Please note: due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak the Centre is currently closed, but our website is still open for business.

The Story of West Barns

The Story of West Barns, a Community Exhibition

Beltonford Paper Mill, at West Barns

Beltonford Paper Mill at West Barns

In the spring and summer of 2015 a team of volunteers from West Barns and other local towns got together. Their aim was to research and explore the history of the village. They examined the collections of the John Gray Centre and East Lothian Museum Service for relevant objects, images and documents. They also went into the community to look for loans and stories. The expertise and knowledge of several passionate West Barns people greatly aided this process. Several residents agreed to be recorded, so adding extra depth to the exhibition.

The project is hosted as a ‘Personal View’, in one of our four temporary cases in the John Gray Centre Museum, and opened on Sunday 4th October 2015.

The exhibition examines the village’s past through images, artefacts and the memories and reminiscences of those who call the village ‘home’.  We are adding the elements of the exhibition to this website, some are already linked to this page, so that the wider community (and many natives have dispersed worldwide) will be able to access the Story of West Barns.

Here you can listen to West Barns’ folk reminiscing about times past, the village and the community.

Here you can read poems inspired by the past of this remarkable village.

Here you can read a blog written by one of the volunteers before the exhibition was launched. Here is a blog recollecting the exhibition opening by another volunteer!

Here you can explore a fascinating recollection of the West Barns Village Hall opening in 1901.

Here you can see photographs from the folder accompanying the exhibition.

Here you can explore The Story of West Barns exhibition online (to come – work in progress).

You could help: contact us if you have stories about the village, its school, shops, industries and its people and we will share them with others.

Visit the exhibition any time from October 2015 to October 2017. Please check our opening times before your visit.


The Project Team:

  • Ola Wojtkiewicz
  • Douglas Montgomery
  • Alex Davies
  • Alison McCreadie
  • Denyse Presley
  • Kay Robertson

With thanks to:

  • Ally Knox
  • Peter Aitchison
  • Tina Barber
  • Alastair Colley
  • Kenneth Millar
  • West Barns Community Council
  • West Barns Village Hall Committee
  • West Barns Bowling Club
  • West Barns Primary School
  • David Anderson
  • Jo McNamara
  • Katherine Weldon

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