Musselburgh (/ˈmʌsəlbərə/, Scottish Gaelic: Baile nam Feusgan)[1] is the largest settlement in East Lothian, Scotland, on the coast of the Firth of Forth, 5 miles (8 km) east of Edinburgh city centre. The population of Musselburgh is 21,900.[2]


Rennie Bridge over the River Esk
Musselburgh is located in East Lothian
Musselburgh is located in Scotland
Location within Scotland
• Edinburgh5 mi (8 km)
• London329 mi (529 km)
Civil parish
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtEH21
Dialling code0131
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament


The name Musselburgh is Old English in origin, with "mussel" referring to the shellfish,[3] and "burgh" derived from the Old English for "town".[4]

Musselburgh was first settled by the Romans in the years following their invasion of Scotland in AD 80. They built a fort a little inland from the mouth of the River Esk, at Inveresk.

They bridged the Esk downstream from the fort, and thus established the line of the main eastern approach to Scotland's capital for most of the next 2,000 years. The bridge built by the Romans outlasted them by many centuries. It was rebuilt on the original Roman foundations some time before 1300, and in 1597 it was rebuilt again, this time with a third arch added on the east side of the river. The Old Bridge is also known as the Roman Bridge and remains in use today by pedestrians. To its north is the New Bridge, designed by John Rennie the Elder and built in 1806. This in turn was considerably widened in 1925.

The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh was fought south of Musselburgh.

Around approximately 1315, Musselburgh was made a burgh of barony, earlier than Edinburgh, which became a burgh in 1329; and there is a popular local song (in Scots) commemorating this:

Musselburgh was a burgh
When Edinburgh was nane,
And Musselburgh will be a burgh
When Edinburgh's gane.[5]
Musselburgh Tolbooth
Tolbooth in the High Street
Welcome to the Honest Toun

Musselburgh is known as "The Honest Toun", and celebrates this by the annual election of the Honest Lad and Lass. The town motto "Honestas" dates back to 1332, when the Regent of Scotland, Randolph, Earl of Moray, died in the burgh after a long illness during which he was devotedly cared for by the townsfolk. His successor offered to reward the people for their loyalty but they declined, saying they were only doing their duty. The new regent, the Earl of Mar, was impressed and said they were a set of honest men, hence "Honest Toun".

The town and its population grew considerably throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, with major local authority and private housing developments on both the eastern and western outskirts. Before 1975, Musselburgh was part of Midlothian, not East Lothian. It became part of the East Lothian District following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and subsequently East Lothian unitary council area in 1996.


Until the mid-20th century Musselburgh was governed by a provost. Past provosts include:

  • David Lowe of Stoneyhill (1873-1943) served 1928 to 1938[6]


Schools include Loretto School, a private boarding school, and Musselburgh Grammar School, the local large comprehensive that is one of the oldest grammar schools in the country, dating from 1608. Primary schools include: Campie Primary School, Musselburgh Burgh Primary School, Stoneyhill Primary School, Pinkie St Peter's Primary School, Loretto RC Primary School and Loretto Nippers (private). Early learning locations (ages 3–5) include The Burgh, Stoneyhill, Loretto RC, and St. Ninian's. There are also several private nurseries for preschool-aged children.

Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University relocated all its schools from Edinburgh to Musselburgh as of 2007. Her Majesty The Queen officially opened the QMU campus in July 2008.



Musselburgh is served by two railway stations. Musselburgh railway station is in the west of the town adjacent to Queen Margaret University and has regular Abellio ScotRail services from Edinburgh Waverley to North Berwick. It is a relatively new station, having opened in 1988. The other station serving the town is Wallyford railway station to the east of the town in the village of Wallyford, which opened in 1994. The town's original station was close to the town centre at the end of a short branch from Newhailes Junction. Passenger services from there ceased in 1964, and the line closed to all traffic in the early-1970s. The former railway line is now a road bypassing the Fisherrow area of the town.


The town is served by Lothian Buses, East Coast Buses and Prentice,

  • Bus Services

26 Clerwood - Edinburgh Zoo - Haymarket - Princes Street - Portobello - Eastfield - Musselburgh - Prestonpans - Tranent or Seton Sands

X26 Port Seton - Prestonpans - Musselburgh - - Joppa (Morton Street) - Portobello (Town Hall) - King's Road - Meadowbank House - Abbeyhill - Princes Street - Haymarket

30 Clovenstone - Wester Hailes - Longstone - Balgreen - Princes Street - Prestonfield - Niddrie - Fort Kinnaird - Queen Margaret Uni - Musselburgh

40 Eastfield - Musselburgh - Whitecraig - Dalkeith - Bonnyrigg - Loanhead - Roslin - Penicuik Town Centre

44 Balerno - Currie - Slateford - Haymarket - Princes Street - Meadowbank - Willowbrae - Brunstane - Eastfield - Musselburgh - Wallyford

45 Riccarton - Currie - Colinton - Firhill - Craiglockheart - Bruntsfield - Tollcross - North Bridge - Meadowbank - Portobello - Eastfield - QMU

108 Fort Kinnaird - Newcraighall - Musselburgh - Levenhall - Wallyford Station - Tranent - Macmerry - Gladsmuir - Haddington

111 Royal Infirmary - Millerhill - QMU - Musselburgh - Whitecraig - Wallyford - Prestonpans - Seton Sands - Longniddry - Aberlady - Gullane - Drem - Haddington

106 Musselburgh - Wallyford - Tranent - Macmerry - Haddington - East Linton - Dunbar

  • Musselburgh - Dunbar journeys only run early/late

113 West Granton - Crewe Toll - - Princes Street - Meadowbank - Brunstane - Eastfield - Musselburgh - Wallyford P&R - Tranent - Ormiston - Pencaitland

124 Semple Street - Princes Street - Meadowbank - Portobello - Eastfield - Musselburgh - Wallyford P&R - Prestonpans - Longniddry - Aberlady - Gullane - Dirleton - North Berwick Tesco

X24 Semple Street - Princes Street - Meadowbank House - Portobello Town Hall - Joppa (Morton Street) - Musselburgh - Wallyford P&R - Prestonpans - Longniddry - Aberlady - Gullane - Dirleton - North Berwick Tesco

125 Musselburgh - Wallyford P&R - Prestonpans - Longniddry - Aberlady - Gullane - Dirleton - North Berwick High School

N26 Clerwood - Haymarket - Princes Street - Portobello - Eastfield - Musselburgh - Prestonpans - Seton Sands

N30 Westside Plaza - Baberton - Balgreen - Princes Street - Prestonfield - Niddrie - Fort Kinnaird - Queen Margaret Uni - Musselburgh

N44 Balerno - Currie - Slateford - Haymarket - Princes Street - Meadowbank - Willowbrae - Brunstane - Eastfield - Musselburgh - Wallyford - Tranent

N106 Frederick Street - Leith Street - Meadowbank - Willowbrae - Brunstane - Musselburgh - Tranent - Macmerry - Haddington - East Linton - Dunbar (Spotts Road)

N124 Frederick Street - Leith Street - Meadowbank - Portobello - Eastfield - Musselburgh - Prestonpans - Longniddry - Aberlady - Gullane - Dirleton - North Berwick (Lochbridge Road)


The A1 by-passes the town and meets the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass at the edge of the town before continuing to Edinburgh city centre. The A199 goes through the High Street to Edinburgh in the west and to Dunbar to the east. This was originally the A1 until the town's bypass was built in the mid-1980s.


The Musselburgh Silver Arrow is reputed to be the oldest sporting trophy in United Kingdom,[7] and is competed for annually by the Royal Company of Archers. It dates back to at least 1603.[8]

Musselburgh is home to both Musselburgh Racecourse and Musselburgh Links golf course. The links, a former venue of golf's Open Championship, have recently been acknowledged as the oldest continuously played golf course in the world.[9] Musselburgh Athletic F.C. are the town's junior football team playing in the Scottish Junior Football at Olivebank Park to the west of the town. Musselburgh also boast some of the best grassroots teams for young players e.g. Musselburgh Windsor and Musselburgh Youngstars. Musselburgh RFC play in the BT National League 1 at Stoneyhill.

The Musselburgh Roads Cycling Club was formed in January 1936 by a breakaway group of 16 from the Musselburgh Clarion. After forming an alliance with other clubs in during the war, The MRCC reformed again in its own right in January 1945. The club has a long and successful history of competitive cycling. Jock Allison who in 1945 won the British Best All Rounder title, to date still the only Scottish club rider to do so. Janet Sutherland who dominated Scottish woman’s cycling in 1951-4. Sandy Gilchrist who in 1977 won 5 individual and 4 team Scottish Championships. Many other riders from the club have won National Championships or been selected to compete at World Championship level or the Commonwealth Games. Today, Club Members take part in track racing, road racing, time trials, cyclo cross and mountain biking. Their base is at the Tolbooth in the High Street.

There is also a locally run darts league, the Musselburgh and District Darts League, comprising an A and B league, each containing eight teams. Many players from this league represent the Lothian team at county level.

In Musselburgh there is also an amateur swimming club called Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club. The club is home to the Musselburgh Marlins and trains at Musselburgh Sports Centre. The members of the club vary in ages from 6 all the way up to adults. The club is very inclusive in the community and was first established in 1886 and in its current format in 1994 where they trained at Loretto Swimming Pool which is now closed.

The East Lothian Seagulls of the Scottish Floorball League are based in Musselburgh and train and play matches at the sports centre at Queen Margaret University.

Notable people

See Category:People from Musselburgh

Writers and artists
  • Kirsten Imrie, professional model and former Page Three girl
  • Rebecca Hunter, event manager of the year
  • Robert Black, serial killer
  • Rhona Cameron, comedian
  • James Sandilands FRSE (1892-1971) chemist
  • According to his autobiography, Sir Harry Lauder's parents lived at Musselburgh after he was born, and Harry's brothers Matthew, John, and Alexander, and a sister, Isabella, were all born there.
  • Tomas Diaz (Spanish singer from Huelva)

Giuseppe Manca - World renowned painter and decorator.


Fisherrow, Inveresk, Levenhall Links, Pinkie, Stoneyhill/Clayknowes/Denholm, Stoneybank, Queen Margaret University Student Village, Monktonhall, Wimpey Estate

Twin towns

Musselburgh is twinned with Champigny-sur-Marne (France) and Rosignano Marittimo (Italy).

Musselburgh harbour

A panoramic view of Fisherrow harbour and its pleasure craft

Harbour Masters Office

Harbour Master's Office at Fisherrow

Pinkie House, Musselburgh

Pinkie House, now one of the buildings of Loretto School


Scottish Episcopal church on the High Street


Eskmills, a former factory complex, is transformed into a business park

Musselburgh station

Musselburgh railway station, showing a local eastbound (North Berwick) train, and a westbound (Edinburgh) intercity (125) train

Brunton hall

Brunton Hall provides access to East Lothian Council's services, as well as a theatre and restaurant

Brunton hall2

Brunton Hall, from the west of the town

See also


  1. ^ "Musseburgh". National Place-Names Gazetteer. Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Musselburgh". East Lothian Council. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  3. ^ Musselburgh was famous for the mussel beds which grew in the Firth of Forth; after many years of claims that the mussels were unsafe for consumption, a movement has been started to reestablish the mussel beds as a commercial venture.
  4. ^ Archived May 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Ayton, John and Crofton, Ian (2005). Brewer's Britain & Ireland. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. p. 787.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ Grave of David Lowe, Inveresk churchyard
  7. ^ Hugo Arnot, The History of Edinburgh, from the earliest accounts, to the year 1780, Edinburgh, 1816
  8. ^ [1] Archived October 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine

External links

1874 Open Championship

The 1874 Open Championship was the 14th Open Championship, held 10 April at Musselburgh Links, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. Mungo Park won the Championship, by two strokes from runner-up Tom Morris, Jr. This was the first Open Championship played at Musselburgh.

Play started at about 12 noon in dull and showery weather but later in the day the weather improved. The course, especially the greens, "were rather heavy".Many of the spectators followed Tom Morris, Jr. and Willie Park, Sr. who were paired together. Morris started badly and came to grief in several bunkers. Park scored 40 in the first round to Morris's 42. However, as the day progressed, Morris improved while Park fell away. The best player in the first two rounds was Mungo Park with scores of 37 and 38. At this stage he led by 4 from G. McCachnie, 5 from George Paxton with Tom Morris, Jr. and Willie Park a full 8 shots behind.

Mungo Park had a third round 43 with G. McCachnie, George Paxton, Jamie Anderson and Tom Morris, Jr. each four behind at that stage. Bob Martin was a further shot behind after a third round 38. Mungo Park scored 41 in his final round and although Morris again played a useful round he still finished two behind. McCachnie fell away with a closing 47. "During the last round the utmost excitement prevailed, and as each couple came in a knot of spectators gathered round them to ascertain what luck had attended them."

1877 Open Championship

The 1877 Open Championship was the 17th Open Championship, held 6 April at Musselburgh Links, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. Jamie Anderson won the Championship, by two strokes from runner-up Bob Pringle.

Davie Strath and Bob Ferguson played together but Strath had a disappointing 45 in the first round which left him well behind the leaders. Ferguson also started badly but recovered to score 40. William Brown led on 39 with Ferguson and Jamie Anderson on 40. After two rounds, three players were level on 80: Brown, Ferguson and William Cosgrove with Anderson and Bob Pringle only two behind. Strath was five behind on 85.

Anderson scored 37 in the third round while Ferguson could only manage 40 and Davie Strath scored 38. Anderson now led on 119 with Ferguson on 120, Ferguson on 122 and Strath on 123. In the final round Strath took 9 at the second to drop out of contention. Ferguson also had a disappointing last round and Anderson's 41 was enough to give him the Championship.

1880 Open Championship

The 1880 Open Championship was the 20th Open Championship, held 9 April at Musselburgh Links, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. Bob Ferguson won the Championship, by five strokes from runner-up Peter Paxton.

A number of players were absent because of the short notice given for the competition. Jamie Anderson, winner of the previous three Open Championships was amongst those that were missing. Good weather brought out a large number of spectators. The Championship was played over four rounds of the nine-hole Musselburgh course.

Andrew Kirkaldy scored a hole-in-one at the 8th hole in his second round and almost repeated the feat in his third round.

After three rounds Bob Ferguson was tied for the lead with Peter Paxton with Ned Cosgrove only a shot behind. In the final round Ferguson scored 39 to Paxton's and Cosgrove's 44s to win by five strokes.

1886 Open Championship

The 1886 Open Championship was the 26th Open Championship, held 5 November at the Musselburgh Links, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. David Brown won by two strokes from Willie Campbell.

The contest consisted of four rounds of the nine-hole course. There were 42 entries, including seven amateurs. Horace Hutchinson and Johnny Laidlay were the two leading amateurs playing. Local Musselburgh professionals dominated the field, providing 19 of the professional entries.

Brown and John Lambert led after the first round, both scoring 38. Lambert and Willie Campbell led after two rounds on 78, with Brown on 79 with Willie Fernie and Ben Campbell. Brown had an excellent 37 in the third round and took a one-stroke lead over Willie Campbell. They both fared badly at the 3rd hole, where Brown took 7 and Campbell took 8. Campbell was ahead in the final round until he took seven at the 5th, having been bunkered twice on the hole. Eventually Brown finished two ahead of Campbell, finishing with two threes to Campbell's two fours. Willie Park, Jr. finished strongly, but his chances were ruined by taking 34 on the first six holes of his first round.

1892 Open Championship

The 1892 Open Championship was the 32nd Open Championship, held 22–23 September at Muirfield in Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland. Harold Hilton, an amateur, won the Championship by three strokes from another amateur John Ball and two professionals: Sandy Herd and Hugh Kirkaldy. This was the second win by an amateur following Ball's victory in 1890.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers had previously hosted the Open six times on the public nine-hole Musselburgh Links before building the private 18-hole course at Muirfield. The Muirfield course had only been completed nine months before the Championship. The 1892 Open was the first to be contested over 72 holes and the first to take place on two days. 36 holes were played each day. As in previous years the order of play was determined by a draw but it was decided that a different draw would be used on the two days.

After the announcement that the Open would move from Musselburgh to Muirfield, a number of local golfers protested about the change of venue. When the Honourable Company refused to change the venue back to Musselburgh, these members determined to run their own "open" competition on the same days as the official event. By offering much higher prize money, they hoped to induce the leading professionals to play in their "open". This, however, resulted in a large increase in the prize money for the official event from £30 in 1891 to over £100. Realising that the leading players would play in the official Open, the Musselburgh Open Tournament was moved to an earlier date (14 and 15 September) so that the professionals could compete in both events.

Bob Ferguson (golfer)

Robert Ferguson (c. 1846 – 19 May 1915), was a Scottish golfer who played in the late 19th century. He won a hat-trick of titles at The Open Championship in 1880, 1881 and 1882.In addition to the three Open Championship wins, he posted top-10 finishes seven times.

East Lothian

East Lothian (; Scottish Gaelic: Lodainn an Ear) is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area. The county was also known as Haddingtonshire.

East Lothian lies south of the Firth of Forth in the eastern central Lowlands of Scotland, east of the City of Edinburgh (historically within Midlothian) and also bordering Midlothian and Berwickshire within the modern Scottish Borders area. Its administrative centre and county town is Haddington and the largest town is Musselburgh which was historically in Midlothian. In 1975, the historic county was incorporated for local government purposes into the Lothian region as East Lothian District, with some slight alterations of its boundaries. The Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 later created East Lothian as one of 32 modern council areas.

Haddingtonshire has ancient origins and is named in a charter of 1139 as Hadintunschira and in another of 1141 as Hadintunshire. Three of the county's towns were designated as royal burghs: Haddington, Dunbar, and North Berwick.

As with the rest of Lothian, it formed part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Bernicia and later the Kingdom of Northumbria. Popular legend suggests that it was at a battle between the Picts and Angles in the East Lothian village of Athelstaneford in 823 that the flag of Scotland was conceived. From the 10th century, Lothian transferred from the Kingdom of England to the authority of the monarchs of Scotland. It was a cross-point in battles between England and Scotland and later the site of a significant Jacobite victory against Government forces in the Battle of Prestonpans. In the 19th century, the county is mentioned in the Gazetteer for Scotland as chiefly agricultural, with farming, fishing and coal-mining forming significant parts of the local economy.

Edinburgh East and Musselburgh (Scottish Parliament constituency)

Edinburgh East and Musselburgh was a constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood). It elected one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the plurality (first past the post) method of election. Also, however, it is one of nine constituencies in the Lothians electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to nine constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.

For the Scottish Parliament election, 2011, Edinburgh East and Musselburgh is abolished. The successor constituencies are Edinburgh Eastern, and Midlothian North and Musselburgh.

Fergus Ewing

Fergus Stewart Ewing (born 23 September 1957) is a Scottish politician, serving as the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and the Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Inverness and Nairn.

Forth Camanachd

Forth Camanachd was a women's shinty club based in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. The club was established in 2006 and won both the Valerie Fraser Cup (the female equivalent of the Camanachd Cup) and the Caledonian Canal Challenge Cup in its time in existence.

The club has now merged with Aberdour Shinty Club as of the 2011 season.


Inveresk (Gaelic: Inbhir Easg) is a village in East Lothian, Scotland situated immediately to the south of Musselburgh. It has been designated a conservation area since 1969. It is situated on slightly elevated ground on the north bank of a loop of the River Esk. This ridge of ground, 20 to 25 metres above sea level, was used by the Romans as the location for a fort in the 2nd century AD.The element "Inver", from the Gaelic inbhir, refers to the confluence of the river Esk with the Firth of Forth.The village was formerly in the Midlothian parish of the same name and developed distinctly from the separate burgh of Musselburgh.

Jim Jefferies (footballer)

James Jefferies (born 22 November 1950 in Musselburgh) is a Scottish football manager and former player. Jefferies played for Heart of Midlothian for almost his whole playing career and enjoyed a successful first managerial spell with the club, winning the 1998 Scottish Cup. Jefferies has also managed Gala Fairydean, Berwick Rangers, Falkirk, Bradford City, Kilmarnock and Dunfermline Athletic.

John McGlynn (Scottish footballer)

John McGlynn (born 19 December 1961) is a Scottish football player and manager.

Martin C. Strong

Martin Charles Strong (born 1960 in Musselburgh) is a Scottish music historian known for compiling discographies of popular music including The Great Rock Discography. Strong has been described in broadsheet newspaper profiles as a "compiler of acclaimed mammoth discographies" and "a man who knows more about rock music than is healthy for one individual".

Midlothian North and Musselburgh (Scottish Parliament constituency)

Midlothian North and Musselburgh is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood). It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the plurality (first past the post) method of election. Also, however, it is one of nine constituencies in the Lothian electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to nine constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.

Before the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, Midlothian was abolished, with the creation of two new constituencies called Midlothian North and Musselburgh and Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale.

Musselburgh Athletic F.C.

Musselburgh Athletic Football Club are a Scottish football club based in the town of Musselburgh, East Lothian. Formed in 1934, they have played under different names including Musselburgh Bruntonians, Musselburgh Juniors and Musselburgh Fern since 1898. Nicknamed "the Burgh", they play their home games at Olivebank Stadium, in the Fisherrow area of the town. The club's strips are the blue and white colours of Musselburgh with their town's badge displayed on their chests.

The team currently plays in the East of Scotland Football League (Conference A), having moved from the SJFA East Region Premier League in 2018.In seasons 2010–11 and 2014–15 they reached the finals of the Scottish Junior Cup, both times narrowly losing 2–1 to Ayrshire team Auchinleck Talbot.

Musselburgh Racecourse

Musselburgh Racecourse is a horse racing venue located in the Millhill area of Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland, UK, close to the River Esk. It is the second biggest racecourse in Scotland (the first being Ayr) and is the fourteenth biggest in the UK. In 2016, Musselburgh will stage 28 fixtures.The course offers both flat racing and National Hunt meetings (though it only introduced jumping in 1987) and is 2 km long. In the middle of the course is a nine-hole golf course, dating from at least 1672. The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club was founded there in 1774.

Musselburgh and District Electric Light and Traction Company

Musselburgh and District Electric Light and Traction Company operated a passenger tramway service in Musselburgh between 1904 and 1928.

Queen Margaret University

Queen Margaret University (formerly Queen Margaret University College and Queen Margaret College) is a public university located in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. It is named after Saint Margaret, wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland. Its predecessor, Queen Margaret University College, was awarded full university status becoming Queen Margaret University in January 2007.

East Lothian towns & villages

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