Prestonpans, the burgh

Prestonpans burgh

Prestonpans Foreshore and Cockenzie Power Station

Prestonpans Burgh was one of the last wave of burgh creations in East Lothian. It was formed in 1862 under the Act that allowed the formation of ‘Police Burghs’ – all that was required was a certain population in a nucleated settlement and a letter of application from ‘responsible people’ appealing for the powers. It is the main settlement within the parish of the same name. The parish is one of the smallest in East Lothian, so as Prestonpans has grown it now occupies almost all of the historic parish and has subsumed the ancient burgh of barony of Preston, which is now the inland portion of the settlement. A district in the west of the burgh, the Cuttle, was once also separate.

Prestonpans’ claim to fame is as a pioneer in the industrial revolution, particularly in respect of coal mining and chemical manufacture. Other commodities made here in times past were ales, salt, soap, glass and pottery. Much of Prestonpans today is built on land which in years past was used as market gardens, which kept Edinburgh supplied with seasonal vegatables.

Almost all of the burgh’s traditional industries have withered away, victims of centralisation, mass manufacture and changing demand. We will add more about the burgh of Prestonpans, its people and its industries over the course of time.

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