Lockerbie is a town in Annandale within Dumfries and Galloway in south west Scotland. It is accessible from Edinburgh and Glasgow and the South by the M74 motorway and the West Coast Main Line, with Transpenine and Virgin train services stopping at the local train station.
The town has a population of around 4,000 and is the largest town in the Annandale North ward in Dumfries & Galloway. The town has an agricultural past and was once home to Scotland’s largest lamb market, and is now home to the infamous sheep sculptures in the High Street after a town centre redeveopment. The town’s history as a way-station between central Scotland and the north of England, as well as a market town, allowed for hospitality industries to develop and serve the travellers and traders. The landowning families since the middle ages have endeavoured to protect their interests by keeping it in the family or leasing or letting land where possible.
Lockerbie is a medium-sized town and extremely mixed in terms of demographics. There is a particularly wide range of people, housing and activities. The number of older couples with no children are higher than average. There is a mix of professional and non-professional jobs, and part-time and self-employment are both important for a significant proportion of residents. Socioeconomic status is higher than in other kinds of town and there is a mix of professionals and nonprofessionals, those with higher and lower educational attainment.
Now that the M74 effectively by-passes the town the hospitality trade has dwindled and the market town status means very little, although the annual Lockerbie Gala celebrates some of the old traditions linked to the land and servitude to landowners: marking out boundaries on horseback, choosing post-pubescent young adults as fertility symbols, and localised heavy drinking during the summer festival.
Many businesses now take advantage of the transport links to the wider market but in a location where property rates are more favourable. However, the local workforce is below average in skills and educational achievement as many younger people need to leave the area to develop their potential. The remaining population is demographically older and more reliant on post-employment services.
The ubiquitous red sandstone that characterises traditional buildings in Dumfriesshire is exemplified by the Town Hall building which sits in the centre of town and, although owned by the local authority, is now managed by a management committee.
The town is infamous for the Pan Am 103 crash in December 1988 which devastated the town and surroundings and there are a number of memorial sites marking the significance of the event and the impact it had, including the Dryfesdale Lodge Visitors’ Centre, where a permanent exhibition room shows history panels telling Lockerbie’s story from pre-historic origins to the 1988’s disaster. This is often referred to as the “Lockerbie bombing” or the “terrorist attack” but neither of these phrases is accurate as the town just happened to be underneath the flight path of the beleaguered aircraft and was an unintentional casualty rather than a target of any violence.
There is a new Lockerbie Academy at the north end of the town which is an all through school. The old school building, which also had been used for local council offices, is now the subject of a local community hub project to help link the school with the nearby sports clubs and provide additional space and services by re-using the existing building and site wherever possible.