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The Third Statistical Account of Scotland - East Lothian

by the debris washed from the coal bings of Prestonlinks and Prestongrange collieries. Lockhart tells us that Sir Walter Scott in his boyhood came here to bathe, but almost all bathers now go further east to Port Seton or Seton Dene.

History of Local Community.- The fertile soil, the dry sunny climate, and the sea coast early attracted the monks of Newbattle to this area. The hamlet of Preston or Priest's town grew up about half a mile inland in association with their farming activities, and following the erection of pans on the foreshore for the manufacture of salt from sea water in the early years of the thirteenth century, the name of the fishing hamlet was changed from Aldhammer to Salt Preston. The parish, which was separated from Tranent in 1606, was for long known by this name.

There is, or rather was, only one harbour in the parish, Morrison's Haven, to the west of Prestonpans. From the 16th to the 18th century it was one of the busiest ports on the Forth, but during the igth there was little trade until Preston- grange Colliery developed. The harbour then became active again, and as late as 1912 it accommodated ships of 600 tons. It is now derelict and used as a swimming pool by local youngsters.

In the past the village of Preston was the scene of important activities, and the Cross still stands where merchants came to sell their wares and the ancient Guild of Chapmen of the Lothians met annually until 1870 to elect their " king " and his " lords depute " for the coming year. In the late i8th century, however, the main centre of activity moved north to the coast and several new industries were added to that of salt-making, see Chapter 2. In a novel written during the following century Prestonpans was described as a " long, gloomy, narrow street with its mean hovels."

In 1914 the burgh still consisted of a single street which extended from east to west along the raised beach for about one mile, with a built-up area not exceeding 400 feet in width. The High Street, undulating slightly throughout its length, has a general fall of only one foot from east to west, while the land to the south rises towards Preston village at a gradient of one in fifty. In 1920 the first instalment of new municipal houses was built. Prior to that the many old properties

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