Promoted to Scottish League Two 2022
Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic
Formed by the merger of Bonnyrigg Rose & Bonnyrigg Athletic
circa 1920 e
Aug-Oct 17 f
Nov 17-2018 f
Aug-Nov 21 f
Dec 21-2022 f
The club was formed in 1881 following the demise of Bonnyrigg Swifts (formed 1874) and who were known as "The Rose." The new team took the name Bonnyrigg Rose. In 1889 they merged with Bonnyrigg Athletic and became Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic. Bonnyrigg is a former mining community, some eight miles south east of Edinburgh. It is the largest town in Midlothian after Edinburgh itself and the team play at New Dundas Park adjacent to the town centre.
The Rose won the East of Scotland Junior Cup in 1897-98 but this seems to have been an isolated success. Some minor trophies were won between 1905 and 1938.
The team competed briefly in the Musselburgh Junior League (1899-1900) before joining the Midlothian Junior League (1902-1922). They stepped up to the East of Scotland Junior League in 1922 but four years later they rejoined the Midlothian competition. In 1947 they became members of the Edinburgh & District Junior League. Sean Connery famously made a few appearances for the team between 1951 and 1953 but he decided his future lay in acting rather than being a professional footballer.
The 60s and 70s brought a measure of success: they won the East of Scotland Junior Cup in 1964 as well as the Edinburgh & District League. In 1965-66 the "Rosey Posey" won the Scottish Junior Cup (the junior equivalent of the Scottish FA Cup) for the first time and two years later they joined the East Region Junior League. They won the East Region Division One title in 1975-76 and 1976-77, the East Region Junior Cup in 1975-76 and in 1977-78 they won the Scottish Junior Cup for the second time. The team wore an Admiral "braces" kit with a thistle badge in this match but it is unclear if these featured in league matches. (The crest shown here is for illustrative purposes.)
More trophies were won during the 80s after which they had a barren spell before enjoying some further success in the new millennium.
The team have won the SJFA East Region Super League, the highest league competition for junior clubs in the East of Scotland, four times (2008-09, 2011-12, 2015-26, 2017-18), more than any other team. This gave them entry to the Scottish FA Cup. Their most successful campaign was in 2016-17 when they eliminated Dumbarton, then in the Scottish Championship, in a fourth round replay after which they were drawn a home tie with Hibernian, the cup holders. The match was switched to Tynecastle to accomodate the expected number of spectators. Rose lost 8-1 but around 5,000 supporters made the short trip to Edinburgh to cheer on their side. This would have filled New Dundas Park twice over.
It is not clear when the club crest was introduced but an early version (shown right) was in place in 2005 and most likely rather earlier. Some versions had a red background with the letterig picked out in white.
The modern crest seems to have been introduced in 2013. It is interesting to note that the word "Athletic" was omitted from this iteration, perhaps a precursor to the decision to simplify the club's name that would be made later.
In March 2018 the club members voted in favour of joining the East of Scotland League which had been in decline since the formation of the Lowland League in 2013. Bonnyrigg were one of thirteen junior clubs that applied for membership of the senior competition but when the window for applications was extended another thirteen teams applied to join.
In 2019 Bonnyrigg won the East of Scotland League and promotion to the Lowland League. They finished second and third in 2019-20 and 2020-21, seasons which were seriously curtailed due to Covid-19. In 2021-22 they ran away with the title finishing 14 points clear of both the Rangers and Celtic Colts sides. After disposing of Highlnd League champions, Fraserburgh in the play-offs, the Rosey Posey beat Cowdenbeath twice in the two-legged final to take their place in Scottish League Two.
In the 2022-23 season, the club decided it would play as Bonnyrigg Rose although they remain registered with the SFA and SPFL under their full title.
- (a) Scottish Football Historical Archive
- (b) scran.ac.uk retrieved by John Small
- (c) edinphoto.org.uk
- (d) thefootballhistoryboys.com
- (e) Bonnyrigg & Lasswade Local History Society
- (f) Bonnyrigg Rose Official Website
- (g) oldfootballshirts.co.uk
- (h) Edinburgh Evening News
Crests are the property of Bonnyrigg Rose FC. Photo credit Bonnyrigg & Lasswade Local History Society.