'I remember once when we put the rates up - I didn't go up the street for a fortnight!'

Dunbar Museum
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Four men chatting in the High Street

The town councillors who ran the affairs of Dunbar from the Council Chambers in the twentieth century were largely independents. Sub committees discussed Finance, Planning & General Purposes, Housing, Streets and Harbour, Parks or, latterly, Entertainments and Publicity.

'You were at everybody's beck and call. People like Bobby Allan on A.T. Smith's grocer's van and Jimmy Main in the Redheugh, they were people, councillors that you could drop in on at any minute of the day and see or if they wanted to seek advice or a complaint or anything.'


'You met here first and walked along the street to the church and took the front two pews on the left of the church- that was the Council's seats.'

Traditions such as the 'Kirkin' of the Council' continued. The three bailies continued to hold the local court in the Council Chambers on a Saturday morning.

'It was ten o'clock on a Saturday morning in the Council Chambers and the police were there. They were normally in court, the culprits, waiting.... I remember one case I had there was a lady stealing washing off lines and she had previously done this so I had to send her to prison for seven days. Normally 7/6d was the fine!'


Councillors marching up the High Street behind the Halberds to the Parish Church

The Kirkin' of the Council.

Dunbar's last Town Council

Dunbar's last Town Council.

On 16th May, 1975, Dunbar Town Council formally came to an end.

'We felt generally let down. Everything was going to Haddington generally and you felt that Dunbar would be a sideshoot to something bigger.'


In 1996 a further reorganisation created East Lothian Council. Local people were represented by two councillors and regular meetings still held by a local Community Council in the Council Chambers.

'You had quite quickly to get to grips with local issues to counteract the remoteness of a Council in Haddington with only two councillors.'


Invitation to a reception at the Roxburghe Hotel to mark the end of Dunbar Town Council, 1975

Invitation to a reception at the Roxburghe Hotel.



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