Friday, 29 March 2013

"What You Don't Have You Don't Miss."

We have received an exciting new edition to our catalogue this week: The Happy Valley Collection, a boxful of photographs, interviews, anecdotes, video footage and an ORCA report pertaining to Bankburn, a.k.a Happy Valley which was, for over 50 years, the home of Edwin Harrold.

Mr Harrold planted gardens and woodland around his modest cottage which he powered using a hydroelectric generator connected to a water wheel in the burn.

Photographs by Jane Glue

Photograph by Betty Pottinger

Photographs by Julie Rickards.

Photograph of wheelhouse from Stephen Firth.

“What you don’t have you don’t miss” said Edwin. His fiddle was for others to play. He didn’t play an instrument. He was good at drawing. He didn’t want donations from visitors but did accept plants and shrubs.
(Excerpt from interview with neighbour Ruby Spence.)

When I was small, probably about 5-10, I used to visit Edwin either when I lived in Orkney (1965-67) or during extended summer holidays after that. He always had sweets in his large dresser in the main room of HV and my sister and I would get some chocolate or similar before we left. Edwin's bedroom was just off the main room and he had a sort of curtain over the door. He would go through there and then come back through telling us that his wife Matilda was sleeping. At my age, I really believed him although, as was his usual, he was pulling my leg.

(Excerpt from email from Stephen Firth.)

The reference number for the Happy Valley collection is D128


  1. Always happy to hear about Edwin. I am his nephew from Canada. I visited Happy Valley several times throughout the years and always enjoyed chatting with Edwin. He was quite the character and is dearly missed.
    Thomas Harrold

  2. Thanks for your kind comment Thomas. Our collection belongs to the Friends of Happy Valley who are working to maintain the garden.
    The Friends commissioned a researcher to collect from the community any photographs and memories they had. If you would like to add anything, please contact the archive at


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