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The Nativity Play

Did you ever play Mary or Joseph? Or were you perhaps one of the Three Wise Men or one of the Shepherds or the Innkeeper? Perhaps you got the chance to play the role of the Angel? There have certainly been plenty of opportunities in Carluke and the surrounding communities over the past decades to do so with the Sunday Schools, schools and playgroups putting on Nativity Plays every year. The attached photos show some of these casts. There is the 1957 cast from Kirkton Church, one of the Law Primary School cast from the 1980s and one of the 1996 cast from St Andrew’s Playgroup. Are you or any of your family or friends in any of these?

While we don’t have a photo of the occasion, a short item in ‘The Carluke Gazette’ of 29th December 1950 describes how on Christmas Eve that year, the children of St John’s Church entertained family and friends to a special service including a nativity play.

‘… The Junior Choir, under Mr Matthew Lang, rendered several beautiful carols. The solo parts were taken by Sandra Peat, Moira Storrie, Margaret Brownlee, Margaret Grossart, Eleanor Steele and Mary Clark. “The Three Roses”, a play of the Nativity by Margaret Cropper, was beautifully unfolded by the Sunday School children. Those taking part were:- Margaret Anderson, the Seraph; Margaret Brownlee, the Virgin; Robert Gordon, St Joseph; Jack Adam, Bobbie Lightbody and Tom Lawson were the Three Kings; Ian Bell, Jim Blake and Frankie Young were the Three Shepherds; Sheena Livingstone, a Child; Sandra Peat, a beggar woman; Wesley Smith, a lame man; Keir Cowie, a ragged boy. The choir of voices was the Junior Choir.’

Perhaps you or someone you know is mentioned above.

Of course, not all Christmas services were geared towards the children. As today, all the local churches held their own programme of services. There were, however, also several occasions when the community gathered together to worship.

‘Christmas Eve Service - Not Even Standing Room’

This was one of the headlines in the Carluke section of ‘The Gazette’ on 29th December 1950. The article was reporting on the first united Christmas Eve service in the town.

‘For the first time, in the experience of many, people had to be turned away from the religious service in the Town Hall on Sunday night. There was not even standing room for them.

It was the first Christmas Eve service held by the united churches at the hour of 11pm.

All local ministers took part in the service, and the praise was led by a united churches’ choir of some 60 voices, led by Mr William Marr, and with Mr Isaac McRae as accompanist.

Feature of the service was the exhilarating singing by the choir of excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, ending with the famous Hallelujah Chorus.

The service was both impressive and reverent, and altogether uplifting to the large congregration.’

The Town Hall had long been the venue of another of Carluke’s Christmas traditions – the annual Christmas Carol Service. This was a combination of community carol singing and musical items delivered by the children’s choir, again under the leadership of Mr William Marr.

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