Social Life

controls were still being tuned in a vain search when the service was concluded'. It was a notable local event and quite a number of houses had arranged parties in their homes for the occasion. Nevertheless, just as the 'news flash' about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy can still be readily remembered, so too can the announcement made on the night of 22 January 1935 which solemnly announced that the 'King's life was drawing slowly to a close'.

Peebles took pride in their own broadcaster, William D. Crichton, who was a well-known actor and took part in many of the Scottish plays that were heard on the wireless. Travelling back on the late-night SMT bus from Edinburgh after being at the broadcasting studios, he could be seen through a cloud of cigarette smoke, well down in his seat and totally engrossed in a script.

William Crichton first appeared in 1921 in the Peebles Philharmonic Society's production of the Pirates of Penzance. He instituted the Peebles Players, producing Campbell of Kilmohr as their first performance, and also became the stage director of the Peebles Drama Festival. He had the honour of appearing in a Royal Command performance before King George V and Queen Mary in a Brandon Thomas Company production of Hamlet.

Peebleans also took pride in the achievements of Margaret Smith, a sixteen-year-old who broke the Scottish Women's 1,000 yards record by one minute and thirteen seconds at Renfrew on 12 December 1934, establishing a new Scottish swimming record of fifteen minutes 25.4 seconds; again, in 1938, she held the Scottish Women's One-Mile record with a time of twenty-nine minutes eleven seconds. A member of the Peebles Amateur Swimming Club, Margaret Smith was in the Scottish team in 1935 competing against England and Wales.

Royal occasions were always loyally marked in Peebles: the restitution of the March Riding in 1897 and the gift of Victoria Park by Sir John Hay of Haystoun, Bart., to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee; Priorsford Bridge built in 1905 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII. These occasions also had special events for the children and the elderly. The Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935 was celebrated with a special cinema show in the Playhouse and the Empire Cinemas with 1,270 children attending and each being given a souvenir tin of chocolate. Also, 200 unemployed and old folks