Lasswade District Civic Society

The History of Lasswade

The settlement of Lasswade has a long and varied history.

Lasswade is one of the most ancient parishes in Scotland. There is evidence of a church being built in the area as early as 850AD.During the 13th century the Bishop of St Andrews bestowed land and a church to Lasswade and the Church of St Edwin at Lasswade was consecrated in 1240.

The intervening centuries saw many changes to the nature and prosperity of Lasswade. Abundant and varied natural resources enabled Lasswade to flourish and in the 1690s it was reported to have "90 tradesmen including mealmakers, millers, weavers, tailors, wrights, smiths, brewers and merchants". In the 18th and early 19th centuries Lasswade was considered an idyllic rural location for country residences of rich Edinburgh residents wanting to escape "Auld Reekie", including Sir Walter Scott. Later, in the mid-19th and 20th centuries, Lasswade was a hive of industry, including flour milling, carpet manufacture and paper making, all which benefitted from the steep sided valley and fast flowing waters of the North Esk. Now Lasswade is a pleasant rural settlement on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Readers with interests in the wider history of Lasswade are encouraged to visit the Bonnyrigg and Lasswade local history society web-site and to consult the publications listed at the bottom of this page.

The initial objectives of the Lasswade District Civic Society history project are:

  1. To document the social history of Lasswade in the early- to mid-20th century. At this time Lasswade was a thriving and essentially self-contained settlement which included a primary and secondary school, a blacksmiths, a railway station, curling pond, tennis courts, a dairy farm, a hotel, a pub, two churches and over 20 shops including an upmarket outfitters, coffin maker and two sweet shops.

    We have been very fortunate to hear "oral histories" of Lasswade from those who lived or worked in Lasswade during this time and are preparing a sketch map of the centre of Lasswade in the mid-20th century which will be available on this site soon., as will several fascinating anecdotes and photographs about life in Lasswade during the recent past.

  2. To bring together documents and photographs describing the history of Mavis Bank House and grounds

    We are by no means experts on these topics and welcome comments, corrections, photographs or other information for this site that will enhance our understanding of the fascinating history of this area.

Books describing Lasswade’s history

  • "Bright and Early – A Bookseller's Memories of Edinburgh and Lasswade" by J.B. Cairns, 1953. Cairns Brothers.
  • "Old Lasswade & Bonnyrigg" by Oliver Van Helden, 1997. Stenlake Publishing, Ochiltree, Ayrshire.
  • "Memory Spill" by Sandy Wilson, 2017. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Additional History Information