New murals depicting the industrial history and transport heritage of Prestonpans are proving a hit with the local community following their recent installation at the town’s railway station.
The East Lothian Community Rail Partnership (CRP), with funding from CrossCountry, worked with local artists and the art department at Preston Lodge High School to create four murals designed to bring the area’s past back to life.
Two of the murals are by Lesley Innes, who has created images of Mallard, which holds the record for the fastest steam locomotive in the world, and a 1950s Bedford Wiles coach, used by a well-loved local independent bus operator based in Port Seton. Fellow artist Thomas Ewing has highlighted The Tranent to Cockenzie Waggonway, which was opened in 1722 and was possibly the first railway in Scotland, used to move coal from the East Lothian coalfield from around Tranent to the salt pans at Cockenzie and the port at Port Seton. The final mural, created by Preston Lodge High School, shows the site of the Prestongrange Heritage and Mining Museum, where coal was first mined by the monks of Newbattle Abbey in the 12th century.
Also depicted in two of the murals is local feline celebrity Rupert of Bankton, the cat who frequented Prestonpans Station for many years, and was so loved by locals and passengers alike that a statue in the town was erected in his honour.
Murals and paintings have been a feature of the station for many years, but the previous artwork had deteriorated beyond repair. To befit Prestonpans’ standing as Scotland’s ‘mural town,’ the partnership has created a long-term solution by printing the new murals on recyclable polypropylene, which is highly durable and weather resistant.