Tea with Granny

Refreshments at Couston Mains

F21000 - first published 5th January 2021

A country walk on a sunny Sunday afternoon was the perfect way to clear the lungs after a hard week of work in the factories and foundries of Bathgate. Many sweethearts would stroll together along leafy lanes east of the town to enjoy the woods of Bridgecastle, or find a shady bower beside the River Avon. For refreshment on their journey, many would pause at Granny Marshall's cottage for a chat, a cup of tea and one of her legendary scones.

Edward and Janet Marshall had raised their family at Couston Mains – a humble two room cottage with an acre of land attached. The house lay just over a mile from Bathgate along the Linlithgow Road. It fronted directly onto the highway, making it easy to strike up conversation with anyone who passed. On Sundays it became customary to enjoy refreshments at the cottage served by Granny Marshall; described as “a cheerful lady” who “always had a story to tell”. This tradition even inspired a popular picture postcard. Granny died in about 1917, in her 92nd year, but remained part of Bathgate folklore for many years afterwards.

In 1928, the special guest of Bathgate infirmary fundraising week was "Malkum Kambul and his car Blueband" (sadly the land speed record holder Malcolm Campbell and Bluebird were not available). It was reported that this “celebrity” was presented with a casket containing all that Bathgate folk found most precious; “the key to the new town hall, a tube containing a sample of the water that is to be used in our public baths, together with a portion of one of the last scones baked by Granny Marshall”