Ancrum in 1950 and 1996
This is a transcript of a letter, dated 4 June 1996, from an Ancrum resident, Alex Seton, at the time of writing on a visit to Wales, to Mr and Mrs Hensens, proprietors of the village shop, Ancrum Pantry. It is reproduced here by kind permission of Mrs Adele R Nimmo. DC, 2020
4. 6. 96.
Dear Mr & Mrs Hensens,
I have been meaning to write to you for very many months, but never had the time at home. Bur now on holiday with pretty poor weather, there is no excuse. I wanted to thank you very much for saving the village of Ancrum from being wiped off the map!!
We came here on Oct. 1st 1950, when it was a thriving, self-contained village, and it has been going steadily downhill ever since, but you with your Pantry have saved it from disappearing altogether.
When we came there was the following:
(a) A resident policeman with only his bicycle to get round on, but he knew everyone, and was able to put his hand on any bad hats.
(b) The Ancrum Pub as it is today.
(c) Two butchers.
(d) Two grocers, one having the Post Office.
(e) A blacksmith.
(f) A baker.
(g) A tailor.
(h) An Ironmongers shop.
(i) A garage.
(j) A petrol pump in the high street!!
(k) A horse & cart collecting the bins on Thursday.
(l) A joiner.
And probably someone else that I have forgotten.
The Minister of course with his car. I should think that there were three cars, and we brought 2 more small ones.
Families who now have four cars, did not even possess a byke (sic) then!! So, you can see why I say that the village has just gone downhill.
Of course, there were lots of cars bringing in various foods, and of course there always has been a bus coming in at various times.
Now the place is full of cars, and of course many masses of small children riding two, three & four wheelers.
We still have the Pub, joiner, painter, plumber and yourselves & P.O. thank goodness! So, you as I say have saved the village with a very high-class grocer's shop, a very efficient(sic) post office. and a terrific collection of daily newspapers and periodicals.
The young people in Ancrum just don't know how lucky they are, and how grateful they should be.
A thousand thanks for the very effecient (sic) way that you run your busness (sic).
Yours very sincerely
P.S. Apologies for my many spelling mistakes, not my strong suit, but I suppose can be forgiven in the 89th year!!