3rd October 1952
Although the seating capacity of the Traquair Village Hall was 275, at the opening meeting 320 people, together with two rows of guests, were accommodated. The stage was decorated with flowers and when the heavy maroon and gold curtains were drawn the smiling faces of the children from the Glen and Traquair schools were revealed. Seated at the front of the stage were the Chairman, Mr J Dundas, accompanied by Col. W Thorburn DSO TD, Lord Lieutenant of the County, Lord Glenconner, Mr O Cunningham, Carnege UK Trust, and Rev. Anderson, the local Parish Minister.
Other guests attending were Lady Glenconner, Mr and Mrs T D Ballantyne, Col. Miller Richard, Captain F Maxwell Stuart, Mrs Thorburn; Lady Thomson of Kaimes, Major E G Thomson of Callands, Provost and Mrs A P Daniels, ex-Provost and Mrs W Cleland, Mr and Mrs J S Dickson, Mr John Mackie, County Clerk and Mrs Mackie, Col. Jamieson, Director of Education, and Mrs Jamieson.
Mr Dundas was greeted with a most enthusiastic ovation as he rose to address the large gathering. He welcomed all the guests, who had come from all parts of the county. He said he was sorry to announce that Sir Ronald Thomson, Convener of the County, was unable to attend because of illness but he was pleased to welcome Lady Thomson and Major Thomson. He expressed his appreciation for the work Sir Ronald had done for the parish.
Mr Dundas went on to say that at one stage it was felt the hall would not be built because of building restrictions and rising costs. Thankfully, the Carnege Trust and the Peeblesshire County Council Education Committee gave donations. He also thanked the architects, Cairns and Ford, who had to produce 4 sets of plans before Building Approval was obtained and whose only charge was out-of-pocket expenses. Mr Dundas then called upon the Lord Lieutenant of the County to open the hall officially.
Colonel Walter Thorburn started by saying he was particularly pleased to be opening the new village hall. First of all, in his mind Traquair valley was the most romantic in Peeblesshire and it was the only one in the County celebrated in national song. “The Bush Abin Traquair” was well known throughout Scotland and he was familiar with “Paddy Slacks”, which in his opinion was a corruption of “Pas des Lacs”(Pass to the Lakes). He pointed out that this pass was often used by Mary, Queen of Scots. Secondly, he spoke of his forbears who were tenants of Traquair Estate for around a hundred years. In particular, he mentioned that his grandfather lived at Juniper Bank and his late uncle, Sir Walter, lived for some years at Orchard Mains. He had happy memories of fishing with his cousins in the Quair Burn. He also mentioned the Reverend Jardine Wallace who was the minister at Traquair Parish Church .at the time. He recalled how the Rev. Wallace would always touch him on the shoulder when they met and ask: “How is your dear Mama?” But he said the Rev. Wallace asked this question once too often of a colleague whose mother had died 18 months previously. He was shattered when he received the reply: “Still dead, thank you.” Thirdly, Col. Thorburn said he was very aware of the importance of maintaining the spirit of the local community at a time when everything was being sacrificed to the idea of efficiency. He closed his remarks by saying he admired the enterprise that had gone into the building of the hall and he gave a special thanks to Mr James Dundas whose efforts brought the project to fruition.
The Reverend Anderson pronounced the prayer of dedication and the gathering sang the hymn ,”Praise my soul the King of Heaven”, with the children’s choir singing the third and fourth verses by themselves.
Mr Ord A Cunningham conveyed on behalf of the Chairman of the Carnege Trust his good wishes. He said the Trust very much appreciated the ambitions and efforts of the local people and was pleased to provide the grant.
The Chairman, thanked the Glenconners, who had travelled especially from London for the opening of the hall, for raising £1000 at two summer sales. He called upon Lord Glenconner to speak on behalf of the people of Traquair.
Lord Glenconner thanked the guests for attending and all those who took part in the official opening. He said he was honoured in being asked to speak as this was a historical occasion in the annals of the parish. He continued by thanking Mr F Maxwell Stuart for providing the ideal site in the centre of the village and he congratulated Mr Dundas for the way he led and inspired the Planning Committee. Lastly, he called upon the audience to accord their appreciation in a vote of thanks to all those who had contributed to the project.
After the official opening the audience enjoyed a concert by local talent. The first act was the school children singing "Bless This House". Then followed solos and duets by Jean West, Margaret Armstrong, Clara Lunn, William Oliver and Steve Howitt. The piano accompaniment was provided by James Mercer.
Col. J Miller Richard moved a vote of thanks to all who took part in the concert.
The evening finished with a dance led by the local band, Tweedside Dance Band. The MC was Sandy Dalgleish