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The Golden Jubilee 1952-2002

It's our working jubilee too!

Val Proudfoot
Les Henry
David Conn
Jim Kerr
Jack Shirvell
Tom Griffith
Lesley Eke
Audrey Hawkin
Dai Owen
Jim Dade
Sadie Jefferson
James Finlay
Val Proudfoot
Barman Val Proudfoot says he's part of the furniture at the Cramond Inn.

After 64 years, the 79-year-old is still working behind the bar much to the surprise of many customers.

"Some come in and they say 'Good God, are you still here?'" he chuckles.

Much of Val's childhood was spent in and around the Cramond Inn, five miles north west of Edinburgh. His father became the manager in 1921 and ran it for 44 years.

The Cramond Inn used to be one of Scotland's top restaurants
When he was 16, Val began work, serving food to customers. Then, the Cramond Inn had a prestigious restaurant. Actors and celebrities performing in Edinburgh often came to eat and tables had to be booked up to two months in advance.

When their father retired, Val and his brother took over as managers. During the war, Val spent 5 years as a wireless operator with the RAF, but he returned to Cramond in 1946 to be with his wife and daughter.

Val stayed on after a local butcher bought the inn in 1987 but a large brewery took over less than two years later.

Part of the fittings

"I thought that would be it for me. But the financial director said: 'When we bought Cramond Inn we bought you too.' So I've been here ever since. I love the place."

Val loves talking to customers about Cramond
These days Val only works part time behind the bar. He says the inn has changed a lot since he started work. When he was young, women were not allowed in the public bar and were never served more than one drink at a time in the lounge or 'snug'.

Now things are much more relaxed and the inn is popular with families and young people.

"When the youngsters come in, it's amazing the respect that they give me. I've never had one bit of bother. And the older people - we chat about 50 years ago. The people who come in, I've known their fathers and their grandfathers."

However Val also isn't too keen on modern pub equipment especially glass-washing machines.

The old ways

"They clean the glasses but if you pick the glass up, it's not polished and there can be lipstick on it. I prefer the old way where you dipped it in lukewarm water and then polished it with a towel. It was so lovely to look at the shelves of glasses glistening. I loved doing the glasses."

Val's 81-year-old wife is still working too. She spends a few hours every morning looking after children at a local nursery.

Neither Val nor his wife are considering retirement.

"I don't think either of us could," says Val. "I look around and I think of all of my contemporaries - where are they now? They all retired and vegetated and they're gone."

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