UPDATE: Annual General Meeting: Thursday 9th April 2020

In line with the latest government advice on social distancing and self-isolation, the Society's Annual General Meeting, scheduled to be held on Thursday 9th April, has been postponed. It is likely that it will now be held in the early autumn before the start of the 2020-21 programme, provisionally on Thursday 3rd September. A notice will be circulated in the late summer to confirm the new date.

UPDATE: Tommy Lawton: The Forth and Clyde Canal - Past, Present and Future: Auld Kirk Museum, Barony Chambers, 2.00 pm Wednesday 18th March 2020

In the light of the most recent guidance that older people should self-isolate and unnecessary social interaction should be avoided, the Society's contribution to EDLC's Local History Month on Wednesday 18th March has unfortunately had to be cancelled. It is hoped that this talk on the Forth and Clyde Canal will be given on another occasion.

Tommy Lawton: The Forth and Clyde Canal - Past, Present and Future: Auld Kirk Museum, Barony Chambers, 2.00 pm Wednesday 18th March 2020

Each year the Society hosts an event in the programme of East Dunbartonshire's Local History Week or Month. In 2020, Tommy Lawton of the Forth and Clyde Society will present "The Forth and Clyde Canal - Past, Present and Future'. The meeting will be held in The Barony Chambers at Kirkintilloch's Auld Kirk Museum on Wednesday 18th March at 2.00 pm and members and non-members of the Society are all welcome.

A vintage steam boat participating in the 10th anniversary of the reopening of
the Forth & Clyde Canal on 24 September 2011. (© I S Ruddock)
A one third scale replica of a Clyde puffer seen near Kirkintilloch during the
10th anniversary of the reopening of the Forth & Clyde Canal on
24 September 2011. (© I S Ruddock)

James Kennedy: The Spanish Influenza Pandemic in Scotland: Thursday 5th March 2020

The last talk of the 2019-20 session is also coincidentally the most topical in the light of the worldwide threat from the recently identified coronavirus. James Kennedy, a former nurse, is a Scottish authority on the 1918-20 'Spanish' flu pandemic; he has written and lectured extensively on this subject and the Society is fortunate to have him as guest speaker at its March meeting.

A contemporary poster with similar advice to that being issued by
health authorities in 2020. (© The Red Cross)

A ward in an emergency hospital. (© The National Museum of Health and Medicine)

Evening meetings of the Society are at 7.30 pm in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF. The annual membership subscription is £10; visitors are welcome at all of the Society's evening events but a donation of £3 is requested.

Presentation to Contact Point: Thursday 20th February 2020

At the 2019 AGM, the membership of the Society approved a proposal by the committee to make a donation to a deserving local charity. Contact Point was the preferred choice on account of its work among the special needs adults of the community.

The presentation was made at the beginning of Members' Night on Thursday 20th February 2020 to Mrs Christine Davis who represented the charity. In receiving the donation, Mrs Davis thanked the Society and described the work of Contact Point and how the donation would help in the running of the Coffee Clubs.

Dr Ivan Ruddock, the Society's President, presents a cheque to
Mrs Christine Davis representing Contact Point as a contribution
to the running costs  of the charity. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Report on Members' Night: A Favourite or Interesting or Significant Book: Thursday 20th February 2020

The Society's annual Members' Night was held on Thursday 20th February with 'A Favourite or Interesting or Significant Book' as its theme. Eight members participated with each speaking for eight to ten minutes on their choice of book and they made the evening an enjoyable event, as is always the case with Members' Night.

The eight books fell into the following broad categories - two on the Scottish landscape and outdoor activities, one on the history of a nearby locality, three novels, one a collection of pieces of journalism and one a Bible commentary. 

'Mountain, Moor and Loch' is a profusely illustrated 1895 guide to the route of the recently opened  West Highland Railway while 'Hamish's Mountain Walk' is the inspiring account of Hamish Brown's successful attempt in the summer of 1974 to climb all of the Munros in a single continuous expedition. 'The Parish of Campsie' is an account of all aspects of the Campsie area by local historian John Cameron and published in Kirkintilloch in 1892. 

The three novels were chosen for different reasons - 'The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul' by Deborah Rodriguez because of its description of the challenges faced by women in Afghanistan; 'The Notting Hill Mystery' by Charles Warren Adams because it might be the first detective novel and that its true authorship is a mystery; 'The Affair at Invergarroch' by Michael Elder because not only is it a good read as a children's book, but also that the author himself was only seventeen years of age when he wrote it. 

Dannie Abse's 'Journals from the Ant-Heap' is a collection of amusing anecdotes from when he wrote for national newspapers as well as being a physician and acclaimed poet. The most physically impressive choice at Members' Night was a three volume nineteenth century Biblical Commentary, i.e. a cross-referenced Bible. What made this particularly interesting was that the set had been presented in 1877 to Mr and Mrs Thomas Coats of the Paisley mill owning family by the minister of Sannox church on Arran; this previously redundant church is currently being developed as a Christian centre by a group including the member whose choice this was.