It is one of the oldest and most historic of golf pubs in the world and it is threatened by a developer who wants to turn it into a private home. There is scant time to act. The following letter was sent by Mungo Park, descendant of the famous Park family of Musselburgh, to members of the British Golf Collectors Society. He is doing his best to rally support to save the historic pub. So, please, have a read and follow Mr. Park’s suggestion of emailing the suggested form letter to the email address that is given at the start of the suggested letter, below Mr. Park’s letter. Be sure to add your name and address to the letter.

If you Google Mrs. Forman’s Pub you will see other articles on the threatened historic pub.

You might also want to copy the letter, email, to

Please read and act swiftly!!


Dear Member,

Mrs Forman’s the Musselburgh pub is under threat of development. Neil Laird, David Hamilton, and I have been putting together a case to oppose its change of use to residential. We feel that it should remain as a pub, or another public facility that will tell the story of Musselburgh, and its place in the history of men’s and women’s golf.

Two planning Applications are being submitted. They are as follows: –

15/01035/P Simple conversion from pub / restaurant to residential use. Letters of opposition are needed by the 17th February.

16/00059/P Conversion of pub, plus construction of two new houses in the garden. (just submitted programme to follow)

Our opposition is based on three concerns: –

If the change of use is permitted it will open the way to the second application. From what we have seen this will involve the partial or total demolition of the garden wall. The historic view of Mrs Forman’s and its boundary wall, which has featured in so many pictures of the Links, will be lost.

It is likely that the safety risk posed by the golf course to a private dwelling will require East Lothian District Council either to modify the course, or to put up a large protective netting, with detrimental effects on two holes of the Old Course, ‘Mrs Forman’s’ and possibly the ‘Sea Hole’.

Mrs Forman’s itself will no longer be accessible to the public, and the opportunity for a public visitor centre, or pub / museum telling the story of Musselburgh’s golf history will be lost.

We are hoping to get as many letters of opposition to the planners before 17th February (this Wednesday), to prevent the Change of Use application from being permitted. If it is, then the principle or residential use is established, making it more difficult to argue against the construction of 3 houses on the site.

If anyone wishes to oppose this application, please do so before the 17th February. Mungo Park has been through the Local Plan and made a detailed case for opposing Conversion and Change of Use, based on specific policies. Neil Laird has prepared a more prosaic case based on his own historical research. What is needed is a large number of letters opposing this application No 15/01035/P (please refer to the number).

Below is a template letter for you to adapt or modify as you wish…or simply sign and send. We hope you do not mind this mass mailing; we feel that it is a matter about which most members will want to be informed.


Mungo Park, Neil Laird, David Hamilton

*** LETTER START ***  

Planning Department, John Muir House
Brewery Park
East Lothian
EH41 3HA.

Attn Ms Stephanie McQueen

Dear Ms McQueen,

‘Change of Use and Conversion of Mrs Forman’s, 2 Ravensheugh Road, Musselburgh from

I write to oppose the above application for the following reasons: –

I believe that the application contravenes the following Planning Policies, as set out in the Local Plan: –

C8 Damage to Musselburgh Old Golf Course and its setting
DP4 Requirement for a Design Statement on sensitive sites
ENV1 & DP7 Section 3, retention of boundary features and Section 4 retention of important physical features
DP14 Trees on and near development sites
DP16 Development in areas at risk of flooding (as shown on SEPA Floodmap)
DP22 On-street parking is discouraged, but no parking is shown on the site.

A number of general policies and vision statements also apply to this proposal, in particular those relating to tourism, historical sites and local natural and built environment and heritage.

Musselburgh Links and Mrs Forman’s are historically significant for the following reasons: –

1) Musselburgh Links is the oldest golf course in the world in continuous use.
2) It was the scene of Open Championships in 1874, 1877, 1880, 1883, 1886 and 1889
3) The town was one of the two most important centres in the history of early golf before the first world war.
4) Mrs. Forman’s is of the oldest golf pub in the world
5) It has been central to the history of golf for the 194 years since it was built.
6) It is important to the continued reputation of the Old Course and Musselburgh.
7) It is known and valued by golfers throughout the world.
8) The application is incomplete and further modifications are needed which could impact adversely on the character and viability of the Old Course. No alteration of use should be allowed until the complete plan is available for the entire plot and the Council can be certain that there will be no adverse impact to the look of the Old Course or its viability.

No change of use should be allowed until all avenues to retain Mrs Forman’s use as a heritage centre or public house of some sort have been pursued.

I urge the Committee to refuse this application, so that the opportunity to celebrate Musselburgh’s remarkable golfing history is not lost.