Interview With Ivan Clark, Eastfield Farm Whittingehame
- Ref No: AVS/4
- Repository: East Lothian Archive Service
- Date: 20 May 2016
- Description: Interview with Mr Ivan Clark about his memories of growing up in Whittingehame,in the 1920s and 1930s and farming at Eastfield, Whittingehame. Interview conducted by Ruth Fyfe.
00.13-02.15 Born East Bearford Farmhouse, near Stevenson on 19 December 1924. His farmer farmed there with his mother and he got married 1923 and was able to rent the farmhouse for a short period from Mr Elder of Stevenson. His father was eventually able to rent the Home Farm of Eastfield on the estate of the Earl of Balfour. The family moved there in November 1928. So lived in Whittinghame more or less all his life. He had two younger brothers
2.15-6.38 Early memories on the farm. Eight cottages on Estate. Great number of children about. When he was 5 years old he went to Luggate Burn School. Good times there, at one time two teachers and 40 pupils. No real village, village had been scrapped and original Earl of Balfour built the school, schoolhouse and other houses. Also blacksmith?s house. The headteacher, Mr Hunter who came from one of the islands. He was great character. Miss Angus was another teacher he remembers. Sat qualifying exam at 11 years old. Then went to Dunbar School for nearly 4 years. He was picked up by bus in the morning. Left school in 1939, the beginning of the war, and told to start working.
6.38-10.30 Altho mostly horses at this time he got hold of an old tractor and drove that (although he had been unofficially driving a car before then). His father also had a car which had no back seat ? the boot opened up and you had to sit there. When his younger brothers came along his father had a different car ? a Ford 14, Reg No ST17817. His father was very friendly with one of the salesmen at Alexanders in Edinburgh and got car from there. He learned to drive in this car on the estate. Not many cars around at this time. There were 3 gardeners on the estate ? beautiful gardens, the gardeners taught him to drive (at about the age of 15) so that he could help with the cutting of the grass.
10.31-13.50 He misses the Estate very much as it was such a beautiful place, the gardens, the mansion house. The lawns looked like bowling greens when they were cut. Old Miss Balfour always had a sports day for all the parishioners around the estate and that was held on the lawn in front of the mansion house. You used to get a lemonade and a biscuit. Miss Balfour would sit and watch what went on. They were very good landlords and spent a lot of money on the estate. They modernised the Estate, building the schoolhouse, new bowling green (which was still being used until the 1970s thereabouts) and hall. Sad that nowadays there is so much traffic.
13.50-15.18 Went out with ploughman and horses when young. They had free cottages but their wage was 28 shillings a week at that time but they had gardens which were absolutely packed with vegetables every year. They grew their own vegetables and got an allowance for potatoes which was part of their wages ? 8-10 bags of potatoes, that?s hundredweight bags - in the year.
15.19-18.01 Life was entirely different, it was free, easy and in the summer evenings everybody came out and had a blether and all the kids played rounders and things like that. Attended Sunday school. The minister he remembers there was Marshall Lang, who wrote a book about East Lothian. He was a Moderator at the Church of Scotland one year and the same year his brother was made Archbishop of Canterbury. When you think about it ? there was a Prime Minister, three Moderators from the Church of Scotland, there was no village. There were Sunday School picnics to begin with but the Sunday School fell off latterly.
18.12-19.48 His mother didn?t work on the farm but kept hens and had to have the meals ready on time. His father was a stickler for meal times, 12 lunch, 5.30pm tea. When his parents got a better car they used to love in the summer going away up to Thurso. His father was a very keen fisherman and liked to get away fishing, Gladhouse was a favourite place at that time.
19.52-25.13 He thoroughly enjoyed his schooldays in Dunbar and he did quite well as he got his leaving certificate. Enjoyed the sports side too. One of the teachers came from Haddington, his nickname was ?Foxy? because his name was Reynard. He liked Dunbar and had lots of friends and still goes down to Dunbar often and remembers the shops etc. There was a Post Office in Whittinghame and after the village was built they started a Smithy/blacksmiths ? Henry Harrower(?) the blacksmith was first followed by Dave Young, Johnny Cow ? he stayed in the Post Office across from the Smithy ? and then John Waite was the other blacksmith and he stayed at Eastfield. He remembers seeing 10-12 horses waiting to be shod. All these shoes were made at Luggate Burn. Standing watching the Smithy with others at the school break, it became quite a social club. But once the tractors and heavy machinery came in it went back to just more or less an engineering shop. When Henry Harrower died his nephew (Drew) took over the Smithy but just kept it for machinery repairs etc. The horses had more or less phased out by then. When he left school in 1939 there were only 5 horses left at Eastfield.
25.50-31.48 Things were carted in using the odd horse. Feeding sheep, or growing turnips/Swedes these all had to be shawed by hand and carted in. It was normally women but the men had to go sometimes and help out and get the shawing done. It could be a cold job. The women moved round different farms. Different to nowadays when it is all done by machine. There used to be squads of women for a while from Haddington, from Nungate and you had to cart about half a dozen folk out to make up the squads. Usually a squad was anything from 10-15. Prisoners were also used ? the Italians first ? they came to the camp at Garvald, they were not keen on working. Eventually the camp was closed and all the prisoners were taken away and it was just after that there were 2 German prisoners for a short time. One was a butcher and there was an annual pig killing and the German, as a butcher, was brilliant. They didn?t stay long. Cigarette case carved for his mother as if she had anything spare she handed it down to them. Relationships between local people and prisoners good, all known by first names.
31.52-37.15 Things moved on from there until his grandmother died and father and mother moved from Eastfield up to Luggate Farm which had been in the Clark family since 1908 but still kept on Eastfield until he upset the apple cart and decided to get married. That was 1948. He and his wife, Nessie, moved into Eastfield until he retired in 2008. His wife Nessie had been in the land army and he met her at a village hall dance. She actually came from Edinburgh. Had two daughters. Had taken over the running of Eastfield when married. No horses then. Only odd farm in East Lothian still had horses. All the farming became mechanised.
37.20-45.47 Still used seasonal labour as we still grew potatoes and things like that but eventually all that moved over to grain and grass and turnips for feeding. Grain was the main income. Hard work ? all the sheaves had to be stooped. Which was done mainly by women workers. Talks about gathering in, storing and thrashing the sheaves. Hired in large steam engine bailer for thrashing job. Machine at each farm for 3-4 days. Wonders how people would manage now if they had to do this hard work. Needed 10-12 people to help out. Talks about distribution of all this work.
45.48-53.10 Goes on to talk about leisure time. In the evening went to the bowling green in the summer and in the winter occasionally went to the curling pond in ??? Well in Oberfield if weather was frosty. But it was a bit dangerous as one year some people went too close to the edge and went through the ice. Would go to the ice rink at Haymarket, Edinburgh. Quite a few farmers got involved. Wednesday was market day in Edinburgh at Gorgie and afterwards they went to the ice rink from 7-9pm. That started the formation of ice rinks in the country areas playing in Haymarket which he did and was so keen went on other days ? not just days when market on. His father and other farmers from the area went on to win the British Open Championship. He also got to the final of the World Championship held in Murrayfield but was beaten in the final by a well known rink from Hamilton. Participants came from Switzerland, France to play. When Haymarket closed everything went to Murrayfield and some people gave up as Murrayfield seemed to be more intent in skating and making more money from that. At this time didn?t manage to get away as a family on holiday. Used to sometimes go to stay with uncle in Dunbar (at school age) and learnt to swim in outdoor pool there. Sometimes used to dive off bridge into the water in lunch break. Only really got away on proper holiday once married and a favourite place was Cruden Bay up in Aberdeen (which is now sadly listed today as one of the poorer beaches).
54.15-56.45 When he retired the Estate wanted to take farm back. Talks about lease from (later) Earl of Balfour offering his father the lease in 1928. Mentions large amounts of eggs and milk required by the lease but there was no way they could produce.
56.54-59.00 Altho didn?t have any involvement in the Balfour Bairns that were at Whittinghame during the war. But knew of the Jewish refugees there in 1938. He played football with them. Some of these refugees actually worked on the farms.
59.48 Misses the farming life but realises that where he is now is convenient.
- Level: Item
- Access Status: Open
- Associated Period:
- For more information contact: East Lothian Archive Service
This document forms part of a catalogue
Jump to this document in the hierarchyCatalogue