| earliest reminiscences he has is, when a child, his aged
grandmother was wont to hold out to him and other young friends,
as the highest mark of favour, the privilege of getting their
tea with her out of the Prestonpans china. "
During the early part of the 18th century a sugar refinery,
on a small scale, was in full operation here; but from the
fact of its closing shortly after the century had passed its
centre, it seems not to have been a very profitable concern.
Grant's Inn is built on the site occupied by the refinery.
Previous to the collapse of the sugar refinery, a vitriol
factory had been established on the same side, but farther
east the street. This "secret work" flourished for
many years, giving work to quite a host of people, mostly
old " salts, " every man on the establishment being
sworn not to divulge the secrets of the trade. Among other
seafaring men engaged there was " old Marr, " grandfather
of that sterling old villager still in our midst, David Marr.
On retiring from "sea life" he had applied at these
works, which were in the vicinity of his own abode, and got
employment there. He was still considered an able-bodied seaman.
The navy was in want of men, and the "pressgang"
had their eye upon him. One night they were out, but he was
fully alive to the work of the pressgang, and had his eyes
on them too. They pursued him at a distance straight into
his own house; but in order to allay suspicion and keep them
from surrounding the house, he left the door quite open behind
him. They rushed inside in a body expecting to find him there,
but without delaying a moment, except to acquaint his gudewife
with the state of affairs, he bolted through the back window,
and closing it behind him made straight for the vitriol works.
After searching every corner, and driving their cutlasses
down through the bedclothes, careless whether they killed
or not, —" Tuts, tuts, '1 ejaculated his gudewife
at last to the interlopers, " ye needna cut an' slash
the bed claes ony sairer; just step alang to the vitriol works
and ye'll find 'im there. '' She knew he was by that time
quite safe. Seeing they had been outwitted for once, and knowing
well that they dared not attempt to enter the "secret"
works, they instantly took their
Prestonpans and Vicinity. 111
departure. Towards the beginning of the nineteenth century
the chemical works were brought to a close, and the buildings
shortly afterwards taken up as
This other fiery liquid branch of business, under Cadell and
Fowler, went on employing a great many hands for quite a number
of years, continuing up to 1846-7. It was a highly prosperous
concern all the time it lasted, and did not go down through
want of funds to keep the concern moving, but rather, it is
understood, was allowed to die out through conscientious scruples
on the part of new successors. The buildings were thrown down
and the site afterwards secured for
A FLOUR MILL.
There was an everlasting supply of living, bursting, bubbling
water (the Forth) on the north side of the mill, but the supply
from the south side was wholly inadequate to keep the unwieldy
wheels of the grinders moving. The mill had to be driven by
force of steam. It was never a paying concern, and having
got out of order, was brought to a standstill for repairs.
The repairs were speedily accomplished, and on the morrow
it was again to be set going, but when the morrow came the
mill was in flames and gone for ever. The blackened walls
are still standing in all their nakedness at the west end
of the old brewery on the south side of the street.
This was a very flourishing concern towards the west end of
the village, near Bankfoot. The pottery was established about
the year 1800, and soon became famous for the excellent and
beautiful ware it produced. A very fine seam of clay was worked
on the " In-gaun-ee " system at Upper Birslie Plantation
for this manufactory. The quarry was known for long after
as the "Clay Holes, " and the great open wastes,
which are still well remembered in the neighbourhood, became
famous as a covert for the badger. The Clay Holes were filled
up some thirty years ago; but Gordon's pottery had ceased
to turn out its famous ware more than other thirty years previous
to that period.