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Recreation and Sport

Trip to North Esk Reservoir in about 1924

Recreation and Sport

Charles Cowan's 'Reminiscences' (1878) mention both 'social winter meetings, where drink and dancing were conjoined' and 'summer excursions and picnics'. Noteworthy excursions include two visits of employees of Cowan and Sons to the International Exhibition in Edinburgh in 1886 and annual outings at Esk Mill before the First World War. Special trains took workers on day excursions to destinations such as Ayr, St Andrews, Rothesay and Helensburgh. A 1913 trip is vividly recalled, 'I remember well our local band standing on the Brig O' Doon playing “Ye Banks and Braes”. We visited all the sights of this wonderful Burns' country, parading nearly all the main streets behind the band'. (Willie Louden, Newsletter No 10, 1965).

There were many recreational and sporting activities associated with the mills. Two of the earliest clubs were the Bowling and Angling Clubs formed in 1888 at Valleyfield. Popular sports included football, cricket, carpet bowls and curling on the artificial ponds at Esk Mill and Valleyfield. A Recreation and Reading Room for male employees at Esk Mills was set up in 1892 and the Cowan Institute opened in 1894.

Cowan Villa Football Team 1911 - 1912

Esk Mills Bowling Green and bowlers

Excursion of workers

Penicuik Station Outing

Valleyfield Cricket Team 1908

Valleyfield Salle Workers Outing 1892

New tennis courts, a bowling green and a golf putting course were provided for Esk Mills in 1926, and in 1938 the former Kirkhill School became a recreational centre and hall for social gatherings.

Penicuik Fancy Dress Women

Valleyfield Tennis Club

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George McGregor who worked at Dalmore Mill 1959-004 talks about Inter-mill golf matches, football at Dalmore.

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