THIS week, Chris Atkinson from the West Linton Historical Society brings us some beautiful drawings of the village...

With the coming of the railway to West Linton in 1864 it wasn’t long before visitors began arriving there to enjoy the rural delights of the village and surroundings.

In 1886 a talented young artist, assumed to be a male, visited West Linton and during his stay from July 3-14 produced some very revealing sketches of the village. Most of the buildings he drew are still identifiable, although some are now ruinous, and show in great detail a different way of life in the village over 130 years ago.

The view onto the Upper Green (right) shows in the distance a figure approaching Rumbling Tam which was the outlet of an historic spring which delivered a reliable and plentiful supply of potable water for the village; not surprising that a brewery and a tannery were established here. The far house was the Tan House which today appears without any outside stairs to the upper floor which was a common feature in those days.

The Cross Well (bottom right) – Lady Gifford’s Well – still stands in Main Street but slightly altered. The figure of Lady Gifford has been replaced by a clock and she now resides in the Village Hall (The Graham Institute) which can be seen in the drawing beyond the ruined cart shed. A replica of Lady Gifford now stands on a plinth below the clock. The statue of Lady Gifford is a particularly fine piece and was carved by her husband James Gifford in 1666.

The ruined cottage (above right) was originally The Old Smiddy and sat in Main Street where The Old Bank now stands. St Andrew’s Church steeple is instantly recognisable above the cottage on the left, which itself has not changed greatly. On the right one can see the start of the iron railings which now surround the rather elegant Bank House.

The last view (below) taken from the garden of Hope Lodge (Logan Cottage) shows a stretch of Croft Road where it meets Christina Howieson’s Close. The rear of Wattie’s Cottage (Mulberry Cottage) can be seen in the centre of the drawing and on the left is what is probably the site of the village slaughter house, now West Lynn House. The artist, C S S Johnston, who also produced some fine drawings of sundials and grave stones, returned to West Linton in 1923 and commented that The Old Smiddy was now a garden and was about to be the site for a new bank. It would be interesting to know what became of Mr Johnston and whether his artistic talents led to a professional career.