We have a centenarian, too, in our little town –
Peggy Liddell (1784-1886), the Grand Old Lady of Stane.
She enjoyed excellent health to the end, attributing it to
the fact that she took no other medicine but sulphur and
infused blackberry leaves.
At her centenary she repeated from memory the whole of
the Short Catechism, and was often to be seen “soopin’
her lum” on top of her wee shop in Stane.
Thus, then, did the pit bings begin to loom over us, with subsidences
beneath, and accidents and strikes, and hard grinding toil. Shotts
continued to grow. The wings of Torbothie and Springhill added to the
winding straggle, then early this century first Hartwood then Allanton
arose. Meantime, pre-1802,
Shotts still hung on, with the wee Kirk cocket on the hill and the Original
Secession Kirk in the dell. Indeed, old Shotts blooms anew in the growth
Our population has grown greatly, of course. Until 1802 it was negligible.
In 1891 Calderside had a population of 1,431 and Stane 1,017.
To-day we can estimate the population as; – (1) Stane (from the Calder),
7,000; (2) Dykehead, 6,700; (3) Allanton (including Hartwood village)
4,000. Shotts is no mere village now!
One critic, however, has stated; – “For a town of its size Shotts has
the worst shopping centre I have ever seen!” Although it is improving,
we realise the truth of this when we think of Peebles’ fine shopping centre,
yet its population is not half of ours.
It would likewise be well if Shotts was a Burgh. Armadale is one,with a
population of 5,000.
We could be doing with a town hall and a Mayor to receive distinguished
citizens returning from spectacular triumphs, as in the case of our Pipe
Band, for instance.
And what of to-day and the future? King Coal’s reign seems to be shortening.
Will Shotts return to a drearymoorland place? Or, will she develop, like
Hamilton, into a residential and shopping centre?
Time was when I visualised a great aerodrome on our moors.
We are well placed, right in the heart of Scotland.
A well known Scottish publicist has visualised Shotts as one of the
main town- if not the capital of Scotland!
But not as she is (he hastens to add). “an ugly blot on the beauty
f Scotland.” For our moors must be drained, forests planted, and farm
holdings set up.
Well who knows? I can see our town embracing her old mother
Shotts Kirk (and Salsburgh also); reaching out to Hartwood and
Allanton; and welcoming Bonnie Bonkle, Fauldhouse, Eastfield,
That will take undying vision, patient work, and time.
Meanwhile we will do our best for our home town, never forgetting
we have a long tradition to uphold. We are citizens of no mean town.
John Loudon Circa 1952