Don Martin: Lacing the river - Glasgow Harbour during the 1960s: Thursday 11th January 2018

KDSA Secretary Don Martin has several thousand pictures from negatives he exposed during the 1960s. Because of the unaffordable cost many were not printed at the time and some have never been printed. Now the negatives are being scanned to form digital images for use in publications and PowerPoint presentations. The majority reflect the Beeching-era decline of branch railways and steam locomotives, but many other subjects are covered as well. At our 11th January meeting he will present a selection of 1960s images of shipping and ferries on the Clyde at Glasgow.

A Clyde ferry. (© D.Martin)

Shipping on the Clyde in the early 1960s. (© D.Martin)
All evening meetings of the Society are at 7.30 pm in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF. 

William B Black: The Argyll gunpowder industry: Thursday 7th December 2017

For almost a century the glens of Argyll were the scene of an industry that appeared to bely their peaceful atmosphere, the manufacture of gunpowder. Produced primarily to meet the needs of a burgeoning construction industry as 19th century industry expanded, its products were sent not only throughout the United Kingdom but far across the globe. Today silence has returned to these glens but remnants remain of a forgotten industry.

In the Society's December meeting, local historian and long term Antiquaries member, William (Bill) Black, will describe this relatively unknown part of Scotland's industrial history and highlight the artefacts and evidence that can be still be found in that locale.

The monument to the Millhouse Powder Works, 
Cowal Peninsula which was in operation between 
1839 and 1921; it comprises a test mortar, the 
timekeeping bell and a plaque commemorating 
employees who died in accidents. (© W.B. Black)

Elizabeth Davidson OBE: Canvas, casts and charcoal: the restoration of the Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art: Thursday 2nd November 2017

Three years ago the fire in the Macintosh Building of Glasgow School of Art was watched with horror in Scotland and around the world but a full restoration quickly commenced with completion scheduled for 2018. This project is being coordinated by Ms Elizabeth Davidson who will describe the work at the Society’s November meeting

Since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art with specialisation in Architectural Conservation, Elizabeth has been involved in most aspects of Scotland’s built heritage. As head of Heritage and Design at Glasgow City Council, she was responsible for maintaining the highest standards of historic building repair and maintenance whilst also encouraging the best and most inspirational designs in new development. Previous to this she led the Heritage Lottery funded Townscape Heritage programme to regenerate the Merchant City.

Earlier posts included that of director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, a charitable property developer rescuing and bringing back to life numerous historic buildings including St Andrew’s Square Church, the Tobacco Merchants House, Wellpark Enterprise Centre and the iconic blue ‘Tardis’ police boxes. Whilst at the Trust, she also pioneered Doors Open Day which introduced the UK’s first free mass architectural participation event, providing access to significant modern and historic buildings and to interiors which had rarely before been glimpsed.

In 2010 Elizabeth was rewarded an OBE for services to conservation and the built heritage in Scotland.

David Forsyth: Hidden histories - the material culture of Jacobitism: Thursday 5th October 2017

The Society begins its 2017-18 programme with a talk by David Forsyth of National Museums Scotland based on "Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites" - an exhibition currently running at the National Museum of Scotland. This is the largest exhibition on the Jacobite Stuarts for over 70 years. It tells the story of the Stuarts’ attempts to regain their lost thrones from the exile of King James VII & II in 1688, until the death in 1807 of Prince Henry Benedict, Cardinal York, younger brother of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. 
A resident of Kirkintilloch, David Forsyth is Principal Curator of Renaissance to Early Modern Collections in the Department of Scottish History and Archaeology at National Museums Scotland. He has curated a number of major exhibitions over his nearly twenty-one years with National Museums and has written widely on the juxtaposition of history and material culture, including contributing to and editing the book to accompany the Bonnie Prince Charlie exhibition and articles in History Scotland, as well as contributing to a number of broadcasts on related topics.

Charles Edward Stuart: "Bonnie Prince Charlie"

Doors Open: Saturday 9th September 2017

The Society contributed to this year's Doors Open programme in East Dunbartonshire on Saturday 9th September by its presence in the Park Centre in the morning and by organising a guided historical walk around what was Kirkintilloch Basin, now the Marina, in the afternoon.
In the Park Centre, two PowerPoint presentations showing historic photographs of the town and canal, and the Society's activities and programme were continuously projected; in addition, committee members - Rita Bennie, Ros McMeekin, David Graham and Ivan Ruddock - were present to provide information and answer questions.

Committee members 'manning' the Society's stand.
The presentations showing Society activities and historic photos.

In the afternoon, Don Martin, the Society's secretary, led a well supported walk from the Park Centre to the Marina where he described Kirkintilloch's industrial heritage including shipbuilding, iron founding and the role it played in the early days of railways as one terminus of the pioneering Monkland and Kirkintilloch system. 

The Society's secretary explaining the significance of  the Basin
Foundry, formerly located in what is now Kirkintilloch Marina.

Report on "From Stone to Stone" - Baldernock Boundary Walk: Tuesday 22nd August 2017

On Tuesday 22nd August 2017, a rather cool and murky day, ten members of the Society met Professor Niall Logan at 2.00 pm in the car park of Newlands Forest for a guided tour of the boundary stones between the Parishes of Baldernock and Campsie. Suitably clothed and with stout footwear we were reminded of the history of the boundary stones and provided with a map on which the stones of the boundary were numbered and displayed.

 The NE corner of Baldernock Parish showing
a line of boundary stones. (© Niall Logan) 

Briefly, the land was owned by the Duke of Montrose who sold parts of it to adjoining estates. As a result, the boundary between the various parishes changed and in order to better define it a series of stones were positioned in what was originally muir or moorland. Initially easy to identify, over time they had become less prominent and slowly but surely been incorporated into the wetland of the muir. However, some were still sufficiently prominent to be recorded on the 19th Century OS and on estate maps. From being 'arable', much of the land had become forested under the management of the Forestry Commission(FC). With the support of the FC and after the land had been clear felled, Niall explained how with the help of the old maps, the use of modern GPS and a trowel he had been able to identify some fourteen of the original stones embedded in a 'hump' or longitudinally arranged mound of soil and stones that defined the boundary between the two parishes.
It was very impressive to see that some of the stones had been carved with the letter 'B' for Baldernock on one side and the letter 'C' for Campsie on the reverse. Although a little difficult to read, one of the stones was also surmounted by “1817”, presumably the year in which the stones were laid.

Niall Logan describing the location. 

The best preserved stone with "B" for Baldernock visible.
The ribbon is to mark the stone during tree felling.
All in all a very interesting afternoon much enjoyed by those present with a big 'thank you' to Niall for such an informative and successful visit to the South Brae of Campsie.

Members of the group at the conclusion of the walk.
 Report by David Graham

"From Stone to Stone" - Baldernock Boundary Walk: 2.00 pm Tuesday 22nd August 2017

Demarcating stones were formerly a feature of parish boundaries in Scotland but nowadays they seldom survive. However, in our area an interesting sequence can still be seen on the Baldernock/Campsie boundary.

Professor Niall Logan has agreed to provide a guided tour of these stones, as a follow-up to his talk on the subject to the Society last October. This will be held at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 22nd August 2017.

Members should make their way by means of their own transport to Newlands forest car park. Please travel by way of Station Road, Lennoxtown (turning left off Main Street just beyond the Post Office) onto the South Brae of Campsie and continue for almost two miles. The car park is adjacent to a green barrier and as parking is limited, members should share cars wherever possible. Due to the terrain being quite rough, stout footwear is essential.

If the weather is very bad, it might be necessary to cancel the walk. In case of doubt, please phone Don Martin on 0141-578-1127.
A boundary stone. (© Niall Logan)
Baldernock Parish. (©  Estate of Ewen Bain)

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites: National Museum of Scotland: 23rd June - 12th November 2017

A major exhibition on Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites is being held this summer in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh from 23rd June until 12th November. Full details can be found by clicking here. It is of particular relevance to the Antiquaries because its curator, David Forsyth, will be speaking on this topic in the Society's forthcoming autumn programme. 

Report on the Summer Outing: Saturday 3rd June 2017

On schedule at 1300 hours, 29 members boarded one of Ann's Coaches and departed on the first leg of the journey along the recently re-engineered roadworks of the M80, M73 and the M74 to South Lanarkshire. First stop was Low Parks Museum in Hamilton meet the guide for the tour of the Hamilton Mausoleum.
Hamilton Mausoleum. Built in the grounds of Hamilton Palace, the Mausoleum became the resting place of the Dukes of Hamilton In keeping with the grandiose plans of Hamilton Palace, Alexander, the 10th Duke of Hamilton, replaced the family burial vault in a nearby dilapidated collegiate church with a Roman-style domed structure. Building works started in 1842 and was completed in 1858 some 5 years after the death of the 10th Duke. The Duke was interred in an Egyptian sarcophagus while 17 of his ancestors were interred in the crypt below. The guide stated that the Mausoleum was 37m high but that over time due to mining subsidence the building had settled by some 16 feet or so. Because of this and potential flooding from the River Clyde, the family was re-buried in Hamilton’s Bent Cemetery. But more was to be revealed after we entered the building and appreciated the similarity of its internal architecture to the Pantheon in Rome. 
Members of the Society listening to the guide at Hamilton Mausoleum
Members inside the Mausoleum
Inside the Mausoleum we were shown the original bronze doors featuring bas-relief similar to those on the Baptistery Chapel in Florence. Also on display was the sarcophagus, the beautiful multi-coloured marbled floor (possibly with Masonic symbolism), the niched walls and the 'Whispering Wa's' or walls that allow a whispered conversation to be overheard. Finally, and by no means least, the guide demonstrated a 15 second reverberation that at one stage held the world record. A great start to the day with a friendly well informed and very enthusiastic guide.
Low Parks Museum. The next part of the outing was a return to the Museum where we arrived just before the cafe was about to close. Refreshed, we learned that the Museum was opened in 1967 as the Hamilton District Museum and is located close to the site of the Palace which was demolished in 1927. The Museum comprises two main buildings – Portland built in 1696 and the Palace Riding School built in 1837. The group was given sufficient free time to visit the various exhibitions which included an extensive displays about the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and the history of the Dukes of Hamilton and their Palace. Exhibits also told the history of South Lanarkshire with an emphasis on weaving, agriculture and coal mining.
Roman bath-house. The next part of the trip was to Strathclyde Country Park to see the remains of the Bothwellhaugh Roman bath-house. Considered to have been in use between 142 and 162 AD it was surveyed in 1975 and because of potential flood damage was excavated and relocated to its current site in 1980. To the delight of us all, the Society’s secretary Don Martin was persuaded to give an account of the bath-house which comprised the changing room, the cold room (Frigidarium), two warm rooms (Tepidarium), a hot room (Caldarium) and the furnace room.. Adjacent to this site we were shown the so called Roman Bridge that spans the south Calder Water. However, also known as a pack-horse bridge it is unlikely to be Roman but rather late medieval and possibly about 500 years old.

Don Martin interpreting the visible remains of the bath-house
Members about to leave Strathclyde Park for dinner in Bothwell
Fortunately in spite of some thunder and a heavy sky, the weather held and we arrived dry at the Riva Restaurant, Bothwell for dinner. Saited and happy we arrived back in Kirkintilloch at about 20.15 after a most enjoyable half days' outing. Perhaps a precedent had been set.

Report by David Graham

Annual General Meeting: Thursday 20th April 2017

This session's Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 20th April 2017 at 7.30 pm. It is the opportunity for all members to have their say in the running of the Society. The winter's activities will be reviewed and the accounts presented for approval. An important item of business concerns the name of the Society. It was decided at the EGM in April 2016, at which the revised Constitution was discussed,  that a vote would be held on whether or not the name should be changed. If the decision is 'yes', then a full consultation on alternative names will take place during the 2017-18 session with a deciding vote at the 2018 AGM.

Jim Walker: The Roman Army and Bar Hill Fort: Barony Chambers, Auld Lirk Museum, 2.00 pm Wednesday 8th March 2017

The Roman Army advanced into central Scotland in AD140 and built a frontier we know today as the Antonine Wall. The frontier was built between the Firths of Forth and Clyde, over a two year period and covered a distance of 40 Roman miles. Bar Hill Fort was the highest on the frontier line and was located strategically above the Kelvin Valley. In this illustrated talk - Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries contribution to East Dunbartonshire's Local History Week - archaeologist Jim Walker will look at Bar Hill and some of its neighbouring forts on the Antonine Wall. He will also look at what life was like for the soldiers who served here during the 20 year life span of the frontier.
The full programme for Local History Week (4-11 March 2017) can be downloaded here.
Bar Hill Fort, Croy. (© Undiscovered Scotland)

Paul Bishop: Mineral transport on the Forth & Clyde Canal: Thursday 2nd March 2017

In March 2015, Paul Bishop spoke to the Society on the watermills of Milngavie and Baldernock. Since then, he has retired as Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Glasgow and become a member of the Society. This time his topic is directly linked to Kirkintilloch and District; it focuses on mineral transport on the Forth & Clyde Canal arising from its roles as a transport artery for Central Scotland, and as a convenient outlet for mined coal to be exported on account of its strategic location within the Lowland coal field.

Cadder Pit No.17 (© East Dunbartonshire Council)

Report on Members’ Night: A Significant Photograph: Thursday 16th February 2017

The annual Members’ Night is always a highlight of the Society’s programme and once again its members enjoyed an entertaining evening. Based on the theme of “A Significant Photograph”, there were nine varied contributions illustrated by many additional images to provide necessary background. 

In summary these were: Don Martin - an usual occurrence of a local train on the Kirkintilloch branch hauled by a goods locomotive instead of the more normal tank engine; Caroline Brooks - her experiences of an archaeological dig in Chester; Ronnie Forsyth - the roles he has had in life, mainly as an office bearer in various trade bodies; Valerie McClure - the chaotic approach to enforcing building controls in Italy, and specifically the dangerous practice of building on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, Europe’s most active volcano; Rita Bennie - her memories of hay making in the late 1940s on the family farm now occupied by houses in Westermains; Les Jenkins - reflections on his career as a secondary school history teacher; David Graham - the High Possil meteorite of 1804, the first recorded in Scotland; Donald Macleod - his experiences as a symphony orchestra violinist and the complexity of orchestral scores; Ivan Ruddock - the enjoyment he has had since the 1990s from “Father Ted”, the television comedy series.

The evening was brought to a close by Donald Macleod playing traditional fiddle tunes while members had their tea.
The memorial for the High Possil meteorite of 1804.  (© The Pandora Society)

Summer Outing: Saturday 3rd June 2017

This year the Society's annual Summer Outing on Saturday 3rd June 2017 will be to the Hamilton Mausoleum and Hamilton Museum. The Mausoleum was built in the mid-1800s as the last resting place of the Dukes of Hamilton and their families. It has now been reopened to the public after a period of restoration following concerns due to the effects of mining subsidence. The building is also claimed to possess the world's longest echo.

The coach will leave Sainsbury's car park, Kirkintilloch at 1.00 pm, returning in the evening at about 7.30 pm after a meal. The later start means that there will not be a lunch break but instead we will head straight to the Mausoleum. The ticket price is £30. Please contact the Society through its email address if you are interested in taking part or have any queries.

Members' Night: A Significant Photograph: Thursday 16th February 2017

The Society's annual Members’ Night will be held on Thursday 16th February 2017, and this year the theme will be "A Significant Photograph". Eight members will probably contribute this year and it is anticipated that the theme will be interpreted differently by all concerned - i.e. the photograph might represent a place, an event, a person and so on. This meeting has always been a highlight of the Society's programme and is expected to be again this year. 

Ross McGregor: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow: History & Collections: Thursday 2nd February 2017

The Society is delighted that Ross McGregor, the Librarian and Heritage Manager at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCP&SG) has accepted the invitation to speak to the Society on "The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow: History and Collections" on Thursday 2nd February, 2017. Ross is a qualified librarian with extensive professional experience in managing and developing, library, museum and cultural services. Previously employed by East Ayrshire Council/East Ayrshire Leisure, he is now the Manager of the Historical Collections of the RCP&SG with additional remits to provide a modern clinical library service and develop access to the College's Heritage.
Lister carbolic spray. (© RCP&SG) 

Places of Worship in Scotland Project: St David's Memorial Park Parish Church, Kirkintilloch

Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries has supported the Places of Worship in Scotland project of Scottish Church Heritage Research for the past two years. Its survey of  Lenzie Union Parish Church has been submitted and can be downloaded by following the link on this page of the Society's website. Since then, Mr Bill McNeill, past-President of the Society, has completed a survey of Kirkintilloch's St David's Memorial Park Parish Church of which he is an elder. The document is available for download here.

St David's Memorial Park Parish Church viewed from the north.

UPDATE: Tonight's meeting: Thursday 12th January 2017

This post is to confirm that Brian Skillen's talk on the Clyde harbour Tunnel will indeed take place as advertised. This afternoon's weather was in line with that forecast and hopefully this evening's will follow the same pattern.

Ivan Ruddock (5.00 pm)

Tonight's meeting: Thursday 12th January 2017

This morning, the President and Secretary discussed whether or not tonight's meeting on the Clyde Harbour Tunnel should take place or be postponed. On the basis that the overnight snowfall in Kirkintilloch was very light and the weather forecast for this evening was to be dry although cold, they decided that the meeting should go ahead. They will review the situation later in the afternoon.

Ivan Ruddock (12.30 pm)

Brian Skillen: The Clyde Harbour Tunnel: Thursday 12th January 2017

Brian Skillen is a local historian with a special interest in geotechnical and historical land use issues and formerly worked for Glasgow City Libraries. His publications, articles and talks over the years have covered a wide range of local subjects. The Clyde Harbour Tunnel talk will be illustrated by a range of atmospheric photos he took when it was still open.
The rotunda and cupola containing the entrance to
the Clyde pedestrian tunnel. (© Brian Skillen)

Steps leading down to the Clyde pedestrian tunnel.
(© Brian Skillen)