WE TAKE a look at the stories making headlines in East Lothian 25, 50 and 100 years ago.


25 years ago

“AN ORGY of destruction” was front page news in the October 13, 1995 edition of the East Lothian Courier.

Vandals pushed over 20 gravestones, smashing seven of them, in an orgy of destruction at St Mary’s churchyard in Haddington on Friday night.

It is thought teenagers high on drink or drugs could have caused the damage – which a retired minister has described as “sheer wickedness”.

Crosses were broken in half and headstones toppled from their plinths as a trail of havoc was left in the grounds of the historic kirk.

Rev David Levison, a former minister at Pencaitland and Ormiston, made the shock discovery on Saturday morning.

He had gone there to continue the painstaking task of indexing names from all the gravestones for future reference by relatives worldwide.

“I was appalled at what I saw. It was sheer wickedness,” he said.

Mr Levison explained that some of the gravestones were beyond repair, including an eight-foot granite cross, and described the destruction as “sacrilege”.


50 years ago

DUNBAR residents were complaining about the noise of dances, reported The Haddingtonshire Courier on October 16, 1970.

“Muffle the bands” was the instruction given to Dunbar’s Entertainments and Publicity Officer, Mr Len Abbie, by the Town Council on Wednesday following complaints about the noise from pop groups playing at dances in the Corn Exchange.

The Council gave its direction after the Town Clerk Mr S. W. Brown had told members a petition had been received from nearby residents protesting against the letting of the hall for dancing. They said that when a dance was held last week the noise was “beyond description”.

Mr Brown said he had been told the residents were complaining about the noise from the band and not the conduct of those attending.


100 years ago

A MAN’S street proclamations landed him in court, reported The Haddingtonshire Courier of October 15, 1920.

In the Burgh Court on Monday, Robert Kerr, labourer, 16 High Street Haddington, pleaded guilty before Provost Ross to having committed a breach of the peace on Saturday night in Court Street.

The Fiscal stated that the accused created a disturbance about nine o’clock at a dance in the Corn Exchange, and had to be ejected.

He then made a great noise outside, bawling that he was a Sinn Feiner, a Bolshevik, and a labour leader.

Such language was distinctively provocative as there were a number of soldiers in the town, and it might have led to a serious disturbance.