Gala Queen Denise Forther with her flower girls at the Tranent Gala in June 1967.
Gala Queen Denise Forther with her flower girls at the Tranent Gala in June 1967.

Tranent Heritage in Pictures: These 23 photographs from the 1950s and 1960s show what life was like in the East Lothian town

It’s one of East Lothian’s oldest towns, with a history of coal mining dating back to the 13th century – and there was plenty going on in Tranent half a century ago.

Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 4:09 pm

The town is thought to get its name from the ancient Brythonic words of ‘tre’ and ‘nant’, meaning ‘town over the stream Travernant’.

Its history is interlinked with the coal industry, with the monks of Newbattle Abbey mining the fuel of the ‘Great Seam’ back in the 13th century, leading to Britain’s first coal mining charter to be issued in 1202.

But there were people living in the area even earlier, possibly dating back to prehistory, and there are still buildings in Tranent that date back to the 11th century, including the ruins of the old parish church.

One of the town’s darkest days took place in 1797, when 12 local people were killed by soldiers after a protest against conscription into the county militia.

Jamie Crookston, a victim of the massacre, is depicted in a memorial to the dead in the town’s Civic Square.

The settlement grew in size in the due to the rush to mine coal, an industry soon joined by others – including distilleries, breweries, quarries, mills and farming.

An industrial slowdown started in the middle of the 19th century and continued to decline into the 20th century, with the last deep mine closing in 1961 and the final opencast mine following suit in 2000.

Today Tranent is a commuter town with many people travelling to work in Edinbugh, as Scotland’s Capital is located just six miles away.

Every year townsfolk organise a Gala Week, first held in 1934, which includes a grand parade, celebrations on the playing fields at Ross High School. and the crowing of the Gala Queen.

Here are 23 pictures to take you back to the Tranent of the 1950s and 1960s.

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