It is unusual for success on the golf course by members of the same family to propel a former Roman encampment to International recognition and fame, but such is the story of Inveresk. It was the Park family, who set the scene when Willie Park won the first ‘Open’ golf championship at Prestwick in 1860, and won it again in 1863, 1866 and 1875. The family was well known in Musselburgh for their golfing prowess and also for their skill in making golf clubs. Willie’s brother, Mungo, also living in Musselburgh, added to the family list of winners of the Championship, in 1874, but this story concerns Willie Park’s son, known as Willie Jr. who would win the Open Championship twice, in 1887 and 1889.
In 1886, Willie Jr. married Mary Syme but sadly she died in November 1887 having given birth to their daughter, Rebecca. By this time the family business had expanded commercially with shops in Edinburgh, Manchester, Musselburgh, London and even New York. In 1895, Willie Jr married Margaret Inglis and purchased the house in Inveresk known as ‘Springfield’ Carberry Road.
The railway line from Edinburgh to the coastal towns of East Lothian and on to London, was built right accross the garden of ‘Springfield’. In compensation for the loss of this land, the deeds of the house included the right to stop the train to and from Edinburgh by giving 24 hours notice. Willie Park Jr. used the train regularly to get to his shop in Edinburgh and facility in North Berwick. How many of us mere mortals can step out of our house and straight on to a train waiting in our garden to take us to work?
A long-term resident of Inveresk recalls being able to avail himself of this right when as a junior lawyer he travelled to his daily place of employment in Edinburgh. He recalls that there was a wooden ‘platform’ beside the railway lines in those days and that the train would stop to pick up or deposit, a traveller who was waiting. Today the remnants of the ‘platforms’ can be seen in the shubs and trees beside the tracks.
This story was kindly provided by Bobby Burt and the information was obtained and is used with permission from Mungo Park. Mungo Park has published a more complete article in ‘Through the Green’, the Journal of the British Golf Collectors Society in December 2010.