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|Scottish Gaelic: Peighinn na Cuthaig|
Penicuik shown within Midlothian
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Scottish Parliament||Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale|
Penicuik // is a town and former burgh in Midlothian, Scotland, lying on the west bank of the River North Esk. Its population at the 2011 census was 15,926 computed according to the 2010 definition of the locality. The town was developed as a planned village in 1770 by Sir James Clerk of Penicuik. It became a burgh in 1867. The town was well known for its paper mills, the last of which closed in 2004. More recently the town was home to the Edinburgh Crystal works. Penicuik has two secondary schools, Penicuik High School and Beeslack Community High School.
The town's name is pronounced 'Pennycook' and is derived from Pen Y Cog, meaning "Hill of the Cuckoo" in the Old Brythonic language (also known as Ancient British and the forerunner of modern Welsh). Penicuik is Scotland's 50th largest town and the biggest settlement in Midlothian.
Near Penicuik is Glencorse Parish Kirk, which formed part of the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped (1886). Some of the streets nearby are named after characters in the novel and its sequel, Catriona (1893). Penicuik is home to the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, garrisoned in Glencorse Barracks.
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A hamlet stood here from at least the 17th century. The ruined old parish church, in the centre of the graveyard, dates from the late 17th century.
The site of Penicuik was home to the paper mill established by Agnes Campbell in 1709. A monument in the churchyard reads "1737, Annabel Millar spouse to Thomas Rutherford Papermaker at Pennycuik".
Around 1770, the arrival of the Cowan family, and their expansion of the paper mill, led to the need for homes for their workers. The hamlet of Penicuik was expanded as a planned town (roughly based on Edinburgh's New Town) by Sir James Clerk of Penicuik, the builder of nearby Penicuik House, and by 1800 the population had risen to 1,700.
Penicuik was the site of a prison camp for French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars (housed in the old range at Valleyfield Mill). The former camp is now the site of a housing development in Valleyfield. A monument dated 1830 by the River Esk commemorates "the mortal remains of 309 prisoners of war who died 1811-14". It was erected by Alexander Cowan owner of the paper mill, whose house overlooked the burial site.
Penicuik hosted the inaugural Grand Match in curling, between the north and the south of Scotland, in 1847. This took place on the "high pond" on the estate of Penicuik House, not the "low pond" which is still used for curling on rare occasions. The town became a burgh in 1867. In the oldest part of Penicuik, surrounding the town centre and to the South of the former POW camp, crossing the river Esk is Pomathorn Bridge which was once a toll bridge and the main route between Edinburgh to the north and the Scottish Borders to the south. As such Penicuik has a number of ancient traveller's inns, including The Crown, and the Royal. Because of their location on such a busy caravan route, both these public houses advertise the patronage of many characters from Scottish 18th Century history, including alleged visits from Burke and Hare and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
There are four primary schools in Penicuik, Cuiken Primary, Cornbank St James Primary, Sacred Heart Primary and Strathesk Primary. There are also two high schools, Penicuik High School and Beeslack High School. A long rivalry has existed between these two high schools, with Beeslack being recently confirmed as the more successful of the two with regard to quality of education. Penicuik High School boasts newer sports facilities nearby in 'The Penicuik Center' however this school has always been known to attract schoolchildren from the more notorious families in the town. These schoolchildren contribute poorly to the schools achievements and many often play truant and cause unrest among elderly members of the community. Beeslack High School has ranked higher in 'The Times Good School Guide' every year since 1999 and proudly achieved the status of 'Scotland's Cleanest School' in 2004 after a visit from the health inspectorate. The school continues to offer a greater quality of eduction and extra curricular activities than its local rival.
Paper-making was started here by Mrs Agnes Campbell in 1709. The mill was subsequently purchased by Charles Cowan, originally a grocer in Leith, who established the Cowan Valleyfield Mills. In 1796, Cowan brought in his son, Alexander Cowan, to manage the mill. An adjacent corn mill was purchased in 1803, becoming known as Bank Mill after he converted it to produce the paper on which banknotes were printed. Paper was also produced at Eskmill which has become a site for private housing. The Dalmore paper mill on the North Esk river at Auchendinny closed in 2004.
Penicuik experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The town's somewhat elevated position means it is more susceptible to snowfall than nearby Edinburgh; over 30 days of the year on average reported lying snow between 1951 and 1980, compared to 14 at Edinburgh. Temperature extremes since 1960 range from 30.2 °C (86.4 °F) during July 1983 to −19.2 °C (−2.6 °F) in January 1982. The coldest temperature in recent years was −12.5 °C (9.5 °F) during January 2010.
|Climate data for Penicuik, 185m asl 1981-2010, extremes 1960-|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.4
|Average high °C (°F)||5.5
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−19.2
|Precipitation mm (inches)||100.60
|Source: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI|
Notable people connected with Penicuik include;
- Jim Aitken, Scotland rugby union captain
- Sir John Clerk, baronet, composer and leading Scottish politician during the period leading up to the 1707 Act of Union
- Alexander Cowan papermaker and philanthropist
- Charles Cowan papermaker and MP for Edinburgh
- James Cowan (Scottish politician)
- Sir John Cowan
- Samuel Rutherford Crockett
- Andy Buchanan Well read philosopher and Grand Mage of the Silver Circle
- James Finlayson
- Cargill Gilston Knott, FRS, mathematician and seismologist
- James Cossar Ewart, FRS, zoologist, whose home, Craigiebield House, is now a hotel
- Helen Bannerman, writer
- Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, Nobel prize-winning physicist, was born at a nearby farm
- Tommy Banner, musician (The Wurzels)
- Chris Kane, footballer
- Sam Nicholson, footballer
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Penicuik.|
- "Penicuik (Midlothian)". Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- "Dalmore Mill". Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- Robinson, Mairi, ed. (1999). "Some common elements of placenames". Chambers 21st Century Dictionary. Edinburgh, Scotland: Harrap. p. 1059. ISBN 978-0-550-14250-4.
- "Snowfall average". ScotClim.
- "1983 Maximum". KNMI.
- "1982 Minimum". KNMI.
- "2010 Minimum". UKMO.
- "Penicuik Climate". KNMI. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- "Jim Aitken - Scotland Rugby Player". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- James Finlayson profile
- http://penicuikcdt.org.uk/Cargill_Knott.html Cargill Gilston Knott profile]
- James Cossar Ewart profile
- Helen Bannerman profile
- Institute of Physics In Scotland: Charles Thomson Rees Wilson profile
- The Wurzels#Current members