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Edinburgh and Lothians

The Interesting Town of Rosewell

If you happen to be traveling between Loanhead and Penicuik you might try making a turn at the small mining village of Rosewell. Situated just 3 miles north east of Penicuik, the village was established in the last half of the 19th century as a place where the men mining Whitehill Colliery could stay with their families. Over the years it has grown into a truly charming little village with a wonderful small-town atmosphere.

It all started earlier in the 19th century when Archibald Hood, a very prominent and wealthy coal baron, decided it would be more profitable to build houses for the men he employed at the mine than to have them traveling to-and-fro or trying to set up some sort of haphazard temporary settlement in the area. Hence, he decided to build a number of terraced cottages which were set out in neat rows and each of which had their own garden which was a relatively new concept at the time. This was really the birth of Rosewell though at the time few could have guessed that these workers cottages would grow into a small village. He also built a few semi-detached villas for the mine overseers to live in and before long he had a small community right at his doorstep. Interested in the well-being of all under his care, he took it upon himself to build churches, a school and even a co-operative store. He even developed a system where by the profits made by the public house were put back into community projects for the benefit of all in Rosewell. Under his guidance, life in Rosewell must have been somewhat idyllic. However, this did not last. After quite some time, work at the mine slowed down and Archibald Hood grew old and died. Before his death, Hood saw to it that the people of Rosewell were well cared for when he passed the running of the village on to the Lothian Coal Company.

When you travel to Rosewell today, you will easily find the terraced cottages and semi-detached villas that started it all. They are built using fire-clay bricks from Hood’s Whitehill Brickworks which gives them a most distinctive look. Visitors often enjoy looking at the Parish Church which was built in 1871 and the much newer St Matthews Roman Catholic Church which was built in 1925. Not far from the village you will find Whitehill House which was built in 1844 and the Hawthornden Castle which dates back to the 15th century.