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21

SHOPS IN THE HIGH STREET


by William Davie
When visiting my mother the other day I looked out her window and thought what a wonderful historical part of the old Pans she lived in.
From one window you looked at the Preston Tower which has stood there despite battles and fires since the 14th century. Out of the other window you can visualise where one of the best school buildings stood old PL also destroyed by fire. But still outside her window is the old mercat cross which is, apart from its own history, one of the very few buildings that has thankfully escaped the exploits of vandals and the graffiti people. From her door you look across to the new community centre building where once stood Schaw's Hospital or in my time Mary Murray's Institute.
So after mentioning these places she started to ramble on about different places; she is now 85 and has seen quite a lot of changes in our old town, and in our memories we started our journey around the Pans.
Going down East Loan she spoke of men like old Ned Storrie, Bricky Tammy and Charlie Smeaton what a lovely garden he kept at the corner of Wilson Avenue. This scheme was called after one of our old provosts. Opposite his house, which is now the manse, was Mr Guild the dentist then Mr Sibbald's or Lowes House, and on the other side was the old manse or Logan Ayres house as we knew it. Continuing down Harlaw Hill we have what was originally the co-op building, where can still be seen the clasped hands or Unitas sign above the door; and farther on is Harlaw House and on to the bottom of the hill and the Main Street.
We now started to talk about shops which then formed both sides of the street. To start with you had P. Cunningham the licensed grocer, opposite Pypers Wynd, and a house with an outside stair where it is said Sir Walter Scott lived when recuperating from an illness.
Strolling along the street one would come to the scout hall, with two wonderful characters as caretakers viz, Andra the Bear and Aggie Boozie, then there was part of the brewery and the post office with Mr Dickson as post master. The next house was old Willie Boyd's and the store blacksmith how I used to like the smell when he was shoeing the
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