The Musselburgh Crusaders riding club ride over the River Esk on the traditional Crusader's Chase.during the Musselburgh Festival in July 1965.
The Musselburgh Crusaders riding club ride over the River Esk on the traditional Crusader's Chase.during the Musselburgh Festival in July 1965.

Musselburgh heritage: 27 pictures from the 1950s and 1960s that show what life was like in the East Lothian town

It’s East Lothian’s largest town, is home to the famous Musselburgh Racecourse and has a history dating back to the Roman occupation of Britain – and there was plenty going on in the town half a century ago.

Named after the shellfish found at the mouth of the River Esk, Musselburgh was first settled by the Romans who built a fort at Inveresk some time after invading in 80AD.

The invading forces built a bridge over the river to create an easterly approach to Edinburgh that has continued to be used until modern times.

The bridge has been rebuilt several times since and is still used by pedestrians today.

Musselburgh was made a burgh of barony in around 1315 and a burgh of regality in 1562, but never became a royal burgh like nearby Haddington.

It’s nickname of ‘The Honest Toun’ dates back to 1332, when the townspeople cared for the Earl of Moray, Regent of Scotland, during a long illness.

His successor, the Earl of Mar offered to reward the people for their loyalty but they declined, saying they were only doing their duty – with the new Regent describing them as a set of honest men.

The moniker is celebrated to this day by the annual election of the Honest Lad and Lass, and the town’s motto "Honestas".

The early town was centred on the eastern side of the river, with the North High Street and Fisherrow areas not developed until the 16th century at earliest.

Musselburgh saw great growth in the second half of the twentieth century, with both council and private housing developments increasing the population to its current level of around 20,000 people.

Here are 27 pictures to take you back to life in the town in the 1950s and 1960s.

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