We had a wonderful, if a tad breezy day at Doors Open 14th September. Welcoming over 150 visitors throughout the day, squeezing over 50 into the 2 fascinating talks by Dr Alison Sheridan, ( watch this space for more on this!) and our 2 guest blacksmiths Juliette & Maisie turning on the expertise at the forge - not to mention fabulous teas & lunches & produce to buy , all made for a really great event. Lots of super feedback from visitors who came from far and wide - including Japan! We were all exhausted but enjoyed the day as much as the visitors. Massive thanks to everyone who helped out before, on the day and after, not even going to try to name you all, it is much appreciated!
Trip Advisor visitor review 5***** August 2019
"A hidden treasure with cart loads of history"
Wartime in a rural community
To commemorate 80 years since the start of World War II and how it affected life in a country village there will be displays showing how residents coped and what they did to help the war effort. Using the actual words of villagers drawn from oral history projects and BBC broadcasts, the exhibition will reveal how wartime brought the community together.
There will also be demonstrations of Blacksmithing throughout the day in the 300 year old forge.
As part of East Lothian Archaeology Fortnight, Dr Alison Sheridan of National Museum of Scotland, will present a talk about 2300 BC Early Bronze age skeletons discovered in Cousland over 100 years ago: 11.30 hrs and 13.30 hrs lasting 35 minutes on a first come basis.
Soup, refreshments and cakes available all day, and local produce for sale.
Today the lovely folks at Lothian Broadband brought us right up to date by donating & installing a new, fast broadband system in the cottage, along with the rental. It will help immensely with our work to preserve & document the smiddy & village history, and enable it to be easily shared with other archives and stored securely in digital format for generations to enjoy in the future. Great swift & neat job lads, taking great care with the listed status of the buildings - thanks!
We are delighted and pleased to announce that, following fantastic and positive reaction to our publication of the Mercer diaries at Dalkeith Show yesterday, we are now making this available for purchase as a printed version.
With 221 pages of fascinating insight into farming in Midlothian over 100 years ago, the cost is a remarkable £9.00 per copy for collection from Cousland Local History Project. Postage in the UK will be £2.50.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order with us. We will make them available as soon as we can and will advise delivery date.
Downloading the.pdf version will enable checking of family names & locations before you purchase a reading copy to savour with a wee glass on a winters night!
Cousland Local History Project is delighted to announce that our first publication - in conjunction with Edinburgh University Ethnology Department has just been digitally published online.
Download book here
The Diaries written by George Gibson Mercer, belong to the Mercer Family and contain many gems of information about what was grown on the farm when, who was employed - a number of 'weel kent' names feature, and other local businesses etc.
CLHP have a stand at Dalkeith Show on 13th July, kindly donated by the Show Committee as George was their Chair around 100 years ago, where we will launch the publication to the wider farming community, and no doubt hear that some of the descendants of the names are there!
Printed copies available at £9.00 from Cousland Local History Project
At Cousland Smiddy we've decided to follow the Wartime Spirit ........... WWII Open Day is still on tomorrow with all events planned to take place at the smiddy. If the weather is really too bad we'll have the teas, lunches and plant sales in the hall rather a than tent in the paddock. It will all be signposted. Hall is 5 minute walk from the smiddy through the village. A genuine WWII venue, used for fundraising concerts for the troops and dances with the Land Army girls.
We've all been very busy getting the smiddy & cottage 'In the Mood' for our WWII themed Open day on Saturday. From 10am - 4pm we will have themed displays & activities for all the family, a guest Blacksmith will be at the forge, teas, soup & home baking, Digging for Victory in the plots and a bit of 40's dance music. Plant sale .
Marking 80 years since the start of World War II in 1939, the smiddy & Heritage Hub open for a full day of activities. Guest Blacksmith Raymond Douglas will be at the Forge. We look at what wartime life would have been like in Cousland through exhibits, children's activities and Dig for Victory campaigns. Refreshments - strictly NO rationing here! - soup & home baking will be available throughout the day and garden plants will be for sale.
Open 10.00am - 4pm
Despite requests from parents - we confirm that NO children will actually be evacuated.............
Today we welcomed a group from Dirleton & Gullane History Society for the first open day of 2019.
After coffee at the Hall , the group toured the village and were treated to a demonstration
of blacksmithing techniques in the forge, by Pete Hill from Ratho Byres Forge
who kindly volunteered to support the Trust.
The visitors then saw round the new exhibitions created to mark the beginning of WWII
and the impact on life in Cousland.
Special whole day Open Days are planned for Saturdays 8th June and 14th September with blacksmithing demonstrations and themed activities.
Saturday 8th June will also host the traditional Smiddy Plant Sale - at the smiddy this time.
Further open days can be found at: