A social history of 19th-century farm workers and their families, at Jack's Houses, Kirkliston, Midlothian

Authors: Stuart Mitchell, Fay Oliver and Tim Neighbour

Contributors: Sue Anderson, Mike Cressey, George Haggarty and Robin Murdoch

Summary: The remains of two 19th-century row cottages and associated structures and deposits were discovered at Jack's Houses, near Kirkliston (NGR: NT 1235 7540). Nearby agricultural remains included a field system with boundary walls, drains and a draw well. A large rubbish dump containing pottery and ceramics has been interpreted as urban waste imported to the site to be added to the land in order to break up the clay soil for cultivation. A historical study undertaken in combination with the archaeological work afforded a view into the lives of the transient agricultural labourers and their families who occupied the houses over a century. The combined disciplines have provided us with a rare insight into a part of rural social history from the early mid-19th to the early 20th centuries.

Keywords: Cottages, Field System, Ceramics, Pottery, Boundary Walls Drains, Farm Workers, Rubbish Dump, Ceramics, Animal Bone

Periods: Modern, 19th century

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Published: 01-01-2009