Town Centre, Lasswade
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Town Centre, Lasswade

The village of Lasswade developed around a ford which crossed the River North Esk, 5½ miles (9 km) southeast of Edinburgh, between Dalkeith and Loanhead. Former industries include paper mills, flour mills and a carpet factory, which moved to nearby Bonnyrigg in the 1870s. A popular holiday resort in the 19th Century for wealthy Edinburgh residents yet in the 1950s much of the village's population had left for modern houses in Bonnyrigg, which had merged with Lasswade in 1929, and many traditional houses in Lasswade were demolished.

The Bonnyrigg-Lasswade conurbation is twinned with Saint-Cyr-l'École, a commune in the west of Paris (France).

Lasswade Old Parish Church was built in the 13th century and its ruin survives today within the Old Churchyard, where the poet William Drummond of Hawthornden lies buried. The present parish church is a Georgian box built in 1830 on the opposite bank of the river for the United Secession Church. The Board School dates from 1881 and was converted to form flats when the primary school moved to Viewbank in 1977. The secondary department had moved to Bonnyrigg in 1956 becoming known as Lasswade High School. It remains there, now located within the Lasswade Centre.

Built by the Clerks of Penicuik c.1781, Barony House was known as Lasswade Cottage when Sir Walter Scott and his new wife rented it (1798 - 1804). He was visited here by the writer James Hogg (the 'Ettrick Shepherd') and the Wordsworths. Born in Lasswade were Sir John Lauder of Fountainhall (1595 - 1692), a burgess of the City of Edinburgh, and ornithological illustrator Archibald Thorburn (1860 - 1935). Tea merchant Andrew Melrose (1789 - 1855) moved here from Edinburgh in 1823, authoress Margaret Oliphant (1828-97) was raised here, while landscape painter William McTaggart (1835 - 1910) settled here in 1889. Lasswade and Kevock were designated a Conservation Area in 1990. Nearby Polton was the residence of the writer Thomas De Quincey until his death in 1859.

Located to the south, between the Lasswade Viaduct and the Broomieknowe Tunnel, which are both extant, Lasswade Station once served the village on the Esk Valley Railway until the closure of this line in 1964. The village is now served by Lothian Buses, with direct services into the centre of Edinburgh.

Nazareth House was opened on Hillhead in 1933 by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth as a children's home, which became subject to numerous allegations of child abuse, and now operates as a care home for the elderly.

Melville Castle and Broomieknowe Golf Club lie to the northeast.

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