Jimmy Watson and Don Martin: "Thomas Muir 250 - celebrating a local hero": Thursday 1st October 2015

Jimmy Watson is Chair of the Friends of Thomas Muir, a Bishopbriggs-based group that has been leading the celebrations to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of 'The Father of Scottish Democracy' this year. He will describe the programme of events that is being organised and will also talk about some key events in Thomas Muir's life, especially the great significance of his trial, on charge of 'Sedition', in August 1793. Don Martin will complement this with an account of the circumstances that provided context for Muir's campaigns. Jimmy Watson is a haulage contractor with the Watson family firm in Bishopbriggs. His office is at Huntershill, just across the road from Thomas Muir's former home.
Jimmy Watson speaking on Thomas Muir.
This is the first meeting in the Society's 2015-16 session. Please note that meetings will once again be held on Thursdays and, although the Society is remaining in The Park Centre, it is moving to the MacKay Hall, i.e. the former church. Entrance to this hall is via the door on the right hand side of the premises. The programme for the year can be previewed here and an application form to join the Society can be downloaded from the Membership page.

Please be aware that parking in the Regent Centre (Tesco) car park is limited to two hours and that this restriction is now being enforced 24 hours a day by the company managing it.

Ivan Ruddock

A new session, an old night and the end of an era

The new session for Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries starts on Thursday 1st October 2015 when Jimmy Watson and Don Martin present "Thomas Muir 250: celebrating a local hero". An application form to join the Society can be downloaded from the Membership page.

Meetings will once again be held on Thursdays having been on Fridays for the past two sessions due to the availability of a suitable venue. The Society is remaining in The Park Centre but moving to the MacKay Hall. Entrance to this hall is via the door on the right hand side of the former church building. The programme for the year can be previewed here.

This session also marks the end of an era and the beginning of another following the resignation of Mr William "Bill" McNeill as President at April's Annual General Meeting. A member of the Society for 37 years, he was the 11th President, although the 10th person to occupy the office from its foundation in 1933, and was the longest serving at 24 years. This period coincided with a strong increase in the membership from less than fifty to over one hundred but the choice of meeting night and venue was as much an issue at its beginning as at its end. In 1994 Bill introduced the very successful evening walks that for many years was the Society's contribution to Local History Week. When this April event was later moved to March, the Society's contribution has usually taken the form of an afternoon talk due to the shorter days ruling out an outdoor activity in the evening.

Bill McNeill

Bill's devotion to the Society is another example of his involvement in the community. It sits alongside being an elder in St David’s Memorial Park Parish Church, a patron of Kirkintilloch Players and a volunteer with the Seagull Trust and Strathkelvin Talking Newspaper.

His Presidency will be remembered for his low key style of chairmanship at meetings and the warmth of his welcome to all arriving. The members of the Committee are also grateful to his wife Jean for the lavish hospitality she provided as a reward for working through long agendas. The Society looks forward to seeing Bill and Jean at its future meetings, but now relaxing and enjoying the evenings’ proceedings.

Ivan Ruddock

It's official! Alexander Bain is the father of television

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the United States announced today (2nd September 2015) that an Emmy has been awarded to Alexander Bain to recognise his invention of scanning and image transmission. The Emmy is the television equivalent of the Oscar and is one of the highest honours associated with this particular medium, and Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries played a part in this decision.

The Emmy 
(© National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences).
Alexander Bain (1810-77) was born in Watten, Caithness and died in poverty in Broomhill Home, Kirkintilloch. For a few years he was a successful entrepreneur and business man, and although his achievements include the invention of the electric clock and important contributions to the electric telegraph, he is now known worldwide as the inventor of the fax machine. This early form of image transmission combined elements of electric clocks and telegraphs but the breakthrough was the concept of dissecting an image, sending it as a varying electric current in a wire, and then reversing the process to reassemble the image. It was the first time that an image was ever transmitted from one location to another and is the basis of the process used later by the developers of mechanical and electronic television. The link with the fundamentals of television was explored by Ivan Ruddock in "Alexander Bain: The Real Father of Television?" published in the Summer 2012 issue of Scottish Local History.
Alexander Bain in 1876 (© IET).
Alexander Bain's headstone in Kirkintilloch's Old Ailse Cemetery.

Ivan Ruddock