Haddington town centre had a facelift in 1962. Mrs M Noble is pictured planting a tree presented by the Duke of Hamilton.
Haddington town centre had a facelift in 1962. Mrs M Noble is pictured planting a tree presented by the Duke of Hamilton.

Haddington heritage: 26 pictures from the 1950s and 1960s that show what life was like in the East Lothian town

East Lothian’s administrative, cultural and geographical centre has a history that likely dates back over a thousand years – and there was plenty going on in the town half a century ago.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 4:13 pm

The earliest record of Haddington as a Royal Burgh dates back to 1138, the year before King David I gifted it to his eldest son’s wife Ada, daughter of the Earl of Warenne and Surrey.

Even before then there was almost certainly a large settlement in the area, and the town’s early impact on Scottish history included it being the birthplace of King Alexander II in 1198.

It was the scene of several attacks by the English army from the 12th century, as well as a catastrophic flood, but it continued to grow and by the 15th century it was the fourth largest Scottish settlement after Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.

This led to the building of St Mary's Church, completed in 1462, which at the time was the largest parish church in Scotland.

More unwanted attention from the English forces arrived in the 16th century, with the town repeatedly sieged between 1548-49.

A year later, the three-arch Nungate Bridge across the River Tyne was built and continues to span the river today.

And Haddington House, the oldest domestic building in the town centre still standing, was built in 1648.

The modern centre of Haddington contains other remnants of the last few hundred years of history, including the Town House, built in 1742 with some of the textile wealth created by the mills that had started to line the river.

Meanwhile, Haddington's post office is one of the oldest in Scotland, with a history dating back to 1603.

Today the town is home to around 10,000 people and it is the seat of East Lothian Council.

Here are 26 pictures to take you back to Haddington in the 1950s and 1960s.

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