The Story So Far.
We started back in 1982 when a small group of like-minded people were drawn together by a community education initiative that sought to promote an awareness of local history in our area.
From our early beginnings until today most of our members have been retired people with a keen interest in preserving and promoting the fascinating history of Bonnyrigg and Lasswade.
Over the years, we have met in several locations around Bonnyrigg, including the Old Public Library in Lothian Street [now an Islamic Centre], the New Public Library in Polton Street [now demolished and replaced by a housing development] and the Scout Hall in Eldindean Road. Our present home is the Pitcairn Centre in Bonnyrigg High Street.
We normally hold six evening meetings on the third Wednesday of each month during our season, which runs from October to April. We invite guest speakers to talk to us about local history, family history and biographical studies of famous people who either lived or had a connection with our area.
We have also delivered illustrated talks on “Bonnyrigg & Lasswade Past & Present”, “The Origins of the Street Names of Bonnyrigg & Lasswade”, “The Life and Times of William McTaggart RSA” ” The History of Henry Widnell & Stewart [Carpet Manufacturers] and Henry Dryerre [Pharmacist].
For many years, our archive has been freely available to everyone in our local community.
We present occasional exhibitions displaying photographs and material from our archive and have also collaborated with Midlothian Council Libraries HQ (Local Studies), Bonnyrigg Parish Church, Kirkcaldy Art Gallery & Museum and also the BBC in promoting public awareness of the heritage of our area.
We run an annual local history competition called the “Dr Mary Noble Memorial Award”. This is for children in the Primary 5 classes at the local primary schools in Bonnyrigg & Lasswade. The classes compete for a trophy and a cash prize which is awarded to the winning school. The competition commemorates one of our founding members, Dr Mary Noble and all entries are independently judged.
Occasionally, we have outings and these may include field trips to archaeological sites, visits to stately homes, museums or archive resource centres.
We have always been a very lively and friendly group, keen to learn more about local history.
We are now reaching a worldwide audience through the Internet and often receive requests for assistance in tracing family history from Australia, Canada, U.S.A and of course within the UK.
Whilst our primary focus is the local history of our area, we do try when time allows, to assist with family history queries.
We continue to look forward to sharing the history of Bonnyrigg & Lasswade with everyone.