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  • Writer's pictureCPHS

The Market Place Christmas Tree

For the last seventy years, the people of Carluke have enjoyed the sight of a decorated Christmas Tree in the Market Place. It has played and continues to play a part in the memories of so many people. The young people who viewed that very first tree have taken their own children to see it and now they take their grandchildren.

It was in November 1950 that County Councillor William MacLachlan put forward a proposal that a Christmas tree decorated with over 100 fairy lights be erected in Carluke’s Market Place. The members of the Third District Council agreed and so began the tradition of the Market Place Christmas Tree.

Actually, Councillor MacLachlan’s proposal had also included the idea of placing fairy lights around the perimeter of the Market Place but this suggestion was withdrawn following objections on the grounds of expense. These were estimated at £25.

Adding to the appeal of the Market Place Tree, church choirs gathered there to sing carols while local bands played programmes of festive music.

The opportunity to raise funds for charity was spotted and, that first year, the nominated charity was the Royal Sick Children’s Hospital in Glasgow. The sum collected was £9.

Three years after Carluke put up its first communal Christmas tree, Law followed with Station Road being the site chosen for the village’s festive centrepiece.

Nowadays, of course, public Christmas trees light up almost all of the communities within Carluke Parish – Carluke, Law, Braidwood and Kilncadzow – while the main thoroughfares in Carluke and Law also boast Christmas lights and the Market Place a Nativity Scene.

One of our members recalls that in the early days (possibly the early 1960s) Carluke’s Christmas Lights were considered so unusual that a television crew from either the BBC or STV came to the town to record the spectacle.

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William Maclachlan was my grandfather. When I was small we lived in Muirs building at the top of the market, my toys were used for Santa sleigh. Roy Russell was Santa.

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