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The following article is one of a few we are publishing under the heading 'Tymes Past'. These will mostly be about events or organisations which are no longer in the village. Articles so far in this series are;
Aberlady Library | A Walk Through Aberlady | J P Reid - A Village Character | Scouting In Aberlady
Aberlady At War | Aberlady & Gullane Railway | Street Names | Football In Aberlady | Aberlady Bowling Club

Watch out for other articles in the future

Aberlady Library - And It's Founder

Ask anyone in Aberlady - even the 'old timers' - where the village library used to be and it is very doubtful if anyone will be able to tell you. Aberlady did have a library, at the East end of the village. But where exactly was it?

A piece, written by Norman D.H.Murphy, in An edition of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society Transactions vol 23, 1996 p 92. gives us the answer; 'the Aberlady parish Library was established under the terms of the Traill Bequest and was housed in the former village reading room - now part of Hall House. The Traill family lived in The Lodge, West Main Street and the last survivor was Miss Anne Traill who 'was of a charitable nature and greatly interested herself in educational matters; her bequests in the shape of bursaries, etc to the county as well as local being well known. She was also the founder of the village library.' It further says that 'The Library was operated under the joint supervision of the parish minister and the village schoolmaster. At the time of its inception these were Rev. John Hart and Mr Jamiseon respectively. Ultimately around 1926 the library was incorporated into the County Library Service.'

East Lothian Library Service provided much of the information on this page but the only physical evidence they could find for the existence of Aberlady library is a Trail Library label ( see pic. ) which was attached to a book cover ( what the book was they are not sure ).

Trail Library Label
Trail Library Label
The Lodge - which is opposite the former Church Manse is listed in the 1881 Census when 2 sisters Jane and Anne Trail are both living there.Jane is a pensioner, 80 years old, born in Maryton, Forfar. Her sister Anne, also a pensioner, aged 74, was born in Montrose and they had 3 servants living in. Anne died in 1887 and there was a piece in the Haddingtonshire Courier ( HC ) about the funeral. The floral tributes included a floral cross from the Countess of Wemyss. Local school children walking in the procession, formed the first part of the funeral cortege and took up a position beside the grave. The children sang the first 4 verses of the 66th Paraphrase, which was one of her favourite hymns. The chief mourner was Mr Thomas Trail, Broughty Ferry, a cousin. Considerable sums had been bequeathed by her and her sister Miss Jane Trail, who died earlier ( 23/1/1883; but there was no obituary in the HC ) to religious, charitable and educational institutions.

The old Reading Room is mentioned in the 1891 Census for Aberlady: 48 'House over Reading Room', Main Street occupied by George Brown (40) Sergeant Instructor (1 Rifle volunteers) and his family.

We are greatful to East Lothian Library Service for help with this article.

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Aberlady - a Scottish village in East Lothian