Grant Pinkerton: 'Records and research using the CWGC archive': Thursday 3rd February 2023

Almost everyone living in the United Kingdom is related to someone, however distant, who served and died in either of the two World Wars. That service man or woman is commemorated in perpetuity somewhere in the world by a headstone or memorial erected and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), originally founded as the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1917 and renamed in 1960. 

Mr Grant Pinkerton's talk, entitled ‘Records and Research using the CWGC Archive’, will cover the origins and work of the Commission from foundation to the present day. He will introduce the archives held both in terms of casualties as well as the Commission's own papers which provide an insight into its early years and a number of the decisions made. Using the Casualty Archive, he will look at some of the individuals commemorated with connections to the Kirkintilloch area.

Grant is one of volunteer speakers and tour guides for the Commonwealth Graves Commission as part of the MacRoberts Trust Speakers Programme. His particular area of interest is the First World War but focusing more on the lives of those remembered from the greater Glasgow area.

Some of the documents held by the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission. (© CWGC)

Some of the documents that can be downloaded from CWGC for a WWI casualty, anticlockwise from top left: the medal card, his/her effects and their disposal, and the commemorative scroll. (© CWGC)

The meeting will be held in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF at 7.30 pm. The annual membership subscription is £10 and visitors are welcome at all of the Society's evening events.

Carol Primrose: 'The history of Mavis Valley – a mining village near Bishopbriggs': Thursday 12th January 2023

The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in what is now East Dunbartonshire saw a drastic change from a rural way of life to intensive industrial development, notably in mines and quarries. To service them, several new villages had to be built to house the workers yet within a century most of them had disappeared. One of them, Mavis Valley, has left enough of a footprint to suggest what life was like for the miner and his family. Surveyed and mapped in 2012, it is a rare survivor of industrial archaeology in West Central Scotland. In this talk, Carol Primrose will present the growth and decline of the Mavis Valley and describe what still remains to be seen at this location.


Mavis Valley (public domain)

Mrs Primrose is a former librarian who, started in Glasgow's Mitchell Library after studying French and German at Glasgow Univeristy, and retired from the latter's library after twenty-two years during which she focused on staff training and study skills and information retrieval for students. Her career also included spells at Strathclyde University and two years in charge of the St Andrew’s House branch of the Scottish Office library in Edinburgh. 

A subject specialism in archaeology led to a Certificate in Field Archaeology and membership of a number of archaeological societies including being President of the Glasgow Archaeological Society, Vice President of Archaeology Scotland, Chair of The Association of Certificated Field Archaeologists and Fellow of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland. She has taken part in several surveys and co-directed two in Arran, and, following retirement in 1998, she developed an interest in local history and directed a survey of Mavis Valley. She is currently Secretary of East Dunbartonshire History and Heritage Forum and a Trustee of Gavin’s Mill in Milngavie.

The meeting will be held in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF at 7.30 pm. The annual membership subscription is £10 and visitors are welcome at all of the Society's evening events.

Investiture of Don Martin's MBE: Tuesday 22nd November 2022

In the 2022 New Year Honours, Don Martin was awarded an MBE for services to libraries and heritage in Scotland. This honour recognised his contributions during his working life as reference libarian in the William Patrick Library for East Dumbartonshire, and his roles as secretary of the Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries, editor of Scottish Local History, historian, author, photographer, and as the ‘go to’ person for any information on this locality. On Tuesday 22nd November 2022, I was delighted to be one of Don's guests at the investiture by the Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshir in Kilmardinny House, Milngavie.

Don Martin with Provost Gillian Renwick of
East Dunbartonshire and Mrs Jill Young, Lord
Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire. (© I.S.Ruddock)
Don Martin wearing his MBE medal.
(© I.S.Ruddock) 


Don was secretary of the Society from 1980 until 2021, having previously been its vice-president. He was committed to an outward looking society that cooperated with other local and national bodies and, when necessary, played its part in issues such as conservation or library funding. As a nationally known figure at the centre of a network of historians, Don took responsibility for assembling the Society’s annual syllabus, with himself traditionally as the opening speaker of each winter session, occasionally singing and accompanying himself on guitar. From 1994 when they were first introduced, he led the Society’s historical walks around Kirkintilloch during East Dunbartonshire’s Local History Week and Doors Open Day, with the most recent being that around signifcant buildings in the town. One of his early innovations was Members’ Night as an opportunity for all members to contribute to that year’s theme. In 2011, he devised and coordinated the Antiquaries’ input to the year-long celebration of the eight hundredth anniversary of the Burgh of Kirkintilloch, the highlight being a one day symposium on the Burgh, as well as advising and assisting with much of the other official and unofficial activities.

During his professional career as a librarian and in retirement, Don has been a prolific researcher and author on mainly Scottish history and culture. As a result, he has published regularly on such topics as histories of the local communities – Kirkintilloch, Lenzie etc, and local transport – Forth and Clyde Canal, Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway (“Scotland’s Stockton and Darlington Railway”) etc. A consequence of his being known as a historian and author is that he has an extensive portfolio of talks at his disposal and there cannot be a local history society or Probus, Round Table or similar group in Central Scotland that has not benefitted from his willingness to travel and deliver a lecture, frequently on an annual basis.

As photographer, Don has recorded the changing street and transport scene around Kirkintilloch since the late 1950s. A small part of this large archive is the basis of East Dunbartonshire’s photographic collection in the William Patrick Library that is available as a public research and educational resource. He is also a noted railway photographer having systemically covered the transition from steam to diesel and electric traction and the contraction and rationalisation of the local railway network. With photographs of unusual locations and unique events published in the railway press, he is also a much sought after speaker by railway societies.

The Antiquaries extends its congratulations to Don on the award of this honour.

Ivan Ruddock, President of Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries

Paul Carter: 'Scottish Drove Roads': Thursday 1st December 2022

Until about the early twentieth century, cattle were driven from the highlands and islands of Scotland to the markets in the lowlands from where they were sent on to towns and cities throughout mainland Britain. In this talk, Paul Carter will give a review of Scottish Droving during 1750-1850, and then follow in the drovers' footsteps through Argyll and the last stage from Fintry to the Tryst at Falkirk. He will also describe what can still be seen of drove roads in the landscape.

Cattle near the Cross Borders Drove Road. (© Jim Barton (cc-by-sa/2.0))

Paul Carter is a retired geologist who worked for civil engineering consultants Babtie, Shaw and Morton (BSM) in the 1970s on major infrastructure schemes including the Kielder Dam and tunnels. He then founded Babtie Geotechnical as a group with BSM in the early 1980s and was Managing Director until the late 1990s when he took early retirement. Paul has also been involved in the Forth and Clyde Canal Society from its foundation and is editor of Canal News and the Forth and Clyde Canal Guidebook. He is a keen ornithologist and carries out regular surveys of various types of birds for the British Trust for Ornithology, and is a leading light in the Friends of the Kelvin Valley and edits their newsletter, Kelvin Valley News.

The meeting will be held in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF at 7.30 pm. The annual membership subscription is £10 and visitors are welcome at all of the Society's evening events. 

David McVey: 'David Gray - the evidence': Thursday 3rd November 2022

David Gray, the Kirkintilloch poet, was born in the town in 1838 and died there in 1861. He studied at the University of Glasgow and then worked in London for a short time before illness forced him to return home.

In his talk, David McVey will discuss the evidence for what is known about the poet using Gray's own body of work, other people's writings and the memorials in the landscape, including his headstone and tablet in the Auld Aisle.

David Gray, 1838-61.

David McVey has worked mostly in education for the last 30 years, mainly at what is now the University of the West of Scotland, and, since 2014, has lectured part time at New College Lanarkshire. As a writer he has published over 120 short stories and a great deal of non-fiction that focuses on history and the outdoors.

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

Niall Logan: 'Some early local residents': Thursday 6th October 2022

For the opening of this year’s programme, KDSA welcomes Professor Niall Logan, formerly of Glasgow Caledonian University. He will give an illustrated talk on notable Baldernock residents and the development of the area over several centuries.

(© N.Logan) 

Niall Logan held a personal chair in Systematic Bacteriology, and in 2017 was awarded the international Bergey Medal in recognition of outstanding and life-long contributions to the field of bacterial classification and identification. In 2020 a new genus of bacteria was named after him – Niallia! Although it did not become his career, his first love was archaeology and he has now found his way back to it. A keen amateur of vernacular architecture, he has single-handedly restored his 18th-century farmhouse over 40 years, is Chairman of the Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group, and is a trustee of the Auchindrain Township near Inveraray. In 2013 he co-founded the Baldernock Local History Group, and devotes much of his time to landscape archaeology and archive study, from the post-medieval period onwards.

The meeting will be held in The Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch G66 1LF at 7.30pm on Thursday 6th October 2022. Visitors are welcome to attend without charge.