THREE county women are transforming a hidden garden in Musselburgh into a creative space for the community to enjoy.

Jan Wallace, from Musselburgh, and Ros Parkyn and Caroline Tait, from Prestonpans, who set up the living history group Catching the Past, saw an opportunity to bring the overgrown site near the Fisherrow Centre in South Street to life as a ‘Garden for Stories’.

With help from Musselburgh Area Partnership and East Lothian Council, which cleared the garden and laid a path to ensure better access, the public will be invited to storytelling events around a tree with seating.

Visitors will also get chance to take a step back in time to see a Dig for Victory Garden, inspired by the gardens which were part of daily life during the First and Second World Wars. This will be a focal point of the new outdoor facility.

An Anderson bomb shelter will also installed in the ground and vegetables and herbs planted.

The Fisherrow Trust is also hoping to create its own space in part of the garden which will be used by groups from the nearby Fisherrow Centre which was formerly a school.

Jan explained that there was an even earlier school on the site. And that when the initial garden work was being carried out, a Victorian earthenware inkwell was unearthed which the group will use at their living history events.

She added: “People can use the garden where they can enjoy lunch when we’re not around.”

Caroline explained the concept of the Dig for Victory Garden, saying: “There were food embargoes during the Second World War and everybody was made to use every bit of ground – parks were dug up. They were encouraged to dig their gardens and plant their own vegetables to survive. Food that was normally coming in from abroad wasn’t because of the embargoes on the ships. People would grow runner beans, potatoes and carrots. It was like your own mini-allotment in your garden if you had the space.”

She said the group would create a similar garden at the Musselburgh site which it would maintain.

“They often planted certain flowers in between as well so we will do likewise but most of the garden was for food production,” added Caroline.

Ros said they planned to attract wildlife by planting a wildflower garden.

She added: “We would also like to do a mobile garden so we could visit care homes and get the memories of residents.”

The group has received £1,000 for the garden project from environmental group the Mushroom Trust.

Ros said they would be seeking other funding sources for the garden which could be open in August/September.

The group is passionate about social history and living history experiences. Through crafts, storytelling, drama and music, it seeks to bring people of all ages together to discover the past. Events are aimed at encouraging different generations to share their experiences and interests. The group uses antiques, vintage memorabilia and costumes to bring events to life.