The Musselburgh Area covers the East Lothian Council wards of Musselburgh West and Musselburgh East and Carberry - incorporating Fisherrow, Musselburgh, Inveresk, Carberry, Wallyford and Whitecraig.
Musselburgh is situated at the mouth of the River Esk, running alongside the eastern bank in a north east direction. Fisherrow occupies the west bank of the Esk and originated as an irregular line of fishermen's houses along the shore near the harbour. The communities are connected by 7 bridges.
The name, Musselburgh, derives from the extensive mussel beds which lie along its shore on the Firth of Forth. The town dates back to Roman times when they built a fortress on Inveresk Hill. The Coat of Arms for Musselburgh is made up of 3 mussels and 3 anchors. As already mentioned the mussels refer to the origins of the burgh. The anchors refer to the fishing tradition of the community.
The town motto 'Honesty' 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 citizens of the burgh. His successor offered to reward the people for their loyalty but they declined saying they were only doing their duty. The new regent was very impressed and said they were a set of honest men, hence "Honest Toun".
The Riding of the Marches was first mentioned in the record books in 1682 and customarily takes place every 21 years. It saw its origins in days when there was great rivalry between landlords who were always trying to encroach on the property of each other. The Lairds conscripted men to protect their boundaries. Later the custom became a symbolic ceremony, enacted by elected or appointed men of the burgh, whereby a town champion dressed in full armour and a turf cutter checked the 12 points along the boundary of the burgh. Honest Toun Festival was first held in 1936, when it was decided that the time was right to hold another festival each year as long as it did not impose on the Riding of the Marches.
The town boasts a famous song "Musselburgh was a burgh when Edinburgh was nane, and Musselburgh will be a burgh when Edinburgh's gane." Musselburgh is also home to many examples of great architecture. Newhailes House, which was recently bought by the National Trust for Scotland was built in the late 18th century by Sir David Dalrymple. The Tolbooth in the High Street is one of the finest and oldest buildings of its kind in Scotland and dates from around 1590. The Mercat Cross, which dates from the 1700s stands on the site of the original medieval cross.
Musselburgh Racecourse (the oldest in Scotland) has been a venue for racing since 1816. It was originally known as Edinburgh Races with meeting held on Leith sands, which then moved on to the attractive meadows setting at Musselburgh where it has been ever since. The Racecourse is also home to the historic 9-hole Musselburgh Links which was host to the first Open Golf Championship and hosted it a further 6 times between 1874 and 1889. The record books date the course to 1672, making it the oldest surviving golf club in the world. Five Musselburgh players won the Open no less than eleven times. Musselburgh Silver Arrow is the oldest sporting trophy in the world and has been competed for annually since 1677 by the Royal Company of Archers.
Musselburgh is also home to the newly renovated Brunton Theatre which hosts major dramatic productions throughout the year. The Brunton Hall and Theatre were officially opened in June 1971 by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Money for the buildings was bequeathed by John D Brunton, son of the Founder of Brunton Wireworks to provide the people of Musselburgh with halls and other municipal buildings to be called The Brunton Hall. The Musselburgh Town Council of the time decided to add money of their own to include Town Council Offices and a New Burgh Court.
Loretto School was founded at nearby Stoneybank by Dr Langhame before he leased Loretto House in 1827 and moved the school to its present site. Musselburgh was also the birthplace and residence of Dr Macbeth Moir, the Delta of Blackwood, Born 1798, died 1851. He was a physician by profession and a poet at the centre of the literary circle of the day.
You can visit the following attractions in Musselburgh:-