Saturday afternoons were often spent
at "The Scratcher" — the picture house in the high Street. I suppose
it must have had a proper name, but it was always referred to
as "The Scratcher", as people claimed you went in with a jersey
and came out with a jumper! It was never renowned for its high
standard of cleanliness.
The adventures of Rob Roy, Tarzan
and Roy Rodgers fired our imaginations. When we poured out of
the darkness into the bright Saturday afternoon light, we had
the choice of two roads home. One, the safe predictable pavements
of the High Street, or on the other hand, we could go home via
the sea shore, jumping from rock to rock, reliving the film, evading
either redcoats or red indians. We usually chose the latter. Unfortunately,
as part of the Saturday chores, we had to collect a box of six
cakes from Ford the bakers — our teatime treat. This was duly
tied up with yellow and brown tape, a loop being made to slip
over our wrist. It was unusual to see a meringue in one piece
when the box was opened on our return from the Saturday matinee.
Gradually, the houses of Front Street
and Back Street were becoming empty as families were rehoused
in the newly built schemes behind us in what used to be turnip
fields. By the time I was seven, "flittings" were a daily occurrence,
and we too moved up the hill to a house with a garden. Staff and
pupils of Cuthill School were transferred to Prestonpans School
and the village awaited demolition.
Today, the only trace of this village
and community is a solitary red sandstone post at the entrance
to another new housing complex. This is the post which held the
iron gates of Cuthill School. Everything else is a memory.