Spindrifts' settlements' shots


Following are a small selection of the site's comptrollers

substantial  archive of photographs.

(Photo by T.T. Bisset courtesy of Rob Bisset)

(Photo by T.T. Bisset courtesy of Rob Bisset)
                                  (Photo - A1 History Dunbar)                                                          (contemporised by J. A. Callow)
Cunningham Builder's Yard c1946 at Park Avenue

L to R: George Cunningham, William Hutchison, Willie Tear

                                                                                                                                  (Photo courtesy of CT/a1history)

Cunningham Builders workforce (and son) at Hazel Court in 1950

Back Row L to R:
Willie Kerr, James "Chinky" Turnbull, Hughie Graham, David Nicholas, Terry Hawes, Jimmy Lally, George Murray, Jock Fairbairn, Will Law, Sandy "Sundown" Herkes, Bob Paterson.

Middle Row L to R:
Jimmy Tear, Jimmy Dores, Jock Herd, Davie Brunton, Jimmy "Pussy" Hastie, Dick Robertson, Jock "Plunky" Combe, Davie Hawes, Geordie "Sambo" Sammels, Bob Niddrie, Nick Swan, Jock Wooten (English).

Front Row L to R:
Billy Hawes, Eddie Gray, Jackie Gray, Gordon Tait, Billy Roser, Stevie "Pop" McKail, Grahame Cunningham, Willie Hutchison, Billy Legget Sen., Sandy Lorimer.

(with apologies for some of the un-PC nicknames of the day)
Shore Road, Belhaven, Dunbar

The above photos from c. 1930 feature G. Smith (r) at Battlblent 

The following 16 photographs of the Wimpey-built, post WW2 West Barns Maltings are displayed courtesy of Ally Knox, Snr.

Bertie Hannan , David Birrewl? and Martin Beattie                1946   

Mary Maggie & Margie  Johnstone and Agnes Lumbsden           1928

(L-R) Alec Foggo (East Barns), Jim Pettigrew (East Linton) and Peter Whitecross - Bayswell pre-WW2. Possibly going to school function.

Johnnie Johnstone ( 1869-1945 ) and wife Marie (Cairns )  1935.

 John Johnstone ( 1869-1945 ) & wife Mary Cairns ( 1869-1950 ) lived at Custom House Square with 5 children ( 1was son Jimmy q.v a pro. golfer )

Agnes Johnstone daughter of above                             1925

Edward Ritchie of Rosehearty, husband of the above.

Eddie served in the Senior Service during the First World War and his boat was commissioned by the navy during the Second World War. He died in 1945. His wife survived him and died in July 1962.

The Johnstone family                                               c. 1900.

Mary Johnston and Agnes Durham. ( niece )                                 .1925.

Mary Johnstone (jnr) + dog Captain                    1920.

Danko & Dinah (1st Alsatians in Scotland ) Brodies Lone             c.1919.

Marion Lumsden (06/04/1976-08/03/1971). This passport photograph was taken in September 1930, prior to her visiting her son David in Chicago.

Marion Cairns' sister Jemima Simm who married John, a cooper, and moved to Fraserburgh.

Dunbar High Street Closes

'Plat' above from John Wood's 1830 edition of the Dunbar Town Plan courtesy of Rennie Weatherhead.

Whilst the above details property owner's land and their respective closes some of their 'vennels' were changed/amended on future maps.

Forrest's and Johnston's Closes may in effect be the following passage in a North Easterly direction depending on subsequent recasting of structures/buildings during Victorian times and at the end of the first quarter of the 20th Century.

Also some closes were re-located and subjected to 'stopped-up' orders during High Street improvements in this area. Furthermore (Mrs Dr) Johnston's Close's entrance would appear to be through the Forrester's property.


From the Victorian era to Edwardian Times

This photocopy details the facade of 153/155 High Street (for rear please see following photograph) prior to the second phase of the Dunbar Improvement Plan in the late 1920s. Entrances of the Common Closes are 129 (which should read 149), 151 and 153 - these are stopped-up.

(Page 1 of 2)

Janet Leyden* & grandchildren on Common Close, 153/155 High Street, in the late 1920s. Janet (Janet Lumsden-Lorimer) was born in the mid-1860s on the diagonally opposite side of the street at New Inn Close. Her Dunbar-born grandparents were Matthew Lorimer and Margaret Lumsden and her parents were James Lorimer and Christian Leckie.

It would appear that the shop across the street from the Close entryway is Belford's Butchers at 142 High Street - this became Sinclair's later on in the 20th Century.

Janet Leyden had a family of 6 with her husband Peter. The last born of which, Lilly, sadly arrived a few months after her father died. Subsequently, Janet had a relationship with poacher-turned-blacksmith Jimmy Cairns producing four children, the first of which was Robert, his details follow.

Coincidentally, both Peter Leyden and James Cairns died on/in Johnston's Close almost 30 years apart.

* Janet Leyden stayed at the Common Close after her husband Peter's death in 1897 until the 1900s. She moved to 155 (Common Close) by 1911.

Above is a  partial facsimile of the birth certificate of Robert Cairns. Son of Janet Lumsden Lorimer Layden. His hide sibling (Agnes) and his 5 half-hide siblings were born in (*Mrs Dr) Johnston's Close.

One might postulate, with quite a degree of certainty, this close was named after Isabel Howden (died 7th December 1839) wife of the late Alexander Johnston. Johnston was formerly a naval surgeon and general practitioner in the town who died on the 28th October 1822 and lived closeby. After he died the Close lost its title and became Johnston's close. Johnston's father was also a bailey in the town.

Forrest's Close, or more correctly Forrest Close, was named after property up a vennel which was originally willed to heirs of the Forrest family. This close subsequent to Gilrye when travelling North Westwards and its near neighbour above are difficult to locate with absolute certainty as ever vestige of the original buildings remain.

Bobby Cairns (second from left, front row) as a soldier in WW1. Shortly after his enlistment at the tender age of fifteen. He left his mother Janet Leyden' (see above), his extended family and home at the Common Close in 1914. Mrs Leyden had moved along to this vennel by 1906 and her youngest daughter Lizzie was born here on the Common Close in 1907.

Penny for the Gas                       (Harlow 2006)                         by Roy Pugh

Some might say that it is a Curate's Egg of a book, others like our contributor who lived through the 50s and 60s in the Breezy Burgh respect it for a quite resounding redolence vividly capturing almost exactly the echoes and pathos of our mutual and most times happy and enjoyable experiences of growing up in our town.

Available from good book sellers and the close-by Tippecanoe Gallery at 143b High Street (our old cloakrooms).

The cover of Roy's enjoyable book includes a scene looking down the opposite way to Janet Leyden's family photograph above. The location is Common Close 153/155 High Street looking down towards Castle Street. One of the lads featured is a young boy Tear whose family lived down the bottom of this close. Also featured in the photograph with Jimmy Tear** born 1919 is his cousin Tommy Herkes.

Photograph courtesy of Liz Tear circa 1927.

It was from the Castle Street egress of this close that a seven year old Chrissie Crawford (Ballantine), about five years earlier than this photograph, ran out and was struck by MacFarlane-Lang biscuit van and this accident resulted in the lose of one of her limbs. However, despite this tragedy Mrs Ballantine lived long into her eighties.

Ms C. Crawford is the babe-in-arms (marked with a lucky X) fifth from the left in the back row in our site's opening photographic credit. Marion Lumsden is two places to the left of Ms Crawford and in the front row third from the left is Marion Lumsden's daughter Agnes. Four places to the left of Agnes is Cissy's brother George.

** Jimmy and his cousin Tommy Herkes's mothers were cousins. Maggie, Jimmy's mother, worked for many years as a housekeeper to the 'Stark's' at Templelands. Maggie also had a son William.

Jimmy latterly, before moving to Newcastle in the early sixties, was the Innerwick Postmistress's husband and worked as a butcher and delivery driver for Joe Miller. He lead a colourful life.

His brother Willie, a plasterer/builder, worked for many years on the new Nunraw Abbey - in fact he was the only tradesman there - and his labourers at Sancta Maria were the white habited trappist/cistertian monks who began their 35 year long task on Easter Monday 1952 (814 years earlier the building of Melrose Abbey was initiated by their order). 

Plat above is a section of the resurveyed Ordinance Survey map of 1893. Numbers adjacent/below N.E. diagonals refer to present street numbers. Names of closes are on a subsequent page and of course the closes run between the High Street and Castle Street. 

Please note the (Castle) Inn Close did not exist before Victorian times and therefore was excluded from our study as was the unnumbered vennel (under the clock) which could possibly be the old slaughterhouse close.


From the Victorian era to Edwardian Times

One must apologise for the lack of clarity on the above plan-cum-photocopy and the Common Close (1 of 2) above.

Please use the street reference number guide as an aide-memoire. Locations and numbers are provisional.

RE Common Closes perhaps taking their name from belonging to the community rather than belonging to the town or private landlords. They cover four rigs North Eastwards from 141 (left hand side of Adriano's), 145 (opposite of the same building as 145) and include the Royal British Legion close (145/147) then extending to 155 High Street southwest of The Castle Wynd Pend.

There were in the 1920s some amedations and alterations to street numbers due to the Dunbar Improvement buildings of the early and late years of that decade. The Common Close in its heyday had up to five ingresses from the High Street and possibly four egresses onto Castle Street.

Historically it was mooted that there was a 'Poor House Close' near 91 High Street and a 'Slaughterhouse Close' whose vennel ran roughly under the Town Clock. Then there was 'The Dark Close' (the Common Close at 153 High Street) which passed into folklore when our antecedents died in its locality.

Also, there supposedly was a Ruchlaw, the steep hill Close, steeped in the mists of time.

137 = Raeburn's Close (Harley's)

133 = Thomson Court

129 = Jameson's Close (Brown's) (Blackbourne)

123 = Thomson's Close (Heugh's)

119 (123) = Johnston's Close

115 (119) = Forrest's Close (Gibb's)

111 = Gilrye's Close

103 = Post Office Close

97 = Old Bank/Miller's Close (Craig's and Fish Close)

91 = Old School Close (Corn Exchange)

Please Note: Parenthesised street numbers indicate the street numbers from 100 years ago. They were altered and amended on an ad-hoc basis and sometimes became non-sequential.Currently, 153 High Street is next door to a shop numbered 159. This may be due to the fact that the Common Close at 141 (not marked on chart) is the first vennel North East of the confectioners, now Adriano's at 139, and 145 High Street (unmarked) but the first building with the Legion Close at the far end were closed off.

Subsequently the Common Close at 153 was also subject to a 'stopping up' order leaving three odd numbers (x2) short. Simple isn't it?

Finally, back to Edwardian times, Johnston's Close had embraced Thomson's Close and Brown's Close superseded Jameson's Close. Others gradually disappeared with the passage(s) and ravages of time.

Sergeant Trumpeter John McNie R.A. in his early thirties, with comrades at R.A. Volunteer Drill Hall and Armoury complex now (Royal British Legion) 145 High Street. (1896)

John McNie and his family lived nearby to the Close at 141 High Street which is now the Royal British Legion close. In the early 1890s perhaps his relationship with his wife to be, Mary Harley, blossomed with just a soupcon of serendipity and propinquity with her living nearby at 137 High Street which was Raeburn's Close.

After the vicissitudes and his absolute family tragedies of the 1890s he left his son Alexander to be brought up by his extended family.

Alex can be seen as a young boy pictured at Murdoch's Studios later on in this photographic sequence where he is accompanied by his grandfather Alexander Harley a retired stonemason. Grandfather Harley is pictured later at his dovecote abutting the Monks Walk at his son's house up Grahame's (ex-Wilson's) Close at 68 High Street. Harley moved there when old age took its toll.

Ironically, when one is talking about closeness and family closeness, Alexander Harley who died in 1917 is buried close to (Peter) Raeburn. However, Mr Harley's grandson Alexander lived into his 80s (up the close) at 51 High Street and after spells on Victoria Street and life in the Boroughdales. Postman Alexander's only son John could soon become a centurion. How times have changed! When one survives one's early years.

Helen & Willie McNie at Alexander Harley's (relation) Raeburn's Close, 137 High Street, around 1898.

The McNie's are visiting their father-in-law of their brother, John, who was a Volunteer Sergeant Trumpeter in the volunteer band (please see Volunteer photograph just above this one).

John, whose wife Mary was Alexander Harley's daughter sadly died in 1891 aged 31. Their son John (1886) and daughter Christina (1892) both died in infancy leaving a brother Alexander. When John himself died tragically on the 6th of April 1897 aged 40 Alexander was brought up by his grandfather and namesake Alexander.

Many families, some possibly more so than the McNies, were riven asunder by epidemics (cholera, 1849 for example when there was a fourteen-fold increase in mortality), illness, losses at sea and at war and general premature demise. Even along this small stretch of the 'Breezy Burgh's' Northeast High Street or its Closes and Wynds many were witness to a panoply of tragedies in Victorian and Edwardian times. Moreover, on the Southwest limits of our brief at Gilrye's Close/Place and over the more affluent side of the street families suffered just as sorely in the closes, Common and 'Irish' Closes, pens and vennels, through the lanes, Darvel Bray, Custom House Square and Change Lane all the way to the Shore.

The Gibb's (Draper's) Close - birthplace of Archibald Lumsden - was between Thomson's Close and the Common Close not to be confused with the somewhat later Gibb's (Baker's) Close at Forrest's* Close.

*Some Close names had some longevity whilst others changed as per shop owners etc.

Marion Cairns and George Lumsden (early 1900s) Blackbourne Close.

George's brother Archibald Lumsden was born in 1866 at the opposite end of the above vennel at Gibb's Close. The two brothers, George (1876-1960) and Archibald (died 1952), were nephews of Margaret Lumsden (Thomson's Close).

Their grandparents on the non-distaff side were George Lumsden and Janet Sanson. Only one of their sibling sisters, Mary, survived into adulthood. Their brother John and Sisters, Sarah and Jane, died in their infancy. George and Erchie's father**, George, (by now an old man in his seventies) died in the same year as his brother John. This left a mother, Sarah Muir, who was no stranger to the bottle and was a parent who one could do without.

Cricht (see local nicknames) was born and spent his formative years at Brodie's Loan. Whether he gained any literary inspiration from his next-door neighbour Catherine Miller-Mitchell (qv) the shore's poetess, at number 6 Shore Street, one will never really know. However, in his later years after working as a cattleman and conscription to the Senior Service in the Great War he spent his leisure time reading Zane Grey's literature and working time chewing baccy alongside his workmate and friend Flooker (please see below) at the Maltings on Lamer Street. After yet another drouthy day at the Maltings Cricht and Flooker accompanied by Hyner headed for their second home, Manderson's.

** George Lumsden (snr) father of Erchie 'Chrict' and young Jonnie et al who married their mother-to-be Sarah Moore at Lamberton in 1866 was twice a widower. Firstly, he wed Jean Carse on 12/12/1839 and they had a son George named after snr's father. Jean died in the Cholera epidemic of 1849 and quite soon after he married Elizabeth Leckie on 5/12/1849 and they had sons William (named after his mother's father), David (named after his uncle who died in Parkhurst, IOW) also they had a daughter Janet (named after Janet Sanson who was George Snr's mother). Elizabeth died in the late 1850s. Then, Cricht his second son George also had a son George (Hastie) before he married Marion Cairns in 1900. This couple then subsequently had a son David Cairns who prior to emigrating to the states in the 1920s changed his name to David Lumsden Cairns. His first two names being popular names for the Brunton and Lumsden families. Both David and his father George died in 1960.

Extract from 1881 dicennial census.

(R. Turnbull)

Residents of Thomson's Close at first dicennial 1841 page 1 of 2.

Residents of Thomson's Close at first dicennial 1841 page 2 of 2.

David Lumsden* (1811-1872) featured above died in Parkhurst, far from home virtually on a foreign shore. He was the brother three-times-married Margaret** Lumsden who lived on Thomson's Close featured above the death certificate. He was also the brother of George (father of Erchie and Cricht). David resided for many years on Castle Street and married Margaret Hardie in the mid-1830s. One of his younger daughter's (Jessie) Janet Sanson Lumsden married George Brunton and the rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

* His parents were George Lumsden and Janet Sanson. His grand-parents on the non-distaff side were John Lumsden (born 1734) and Margaret Grey. They were married in Dunbar on the 5th of July 1761.

** Margaret's three husbands by whom she bore at least four sons were Messers Lorrimer, Denholm and Gray more or less in that order. Her other siblings, excluding two of her brothers detailed, were her younger sister Alison (b. 1816, m. Jeffrey) who had two sons and three daughters and her elder sister Janet/Joan (b. 1806, m. Lawrie) who had one son and two daughters.

(Many thanks for the additional information above from our antipodean ancestral authority apadgett)

A view of the entrance/egress of Johnston's Close (119 High Street) post 1920s Dunbar improvement scheme. It would now be in the middle of Umberto's Pizzeria. 

(T.K. Anderson)

Agnes Morrison-Lennon ex-Aggie Cairns (1871-1900) Forrest Close 1896.

This portrait photo of Agnes Morrison-Lennon was taken as a wedding memento by De Lan, a visiting photograph from Tweedmouth on or around the 24th of June 1896 in her house at Forrest Close. After her untimely death in 1900, her younger brother Alexander became tenant. Alexander and Sarah Lally were witnesses at her wedding.

Alexander Cairns, having endured 6 years in an Aberdeen 'Industrial School', for the theft of a shirt from a dwelling house in the town's Lamer Street. He was barely a teenager when he was first institutionalised. He only survived his elder sister Agnes by two years.

Their younger brother James died in 1896 aged 16. Subsequent to their mother Agnes Gullen's death in 1892 the eldest sister more or less adopted the younger siblings leaving J.C. to continue his peripatetic existence on the ran-dan.

(Please see burgh valuation rolls enclosed for 1900/1901.)

Genealogical research courtesy of Jenny Petrie and Rhona Nicol

Mister Duncanson , James Cairns & son Andrew Smiddy - Lawson Pl. 1898.

                               ( 1846-1927 )  ( 1883-1974 )

Andrew Cairns  From App. Blacksmith to Head Water N. British                                     

Alexander Harley 68 High Street Grahame's Close c.1913.

Alexander Harley ( old gentlemen front ) - 68 High St.            c.1910.

 Is this the 1890s Pair's House?                                                      (Jimmy)

Alexanders Harley & McNie  137 High St.                               c.1896.

People's Journal November 30 1907

Arthur Melville's, now quite ironically named  'The End Hole' (1886)
(Fine Arts Society)

 Martin Beattie & Morton Budge at Thorntonloch Holdings. (1942)

(Photo by T.T. Bisset courtesy of Rob Bisset)

Location: Latch Park in Summer '24

A 16 year old Agnes Lumsden (right) beside her cousin Johnnie Johnston's wife Maggie Duncan. Below baby 'John flanked by sisters Mary, Marjorie and Agnes.

' Baby John only survived a further few months until January 1925 (the family had already lost one brother John who had already departed in 1917 along with a sister Helen). Subsequently, not long after John a younger brother Duncan was born. Mary, Marjie and Duncan all survived into their eighties. Marjorie and Duncan both died in the United States. Sister Agnes died during service in the Second World War with the ATS. She has a war grave within the family ground at lair A33 propinquous to the Anderson and Craig lairs in the parish kirkyard.

Jake Beattie hotel keeper Railway Hotel                                               c.1919                                           (courtesy of Rob ex-T.T. Bisset)

Grandson & Great Grandson of Jake Beattie (on same window sill ) Aug 1993.

Nesta May Beattie Maid - of - honour at fathers 2 nd wedding            1923. 

May Martin future wife J Beattie and sweetie shop owner            1919

Harry Martin, father of May above.
John Paul Barnes, father-in-law of Harry above and grandfather of May.

Father of 12, sixth son of Jimmy Cairns and second son of Janet Leyden, Robert Cairns (1899-1949), Annie Hughes nee-Leyden (fourth daughter of Janet Lumsden Lorimer Leyden and half sister of Robert) and William Turnbull (twin son of Flooker).

Location: Outside Annie's (Grahame's) shop on Countess Road. Circa 1947.

J & A Pettigrew and son Jim plus Dandy the dog (Part) outside the Lido cafe  (1937)

This suite of photographs are of a tour of North-East Scotland from their base at Roseharty, by the Durham family in July 1948.

This particular photograph shows (l to r) Morton Durham, daughter Agnes, his wife Fami (nee Euphemia Cairns) & her neice Aggy Johnstone-sister Mary's daughter beside an Austin 8.

Mark, Jack & David plus Baron - Back Green Crichton St (1953)

 Mark, Jack & David plus Lucky - Back Green 33 High St (1956)

                                     G ( raham ) & J( ohn ) Allan

John Low Allan ( uncle ), John Low Allan ( grandfather), David Brunton or

John Low Allan ( * donor ) Johnnie McIntyre, Graham Hilson Allan ( uncle )

Frankie Butler, Tom Herkes, Pete Lawrence ( ex Polish Armour division )

* Donor's father David Allan.

Many Thanks to Scot Luchian of Pennsylvania U.S.A, grandson of Jack Stark, for his donation of a quarter of the above images to A1 history Dunbar.


Additional Genealogical, Historical & Subject research


Rhona Nicol & Jenny Petrie

--------------and now for some postcards from the last 50 years.---------------

Comptrollers' Statement 

At A1 History Dunbar we are proud of our apolitical stance and impartiality. If truth be known one party is written out "Old Labour" through and through with Fabian connections whilst another has a signed copy of a former Tory Chairman's autobiography "Upwardly Mobile" on his bedside table which actually creates neutrality and a degree of balance.

We also have control over associated "domains" such as Dunbar's poetess.

Some contributors may wish to disclaim any political or associational connections with these notational groups and we uphold their unreserved right to that standpoint.

L.A.D.S of Dunbar acronymically may suggest pseudo-political overtones or purport to have subliminal suggestibility. However this is not the case as they purely attract more traffic via search engines.

The above painting was by John McNie, dated May 1955, who died peacefully, in his 90s, at Belhaven Hospital, on Saturday December 9 2017.

He was the son of local postman Willie McNie. John was very much a local, minor celebrity, author of small book on our Parish Kirk, quite a gentleman. He was an authority on local history and gave guided tours of the graveyard. He was born in Victoria Street and moved by the age of five to Boroughdales. He worked for the Ordnance Survey and stayed in the town for many years, retiring to Hallowdoon on Roxburghe Park. His wife Annie was a gem of a woman, predeceasing him. They had no children.

Jack & Mark                                                                           1955

Jim Pettigrew & Margie Johnstone- emigrating to U.S.A.             1950.

The staff of the Playhouse Cinema on the retirement of Manager Tom Rodgers             June 1957          (MB/RB)

Back Row:  John Hamilton, Mrs Dickson, Mrs Weston, Dod Watt, Mrs Kath Farish, Miss Gladys Wilson

Middle Row (Centre):  Mrs May Cupples, Mrs Hughes

Front Row:  Mrs Martha Knox, Mr Tom Rodgers, Mrs Belle Rodgers, Miss Anne McFarlane, Bob Johnstone, Mrs Bella Burgoyne
The staff of the Playhouse Cinema on the retirement of Manager Tom Rodgers             June 1957          (MB/RB)


This sub-secction includes oddities in certain categories which don't fit in to the usual sub-divisions.


                  KIRK & KIRKYARDS

 The following photography sub-section features Dunbar's once proud "oblong square" High Street. Captured as it once was and how it presently is. Entries are alphabetic where possible and Louis Henry Allen's emporium opens the show.