The Carluke Gazette used to print an annual review of the previous year in a January edition. The review of January 1951 gives a wonderful insight of social life in Carluke seventy years ago in the days before television.
The New Year had been ushered in by a crowd gathered at the cross to hear the clocks chime out twelve. The Caledonia Pipe Band also played a selection for those gathered. In January, the new Girl Guide Hall was opened by Mrs Duvoisin. This hall was in Market Place behind the present Cairns’ Chemists.
Townspeople could join a wide variety of associations and societies, some of which are still going strong. Many of these clubs held annual dances or balls, Burns’ Suppers, shows and fundraising events with the majority taking place in the Town Hall. While, unfortunately, not all these groups were named in the review of 1950, the following were :
Carluke and District Young Farmers Club; The TOC H; Carluke Agricultural Society; Scottish Fruitgrowers’ Research Association; Carluke Amateur Operatic Society; Carluke Caledonia Pipe Band; Co-op Women’s Guild; Carluke British Legion; Law Men’s Guild; Carluke W.R.I.; Kirkstyle R.A. Chapter; Lodge St. John 187; Carluke Canine Club; Carluke Male Voice Choir; Carluke Auxiliary Branch of the National Bible Society; Carluke Old Age Pensioners’ Association; Carluke Unionist Association; Ist Carluke Company Boys’ Brigade; St John’s Church Dramatic Club; Carluke Y.M.C.A; Girl Guides; The Red Cross; Orange Lodge; Templars Lodge; Jack Muir’s Dancing Class. Braidwood W.R.I was formed in October 1950.
Sport was well catered for too. Carluke and Castlehill Bowling Clubs were active as was the Carluke Golf Club. There was also a Carluke Cycling Club and a pair from Braidwood Carpet Bowling Club had won the Dumfries Open pairs. J. Tait and G. Cuthill were the successful pair out of 434 pairs.
Carluke Rovers and Law Hearts Football Clubs had had a good season. The Rovers won the Lanarkshire League Cup in May and the 100 Guineas Championship in June. Law Hearts won the Lanarkshire League Championship in July and both the West of Scotland Juvenile Cup and the Lanarkshire Juvenile Jubilee Trophy in August.
There were sports days for the High School at the Loch Park, the Gala Day and Sports were at the Moor as was the Young Farmers’ Sports Night while the Carluke Charities Day Sports in August were held at the Loch Park. This event also had a record entry for the Pipe Band Contest.
Deaths noted were Rev John Chalmers, former minister at Law Parish Church; Mr A. Coia, café proprietor who died whilst on holiday in Italy; Miss Janet Stewart, 70 Carnwath Road in her 92nd year; Miss Jean Kelly, well-known violinist.
Other events and people mentioned throughout the year include Flower Shows; a Root and Grain Show; Church fetes; Bazaars; Whist Drives; the Canine Society show; the Annual Agricultural Show in July which was marred by heavy rain; “Rio Rita” was the opera in November and “Mother Goose” was the December pantomime; Mr W.A. Dick, a postman, was awarded the Imperial Service Medal; Mr Robert Hunter was honoured by the Co-operative Society for 50 years’ service. Delia Clark was Carluke’s Gala Queen while Mary Watson was Law’s Queen. Mr Tom Fraser, Under Secretary of State for Scotland, visited Burnwood, housing which had been created at the old R.A.F Camp.
The churches were an important part of Carluke life. Mention is made of Rev Hector Munro of Law Parish Church; the annual Congregational Social of the O.S. Church when former minister, Rev Wm. McIntyre, was the speaker; Right Rev Edward Douglas, bishop of Motherwell visited St Athanasius; Rev J. Ramsay Thomson, St Andrew’s Church, was congratulated by the Lanark Presbytery on 25 years of ministry and, later in the year, Rev Thomson was appointed Moderator-Elect of the Presbytery; Mr James Green, Milton Road was licensed to the ministry; Mr George Hunter, formerly of Carluke, was appointed to ministry in Hamilton; an anniversary service was held in the E.U. Church; the war memorial was unveiled in St Andrew’s Church in September. Events at Kirkton and St John’s Church are also mentioned.
Finally, roadworks and diversions are nothing new. The Fiddler’s Bridge at Braidwood was declared unsafe and traffic to Lanark was diverted via Harelaw for seven weeks. The first attempt to strengthen the bridge using concrete blocks did not work and in April a temporary steel box bridge was opened. The bridge was brought up from Yorkshire and workmen worked day and night to build up the girders using 10,000 bolts.