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Prestonpans Railway Station Mural by Adele Conn

Prestonpans Railway Station Mural Unveiled

The mural scenes created over the past 9 months at Prestonpans railway station by Adele Conn were officially unveiled this week. The Arts Festival which has funded the work was particularly delighted to have John Yellowlees from First ScotRail present [second from right] together with longstanding Prestonpans Councillor Willie Innes [third from right].

click on all pictures below to enlarge

Willie Innes has been a great supporter of all the murals work in the Pans from the outset in 2000, along with former Provost Pat O'Brien. He was one of many to express the hope that yet more mural art will be added at the station in the coming months.

John Yellowlees has not only encouraged the artwork thus far but has also sponsored in association with Panners the improvements to the gardens at the station for the new south car parking off Johnnie Cope Way.

Additionally pictured are from left to right Marion Hunter, proud mother Maggie Conn, Adele Conn [the artist], Andrew Crummy [Convenor of the Prestoungrange Arts Festival], June Coull and George Pitblado.

The Story behind the Station Murals

Prestonpans Railway Station acts as a frequent gateway to Prestonpans and the surrounding towns so is an ideal spot at which to showcase our rich industrial past with images of salt, brewery, mining, the Battle of Prestonpans, pottery, bricks and of course the history of the trains that came and went. Adele Conn commented on her work:

"The mural images so far cover the existing structure of the old ticket office. On the external entrance/exits you will find old posters advertising Belfield Pottery, Prestonpans Cooking Salt, Prestonpans Soap, Fowler's Brewery, Summerlee Bricks, Forth Coal Company. I have used the bolts which now secure the mural boards to the structure as the actual poster pins.

"The main external wall facing the northern car park has eight boards. The central panel represents the Battle of Prestonpans with elements such as the Waggonway, Thorntree, Bankton House and Gardiner's Obelisk. I have surrounded this window with visuals of the old ticket stubs but take a modern twist. They will take you to today's visitor attractions in Prestonpans such as the Totem Pole, the Burns Shelter, the Prestoungrange Gothenburg, the Prestonpans Murals Trail, the 81 Witches of Prestonpans and Morison's Haven.

"Inside the ticket office you will meet Joe, the wee boy in the waiting area sat on the bench reading his book. Behind Joe is Prestonpans railway station as it appeared when it was first opened in 1846 by the North British Railway [NBR], and above that one of the first trains to travel on this line – then simply plying the Edinburgh to Berwick on Tweed coastal route.

"The ticket window profiles Peter Howell [presently Station Master at Bo’ness] and a brief history of the railway line".

Our Station's History

The station was first opened in 1846 as part of the North British Railway (NBR) from Edinburgh to Berwick upon Tweed. Over the next 161 years the service has been provided by four more operators since 1923. The LNER or London North Estern Railway operated from 1923 until nationalisation in 1948 carrying direct services of course all the way to London. When British Railways was privatised in 1997 ScotRail as it had lately become known was conducted first by National Express till 2004 and since then by First ScotRail.

From 1912-1934, first with NBR and then LNER, Prestonpans was one stop on the Lothian Coast Express, a daily through service from Glasgow to Dunbar. Running from June to September it had the most modern rolling stock at the time including restaurant facilities. Leaving Glasgow every day at 3.55pm it reached Edinburgh Waverley an hour later and then came on to Prestonpans, Gullane and North Berwick, allowing golfers a full summer's evening for a round of one of our many East Lothian courses.

Prestonpans and other stations on the North Berwick route were put up for closure in the Beeching Era but following a successful campaign were reprieved in 1969 by then Minister of Transport, Richard Marsh, due to the anticipated hardship on surrounding communities. However, our line was reduced in 1970 to a peak-hour only service, and did not regain regular off-peak services until 1984. We were then electrified as part of the old LNER's 'East Coast Main Line' in 1991. Musselburgh and Wallyford were opened in 1988 and 1994. Today, the First ScotRail line provides an ever more successful commuter service with improving parking and high efficiency. Prestonpans remains one of the stops on a daily through service to and from Glasgow and is one of six stops on the First ScotRail Edinburgh to North Berwick route.

Adele Conn adds: "A very special person to look out for at the station now is John Seth, the first Station Master at Gullane Station on this line. His life sized portrait cut-out acknowledges travellers as they arrive in town and keeps his eye on those heading off from The Pans".

"Finally, in researching and creating these mural scenes I would wish to thank First ScotRail, North British Railway Study Group and the Scottish Railway Preservation Society. As always with Prestoungrange Arts Festival this latest mural has been crafted in Memory of and to Honour Our Ancestors here in Prestonpans".

click on press cuttings to enlarge

Published Date: May 28th 2008

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