GEORGE POW AND THE QUEEN'S ARMS - Ann J Pow
The Queen's Arms public house in
the High Street, where the dentist is now. was then next to Mellis's
Soap Works and was owned by the Misses Grant.
Next door was 97 High Street, better known to the locals as Grant's
Buildings and also owned by the Grant ladies.
The Queen's Arms, like most hostelries. had livery stables consisting
of four horses and various vehicles, a cab, a wagonette brake,
a dogcart, a hearse etc.. all horse-drawn, of course. My father.
Mr George Pow was head coachman from 1907-16 when the horses were
commandeered by the Government for service in the Great War. This
was the end of the stables and George, because of his work with
horses, was then conscripted into the Veterinary Corps.
He was sent to Military Stables at Hounslow. near London, where
he met an old friend from Prestonpans. It was quite common during
WWI for men in different regiments but from the same town to meet
up in other countries but this encounter was more unusual. One
day he was doing his rounds in the stables when he heard a horse
neighing quite a lot and. on going to investigate. discovered
it was one of his old Queen's Arms horses which must have recognised
his voice or scent. What a reunion! They were both glad to see
each other, being so far from home.
After he came back from the war. George startedup in business
in Musselburgh. in a stable just behind the Musselburgh Arms Hotel
at the Town Hall. He was always busiest on Race Days. meeting
the trains at the old Railway Station up Mall Avenue and bringing
those who could afford a cab or a ride in a wagonette down to
the Race Course, otherwise it was a case of them walking or catching
a tram from the Mall. If the Race Meetings were during the school
holidays Mother would take the three youngest of us, the others
were working, by trarncar to Levenhall where we would meet Father
for a tour of Musselburgh and Inveresk in his cab. returning to
the racecourse to pick up passengers for their trains when the
Meeting was finished. On one of these outings our neighbours.
Mr & Mrs McKinlay were with us and Father decided to go down
Shorthope Street to the Esk and let the horse have a drink at
the ford. Mrs McKinlay said. "Oh! You're not going to cross
the river, are you?" He hadn't intended to but she put the
idea in his head and we did cross, with the cab almost floating.
I don't think many would have done that and I certainly wouldn't
Another outing I recall was when the families in Grant's Building
got together, the Smiths. McKinlays, Rosses, AlIans and, of course,
the Pows. My youngest brother, lain. was only three months old,
I was seven and Jean was two years younger, and Father decided
it would be a country outing. So a brake and a cab took us to
Gifford, each family had their own picnic box and Mr Johnny Ross
had an urn to supply the tea. We had a great day but I'm sure
the poor horses didn't think so!
None of my brothers was interested in the business and. in the
thirties. Father had a bad attack of pneumonia and was unable
to continue. Being out in all weathers was not for him any more.
My older brothers were more interested in cars and taxis which
were then becoming the mode of transport but nothing would change
Father's opinion of horses. He loved them to the end.
Ann Pow died in 1999 and this photo shows her
as a young girl in Guide uniform - as so many will remember her.