Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gorebridge; A Famous Historical Landmark.

Gorebridge; a sleepy village 10 miles south of Edinburgh?

NO! It was the epicenter of the Scottish Gunpowder industry at the turn of the nineteenth century.

At the actual Gore Bridge, in the dip between Gorebridge village and Birkenside, stood the only Scottish Gunpowder mill.
(Ever wondered why the hill was called Powdermill Brae?)

In 1794, a pair of investors, William Hitchener and John Hunter, leased the land from the Buccleuch Estates, and worked under the bridge (diverting the water through sluces and watermills) to produce the best quality gunpowder.

Initially, in a time of peace, the mill advertised as a sporting company. But soon, Britain was involved in a struggle against Napoleon Bonaparte, and many cartloads of their black powder product were sent north to Leith docks, (where the first Darien ships sailed from) then by sea to Grangemouth, then by canal to Greenock (where the second and last Darien ships sailed from), then to Liverpool, to be shipped to the army in Europe.

For the Gorebridge historians, the street name "Powdermill Brae" is a sure clue to this history. The houses (now long gone) under the bridge were called the "Black Raw". Basic, I know. But I once lived in "Tattie Raw", not far from the Gorebridge site.

It's in my blood.

It's wee bits like this that bring the history home. "Tattie Raw" (Victoria Street)... just ask the Wrights, the Halls, the Merchants, the Olivers and many, many more.

1 comment:

  1. I know it well! My wife is from Gowkshill, by Gorebridge. Nice article!


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