The Water Tower

The Water Tower
The Water Tower at Dusk

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's All Relative and Politics

I came across this post that I didn't complete at the time. Its a photo of me and my mum some years ago (about 10 years I think). The local newspaper ran the story of our relatives who lived in Cemetery Lodge Cottage. My great great grandmother, Mary Tillie Dods, lived out her last years in this cottage before she passed away in 1882. The tower was built in 1879 so.......she must have been living in the cottage when the tower was being built. How spooky is that? And I never knew this family connection when we bought the water tower.

The cottage has been a godsend to Gerry and I. We bought it very soon after buying the derelict tower although we were pretty strapped for funds at the time. It served as a storage facility during the tower renovations before we patched it up as best we could after it dried out! It was very damp because the damp proof course was below the level of the tarmac put down on the pavement outside the front of the building. Even at the back, a channel had filled up with soil and leaves. Not the best way to take care of a building. Of course we were aware of what we were taking on having had it surveyed and Gerry having experience in the building trade. Once it was dried out the ceilings all collapsed which was some mess. Lathe and plaster. Horrible stuff.

Now it is a sweet little cottage part used as the restaurant but mainly used to keep all our books and knick knacks as well as an office and spare bedroom. We couldn't be without it really.

But what about my family? how on earth did they come to be connected with a cottage in Dalkeith? Well most of my mums side of the family lived in the Borders. Galashiels, Selkirk, Stow and Peebles. Dalkeith was the first main town serving the Borders in those days and I reckon the youngsters travelled up to Dalkeith for work and play. My great great grand parents must have moved to Dalkeith for work purposes. Although only Mary Tillie Dods was recorded on the census for living in the cottage in 1881, her husband John Tille is on the local gravestone with the rest of the family and the library records showed that he died in Plantation in Glasgow. Someone told me this was where there was an industry for making gardening tools and the like. That might link in with the skills of a cemetery keeper.

The family in the Borders were all farmers living in tied cottages to a land owner who was usually a wealthy individual. My Gran was a staunch Tory supporter because the landed gentry were Torys and they looked after the workers. Of course the Conservatives have lost their place in Scotland since then but who knows, they might make a come back. I met a very nice young lad representing the Conservatives earlier this year. Bright and articulate and full of energy. We hear from a couple of friends that our SNP councillor had a call from someone ranting down the phone that Gerry was going to stand as a Conservative Party Councillor in the forthcoming elections next year and that he would get into the council and influence "everyone". Gosh, how amazing, especially since it is news to us.

It's a pity my Aunt Tib who is 93 couldn't stand for election. She always has a political word to say and would make a great Tory councillor. She wouldn't care about local tittle tattle and would probably swipe her handbag at anyone who gave her grief. We are a fiesty lot from the Borders.

Here's the article from the newspaper at the time.

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