The unveiling of Alexander Bain's Emmy

On Thursday 25th August 2016, the Emmy awarded to Alexander Bain was unveiled by Mrs Rhondda Geekie, Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) and Dr Ivan Ruddock, President of Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries in the Auld Kirk Museum, Kirkintilloch. This was in the presence of Provost Una Walker, EDC councillors and staff, press and members of the Society. Prior to the unveiling, the background to the award and the engineering achievements of Alexander Bain were summarised by the principal speakers Councillor Geekie and Dr Ruddock - both talks serving as excellent reminders of the global acknowledgement of the singular innovations of Alexander Bain and his contributions to modern life, i.e. the electric clock, the fax machine and the underlying principles of television. Those present were delighted to learn that the statuette will remain in the Auld Kirk Museum for public display and were reminded that Alexander Bain is buried in the Auld Aisle Cemetery in Kirkintilloch.
David Graham

Rhondda Geekie and Ivan Ruddock unveiling the Emmy

East Dunbartonshire Doors Open Day 2016: Tom Johnston's Kirkintilloch, Saturday 10th September 2016, 2.00 pm

As part of East Dunbartonshire's 2016 Doors Open programme, Don Martin, the Society's secretary, will lead a guided walk round sites in Kirkintilloch associated with the famous Scottish politician, and historian Tom Johnston. The walk will depart from outside William Patrick Library at 2.00 pm and will include buildings used for emergency council services during World War 1 when Johnston was a member of Kirkintilloch Town Council. The full programme for Open Doors may be found here.

Ivan Ruddock

Report on the Summer Outing: Saturday 4th June 2016

In the year of Architecture, Design and Innovation, the Society organised its outing to include aspects of each area. At 10.00 am on Saturday 4th June, we assembled at the start of what turned out to be an excellent outing for 29 members of the Society on a dry and sunny day.

Members of the Society after arriving at Holmwood House
We began with a visit to Holmwood House (NTS) on the south side of Glasgow with a guided tour by extremely well-informed gentlemen guides whose bubbling enthusiasm for the property was both 'infectious' and very informative. Our next stop was at Eaglesham where there was time for a picnic lunch, coffee in the Eglington Arms or a stroll around this picturesque village. Refreshed the group proceeded to the National Museum of Rural Life, Wester Kittochside, East Kilbride. Here again, we were divided into groups to facilitate tours of the heavy agricultural machinery in the basement of the Museum and the associated working farm, accessed via a bumpy road by a tractor pulled carriage, comprising the old farm house and various buildings including milking shed, stables and the piggery. The day was rounded off by a meal in the Redhurst hotel, Giffnock after which we were returned to Kirkintilloch by about 7.30 pm having had a full and most enjoyable day.

Holmwood House
Holmwood House. This property was designed by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson who found inspiration for his architecture and ornamentation, not from foreign travel and a 'grand tour', but from books about the architectural design of Antiquity; like previous stone masons and architects, he adopted ideas from preceding civilisations who were influenced by elements from Egyptian, Minoan, Greek, Roman and other cultures.

The house was built 1857-8 in countryside on the banks of the White Cart River overlooking Cathcart Castle which is now obscured by trees. Principal features include the asymmetrical design of the house with its Greek post and lintel construction using flattened and cylindrical pillars and the arch and cupola as perfected by the Romans, possibly developed from beehive tombs like the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae. The colours and decorative motifs such as 'Greek Key', and stylised plant forms such as the acanthus and other geometric designs would not have been out of place in the time of Homer! A further unusual feature is a continuous wall that joins the house with the Stable Lodge. The house was designed for the paper manufacturer James Couper as a business and family home. It is a little jewel-like mixture of styles, decoration and Mediterranean colours reminiscent of Knossos that still provides an intimate and inviting home.

The cupula above the stairs
Members in the dining room
listening to one of the NTS guides
A doorway with Greek and Egyptian motifs
Holmwood House's garden

Eaglesham. This was developed as a planned village by Alexander, 10th Earl of Eglington, around 1796 and comprising two rows of white washed houses facing each other across a wide expanse of grass in an otherwise rural setting. In 1824, a corn mill was built and then subsequently cotton mills were constructed that provided materials for the hand-loom weavers of the village. The attractive white church has a Covenanters Memorial to the religious strife in the area and in more recent times the village was famous for a plane crash on 10th May 1941 when a Messerschmitt 110 carrying Rudolf Hess on a mission to see the Duke of Hamilton came down in a field close to the village.

The Covenanter monument in Eaglesham's

National Museum of Rural Life. The final visit of the day was to this museum that exhibits the development of all aspects of agriculture, animal husbandry and farming machinery which have not only reduced the number of workers required to farm but have greatly improved the efficiency of the simple plough and hay fork of yesteryear. Again, we enjoyed an enthusiastic account of the exhibits and learned that many of the features had been donated from home and abroad. Although few members were able to visit the site’s extensive galleries, we were treated to a 'whistle stop' tour of the machinery store before being encouraged to visit the related farm house left unchanged since the childless Reid family departed after donating the property to the nation. We were fortunate to see live demonstrations of milking and learn of the impressive list of championships won by the herd. For some of us, perhaps the most lingering memory was of the young Clydesdale horse standing in the yard that was being introduced to its harness. The farm house itself brought back memories of the homes of grandparents with their 'old-fashioned' furniture and decoration and a parlour (drawing room) used only on Sundays or important occasions.

The farmhouse at the National Museum of Rural Life, Wester Kittochside
Members admiring a young Clydesdale horse

Inside the combine harvester store

A member practicing
her milking skills

Ros McMeekin and David Graham