Which little girl lost this purse at guide camp outside Edinburgh 55 years ago?

Metal detectorist finds child's pocket money from 1965

Monday, 27th January 2020, 6:00 am
The purse contained old pre-decimal coins which added up to one shilling

A FEW old coins in a small plastic purse - perhaps not much of a find for a metal detectorist with a record of uncovering historic artefacts.

But Alistair Milne thinks his discovery in the grounds of Trefoil House, near Hermiston, was probably a little girl’s pocket money, lost more than half a century ago - and now he wants to get it back to her.

Mr Milne said: “I know this was an old girl guides camp and I think whoever lost this purse would probably remember it.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Alistair Milne with historian Neil Oliver

He said he and pal amassed a collection of around 70 coins and other artefacts in an hour of metal detecting in the Trefoil grounds.

But he said the most emotive find was the little white triangular purse.

“When I opened it, I was surprised to find inside one sixpence, five old pennies and two old halfpennies. “This adds up to a shilling and in the era the purse was lost was probably the little girl’s pocket money for a month.

“I would love to return this purse to the girl who lost it.”

A girl guide badge was found in the same hole with a missing pin.

Mr Milne said: “Using my spurious amateur detective arithmetic and given the newest coin in the purse is dated 1965 and the average age of a girl guide in 1965 was 12, and if the purse was lost say in 1968, the lady may be aged about between 64 and 70.”

He has also enlisted the help of Gilrguiding Edinburgh in trying to solve the mystery.

They have posted the pictures on their website explaining: “This purse was discovered recently in the grounds of our Trefoil campsite at Gogarbank in western Edinburgh by a metal detecting enthusiast.

“We’re pretty sure whoever this belongs to will remember losing a purse with a whole shilling in it!

“As a Guide did you ever camp at Trefoil campsite at Gogarbank here in Edinburgh? Did you lose your purse, did a fellow patrol member lose their purse?”

Mr Milne, who lives in Airdrie, has been detecting for 12 years and has found quite a bit of ‘’treasure’’ in that time.

“Seven items have been claimed by the Treasure Trove Unit in Edinburgh,” he said.

“And I have returned five lost wedding rings to their happy owners.”

His most historic find was an Edward I silver penny dated 1297, which he uncovered near Airth Castle.

Anyone who can help reunite the purse with its owner can email Gilguiding Edinburgh at [email protected] or contact Mr Milne at [email protected]