joe Muir, then there was the Post Office Close leading down to the shore, here there were houses with outside stairs and a Dole Office.
West Terrace at this point had been somewhat divided with the insertion of the fountain.
Well erected beside Rosebery Hall to commemorate John Reid Provost of Queensferry 1884 - 1899
I remember the soldiers being drilled for guard duty during the First World War and marching along the streets to their various points. At that time the army were using Rosebery Hall for accommodation. Years later the hall was used as a Cinema- Lees.
As you pass under the tunnel at Rosebery Hall and still on West Terrace you pass the Gas Office. Round to the left there were quite a lot of small houses, single and two apartments, named Craws Close and Hill Square, (later demolished to create Hill Court housing). Eventually a modern cinema- the Regal- was built on West Terrace, east side of the fountain, (demolished) now offices and houses.
Across the road, on the North side, we have the ‘Queensferry Arms’ (now Orroco Pier). This part of the street has been altered since the coming of Marandola from Kirkliston, a modern fish and chip business and there was an extensive fire in this area at some time. There were several small businesses such as a Grocer, Charity Shop and Dole Office.
Queensferry Arms, now Orocco Pier
We pass the Indian Restaurant, the Delta-previously owned by G.B Sandercombe, Grocers, then Walkers Grocery, Crowthers Grocery (now Queens Spice Indian Restaurant).
On to the Bellstane, (where the dentist is now) we have’ Izatts’ with full baking services, Mitchell–Painters and Decorators, Harry Kelly-Photographer/Kelly Architects, and in the centre at the corner Andersons Grocery, which then was Greenfield's Grocery.
Mauritzio's, now where Anderson's Grocer, later Greenfield's Grocer was. Allium can be seen on the left.
Another view of Bellstane
Next to this, Mabels-Greengrocer, previously ‘Marrs’-Drapers, originally the ‘Colosseum’ for naval supplies (now ‘Allium’).
Further along we have the Wheatsheaf Bakery (now the Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant.
Just past the Police Station, McLucas operated a second hand furniture business. This area was known as Girdwoods Land. Along to Williamson Place (the bottom of Hopetoun Road) this was a busy area, with a chemist, confectioner, Grocer, Tea Room, McLucas Bankrupt Stock for Sale, Scruples Jewellers (now on High Street), a Cobbler who hired cycles and the Dole Office which eventually moved into this area. (This area now has a Beautician, Optician and two Undertakers with hairdresser around the corner).
Part 1 - This month we take you from Morison Gardens, a look at Port Edgar, then round Back Braes and along the front to the Sealscraig. Part 2 next month will be along the High Street to Hopetoun Road.
Reminiscenses by local residents. Dates unknown Remember these are memories of people in Queensferry at a much earlier date than now so shop names will be different and may be out of sequence. Some updates as to name changes have been added in brackets.
We will start at Morison Gardens, or maybe Port Edgar! “At Morison Gardens, to the left, was a railway line under the road running right into Port Edgar where the sailors could catch the train to Edinburgh, or passengers could catch the ferry to North Queensferry. (Construction of this railway began 1864. There are still remnants of the rail track at Port Edgar.)
Going further along and looking at the Distillery premises (Vat 69 now Scotmid area) was the Railway Goods Yard. The goods train brought coal and commodities for the shops such as food etc and were delivered from the goods yard to the shops by horse and cart. The goods yard was also the place where the coal merchants filled the bags with coals to deliver to the houses.
In the Vennel was a dairy,’ Marshalls’ (later ‘Bryce’s’ and then ‘Stirlings’ ) and some 100 metres along was another dairy, ‘Hardies’. (This area is now private housing) All the community was supplied from the dairies, the milk was supplied in metal pitchers (not jugs or bottles).
As we wander along the Braes, the road straight on takes us to the Bowling Green and to what were the reservoirs which held the supply of water for Queensferry. It has been converted into gardens now. The water is supplied in a different manner now.
Before turning on to the footbridge and looking over to the right was where the Ferry Halt Railway Station was and one could get the train to Edinburgh instead of going to Dalmeny.
Over to the left were a number of houses, Catherine Terrace (The Brickies) which was built to accommodate the workers for the railway station (and for workers involved in building the Rail Bridge). The houses have now been demolished.
Down we go turning right at the top of the steps to McIvers Brae and looking along to the Rail Bridge we can see the Hawes Pier which was used by the ferry boats going to and fro, with passengers and cars.
Across the road we have the ‘Hawes Inn’, well known in the days of the post carriages and history books with accommodation for visitors and the stabling of horses, with ‘Faichens Garage’ next door, now the ‘Hawes Garage’.
Bridge House was originally built to accommodate the technical staff during the building of the railway bridge, and was used to accommodate wounded naval staff during the First World War, (now private housing).
We then come to the ‘Sealscraig Hotel’ (later ‘La Barca’ and now the ‘Miramare’) so called because seals used to frequent the area. There were houses behind the hotel and this part is now called The Craigs. (The Craigs are visible on the image above this one, jutting out to the sea).
As we pass to East Terrace (where the road narrows forpassing), there was a well- known grocer shop ‘Mackays’, taken over by David Davidson, (which is now ‘Mauritzio’s second Fish and Chip shop, opposite the ‘Miramare’).
(The following tales are an account (brought to you by permission) by the author, (a local man) as told to him by local residents. Where Queensferry History Group can provide supporting, conflicting or clarifying information, a link is provided or added in italics. Images have also been added by the blogger)
“What is the explanation to the hundreds and thousands of experience, visions, unexplained phenomena that happen every day? All I know is there is a romance to it all, which may sound strange but I would like to think that the unexplained and those things which sceptics do not believe through lack of evidence or proof, are all true”.
The White Lady
Myth has it that this ghost frequents the east end of the town, where the Forth Rail Bridge crosses above the old railway line. One possible explanation for the White Lady is she was killed on the old railway line on her wedding day. Did she jump from the Rail Bridge on to the old railway track? There may be more to this tale than just the unfortunate and tragic death of a young lady.
Ghost Monkey of Loan House
A monkey living in the attic of Loan House was teased cruelly by one of the house’s servant girls. One night it escaped from its cage and is said to have ripped out the throat of its tormentor. Its ghost is said to have remained in the house ever since.
The Haunted House
Scotstoun House situated in Scotstoun Estate, is now demolished and rebuilt as the building that houses Ove Arup (Engineering Consultants). The old house was supposedly home to a gentleman who one night killed himself in his bath and thereafter haunted the house.
The Ghost of Covenanters Castle
Covenantors House. Image Queensferry History Group
The area now known as The Binks was once occupied by Covenantors. There was a castle which was an Inn (pictured above) (now demolished) and the Priory church which is said to be the earliest stone building in Queensferry (which is still standingand in use today). On one occasion (in1680) one of the Covenantors (Henry Hall) was murdered, stabbed through the heart as he was descending the stairway from the castle and his blood dripped on the stairs and regardless of how often the stairs were washed, the bloodstain would remain. It is said that a ghost figure remained here with sightings of the ghost up to the times when the gasworks were here in the 1940’s to 1960’s.
You can read more about the Covenantors under 'Queensferry History' archive 12/2016 Also more about The Priory Church in the same archives dated 07/2015
The Haws Inn has one room which is said to house a ghost or a number of spirits. The history of the Hawes only creates questions as to whom the ghost may be. The Hawes has one room in particular which is said to house a ghost whose breathing can be heard by patrons throughout the night. The same room – it is said, is difficult to heat up and it is as if something is preventing this from happening. Temperature is an almighty giveaway for a spirits presence – it’s like having a bad camouflage –and detection of a ghost when you feel suddenly and eerily chilled on a warm evening probably happens to more than people realise. Do you ever switch the heating on during mild days?
You can read more about Newhalls Inn (Hawes Inn) under 'Queensferry History' archive dated 10.2017
The Hound of Barnbougle
Barnbougle Castle, Commons Sharing
'Copper' howling from 'The Fox and the Hound'
The ghostly hound whose pitiful howling is said to be heard along the shoreline of Lord Roseberys Estate. It is said that if the howling is heard this heralds the misfortune or even death of a member of family who owns Barnbougle. Dalmeny estate has said there had been no personal experiences recorded by present owners. Perhaps the original proprietor Sir Roger Mowbray had been the only unfortunate soul.
You can read more about the Hound of Barnbougle under ''Queensferry History archives "Snippets" dated 07/2016 You can also read more about Dalmeny House and Barnbougle under 'Surrounding Areas' (found in 'More'), archives dated 12/2016
The Flotilla Club Ghost
The Flotilla Club Ghost is supposed to be the ghost of a young sailor who frequented this old social club. One night he was found hanged in the club, and his spirit has remained. It is not known if he is a friendly spirit, we have not heard and have no reason to believe that he has a dark presence. No adverse sightings have been recorded but it is advised by many townspeople who have used the hall thereafter that it is indeed a very spooky place and in fact feels as if a dark presence is there constantly. (The Flotilla Club, a former ex service club at Port Edgar - HMS Lochinvar - which closed as a Naval base in 1975. It was demolished around 2006 and now houses the Castle Rock sheltered housing complex on Shore Road).
The Ghost of East Terrace
It is believed that along the ‘Terraces’ a young woman once took her life, the circumstances in which she passed are unclear (or not known) However rumour has it that she never left the flat in spirit, only in body. Apparently the flat has been up for sale a number of times and has proved difficult to sell.
The Cloaked Lady
This was recounted by a local resident and judging from his remarks something he is never likely to forget - “While walking from HP Social Club (which was at the time of recounting Agilent Technologies - and is now, in 2008, Station View Housing Estate), I saw a figure standing halfway between where the last houses of Atheling Grove stand and the HP boundary (along Lovers Lane). The figure looked like an older woman in a long coat. She was standing in the middle of the path looking North as I walked towards her. As I looked away momentarily then looked again along the path, she was gone. There was no way that the woman could have left the path in the time that passed so I took a look around the place where she had been. Searching the undergrowth and hedgerow in the wooded area both sides of the path thinking she must have fallen down – I was unable to find anything. There was no explanation – nothing. I was so convinced though with what I had seen that I went straight to a friend’s house to get them to come back with me to that place to continue searching. On reflection there was a feeling that she wasn’t really there, almost like I imagined the whole thing, but I didn’t …….”
Throughout the years there have been many pubs and hotels in Queensferry. One which no longer exists but will have been heard of by many locals is the “Hole in the Wa’”. This stood on the North side of the High Street, to the right of where was ‘Fairlies’ Butcher, now 'Maisies’.
In this late 1920’s image, the Hole in the Wall pub is the single story building on the extreme right.
Run by Miss Jemima Morrison, born in Queensferry around 1843, she took over from her parent’s, both of whom had been ill for several years, John (who died 1883 and was Publican and Baker) and Janet (who died 1882). It was known as one of the Ferry’s more unusual pubs, where you buy a carry out beer in your own ‘joug’. There was a ring on the wall for tying up a horse while the owner enjoyed a refreshment.
Position ‘R’ on this historic map, produced by Queensferry History Group in their book ‘Doon The Ferry’ still available to buy from them.
The ‘pub’ collapsed shortly after the Great War 1914-1918 and was demolished in the 1930’s. Jemima died in 1936 aged 93.
Soap has been around for a long time. The first use of soap has been attributed to the Babylonians in c. 2,800 BC and the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans also manufactured soap. In Britain, the Celts were probably the first to make and use soap, introducing it from Europe around 1000 AD.
Egyptian representation of women using soap. Image via Splash of Indigo
In an act of Parliament of Scotland in 1681, persons possessed of either capital or technical knowledge were encouraged to settle in Scotland and create new industries or improve existing ones. They were to receive naturalisation on condition of setting up manufacturers of cloth, linen, stockings or soap and teaching the trade to Scotsmen.
In the Statistical Account of Scotland, published in 1796, Mr John Henderson, Minister, states for Queensferry – The principal manufacture of this place is soap. It was here that first in Scotland the making of brown soap (made of oil, tallow, rosin and a caustic solution) was brought to its present degree of perfection. This manufacture commenced about the year 1770 and has since been carried on with varying success. From the year 1783 to 1789 it was a flourishing and extensive trade. There were four large works whish employed from 20 – 30 labouring men and paid an excise duty from 8,001 to 10,001 per annum. In the year 1789 the soap trade in Scotland met a considerable check. It was for some time almost annihilated here. It has since, however, happily revived and is now carried on with great deal of spirit.
Internal Improvement, Great Britain, published in 1814 states the following: “The manufacture of Soap is extensively carried on and three kinds are produced, White, Brown and Soft Soap. Tallow, Oil and Alkali are the ingredients which constitutes this article, the whole being subjected to the process of boiling. White Soap is made of tallow and a solution of alkali rendered caustic by lime. Brown Soap is made of oil, tallow, rosin and the caustic solution. Soft Soap is a compound of oil and a solution of potash. The manufacture of soap is carried on in all principal towns in Scotland, the demand for domestic purposes being considerable, as well as that for bleaching and exportation. The soap making is generally combined with that of candle making, the finer kind of tallow used for candles and the coarser for soap. A great quantity of tallow is imported from Russia. The shores of the Baltic and South America, but the ordinary slaughter of cattle generally supplies what is required by the inland and less populous districts.”
The Soap makers or Boilers as they were sometimes known, were prosperous merchants. However the art of soap making was not without its pitfalls. The smell of the process was most disagreeable and there were problems disposing of the waste incurred. The waste (Leys) was frequently used as manure in the vicinity of Queensferry, if applied in great quantities it was useful and lasting for all soils, however its weight, and the cost of carrying it to a distance, were considerable.
The Soap Boilers, commercial and small local makers, dumped the Leys in the street where they lay inconvenient and disagreeable to neighbours and every passer-by. In 1801 the Town Council sought liberty from the trustees of the Dundas Estates to use the yard at the back of the old Carmelite Kirk (Priory Church) and the kirk space itself for commercial purposes. They were granted the use of the yard for a rent of 3 guineas a year on the condition that the streets of the burgh were kept free of carts and all rubbish.
The Travelers Guide ‘Through Scotland and its Islands’- 1824, reported that “The town of Queensferry lies low, and is rendered disagreeable by the smoke of the Soap Works”.
By 1845, the New Statistical Account states that “for the last seven years only one small manufactury employing only three or four men exists. The trade is precarious and far from lucrative. The workmen make good wages and as the business is presently conducted, the morals of those engaged do not suffer”. This indicates the decline of the soap manufacturing in Queensferry.
Sun Fire Office emblem, c.1800
The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1785, names among the list of the founder and charter members, William Allan- Soap Boiler and Merchant, Ninian Paton – Soap Boiler and John Taylor – Soap Boiler, all of Queensferry. The National Archives hold the records of the Sun Fire Office, a company specialising in Fire Insurance, (it continues to this day as the Royal and Sun Alliance). The Sun Fire office records contain the following entry for 1791; Insured Thomas Jameson, Andrew Paton, Ninian Paton and James Brown, Queensferry Soap Boilers.
John Taylor & Sons, Soap makers of Queensferry, was dissolved in July 1823 and thereafter the business would be known as William Taylor (John’s son) & Co. In 1825 they sold up and moved to Salamander Street in Leith as manufacturers of Soap and Candles. William retired in 1854 and the business was carried on by Peter Brash, James Dick and latterly William W. Stephens. The company failed in 1883 and was reconstructed to become William Taylor & Co (Edinburgh) LTD and continued to manufacture soaps at Broughton Soap Works, Macdonald Road, Edinburgh, into the 1930’s. William Taylor was Provost of Queensferry from 1845 until 1852. He died in Edinburgh of Bronchitis in January 1866 aged 89 years. There are three memorial stones to John (who died in 1813 aged 73) and William Taylor and their families, in the Old Vennel Churchyard, Queensferry.
Memorial Stone to William Taylor who died in 1866 aged 89. This memorial and others to his family are in the Old Vennel Cemetery, Queensferry
John Mason, in his “History of Queensferry” -1963 writes - In 1798 Ninian Paton, Soap Boiler tired of the slow and tedious work of carrying water to his works sought permission to lay pipes along the South side of the street from Thomas Fairlies well to his factory near his dwelling house, with leave to pump the water at the well only when water was plentiful. In 1819, Campbell Innes, Soap manufacturer and Bailie of the burgh, received permission to draw water from the Town’s main to his works, the connection being made at his own expense. For the privilege of this supply a charge of 1 guinea a year was imposed. Campbell Innes and his wife Jean had several children born in Queensferry. Campbell who ws Provost of Queensferry from 1833 until 1839, is listed as clerk to John Taylor & Sons on his first Daughter, Jane’s, birth record of 1798.
Soap image LVSAV 1999.020; a bar of "Scotsman Soap" made by William Taylor & Co. (Edinburgh) Ltd. for the London firm of R. & R. McLeod & Co. Ltd.
Some recorded soap related events- The Salopian Journal, a Shropshire newspaper reported in October 1813: “Upwards of a fortnight ago, a boy, between 11 and 12 years of age, disappeared from the burgh of Queensferry. After public advertisement and the most diligent search, no trace can be found to lead to a discovery of this most serious circumstance. Several days having elapsed some of the men in the employ of Messrs. Taylor & Sons, soap boilers of that place while clearing out a waste lee-receiver found the skeleton of the unfortunate youth. Not a particle of flesh could be perceived, the penetrating Leys having completely reduced it, even the bones were soft as wax.”
The Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh) of May 6th 1815 has an entry stating that among convicts sent from the Tolbooth to the docks in Leith, to be embarked for the hulks in the Thames, for transportation on 16th March, was a George Paterson of Edinburgh, convicted for 14 years for stealing soap from Queensferry. The Scots Magazine, 1815, also has the report and adds “by violent means, he feloniously and wickedly carried off several parcels of soap belonging to the proprietors of the said works, aggravated by being a servant of the works. (He sailed for New South Wales, Australia, in July 1815 on the ship ’Mary Anne’ – Ancestry). The Mary Anne arrived in New South Wales on 19th January 1816 carrying 101 passengers. The average sentence was 8 years with 29 Life sentences.
An 1867 edition of Caledonian Mercury, a Scottish Newsaper published three times a week between 1720 and 1867.
Most of the information here is extracted with permission, from "The Queensferry Soap Story" researched and written by Frank Hay, a member of Queensferry History Group
In January 2001, Peter Wilson, Eleanor Cooke and Grant Manson formed the company Renaissance Ecosse Limited which owns and operates Orocco Pier. The Orocco Pier, a 17th century ‘B’ listed building, at 17 High Street, Queensferry is a 12 bedroom boutique Hotel. It was previously the Queensferry Arms Hotel. After an extensive refurbishment by renowned architects Kerr Blyth Associates, it officially opened in 2003. ‘Orocco’ is the moniker of Iroko wood which was used extensively throughout the refurbishment of the building. The events venue ‘Fuschia’ was added in 2004, the café bar ‘Antico’ in 2009 and the seafood bar and grill ‘Samphire’ was added in 2011. Part of the building to the rear is on the ground of the now demolished Glenforth Distillery which was behind the Queensferry Arms and the nearby Staghead Hotel.
The Glenforth Distillery Co. was a large mass of buildings which lay at the end of Gote Lane near the harbour. It lay behind the Queensferry Arms Hotel, adjacent to the rear of the Staghead Hotel and was established in 1843 by Mr James Wylde, of Gilston, Fife, who was also proprietor of the Staghead Hotel in the 1855 valuation Roll. He employed 20 persons and made around 2,000 gallons of whisky weekly. His son Robert S Wylde, born in Leith, 1808, was Provost of Queensferry from 1852- 1861. He was proprietor of the brewery and buildings in Brewery Close which were no longer in operation by 1856.
This 1916 map shows the Royal Burgh Boundary in dark blue. Within this area, the light blue area marked 'Malthouse', near the harbour to the left of map, is where the Glenforth Glenforth Distillery was. The Stagshead and Queensferry Arms (marked Hotel) are in front on the High Street.
Image shows the side and rear of the Orocco Pier with Antico, and a sign at the rear of the Staghead Hotel
James sold the distillery in 1863 to John Stewart & Co, Kirkliston, who had it until 1867. The buildings from those days were demolished in 1939 following a fire, but part of a retaining wall still remained, which is now incorporated in the Orocco Pier Hotel.
Retaining wall from Glenforth Distillery
Orocco Pier today. Retaining wall from Glenforth Distillery is the right side wall of the main building. The outside area is where the distillery was.
Some Proprietors of Queensferry Arms Hotel via Census Records and Valuation Rolls. In the 1841 census, David Kerr was a publican then. It is unclear in the census information but it is possible he was publican of the Queensferry Arms Hotel. He was certainly publican in the North side of the High Street and it is clear it was not of the Stags Head Hotel. Born in West Lothian around 1811, he was with his wife Janet and children Margaret, David, William and Alexander.
Alexander Rae, born in Linlithgowshire around 1836, was Innkeeper by 1871. He was with his wife Christina Fraser (married in 1864) and children Jane and Christina. Alexander died in 1872 and is buried in Queensferry Vennel Cemetery. Christina then married William Russell, a Seaman, in July 1874. Sadly he died in December 1875, then an Innkeeper (of the Queensferry Arms Hotel) and Christina later married Hugh Mackintosh in 1878.
By 1881 Hugh Mackintosh was Hotel Keeper. Born in Inverness around 1842, he was with his wife Christina and step-children Jane Rae, Christina Rae and William Russell (from Christinas previous marriages). Christina, widow of William Russell, Innkeeper and previously widow of Alexander Rae, died in February 1886. In October 1886 Hugh married Janet Fraser (not a sister of Christina). She and their two children, Elizabeth and Hugh, are with him in the Queensferry Arms Hotel as he was still Innkeeper in 1891. 1901 still sees Hugh as Hotel Keeper, with his wife Janet and children Helen, Elizabeth, Hugh, James, Catherine, Russell and David. David was a member of Queensferry Rowing Club and had won trophies, the Hopetoun Mackintosh and McLaughlan Cups won by the Jolly Boat Crew at local regattas on the Forth. He emigrated to Canada in 1913 and joined the Canadian Infantry as a nationalised Canadian. He was killed in 1916 aged 23 (not 24 as stated on the memorial) in the Somme Offensive. He is remembered on Queensferry and Cramond Memorials, Queensferry Parish Church and Queensferry Primary School Memorials, also in ‘Veterans Affairs’, Canada.
Hugh Mackintosh died in Queensferry in 1910 and his wife Janet died in Cramond in 1930. By 1920/21 Valuation Roll, the proprietors of The Queensferry Arms Hotel are Mackintosh & Co LTD.
Formerly known as the Newhalls Inn, this is a ‘B’ listed building with several additions and alterations over the years. It was renamed the ‘Hawes Inn ‘by 1886.
The Hawes Inn, 7 Newhalls Road, South Queensferry, is a late 17th century Coaching Inn, with a date stone on the south east wall which says JS- 1638- BB, taken from the old house, Newhalls (no information on the 'old house' as yet). These initials are believed to be merchant John Smith, and his wife Bessie Bathgate. During the eighteenth-century, the inn was used as a change house for stagecoaches using the Newhalls Ferry and the adjacent ‘Hawes Garage’ used to be the stables and coach-house.
It has been modernised into a multi-roomed pub but with salvaged furniture and wooden beams creating an 'olde worlde' feel it is oozing rural charm and rustic character. Today the Hawes Inn offers seasonal pub food, cask ales and fine wines. There is a roaring log fire for the winter as well as a pretty beer garden for the summer months It is now part of the ‘Vintage Inns’ collection of pubs. The hotel area, ‘Innkeepers Lodge’ is next door to the pub/restaurant
Image: Robert Louis Stevenson, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Edinburgh in 13th November 1850, is said to have been staying in room number 13 in 1886 when he came up with the idea of ‘Kidnapped’ and started writing the novel there. Indeed the Hawes inn features in the story as the place where the kidnapping of the hero, David Balfour, was arranged. There are or were, 4 painted panels of the story's main characters on the principle elevation. The inn also has other literary connections: it is mentioned in Sir Walter Scott's 'Antiquary' and again by Stevenson in 'Memories and Portraits'.
Image: Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery. Wikipedia
Proprietors and Tenants Information of early Proprietors and tenants are difficult to find due to lack of records. We have some information covering 1860's up to 1930's. More recent inforamtion is alo hard to come by. As more names and information comes to light, they will be added. The Proprietor from at least 1860 – 1930, looking at available valuation rolls, was the Earl of Rosebery. In the 1869 valuation he is named Archibald Philip Primrose 5th Earl of Rosebery 1847 – 1929, married to Hannah Rothschild who inherited her father’s fortune in 1874 to become the richest woman in Britain. She died of Typhoid at Dalmeny House in 1890 aged 39. Their second son Neil Primrose died from wounds received in action during WW1, in Palestine in 1917, leading his squadron of the 1st Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry in the 3rd Battle of Gaza.
Image: Abert Edward H. M. A. Primrose, 6th Earl of Rosebery. Wikipedia
From 1930 onwards the Proprietor would have been the 6th Earl of Rosebery, Albert Edward H.M.A. Primrose. (1882 – 1974)
In the 1930 valuation, Proprietor Rosebery Estates per Major R.F Brebner, The Leuchold, Dalmeny House.(He died of Tuberculosis, a retired Estate Factor in West Peterculter, Aberdeen, in 1952 aged 74, usual address, Dolphington House, Queensferry)
Mr Francis Wilson was tenant from 1860- 1962, according to valuation Rolls, and this included Inn, Stables and Land. Mr Francis Wilson, an innkeeper in Newhalls, died in 1862 aged 44. His wife, Margaret Wilson, took over as Tenant from 1862 - 1870. She died in Edinburgh in 1883 aged 73.
Thomas Wilkie was Tenant in 1875, he died of General Paralysis, in Newhalls, Queensferry in 1877, aged 77. His wife Margaret Wilkie was Tenant from 1876 – 1882. She died of a thrombosis, in Newhalls Inn, in 1883 aged 49. (big age gap).
Image: Parliament Supreme Court of Scotland. Wikipedia
Robert Lumsden, Accountant and Hotel Keeper, was born in Leith. He was proprietor from 1883 until he died in the Newhalls Hotel in 1919 aged 70. Robina McLean married Alan Turner, a Solicitor in the Supreme Courts, in 1914, in the Cramond Brig Hotel, while she was Proprietor there. She became Tenant of the Hawes Inn, as Robina Turner, from 1920 until 1930. She died in Barnton in 1941 aged 64.
image: Cramond Brig Hotel, now Miller & Carter Steakhouse.
The Hawes Inn was owned/leased by the Usher Vaux Group around the late 60's and early 70's along with the Allegro, Daniel Browns and the Hunters Tryst.
We hope to be able to add to this feature as more information comes to light.
The Anchor Inn dates from 1886 and is based at No: 10 Edinburgh Road, South Queensferry, in an area of Queensferry known in valuation rolls as ‘East Suburbs’ and ‘Beyond the Royalty’, being just outside the Royalty Boundary (see map below).
It is believed to be the oldest “Pub” in Queensferry (not being a “hotel”), and is definitely the smallest ‘pub’ in Queensferry, a traditional village pub who offers a range of real ales, beers, wines and spirits along with some good old fashioned pub grub for you to enjoy. “Banquette seating surrounds the room and a high shelf is adorned with sporting trophies. The pub has a friendly atmosphere and visitors are made welcome. Traditional board games, including dominoes, are often played and occasionally there is live music”. (whatpub.com)
Images above by Norrie Work 2014, with kind permission.
Valuation Rolls name the proprietor from 1894 until 1914 as James Wight, a Grocer and Wine Merchant living in Hartington Place, Edinburgh. According to the 1894/5 Valuation Roll he was also proprietor and occupant of a Shop and Cellar (No: 12, which is now part of Maurizios) and proprietor of a House and Billiard Room (either No: 8 or 16) around the same area as the ‘Anchor’ which is named ‘The Anchor Restaurant’. The publican tenant during 1894 - 1901 was William Chisolm who was also tenant of the House and Billiard Room mentioned above. In the 1898 -1904 valuation roll, James Wight, now of Maitland Street, (moving to Shandwick place by 1903), was letting his shop and cellar to tenant James Orr, a Grocer, born in Leith in 1875.
Image: Ship of the Union Castle Line who traded with South Africa
By the 1901 census, the Anchor Bar is now let to publican Ewen Cameron, aged 30, born in Inverness. He married Mary Brown in Larbert in 1901, but she is not with him while he is boarding with the Ruthven family in No 9 Edinburgh Road, which is a house and shop. Mr Ruthven, born in Queensferry, was a Saddler, working from home. Ewens wife, listed as ‘a Publican’s Wife’ is living at this time with the Simpson Family in Larbert, her sister Helen was married to John Simpson. In August 1903 the Gazette reported that Ewen was leaving to go to South Africa. “Naval men will regret to hear that Mr. Ewen Cameron, the genial proprietor of the Anchor Bar will shortly leave Queensferry for South Africa. During his stay here Mr. Cameron has made himself universally popular. A gentleman of great affability and exceedingly good-hearted, he made himself the friend of all, and his excellent manner and gentlemanly bearing particularly endeared him to those on board ship. There is many a bluejacket and marine, now absent from Queensferry who revered Mr. Cameron and on returning to the town will deplore the fact that he is gone from our midst. He is going to the land of the gold mines, and should he, as a result of his well-known industry and business aptitude, annex as much of the precious metal as to make him a millionaire, he will remember Queensferry which is not well blessed with amenities. He is wished bon voyage from everyone when he leaves in a few weeks”. (He can't be found on Emigration lists to South Africa, Did he actually get there?)
Notice the remains of the fitting for the Anchor Bar sign still above the Anchor Inn today. It can be seen in use in image below.
John MacFarlane was publican tenant from around 1905 until 1911, with his name above the door. The Anchor is known as the Anchor Bar by then but alos known as "The Cyclists Rest". John MacFarlane was born in Perthshire in 1860. He was a Spirit Salesman when he married Maggie Wilkie in 1895, aged 37 and they were living in Rankeillor Street, Edinburgh. He was a Barman living in Gorgie Road, Edinburgh in 1898 when his oldest child, son Alex, was born and by the 1911 census he was a Spirit Merchant, living in 9 Edinburgh Road, Queensferry, with his wife and 2 children. In 1907/1908 Valuation, James Wight still Proprietor, now living in Greenside, Grantshouse, Duns, let his house at No: 16, to David Reid, a Forrester, and the cellar to George Mackay, a Grocer.
The proprietors from 1915 until 1943 were brothers John (born 1893) and David Davidson (born 1895) in High Street, Queensferry. David was a Grocer, living in 5 High Street, and by 1922 they are living in 5 Springwell Terrace, Queensferry. They were owners of No: 8 (house), No: 10 (Anchor Bar), No: 12 (shop and cellar,) and No: 16 (house,) Edinburgh Road, which were all let to tenants. They are now all category C listed buildings. Their father, John was a Master Butcher who died in Springwell Terrace, Queensferry, in 1936, aged 86 years.
No's: 12 and 14, now Maurizios second Queensferry Fish and Chip Shop
Archibald Stewart was the publican tenant of the Anchor Inn from 1911 until 1930. An Archibald Stewart is in the 1911 census living in Dalry Road, with wife Henrietta, he is a Spirit Trade Merchant. As a Wine and Spirit Merchant, living in Blackhall, he died in 1933, aged 51. His wife Henrietta died in 1961 aged 75. Perhaps this is the same person. Another Archibald, Archibald Wood, was Publican from 1931 until 1933 when he became “incapacitated”. On 21st April 1933 the Gazette reported “William Mackie, Newhalls Cottage applied as a new tenant for the public house certificate of the Anchor Bar. Mr. Mackie's solicitor reported that the current licensee Mr. Archibald Wood was incapacitated and could not continue. The premises were satisfactory and business was well conducted and Mr. Mackie had 25 years of experience in the trade. The application was unanimously granted”. An Archibald Wood, Spirit Merchant Manager, of Leith Walk, died in the Western General Hospital in 1933. This may be the same person.
In April 1946 the Gazette listed license applications, and for the Anchor Bar was Percy Faulkner of Priory House, Queensferry. J and D Davidson were still the Proprietors. A Percy Faulkner of Rosebery Avenue, Retired Barman, died in 1959 in the Western General Hospital, aged 65. Survived by his wife Edith. At the same time as the license application, there was also an application for renewal of transferred certificate of the Anchor Bar by Mrs Janet Shapley, of Ambleside Cottage, Queensferry, widow of Samuel Shapley, a Publican (presumably of the Anchor Bar). Janet was Samuels’ second wife. His first wife, Williamina, died in January 1943 and he married Janet in May 1944. They only had 2 years of married life together, as Samuel died of Heart Failure in the Forth Bridge Hotel, in March 1946, aged 63. Janet died in Newington in 1982 aged 98.
More recent Prorietors and Publicans include - 1963/64 – Proprietors, British Linen Bank Ltd (Nominees). Tenant –Scottish Brewers ltd - Publican, Ian Spowart 1970/71 – Proprietors British Linen Bank Ltd (nominees). Tenant - Peter Philp 1980/ 83 - Proprietor -Alan Stewart - Alan remained in Queensferry, living in Plewlands House with his mother until both moved to Orkney some time mid to late 80s. Alan recently passed away in, Orkney.
Image from 1981 Ferry Fair Programme
1984/ 85 - Proprietor - Hammy Miller
Image from 1984 Ferry Fair Programme
In the late 1980’s he was followed by Alistair and Marion Maclennan. They created “The 39 Steps” Restaurant upstairs in what would have been the upstairs lounge and Billiard /Snooker Room. Alistair and Marion also took over the Sealscraig Hotel while running the Anchor Bar and 'The 39 Steps' Restaurant. The next proprietor of the Anchor Inn was Brian Hawkins, who converted 'The 39 Steps' into a Pierre Victoire Franchise which he sublet, and eventually closed. He then converted the upstairs into flats, which they still are. Around 1998 – Brian sold the Anchor to Frank & Carol Brown. Frank had experience as barman and Manager of the Anchor, over many years at various times.
Image from 1989 Ferry Fair Programme
Frank later sold the Anchor to Edinburgh Publican Kenny McLean, who still owns the property. Since then it has been run as a lease by a series of lesse’s including a Marie ? (Does anyone know her surname please?), then Denise Young, followed by Derek Service.
Around 2011, Diana Davidson and her partner Baz were the publicans
From October 2017, Stuart Holland is the publican.
Image from 2011 Ferry Fair Programme
and from around 2013 the publicans were Linda Thomson and her partner James Martin.
Image from 2014 ferry Fair Programme
In present times, 2017 – Linda Martin is still the Publican.
The annual ‘Ferry Fair’ which we will explain more about later, was stopped for the years of the Second World War. It resumed again in 1947, 70 years ago this month, this year! The next Ferry Fair is the week 7th-12th August 2017, with the parade and crowning ceremony on the 12th. To understand the Ferry Fair we must first understand the origins of Queensferry.
Origin of the Royal Burgh of Queensferry. South Queensferry, once a small fishing village, became a Burgh at end of 13th century, as one of four trading Burghs (including Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Musselburgh) within the bounds of Dunfermline Regality, every Burgh was a trading community established to produce revenue. The Abbot of Dunfermline, as ‘Lord of Regality’, having jurisdiction over the territory, kept customs on merchandise exported from his lands, the customs on imports belonging to the crown. King Robert I, no later than 1329, granted the great customs collected at the four Burghs of Regality, to the convent of Dunfermline. In order to encourage commercial dealings internally and within the outside world, the Burgh was granted the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. This right was shown materially with a Mercat Cross which determined the head place of the town.
image, Dunfermline Abbey Ruins, from Dunfermline Presbetery website; link at end of article.
Dunfermline Abbey and the ruins around it are all that remain of a Benedictine Abbey founded by Queen Margaret in the eleventh century. The foundations of her church are under the present nave (or `Old Church`), built in the twelfth century in the Romanesque style by her son David. After the 16th century reformation Dunfermline ceased to be an Abbey, but since the nave of the church continued to be used as the local parish church, much of the Abbey has survived to this day. The present parish church, to the east of the Old Church, was added in the nineteenth century.
Some believe the weekly Fair started around 1068, in the time of King Malcolm III and his Queen, Margaret (whose visits to Dunfermline Abbey via ferry boat, gave ‘Queensferry’ its name). It was a civic duty to walk the boundaries of Queensferry, which were fiercely guarded. In the course of time it became a social duty to celebrate the day with feasting and dancing and so the Ferry Fair was born.
In a charter granted by the Laird of Dundas in 1440 describing the boundaries of land granted by him to the Carmelite Friary as a site for the Church and Monastery they proposed to build (now the Priory Church) there is mention of the Mercat Cross of Queensferry, standing on the east bank of the rivulet which flowed down to the sea as a boundary between the lands of Dundas and the burgh. This stream flowed approximately where the street named ‘The Loan’ now runs. The head of the burgh was in the vicinity of what is now known as the Bellstane where in olden days, lay a stretch of waste land on which markets were held.
Through charters granted in 1576 and 1627, Queensferry believed they had the right to uplift the petty customs of all markets within the sheriffdom from the River Avon to the Almond. The town of Linlithgow challenged this and the customs officer of Linlithgow made an appearance at the annual Fair in Queensferry in July 1628 to collect the petty dues. The inhabitants of the burgh objected to his presence and a riot was started. The customs officer was injured and died. Arbitration ruled that Linlithgow had the right to the taxes. Queensferry was fined £800 scots pounds damages (1 pound Scots equal to 1s 8d sterling), and £100 scots pounds as expenses. The court decided the officer had died of natural causes. In 1629 the magistrates and councillors had to stand by at the Mercat Cross, while the customs officer of Linlithgow uplifted the petty customs for goods sold. An act of parliament considered by evidence produced, confirmed the charter of 1636 and in 1641 erected Queensferry into a Royal Burgh. This settled the customs matter and Queensferry was now entitled to the customs without challenge. The money raised by taxes was vitally important to the upkeep of the town. It also seemed to have mutually settled any disagreements between Queensferry and Linlithgow.
Image below, Dunfermline Mercat Cross
Image: Dunfermline Merkat Cross. Kim Traynor, used under Creative Commons License.
Markets and Fairs The bell stane was probably a stone on which sat the handbell used by the Town Officer (for a sum of 4d) to herald the coming of the weekly market or the annual fair. At a later date the capital initial letter for Bellstane was applied to the name giving it significance. Samuel Wilson wanted to purchase the land where the markets were held but this was refused as the council wished to retain it as a market place. (In 1641 he then built and resided in Plewlands House which was then just outside the Queensferry border).
“It was here all the caravans, penny shows etc that came to Queensferry, ‘put up’. It was a great affair for the youth of Queensferry when some of these perambulating showmen made their appearance”.-Thomas Orrock, Fortha’s Lyrics,1880. There is a carving on the wall at Bellstane (above the dentist) which shows a Bird and a Bell. The bell is believed to represent the bell rung to herald the markets and Fair (the original bell is now in Queensferry Museum). We are unsure of the history of the bird, however people born and bred in Queensferry are locally known as ‘Bellstane Birds’ and there was a local football team named ‘The Bellstane Birds’ (see Queensferry History archive dated 1/8/2015).
Ferry Fair Each twelve months, preparations for the annual Ferry Fair were made. Proclamations were announced in Kirkliston and Linlithgow that “all persons may bring all sorts of wares and commodities to be sold” and brewers were called upon for hiring horses for the riding of the Fair. Before the 25th day of the month of July, the start of the fair week (St James day), booths were erected in the high street for £12 (scots) for each covered stand and £8.00 (scots) for each uncovered erection. All the burgesses were ordered to gather in their best dress including swords in order to ride the fair. If they did not turn up they were fined £14 (scots) and if they had no swords they were fined £7.00 (scots).
Records show in the year 1690, the annual fair was held in the high street. Great preparations had been made. The drum had a new head and new cords costing £1.11s scots. The tailor had mended the colours. The town officer travelled to Edinburgh to purchase hose for the foot race. The drummer and piper who attended the race were each given 12/- and 18/- respectively and a pint of ale each. A pair of boots was purchased as the prize for the Burgh race.
By 1765, the Mercat Cross, a symbol of the Burghs status, a well known landmark round which for generations the life of the people had revolved, had fallen in to a state of decay. Its perpendicular pillar was in danger of falling and its situation now “greatly straiten and incommode the street”. The decision was taken to remove it and instead to erect a small platform raised two or three steps high, built to the North side of the steeple, (at Rosebery Hall) hastily decided and with disregard to its historical significance. A skilled craftsman could easily have dismantled the cross, supplied a new shaft and raised it on a suitable site. The platform was a poor substitute for an ancient Celtic Cross.
Image below, Inverkeithing Mercat Cross
Image: By Thomas Nugent, used under Creative Commons License. Inverkeithing Mercat Cross. Believed to be erected around 1388, Unicorn added at top around 1688 and is said to be the work of John Boyd, a Mason from South Queensferry.
During the summer of 1839 the Town Council decided that the Ferry Fair should be held on Friday 9th August and that the members of council should Walk the Marches. They gathered at the Bellstane and after roll call proceeded to Walk the Marches headed by a musical band from Linlithgow (for a fee of £1.00 sterling). After the first World War ended, the town council decreed that the celebrations for the Treaty of Peace at Versailles should be held on the Ferry Fair day, 8th August 1919. They generously granted £7.10s towards expenses for the day. A Union Jack three yards long and two small flags for each end were purchased for the decoration of the street.
Image, Treaty of Versailles, Cover of English copy. Wikipedia Public Domain
The Ferry Fair we see today is different from the Fair of bygone days. The Queens Procession met at the Hawes Pier and marched along to Rosebery Hall, led by the Town Crier followed by a Military Band. Children in Fancy Dress also took part in the procession and were presented to the Fair Queen.
The Boundary Race was started at the Bellstane, then through Hopetoun Crossroads, Loch Road, Station Road, Hawes Brae and back to Bellstane. At some time and certainly in 1937 it was changed to start from the Bellstane, along to Sealscraig Hotel and back to the Bellstane. Some time later it changed back to the original route which it follows today.
After the crowning ceremony, which was held on a platform raised at Rosebery Hall, the Burgh Races took part, prizes awarded, later the Queen laid a wreath (usually her bouquet) at the War Memorial to commemorate those that died during the wars. She still lays a wreath to this day.
Refreshments were served in Burgess Park, after which the Ferry Fair Games were held. Among the many varied activities, there were dancing competitions (eg: Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Irish Jig), various races including in 1937 (Gazette) a Treacle Scone race which was the most enjoyable and competitions such as the 'Greasy Pole', 'Piano Smashing' etc. There was also a competition for the best kept garden of council tenants. In 1937 the gazette reported that quite a lot of tenants "had not cut their grass". (Forerunner of the ‘Decorated Arches’ competition perhaps)? There was also a Best Dressed Horse competition, which drew people from near and far and was well attended.
Greasy Pole Piano Smashing
After the Fair, and certainly by 1948, there was an evening Thanksgiving Service in the Parish Church, and an evening Dance in Rosebery Hall the evening before. The Travelling Shows were stretched along the Hawes Promenade.
In 1937, a reel of photos taken during the Fair was shown at the Cinema. First Aid was provided by the Red Cross Society, who also ran a tea room at the adjoining Queensferry Public School. By 1930 it was decided to incorporate a children’s festival into the fair. A Queen was chosen by her peers in the oldest class at Queensferry Junior Secondary school. The first Queen, in 1930, was Emily McBain and the fair was held in August of that year. This format was carried through until 1939 but was discontinued during the years of the Second World War.
Images below show the crown used by the Ferry Fair Queen before the choice of Queen was changed to younger girls. This crown is now held by Edinburgh Museums.
There was no Ferry Fair in 1940, only the Burry Man (more on him further on) walking the streets. In 1941 there was no Burry Man either, the war having brought the celebrations to a halt.
Ferry Fair 1947 There was no Ferry Fair after 1939 until 1947, due to World War2. Traditionally the Sports events were held in Burgess Park. It was reported in 1947 that as Burgess Park was in such a bad condition, the Sports events would be held in Station Road Park, (near where the High School is now) until it could be repaired. By 1949 they were back to Burgess Park.
Image, 1948 Ferry Fair Programme cover, (we don't have a 1947 one!) Queensferry History Group
The Courier on 1st August 1947 reports “There was much excitement in the air as it was 8 years since the last Ferry Fair. Many of the children now at school will never have seen one before. Older folk are seeing in this year’s Fair a real sign of the return of peace and are determined to make it worthy of the occasion.” A cash prize was given this year rather than the traditional boots. In 1947, 70 years ago, the Fair was started again with Leonora Berry as the chosen Queen. The ex-Queen was Patricia McMahon, then aged 21. Although she was a grown woman by this time, she was honoured to take part in the ceremony with the schoolchildren.
Image, 1947 Queen Leonora, from 2016 Ferry Fair Programme. Queensferry History Group
Before the war, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Andrew Murray (1947-1951), had said it would be a good thing for Queensferry to have a proper “throne” for the Queen to sit on and he would give one to the Burgh. This could not be done until after the war so in 1948 he attended the Fair to donate the oak 'throne', received by QueensferryProvost Lawson. It is known as the 'Murray Chair' and is still used to this day. The Crowning Ceremony that year was performed, as 'Gracious Lady', by the Lady Provost, Miss Rodney Murray, sister of Lord Provost Murray.
The 'Murray Chair'
According to the 1948 programme (we do not have a 1947 programme) events were to be held over three days. The Boundary Race was to be held on Thursday 12th August. On Friday 13th August, The Procession from the Hawes Pier and Crowning of the Queen at Rosebery Hall, with Girls Races, Boys Races, Three Legged Races, Sack Races, Wheelbarrow Races, Ladies Egg and Spoon Race, Ladies Race, Old Women’s Race, Old Men’s Race and Band Race was to be held in Station Road Park. The Ferry Fair Dance was held in the evening in Rosebery Hall with a 2/- (shilling) admittance. On Saturday 14th August, in Station Road Park with admission costs of 1/6; children free, seats costing 6d, various events were held including races, with competitors from various Clubs and Schools, High Jump, Broad Jump, Hurdles,Tug of War, Pole Vault, Javelin, Pillow Fight, Treacle Scone contest, Various Dance competitions and Best Decorated Horse. Sadly however, the Courier reported that persistent rain on Thursday curtailed the Boundary Race and the Bury Man got so soaked through that he had a break in the afternoon and the evening’s perambulations to outlying areas had to be cancelled. The weather was fine on Friday for the parade and crowning ceremony however the ground was so sodden that it was decided to cancel the children’s sports. They had refreshments in Rosebery Hall and a film show in the Regal Cinema instead.
In the programme some advertisers included The Kiosk at the Hawes Pier, John Watson Chemist, Hillwood Co-operative Society and the Regal Cinema.
In the 1960’s it was decided to choose the queen from the primary schools as difficulties had arisen in persuading the ex-queens, then aged 15+ and working, to take part in a children’s festival.
,Since these days flower girls and page boys have been added to the Queen’s retinue. Floats carrying fancy dressed members of local organisations have been another welcome addition and the symbolic replica ship bearing Queen (later to become a Saint), Margaret with her brother Edgar (from whom came the name Echline, ofEchlinearea in Queensferry) and Princesses Agatha and Christina makes a historical addition to the parade.
Previously the position was held for many years by Willie Lamond who was better known to all as “Killiecrankie”. He was in fact retained by the local Town Council as Town Crier and “cried” public meetings, public disasters and anything else that had to be brought to the notice of local people in the days when only the police and doctors had a telephone. By 1949 he had served as Town Crier for 42 years.
Although not traditionally connected to the Fair, the day preceding the Ferry Fair Queen crowning ceremony, the Burry Man makes his annual parade in the town according to local custom, drawing the pupils of the local school after him. Completely clad in flannels, his body, arms and legs and even his face being concealed by a covering of burrs, fruits of the burdock that grew profusely in the neighbourhood, on his head a hat bedecked with flowers. As he walks, his arms extended laterally, hands each grasping a stout shaft displaying a profusion of blooms at the top. In the 1800’s he was led from door to door up the wynds and closes by his two attendants who supported the heavy weight of his arms. They walked him around the town knocking on doors and receiving money donations which brought good luck to the givers. Children cried out “Hip Hip Hooray, it’s the Burry Man Day” to draw attention. In days gone by, after the tour of the Burgh, he went further afield visiting outlying areas, being wheeled in a wheelbarrow (which can’t have been comfortable!).
The task of preparing the Burry Man for the ceremony is performed by the attendants who gathered the burrs and arranged them on a board, the burrs clinging together in such a manner they formed a mat which could be applied to the flannel garments. A loose leg of woollen stocking was drawn over the man’s head and face, slits having been cut for the eyes, nose and mouth, the face then concealed by a mask of burrs. It has to be a stout man who will have the stamina to endure the trials of the day, with no means of going to the toilet and only being fed liquids (some alcoholic) through a straw.
The origins of the Burry Man is obscure, but may go back over 300 years. Sir Walter Scott who tried to solve the mystery of the ceremony was baffled by it and archaeologists throughout the years, although they offered theories, have failed to find the origin and meanings of the custom. There are many theories, ranging from it having been instituted during the reign of King Malcolm III ‘Canmore’ (which translates as ‘Big Head’ which reputedly, he physically had) and Queen Margaret about the year 1032, through to a representative in human form of a tree or plant spirit formerly worshipped all over Europe, believed to bring a good harvest. Another, brought by Dr Mason, a local historian and founder of Queensferry Museum, who wrote ‘The History of Queensferry’ in 1963, was mentioned in the Gazette in 1948, having said that the Folklore Society have instances of similar ceremonies taking place in fishing villages which suggests that it most likely derives from a pagan ceremony in favour of the fishings. (Queensferry was once a fishing village). Yet another theory is that it was brought to Queensferry by visiting sailors from similar ceremonies abroad.
An old lady in Queensferry who was still alive in 1851, at 80 years of age, is said to have declared that her mother remembered when she was aged 13 in 1746 and the Burry Man used to go around the town at that time. Many people work hard behind the scenes to bring us both the Burry Man and the Ferry Fair. We are sure with the help and support of the community it will continue for many more years to come. Information extracted from ‘The History of Queensferry’-Dr Mason 1963, Linlithgowshire Gazette extracts 1835–1947, Dunfermline Abbey Presbytery Website, ‘Fortha’s Lyrics and Other Poems’- Thomas Orrocks, 1880.
Many people ask what used to be where the grassy area is, at the side of the Masonic Hall, and Hawthorn Bank, at the Vennel. the image below shows the buildings that used to be there. Rosebery Buildings was a tenement and many local people have memories of this building. John Wilson of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was born in Rosebery Buildings in 1887. He died in Givency, France in 1914, aged 27 and is commemorated on the Dalmeny War Memorial.
The image above shows No:1-Rosebery Buildings, No:2-Smith's Land (behind whch the Vennel Hall now stands, just to get your bearings) and No:3-Hawthorn Bank, (both still standing.), No:4- Stables and later Garage, No:5- Workshop and Garage, possibly 4 and 5 were used by the same owner, Walter Scott who had a Motor Hire business. No:6-Masonic Hall is on the left, just off the picture and No:7-Rosebery Hall just to get your bearings, the lamp post in the foreground still stands in the same place. In more recent years many locals will remember the childrens playground in this area, with a climbing frame shaped like a rocket, which caused several serious serious accidents.
Grass area beside the Masonic Hall where Walter Scott had his Motor Hire business. Imge QHG
One local resident remembers being told of the time a cow escaped from the nearby 'killing' house (which most likely was at Brewery Close) and ran up the narrow stairs. Her grandfather had to stand with his feet against the door and his back against the wall to stop the cow pushing their door open, as it had to turn at the top of the stairs to come back down.It caused quite a bit of panic with the residents! Her Grandmother said there was a terrible mess to clean up after the cow had gone. (What happened to it then we don't know!)
Numbers 5 & 6 Stoneycroft Road, former names 'Catherine Bank' and 'Bonny Views', is a category “C” listed building. Date of erection unknown, but first records show dates around 1801, with a mention of pre 1720. It has late 19th century alterations, and has an attic with large dormer windows and steps down to the basement on the East side. This building is sited on a steep gradient resulting in a single storey appearance from the South. Above Catherine Bank were a number of houses, now demolished, called Catherine Terrace. Affectionately known as "The Brickies" they were built around 1883 to house the construction workers for the Forth Rail Bridge.
What follows is an incomplete complicated record of two halves – upper and lower, taken mainly from Deeds. Listing proprietors only, as there were many tenants throughout the years. The first mention of ownership is dated 1720 in the appeal for a ‘Charter of Novodamus’ in 1862 by Helen and Ann Elder in order to establish their ownership, as earlier title deeds were missing. More information on this further on.
The lower western flat of Catherine Bank was owned by Archibald and Margaret Stewart on deeds dated 23rd April 1801. (These deeds are unavailable but evidence is recorded on the 1852 deeds. This then passed to their youngest daughter Miss Margaret Stewart, who died in Queensferry in November 1852. Archibald Stewart c1736-1801, his wife Margaret Douglas c1740-1825, their son Archibald Douglas Stewart c1774-1825 and daughter Margaret Stewart c1780-1852 are all buried in St Cuthbert Church Graveyard, Dalmeny.
It was then put in the hands of Margaret’s heirs, Mrs Margaret Ellis nee Watt, (born c1801) residing in Aberdeen, widow of Army Captain Joseph Ellis (born c1791), who died between June 1841 and March 1851, (no information can be traced on his military career) and Miss Cecilia Stewart Ellis, her eldest daughter (born 1821), residing in The Isle of Man, proprietors by virtue of a disposition and deed settlement by Margaret Stewart dated 3rd March 1847. (Relationship unknown).
The property (lower western flat) was put up for sale by public roup (auction) in 1852 at an upset price of £15.00 sterling. Only one offer was made, of £15.00, this by James Wilson, residing at 1 Grove Place, who put it in the hands of Mr John Cullen, Writer to the Signet (Scottish Solicitor), Edinburgh. John Cullen sold the property, the lower western flat, for £15.00, to James Wood, a Joiner, on 12th November 1862. James married Janet Kerr in Queensferry in 1830, but sadly she died. He then married Catherine MacLaren in Queensferry on 3rd March 1850 .
The upper tenement back and front, and yard, lying to the south, was also owned by James Wood, Master Joiner, who purchased the property on 3rd July 1862, for £40 sterling, from Helen Smith nee Elder, spouse of Hugh Smith, Surgeon, from Glasgow, married in 1846 in Scoonie, who by 1862 were living in Newstead, Castlemain, Victoria, Australia and Anne Smith nee Arnott, wife of John Smith, Writer, residing in Leven.
The property (upper tenement as above) was previously owned by Anne Elder nee Anderson, wife of John Elder, Bookseller of Leven, until 1833, when it was passed on to her daughters Helen and Anne mentioned above, who were in possession until 1862. Helen and Anne were unable to recover earlier title deeds in order to establish their ownership so on 30th June 1862 a ‘Charter of Novodamus’ was granted as warrant of registration via George Dundas of Dundas Estates, at that time Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, Canada. 15 shillings fue duty was paid in respect of the Charter. (A charter of Novodamus, in Scottish feudal land law, is a fresh grant of lands to the grantee. It is usually granted to make some change in the incidents of tenureof land already granted, or to resolve doubts about the grant or its terms).
George Dundas 1819 - 1880. Image Wikipedia Public Domain
They stated that in 1720 the property, upper level back and front and yard, belonged to John Arnott, Carpenter in Inverkeithing and this fell to his son Robert Arnott, a Tailor in Queensferry, and subsequently to his eldest son John. By 1763, John’s daughter Ann Watson nee Arnott, was proprietor of Catherine Bank, spouse of James Watson, Merchant and Burgess of Edinburgh. This descended to their daughter, Helen Anderson nee Watson, spouse of George Anderson. Their daughter Anne Anderson as mentioned in previous paragraph, married John Elder, Bookseller in Leven and they remained in possession until 1833 when she was succeeded by Helen Smith nee Elder and Anne Smith nee Elder as above. Helen and Anne sold the property to James Wood on 3rd July 1862, three days later, for £40 sterling.
On 9th May 1863, James Wood, now a Builder and Ironmonger, purchased the lower Eastern flat for £20.00 sterling from Mrs Elizabeth Sharpe nee MacFarlane, widow of the late Walter Sharpe, residing in Bathgate. The writs of the property, having gone missing, were to be delivered upon recovery. It seems by 1863 James Wood now owns the entirety of Catherine Bank. He proceeded to make alterations to the building. He is given credit as ‘erecting’ Catherine Bank in the Disposition by grandson William George Wood, to the Co-operative Building Society, in respect of the purchase of the property by Thomas and Moira Watson in 1955.
In 1871 census James Wood, listed aged 71, Builder and Carpenter, is living in West Terrace with his wife Catherine and daughter Jane. In 1881 listed aged 82, he is still there living with wife and family including two sons, one daughter, daughter in law and a grandson. James Wood died on 23rd January 1884 in West Terrace, Queensferry aged 86 years, notified by his son David Wood of London. Catherine was living in Trafalgar Cottage, Queensferry when she died on 11th August 1888 aged 77 years.
Part of the building was sold by the trustees of James Wood, to Tom Ross in November 1892, and part of the building was sold by the trustees to James’s son William in July 1915. William Wood, was born in Queensferry and in 1861, an Apprentice Banker, he was living with his Uncle William in Largo, Fife. By 1871 he was living in Essex with his wife Annie. They returned to Queensferry by 1881, still a Bank Clerk, living with father James in West Terrace. By 1901 he had retired, as a Bank Manager, to New Malden, Surrey with his wife Annie.
William George Wood sold the two uppermost flats (No 5) to Thomas and Moira Watson, of Priory House, for £425 in 1955. With consent of Thomas and Elizabeth, William then sold the property to Mrs Mary Purves Scott, nee Collins for £1,855 the same year. The property is now named “Bonny Views”.
The lower two flats continued to change hands several times between 1964 and 1979, the value increasing accordingly from £400.00 to £13,00.00.
Mrs Mary Purves Scott nee Collins, died in Queensferry on 8th February 1983, aged 83 and left the two uppermost flats (Bonny Views) to Miss Edwina Collins and Mrs Kathleen Stewart nee Collins. They sold to Lawrence Johnston in June 1983 for £15,500. He in turn sold on to Mrs Janet McMurtrie in January 1984 for £20,000. Janet sold to William Goodsir Leitch, living in Kirkaldy, for £37,000 in November 1984. In 1989 Dr Hugh Fraser and Miss Janet Reid Scott purchased the two lower flats from William and Eleanor Clark for £71,000. No deeds were found. In 1990 Dr Hugh Fraser and Miss Janet Reid Scott sold 6 Stoneycroft Road, the two lowermost floors and garden, for £74,000, to Miss Hilary Sharman, who later that year sold them back to Hugh and Janet. In 1990, Rentokil produced a certificate of guarantee for treatment of rising damp and wood boring infestation and in 1992 a repairs grant was awarded to H Fraser for 6 Stoneycroft (Lower Flats)
In 2004, William Goodsir Leitch now living in Nagasaki, sold 5 Stoneycroft Road (upper flats) to Jon Davies and Alison Powell. They later purchased the lower flats (No. 6), and subsequently sold the entire property to the present owners. At present No 6 is a private dwelling and No 5 is 'Forth Reflections, Self Catering Holiday Accommodation', link to website below.
This information is extracted from Dispositions, Titles, and other papers regarding the sales of Catherine Bank. Additional information taken from Ancestry, Find My Past, census and valuation records and Scotland’s People.
The Staghead Hotel in South Queensferry, 8 High Street, South Queensferry, is an early 17th century Coaching Inn. It is a category “B” listed building and is of special architectural interest. The following information is found on the website - www.smoothhound.co.uk/hotels/staghead.html
Image from Staghead Facebook page, link at end of this article
The website for the Staghead hotel states - “Enjoy a stay in our traditional 17th century former coaching inn. The "Stag"(as its affectionately known by locals) is a family run hotel, situated at the water's edge of the river Forth, overlooking the ancient harbour, and nestles between the world famous Forth rail and road bridges. We are located on the towns medieval cobbled High Street and Gote Lane, which ambles down to the ancient harbour where many an artist can be seen sketching the bridges. There can be few hotels offering a more dramatic location!”
The story goes that in the year 1708, an unthinking "STAG" wandered into the village and was slain on this spot by a passing coach. The coach was a relevantly new innovation, and their predecessors took full advantage of the trade it brought to this area, and in 1712, added an extension of 14 bedrooms and an upstairs parlour to the existing alehouse. Karen Purves, the previous proprietor wrote this verse about the event
The Story of the Stag, There aince wis a Stag, a prood bonny Stag, whae bided in woods yont the "Ferry" Sae cantie wis he wi a glint in his e'e and fashes he ne'er any!
Ain day oor croose Stag cocked up his lugs on hearing a dirl frae the toonthis unco clatter- "Mon whit kin it be?" Sae he daured tae gae cannilie doon
Dumfoonert wis he at the sichts he did see as he keeked roon the bield o the kirk Twa naigs they were luggin a boxie on wheels an' the din wis the de'ils ain work
Inside the boxie sat maisters an' maids garbed oot in goons a' sae braw An the maisters wi' wigs a pootert as new and waistcoats as white as the snaw
Alas, the Stag louped, the better tae see, leavin the beild o' the kirk Alang cam' the coachman, no' thinkin, wis he o' Stags loupin o' the kirk An' lo in the gloamin' o' that nicht yestreen, oor Stag wis felled doon on this spot So dinnae be fashed wi noises at nicht, remember oor Stags bluidy lot
We've honoured his heid, in oor alehoose it hings,tak heed guid friends yin an' a' Yir neebors affair are thir ain, sae tae speak, an' nebbin can come 'fore a fa' Karen Purves MBII
(There is a translation on the website, button link 'A', at the end of this article.)
The "Stag" is reputed to be haunted by a few spirits who, on occasion make their presence known. Auld Mrs Wyld, a former proprietor and inn keeper of the 17th century, can often be heard pacing up and down the top floor.... and has been occasionally seen! While, in the cellar, "Jack", an ex cellarman, can be heard moving barrels around, and playfully switching lights on and off.
The Staghead was known in the 1960’s to be a sailor’s pub, popular with sailors berthed at Port Edgar. Many local girls are known to have married the sailors.
Image borrowed from Pinterest posted by Sarah Wells.
It is now the starting place for the Burry Man’s tour of the burgh since the Queensferry Arms became the Orrocco Pier.
Image borrowed from Staghead Hotel Facebook page
The area behind the hotel was the site of the demolished 19th century Glenforth Distillery.
Proprietors - This is an incomplete list of past and present proprietors. The information has been taken from valuation and census rolls.
1855 - James Wylde –(valuation roll) 1877-1880 - Robert Stewart, (valuation roll) (Robert in 1877 is also proprietor of a distillery on north side of high street.) 1881-1901 - Daniel Stewart (valuation and census rolls) 1913-1925 - William Murray, (valuation Roll) widower of Jessie Robert Elder who died in Buchanan Arms Hotel, Drymen, of acute rheumatic fever, in 1910 aged 44, son also named William. William senior died in 1927 aged 67, having suffered from Parkinsons Disease for 8 years so maybe his son, William, who was living in Stag Head Cottage at time of his father’s death notification, may have taken over. Their younger son, Robert Elder Murray was killed in action in Picardy, France in August, 1918, aged 22 and is remembered on Queensferry war memorial.
1930- Staghead mentioned in Valuation roll, but Proprietor is unnamed.
It seems likely that Ian Macmillan and his wife were the proprietors during the 1960’s.
Ken and Jeanette Taylor were proprietors around 1970’s until 1984 /5
1985-2010- Karen Purves - Karen was born in Edinburgh. Her parents were also publicans managing various establishments. She came to Queensferry in 1985 to manage the pub and hotel. She was a great supporter of local charities holding fundraising events and collections at the bar. Sadly she died in 2010 aged 52.
The current proprietors are – David Steel and Michelle Johnston
According to the West Lothian Courier, the telephone came to Queensferry in 1907 and was at first limited in operation to between Queensferry and Edinburgh. It was reported in the Gazette in 1917 that the remaining overhead telegraph and telephone wires would be placed underground. Some had already been placed underground previously. The section running from the east end of the town to the foot of the Hawes Brae posed no problems, however the western portion was expected to cause traffic inconvenience in the narrow areas of the High Street and Hopetoun Road. (nothing changed there then!) Telephone numbers have changed through the years and here are some old numbers for businesses in Queensferry and along the High Street. The connections were dealt with through a telephone exchange in Bank Buildings. We have not listed present day numbers as we are not a Telephone Directory, but a History Group. Over time more numbers may be added. (Information taken from old Ferry Fair Programmes).
Image from an unknown Museum
In the 1930’s – ‘Forth Bridge Hotel’, now the ‘Ferry Tap’ – Queensferry 84 ‘Walkers Grocer’, now the ‘Queens Spice’ – Queensferry 97 ‘Fairlie Butcher’, now’ Maisies’ – Queensferry 12 ‘Hawes Garage’, still ‘Hawes Garage’ - Queensferry 23 ‘Newhalls Hotel’, now the ‘Hawes Inn’ - Queensferry 15 (Interestingly by the 1950's the 'Hawes Inn' number had changed to - Queensferry 215)
During the 1940’s ‘The Regal Café’, and the Regal Picture House, demolished (was next to Rosebery Clock Tower) - Queensferry 259 ‘Bryces Dairy’, now private housing in Brewery Close - Queensferry 220 ‘Walter Scott Motor Hirer’, which was the Green Park next to Masonic Hall – Queensferry 211 ‘David Davidson Grocer’, now ‘Mauritzio’s’ at Sealscraig - Queensferry 264 ‘St.Elia’s Café’, now ‘Antico’ at Orroco Pier - Queensferry 246
The back of the Regal Picture House during demolition of part of Brewery Close in 2003 for housing. Image QHG
Stirling Dairy previously Bryces Dairy, now private housing. Image QHG
Grass area beside the Masonic Hall where Walter Scott Motor Hire once was.
Antico at Orocco Pier today, where St Elias Cafe once was. Image QHG
During the 1950’s/60’s Greenfields, now Mauritzios on Hopetoun Road - Queensferry 335 Hillwood Co-op Draper/Fashion, now The Little Bakery - Queensferry 213 Marshall Morrison & Ass. Architects &Town Planners, Black Castle, now all private - Queensferry 681
Mauritzio's on Hopetoun Road today where Greenfields Grocer once was. Image QHG
Queensferry has many inns, hotels and restaurants. One such Inn, at 36 High Street is called ‘The Ferry Tap’. It is a ‘free house’ pub with no brewery ties and has had several name changes. Fine ale has always been a centre-point of Scottish pubs, and they pride themselves on a constantly changing selection from breweries all over Scotland – their status as a 'free house' with no brewery tie, means that they can hunt around for the finest seasonal ales on offer. (Although Website states they are a ''free house, they are in actual fact 'tied' as the present owners are Caledonian Heritable). The nation’s other favourite tipple is also well represented, they have a selection of (at the last count) 52 single malt whiskies, the largest selection you’ll find in the area. Their regulars have instituted the ‘Tap Whisky Appreciation & Tasting Society’, an informal whisky sampling club, and there’s always at least one of the ‘TWATS’ on hand to talk you through their offerings! (Information taken from The Ferry Tap website, link at the end of this article).
The building was erected in 1683 states the plaque on the wall and was originally a house. When it became an ‘Inn’ is unknown so far. There is no mention of it in the early census information for Queensferry. The first information found is in the 1881 census, when, as a hotel, it was named the ‘Prince of Wales’ until pre March 1890. When the future King Edward VII opened the magnificent Forth Rail Bridge in March 1890, the hotel's name was changed to ‘The Forth Bridge Hotel’.
The Hotel suffered a fire in 1907 and it had to be rebuilt. Jessie Mackenzie was proprietor at this time. There was another fire in 1976, remembered by locals, and it was closed for a while. The new owner, Neil Waterman re-opened it as a public house with the rooms upstairs converted into flats. Later it was renamed ‘The Forth Bridges’ and with another later name change it became ‘The Ferry Tap’.
Proprietors There are gaps in the list of proprietors, but these will be added to later as more information unfolds. Information is taken from Census forms and Valuation forms.
From at least 1881 until 1885 – ‘Prince of Wales Hotel’, proprietor Charles Stevenson. ( Evidence shows he is in Tillicoultry at least until before 1875.). 1881 census - Charles Stevenson, aged 40, born in Cambuslang, Inn Keeper of ‘Prince of Wales Hotel', along with wife Jeannie aged 42, born in Paisley, and children, Nellie-c1870, John-c1872, Charles-c1874, all born in Milngavie, and Jeanie-c1875, born in Tillicoultry, while father an innkeeper. From at least 1887 until 1891 – Now the ‘Forth Bridge Hotel’, proprietor listed as Alexander Russell. 1891 until approx. 1894 – ‘Forth Bridge Hotel’, proprietor John O’Neil, aged 39, born in Ireland, along with wife Mary Jane, aged 29 also born in England, and children Ethel-c1882, Ernest-c1885 and Blanche-c1887, all born in England. 1894 until 1904 – proprietor James Mackenzie (a former Sea Captain), born in England, died in 1904, aged 60, of Acute Nephritis (causing Kidney Failure) and delirium. He was listed as “Widower of Matilda Oversley” when he married Jessie Oliver, born in Peebleshire, in Edinburgh, in 1897. 1904 until 1926 -‘Forth Bridge Hotel’ (with 16 rooms) -proprietor Jessie Mackenzie, James’s Widow. She died in 1929, aged 67, of an Ovarian Tumour and Cardiac Arrest. 1911 census states Mrs Jessie Mackenzie aged 44, born in Peebles, is hotel keeper of Forth Bridge Hotel along with son Oliver aged 13 and son Henry aged 7 both born in Queensferry. Oliver was proprietor by the time of his Mother’s death.
A bit of Local History - Private Charles Stuart Watson (1898 – 1916) of 8th Battalion Royal Scots, resided with his Aunt Hilda Watson, a relative of proprietor Jessie McKenzie, in the ‘Forth Bridge Hotel’, Queensferry. He died aged 18, of wounds received in action on 3rd September 1916, during the Battle of the Somme and is remembered on Queensferry and Kirkliston Memorials. Charles is buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.
1926 until 1936 – proprietor Oliver Mackenzie, (eldest son of James and Jessie, previous properietors), born 1897 in Forth Bridge Hotel. Oliver was called up for service in World War I aged 18, and enlisted in Queensferry, into the Seaforth Highlanders on 11th December 1915, for ‘Short Field Service at Home’. He is listed as ‘Hotel Manager’ residing in the Forth Bridge Hotel, Queensferry. No other war records can be traced. Oliver was a well known magician who developed a trick known as “My Drink Trick”. It was released in the 1960’s by Harry Stanley, a London Magic dealer. Based on a drinking theme, it is still performed today by many ‘close up’ magicians. Oliver married a Margaret Rosalie Locke, from Swanage, in 1921 in Queensferry. Then married Edith Seaton in Edinburgh in 1935. His occupation on the certificates states 'Actor'. He died of Brochopneumonia and Broncho Carcinoma in Northern General Hospital, Edinburgh on 27th January 1983. The telephone number for The Forth Bridge Hotel in the 1930's was - South Queensferry 84.
Proprietors are then unknown until around - 1951 – proprietors are David and Edward Simpson Around 1966, there was a function room upstairs. 1971 - Alan Harrower is listed as proprietor. Harrower a Turf Accountant, owned betting shops in Edinburgh. During this time locals knew it as ‘Harrowers’. In 1977 it was taken over Neil Waterman, then Maurice McKernon (there is some discrepancy over whether his name was Maurice (or Morris) McKernon, Maurice McKinnon or Maurice Mckellar Watt) in the mid 80's and John Gorrie followed by Derek Anderson around 1987. Brian Alexander Cowper Inglis, a past Director of Duddingston Golf Club, Edinburgh is also a past proprietor. Brian sold to Caledonian Heritable and the present manager is Linda Gamble. Thank you to local residents for the information which helped to make up this list.
This information has been extracted, with permission, from Michael G McDowalls book “The Harbour, Queensferry’s Maritime History”. Michael is a member of Queensferry History Group and also Queensferry Heritage Trust.
In 1641 when Queensferry became a Royal Burgh, it was described as having a haven, and a harbour. The definition of ‘harbour’ as a place of shelter for ships does not necessarily imply a man-made structure.
Image, a postcard from J Boner collection, QHG
As well as owning and running the ferry passage, its leading burgesses were merchants and shipmasters exporting coal, slate, sheepskins and meal in return for timber, iron, wine, randy, cloth and oil from Europe and Scandinavia. Ships were becoming larger, and loading and unloading was becoming more difficult. Also the rock ledges between low and high water were becoming dangerous as they were being quarried for building stone, to meet demands from the neighbourhood and for export.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Queensferry was a thriving seaport. Its prosperity reflected in the numbers of substantial buildings that still exist today. Local ships were making several voyages every year, chartered often by Edinburgh merchants, to exchange coal and stone for a wide range of commodities from roof pantiles to pots and pans, travelling to places such as Rotterdam, London, Calais, Danzig, Bruges, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. There is evidence that Queensferry skippers were venturing north for the whaling, bringing back blubber for oil to be used for lighting and the manufacture of soap.
Image - Whaling by Abraham Storck. Wikimedia Commons
The first built harbour was erected in 1694 when the Sea Baillie and fellow skippers raised money to build the harbour. The piers of this harbour probably form the base of the present day harbour. The wall and cobbled stone corner roundel at the harbour head are perhaps the only remaining features of this period. In February 1763 there was a violent storm that damaged the harbour and sea wall. Repairs and extension work were done but in January 1789 another storm ‘tumbled it to ruins’. By November 1798, work was finished on the harbour, The east pier was repaired and extended and work was done on the west pier. It was stated that “when this work is finished the harbour will be in a complete state of repair which is important not only to the town but also to the public. The materials for soap making as well as the greater part of the coals consumed by the inhabitants are carried by water”. By 1783-9, brown soap making had become a flourishing and extensive trade employing 20-30 men in each of the four large works in the town.
By 1815, again the harbour was in need of a lot of work as it was deemed to be unsafe in either an easterly or westerly gale. After many meetings and proposed plans construction work was carried out during 1817-18. In 1821 the Steamboat Queen Margaret was added to the fleet which included four large sailing boats three pinacces and three yawls for use in fair weather. However it was deemed unsuitable for steamships to be using the piers which had been built for sailing ships, so the Town pier at North Queensferry was extended and by 1830 the ferry ceased to use Queensferry harbour.
Inchgarvie from the south 1784. The harbour with the passage boat leaving the east pier. Image from Michael's book
In the first decade of the 19th century plots of land were sold for building new houses. A plot at the harbour head was sold, then when nothing was done with it, it was sold back to the council. In 1839 the Glenforth Distillery was built which “rears its walls at the head of the harbour”. Its production of 1700 – 2000 gallons each week gave employment to 20 people and relied on the import of barley.
The Harbour Head. Glenforth Distillery on left. (Water colour by Charles Bryden 1859-1906) Image from Michael's book
Gravestones in the Vennel churchyard record some of the Skippers of bygone days. One of the earliest is that of Robert Hill, Skipper and Bailie of Queensferry died in 1668. Henry Steel, Shipmaster, died in Granada in 1774, John Martin Shipmaster and Magistrate died in 1817. John Cant died in 1819, John Samson from Leith died in 1810, two days before his brother James.
Old image of Queensferry Harbour. Image- J. Boner collection QHG
To read more about this interesting history you can purchase a copy of Michael G McDowalls book for £7.50 plus delivery costs. Contact email :- email@example.com
The Church of Scotland opened the Robertson Orphan Home for Girls, in Queensferry, in 1898, in a house in East Terrace.
The original Robertson Orphan Home was established in 1875 by the Rev, Dr William Robertson of New Greyfriars, in the ‘Vennel’ and the children attended the New Greyfriars School. It remained there until his death in 1882. After her father’s death, Miss Gertrude Robertson took over the responsibility for the funds and for the management of the home.
It was thought the home, in the ‘Vennel’, was too close to the girls old homes and a decision was made to move further away so their friends wouldn't be able to "waylay them" on their way to and from school.
Between 1882 and 1898 the orphanage moved several times, from the Vennel, firstly to Wilfred Terrace, Piershill. This home prospered through funding support and a second flat was opened in Drum Terrace, off Easter Road. Both had facility for 12 girls. In 1887 a large house was secured in Mayfield, off Easter Road, and the two orphanages united there happily for 5 years until the house was pulled down for redevelopment. The home then moved to Pilrig Street, Leith.
Another 5 years passed and it became clear that the running of the home was too much responsibility for one person, namely Gertrude Robertson, (who later died of Cerebral Hemorrhage in 1900, aged 51.).
The Church of Scotland's "Committee of Christian life and work" agreed to take over the running of the home with the approval of the General Assembly. As the first institution of the kind undertaken by the Church of Scotland, it drew considerable interest. The new departure by the church was originated in 1896 when in spirit of self -examination the General Assembly reviewed their responsibility to the orphans and the friendless. It was hoped that this was to be one of many such orphanages throughout the church.
When the lease on the Pilrig house ran out, a house with a large garden was taken in South Queensferry, situated in the High Street (East Terrace) and overlooking the Forth.
Adapted for the purpose of the children’s home, the rooms were bright and airy and suitably furnished to provide accommodation for 20 orphan girls. The new home was opened in Queensferry in 1898. A Miss K H Davidson was initially appointed as superintendent of the institution.
In the 1901 census, an Annie Anderson was the Deaconess Superintendant of the home, with a Margaret Falconer, from Linlithgow, listed as ‘Head’ of house, occupation, a Boot Merchant, there with her family, two daughters and a young Grandson. There were two servants – sisters from Inchmarlo, Aberdeenshire ( former girls?) and a Cook. There were 16 girls listed, 11 born in Edinburgh, 2 born in Leith, one in Moffat, one in Falkirk and one in Greenock, this included two sets of sisters.
The house was sold by the proprietor in 1904 for building purposes, so after great searching, a suitable house was found in Musselburgh which was formerly used in connection with Loretto School and was in every way, suitable and it was opened in Hamilton Place, in 1905. Senior girls were trained in house work "to qualify them for domestic service". This home was still in operation, in No’s 12 – 16, High Street, Musselburgh, in the 1930’s with a Miss A E Brown as Matron.
Musselburgh High Street, c1905. Image with permission from Peter Stubbs, edinphoto.org.uk
Image, Dover ( not home featured) Orphan home for Girls, c1926. olddovorians.tripod.com
Dr John Mason, in his book, “The History of Queensferry ” written in 1963, but never published, tells us of Queensferrys Water supplies. In the year 1817 Lord Rosebery was well aware of the unsatisfactory nature of the town’s wells and the inhabitants longing for a supply of soft water and the desire for a bleaching green by the housewives for their laundry. He decided, out of concern for the health and well - being of the inhabitants, to provide a reservoir. Lord Rosebery owned Nivens Green which held a suitable natural reservoir and from its elevated situation, was in the best position to supply the town consistently with water of the best quality, due to the rivulet which ran into it.
Image from Ordnance Survey Map of Queensferry 1895
The Nivens Green reservoirs lay west and south of present day ‘Ferry Glen’. The Back Braes and back road to Dalmeny ran past the reservoir and along Ravel Glen, which at that time commanded a fine view of the deep cleft or glen in which ‘Jocks Hole’ is situated, which is in present day ‘Ferry Glen’. Part of Ravel Glen was used for the Queensferry rail track. The top of the Back Braes was used for drying washing before the railway was built. On the above map you can see 'Jock's Hole' circled in dark blue, to the left of this is the Bowling Green in green (to give bearings and perspective), the Reservoirs are below the Bowling Green in light blue.
The work of constructing the reservoir and the laying of the supply pipes to the three wells of the town began. The Centre Well was situated at the end of the main pipe opposite Swine Bush, (In 1821 Margaret Stewart possessed Swine Bush, a fue of sixty feet in length situated approximately where the bank now stands). The second or Easter Well, on East Terrace and the third or Wester Well at the east side of the lower part of the council stairs at Rosebery Hall. ( there seems to be only evidence remaining of the Wester Well, present day). The council, agreed that the Earl of Rosebery’s crest and the burgh coat of arms with a suitable inscription be set above the well. A lions head was to be placed above the other two wells. (Hover cursor over images to read description).
In June 1819 Baillie Campbell Innes received permission to draw water from the towns mains to his work, the connection made at his own expense and a charge of a guinea each year was imposed for the privilege.
Thomas Orrock, in his book ‘Forthas Lyrics and Other Poems’ published in 1880, tells that the summer of 1842 was very hot and dry. The town of Queensferry, like many other towns was badly off for water. The inhabitants had to carry it for miles and often bought it by the bucketful. A number of old wells that had been closed since 1817 were opened. A very deep one was opened in an old brewery. When cleaned out the skeletons of two infants were found, this of course stopped the supply of water from that source. Another well was opened at the west end of East Terrace and a pump put in to it.
In May 1856 The Glenforth Distillery (at the Head of the Harbour, no longer standing) applied to Lord Rosebery for permission at the companies expense, to make an additional reservoir to the South of the reservoir, permission was granted providing the distillery paid a land rent of £4.00 per acre while the ground was used for that specific purpose and if the reservoir was discontinued the ground would be levelled by the company. The Distillers were agreeable to the reservoir being being used should ever the burgh reservoir need repairs, cleaning out or there was a scarcity of water, provided the town would take on the lease of the ground in the event of the company surrendering it and pay for the levelling of the ground. To which the council agreed.
Image, Old Ordnance Survey Map of Queensferry 1916
This more recent map (1916) shows again 'Jock's Hole' circled in dark blue and the Bowling Green, in green, to the left. Note the reservoirs, coloured in light blue, are now to the side of the Primary School, on the opposite side of Station Road to the original reservoirs. It is unknown if these were the extra reservoirs put in by the Glenforth Distillery, but the map states' Queensferry Corporation Water Works' and the original reservoirs closer to Ferry Glen are no longer marked. Here you can see clearly the Ferry Burn meandering to the Ferry Glen next to Station Road on the left, and behind Burgess Park (for those who know the area).
Wilhelm Westhofen in his book “The Forth Bridge”, dated 1890, claims that during the construction of the Forth Bridge, water was drawn from the pits of Dalmey Shale Works for the boilers and other general purposes, but it proved too dirty, and some rough filter beds of gravel had to be constructed to pass it through. It was then forced by pumps to an overhead tank set about 60 feet above the level of the works and shops. This water was conducted in pipes down the incline to the jetty and in various leads, all over the works. For drinking purposes, another supply pumped from the sandstone was available, but it proved unreliable and often failed altogether. In the Summers of 1886 and 1887 a drought occurred in South Queensferry and this was met by the contractors placing large iron tanks at the harbour and filling them with a clean supply of water brought up by barge from Starleyburn in Burntisland. This could be used by everyone free of charge. In 1887 Kirkliston, Dalmeny and Queensferry arranged for a supply of water from the Pentland Hills and this supply is both plentiful and of first rate quality, and has been running since the summer of 1888. (Wikisource)
Founder Member and President of Queensferry History Group, Jimmie Boner, who sadly passed away late 2015, tells us the following - “The Reservoir and Jocks Hole by Jimmie Boner” “When the reservoir was planned in the early 1800’s, the Ferryburn had to be diverted. It originally ran right down the Loan. When Samuel Wilson had built Plewlands House ( see archive’ Queensferry History’ September 2015, below Brewery Close info) he had built it west of the burn to evade him from paying taxes to the burgh. At Burnshangie House the burn was piped up to the reservoir. When the burn flowed over Lovers Lane it was always at least two or three inches deep in the summer time and anyone going there for a walk had to use the stepping stones at the side of the road. It was like that until they built Moubray Grove where the burn now runs under the small bridge. The other burn crossed Lovers Lane and came down through the wood at the old fever hospital where it was piped under-ground down to the glen at Ashburnum Lodge, where it ran down to the shore at the promenade. When the railway line was built and part of it built up, a culvert was made so that the burn still ran well beneath the line down to the shore. If one walks down the glen the red brick wall can easily be seen. No-one knows how but it has always been called Jocks Hole. The overflow from the reservoir comes under the bowling green path over the waterfalls and joins the other burn there. Most of my news came from old timers who were Pat Duffy, Jimmy Ford (Caber La), Johnny Bone (Tiger), Peter Bone (Baseoe), Jock Phair (Barrow), Jock Wilson, Auld Adam Urquhart and Jock Wood.
Queensferry cycle/footpath which replaces the old railway line
Waterfall in Ferry Glen
View of Queensferry from Back Braes
The reservoirs were not without tragedy. One such event was published in the Scotsman on 1st August 1914. - South Queensferry. Girl drowned. "A girl was observed to disappear on Thursday afternoon in one of the reservoirs originally used in connection with the water supply of South Queensferry. On information being lodged with the local police, dragging operations were carried out, and eventually the body of Mary Airlie, seventeen years of age, who resided at Dalmeny Rows, and who had been until recently in domestic service in the neighbourhood, was recovered". Her death certifiate states she was 16 years of age, and was a Domestic Servant at Butlaw Naval Hospital, with this stated as her usual address. She drowned in the reservoir on July 30th 1914 at 6.30 pm. Her brother James, who notified the death, lived in Church Row, Dalmeny. It is unknown if her parents also lived there.
Simply stated, the Covenanters were those people in Scotland who signed the National Covenant in 1638. They signed this Covenant to confirm their opposition to the interference by the Stuart Kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Stuart Kings harboured the belief of the Divine Right of the Monarch. Not only did they believe that God wished them to be the infallible rulers of their kingdom - they also believed that they were the spiritual heads of the Church of Scotland. This latter belief could not be accepted by the Scots. No man, not even a king, could be spiritual head of their church. Only Jesus Christ could be spiritual head of a Christian Church. King Charles I had introduced the Book of Common Prayer to Scotland in 1637 to the fury and resentment of the populace. He declared that opposition to the new liturgy would be treason, and thus came about the Covenant.
King Charles 1, image Wikimedia Public Domain
The repercussions of the attempt by Charles 1 to establish the episcopal form of religious service in Scotland, leading to the riots in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, were severely felt in Queensferry. The Scottish nation had been aroused to organise resistance. The failure of the Scottish representatives to effect a settlement with the crown, followed by the Kings command for submission angered the people. In 1638 Scotsman of all ranks signed the National Covenant pledging to uphold the protestant Presbyterian form of worship in their midst.
Copies of the covenant were distributed to all parts of the country in order that people might signify their will to support and maintain Presbyterianism. The Queensferry copy of the Covenant was signed by 83 persons. The disillusion of the General Assembly by Hamilton, the Kings representative and the determination of the Assembly to maintain the Presbyterian religion led to a state of war. In 1639 Scotland raised 20,000 men who, under Sir Alexander Leslie, forced the King to sign the Treaty of North Berwick. But the struggle was not ended. The summer of 1640 saw Charles raise an army, but the Scots led by Leslie, penetrated England, defeated the ‘auld enemy’ and compelled the King to sign a permanent treaty leaving Scotland in the hands of the Presbyterians.
Sir Alexander Leslie, image Wikimedia Commons
During this struggle between the Crown and the Scottish Nation, Queensferry was not inactive. Alarmed by threat of invasion, the magistrates and council ordered Samuel Wilson to procure arms from wherever he could. 9 muskets and 10 pikes were purchased for the defence of the town. A drill master was employed to train the men in the discipline of war. The sight of men old and young emerging from their doors and the loud voice of the drill master instructing the recruits in military exercise in the new kirkyard, the haste of constructing earthwork east of the harbour and the mounting of a gun with its muzzle directed toward the sea, could not fail to cause wonder and alarm. All inhabitants who possessed a musket were called to arm themselves with sufficient powder, match and balls. Watchmen were posted at the East and West ports of the town and 6 men went to Inchgarvie Island as volunteer defenders. The fear of invasion vanished after the defeat of the Kings forces and the inhabitants returned to their normal business.
This was the nub of the entire Covenanting struggle. The Scots were, and would have been, loyal to the Stuart dynasty but for that one sticking point, and from 1638, when the Covenant was signed, until the Glorious Revolution - when Prince William of Orange made a bloodless invasion of Great Britain in 1688 - a great deal of suffering, torture, imprisonment, transportation and executions would ensue. There followed a period of very severe repression. Ministers with Covenanting sympathies were "outed" from their churches by the authorities, and had to leave their parishes. Many continued to preach at meetings in the open air or in barns and houses. This became an offence punishable by death. Citizens who did not attend their local churches (which were now in the charge of Episcopalian "curates") could be heavily fined, and such offenders were regarded as rebels, who could be questioned, even under torture. They could be asked to take various oaths, which not only declared loyalty to the king, but also to accept him as head of the church. Failure to take such an oath could result in summary execution by the muskets of the dragoons, who were scouring the districts looking for rebels. The persecutions became more frequent and cruel on the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. As time went on more and more ordinary folk became involved, and skirmishes and battles took place against Government troops. In 1678 the Government raised an army of 6,000 Highlanders, who had no love for the Presbyterian lowlanders. This army swept through the west and south of Scotland, looting and plundering. They remained for many years, quartering themselves on the already impoverished Covenanters.
The Palace or Covenanters House, situated at the West end of Queensferry, in Covenanters Lane, between Priory Church and Harbour Lane was an Inn at the time of The Covenanters. It was an old red tiled house, two stories high. The doorway to the North upon the gabled front lead by a spiral staircase.
It was on this staircase that in 1680, Covenanters Henry Hall of Haughhead, Teviotdale, who played an active part in most of the transactions of the Covenanters, and Donald Cargill, an outed minister from Glasgow, were accosted by Middleton, a Papist and Governor of Blackness Castle, where many Covenanters were imprisoned. He was assisted by a waiter of the Inn when he called for the people in the house to help him ‘in the Kings name’. While Cargill escaped, the waiter struck Henry a fatal blow on the head with a carbine. Henry escaped helped by the women of Queensferry, however he was mortally wounded and fainted in the street. Carried to a house in Echline, medical aid was brought to him, to no avail and he fell in to the inhuman hands of General Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, and the Kings Guards, when he died while being dragged to Edinburgh. His body lay in Cannongate Tolbooth for three days before being buried secretly.
Cannongate Tolbooth today. Wikipedia - Image by kilnburn
Despite being scrubbed, the blood stain on the stairs was said to show until the building was demolished. Henry Hall was found to have papers in his pocket, written by Cargill, in which the subscribers renounced allegiance to the existing king and government, and engaged to defend their rights and privileges, natural, civil, and divine. There were no signatures. This declaration is named the “The Queensferry Paper”.
No image of Henry Hall but this image is of Donald Cargill, 1619 - 1681 who preached open air, illegally to crowds in Maybole Scotland. image Wikimedia Commons
The alternative name of “The Palace” may arise from it occupying the site of a house erected for Queen Margaret, the Binks nearby forming a natural pier for the ferry across the Forth to Dunfermline. Unfortunately all the buildings in Covenanters Lane were demolished in the 1930s, as part of a Housing Improvement Scheme and the house at which the incident took place, known as the 'Covenanter's House' can no longer be seen More information can be found in our website http://www.queensferryhistorygroup.org.uk/queensferryhistorygroup/index.php/history/
General Thomas Dayell - 1599 - 1685 image Wikimedia Commons
In 1785, the Council decided to light the Burgh with oil lamps and raised Public Subscription for ten lamps which were set at convenient places. The Earl of Rosebery supplied an additional two lamps to be placed at the West end of the town. On the first evening of November, a Tuesday, they shone like beacons in the enveloping dark. Every evening, the new lamps were lit, except in the ten lightest nights of the month – five before and five after the full moon, until the coming of Spring. “Besides – oil cost one shilling a pint”!
For long the High Street had been lit by smoky oil lamps and the Wynds and Closes lay in darkness serve where a chinking light stole from a window or door left ajar.
In 1847, the Council took a notion to light the Burgh with Gas. They agreed a site for a new Gas Works, at the west end of town, bounded by the sea on a 50 year lease at £5.00 per annum, to be managed by Queensferry Gas Light Company.
-The Town Council invested in twenty £1 shares. To meet the cost, a Public Subscription was raised so that when the Gas Works went into operation “the lieges of the Town enjoyed the benefit of the new light”. The street lights were extinguished at 11 o’clock except on Saturdays when “lights out” was at 11.30pm leaving the streets in darkness. During the fishing season the harbour lights and those necessary for the fisherman were ablaze all night. This concession cost the local fishermen 6d a week per boat and strangers with boats coming from Fife and other ports were charged as follows - For each vessel under 40 tons…………………………………..6d. “ “ “ between 40 – 100 tons……………………9d. “ “ “ above 100 tons………………………………..1s. 0d The account for street lighting during the Winter of 1848/49 amounted to £11.13s.0d. A manager of the Gas Works was appointed to take charge of the street lamps at a salary of £4.00 a year. As Lamp-Lighter he lit the gasses with a rod which concealed a tiny flame at one end sheltered by a filigreed brass chamber