Social Life

a lighthouse?' After a quick dip in icing sugar the robin was transformed into a seagull.11

On the August Bank Holiday in the summer of 1938, a year before the start of the Second World War, it was reported that the volume of traffic on the Peebles roads was abnormally heavy. Not just cars, but cycles and tandems were out in force. The 'Big Trip' had gone to Campbeltown, in the Mull of Kintyre, and many people were visiting the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow.

Earlier that year Peebles had been shaken by 'severe vibrations' at five minutes to midnight on 21 March 1938, and people in their homes all over the town experienced what proved to be a slight earthquake. It was described as 'starting with a sudden noise, a vibration, a thud, and a tremor that was particular noticeable if you were in an upstairs room.'

Another disturbance in the months before the start of the Second World War was the anti-Jewish statements by the local Member of Parliament, Captain A. Maule Ramsay. He had defeated Joe Westwood at the General Election of 1931 and had been elected as the MP for Peebles and South Midlothian. National and local newspapers were reporting his sweeping allegations that a 'group of international Jews' were behind a movement for world revolution. The local Unionist Association - and the people of Peebles – were by no means pleased with these wild and unpopular views. When war was declared he was detained in Brixton Prison under the provisions of 18B of the Defence Regulations and the constituency was represented for the duration of the war by David Robertson, who was the Member for Streatham.

The tweed-mills had passed through the worst of the Great Depression but they did not get busy until early in 1939 when they received a part of a large Defence Department order for khaki and serge. Nothing can make up for the despair suffered by men and women who were unemployed for long periods but a Personal Service League that was set up in Peebles provided a useful and sympathetic service of support that gave help and encouragement. Machinery and tools were provided in the town hall and, with tuition from Mr Wishart and Councillor Ainslie, there was a wide range of items produced and displayed in the windows of Scott & Rutherford.

Mr James Izett had the responsibility of managing the Labour Exchange during these difficult times. He started his working life with Lowe Donald in 1905 and served with the Royal Naval Volunteer

151

 

Contents