HOMEWARD BOUND: DALKEITH STATION BELL
Excitement is growing among heritage enthusiasts over recovery of a 19th century relic lost to Midlothian for more than half a century.
A grand homecoming is planned for the brass bell that once hung in the railway station that stood on the site of what is now Morrison’s supermarket in Dalkeith.
Brian Scott, secretary of Dalkeith History Society will collect the artefact from storage in Glasgow for display at the opening of the town’s new museum next month.
Members of the History Society were ‘thrilled’ at the return of a civic relic vital to an appreciation of Midlothian’s transport network, said Mr Scott.
He added:- ‘We think it would have been sounded to mark departure of trains due to connect with the then Innocent Railway at Glenesk Junction about half a mile out of Dalkeith station which opened to traffic in 1838.
‘We understand the bell was removed to a rail company office in Edinburgh’s Waterloo Place sometime after the facility closed to passenger traffic in 1942, before being transferred to the west of Scotland.
‘We are just so pleased and excited to be getting it back’.
Going back to the dawn of the steam age, it’s thought the piece was made at the instigation of coal and land magnate the fifth Duke of Buccleuch.
A rail historian spotted it in an archive photograph of the former railhead in Eskbank Road, Dalkeith.
Help was offered by the Rotary Club of Dalkeith, adopters of Eskbank station, after an unsuccessful effort to retrieve the item earlier this year. The Scottish Government was approached and then-MSP Colin Beattie was also recruited to the cause.
Within a couple of weeks, Rotarians Roy Nimmo and Alistair McNeill accompanied by Mr Scott were on their way to the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre to view the bell and discuss arrangements for its transfer to Midlothian on short-term loan.
Mr Scott said thanks were due to Rotary for its ‘support, assistance and enthusiasm’ in its backing of the History Society hunt for the item.