John Jackson: Arran in books, from the 18th century to the present: Thursday 10th January 2019

John Jackson has had a long connection with Arran beginning with family holidays as a boy and continuing now as member of the board of the Sannox Christian Centre. His visits to Arran developed an interest in books about the island which in turn led to the creation of one of the largest private collections on this subject. 

At the meeting, John will describe his collection and use some of the books to illustrate the historical development of geology, the clearances, and tourism and holidaymaking.

John Jackson with some of his book collection at the Society's
Members' Night, 15 February 2018. (© I.S. Ruddock)

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 activities with a donation of £3.

Training on the use of The Park Centre's defibrillator

On Friday 16th November, together with 7 other users of The Park Centre, Kirkintilloch, I took part as a representative of the Society in a 3 hour Basic Life Support and safe use of an Automated External Defibrillator course organised by St Andrew's First Aid.

After registration we were introduced to the topics by a combination of teaching slides and illustrations but principally by practical demonstrations using dummy torsos and a teaching model of the type of defibrillator recently installed in The Park Centre. At the end of the session we had all been given the opportunity to take part in 3 basic procedures viz cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), use of the defibrillator and how to achieve the Recovery Position.

While it was apparent that these techniques required some basic knowledge and a degree of dexterity in their performance, we all felt more confident and less inhibited about our individual abilities at the end of the training course due in part to the facilities provided by The Park Centre - including a cup of tea and biscuits, and the skills of the trainer and equipment supplied by St Andrew's First Aid. Hopefully we will all have learned and achieved a Certificate. 

Thanks all round.
David Graham

Edward Z. Smith: Scotland from the air: Thursday 6th December 2018

Kirkintilloch resident Edward Z. Smith will give a presentation of photographs showing the wide diversity of historical and natural locations that exist in Scotland. 

(© E.Z. Smith)
These images were taken by him while running his aerial survey business – Hawkeye Aerial Photography, established after his previous career with John McGavigan & Co. Ltd. Travelling to photograph projects all over the UK created the opportunity to build a large archive that Edward calls ‘Capturing images on my way to and from my place of work”.

(© E.Z. Smith)
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 activities with a donation of £3.

"Elsie Inglis - the woman who would not sit still!"

This topical drama based on the life of Dr Elsie Inglis might be of interest to members of the Society. The Dumfries House performance is sold out but there is still availability for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Janice Miller: Lennoxtown Friendly Victualling Society: Thursday 1st November 2018

Founded in 1812, the Lennoxtown Friendly Victualling Society was one of the earliest co-operative societies in Scotland. It operated for 153 years and was at one point proclaimed the oldest co-op in the world. Janice Miller, East Dunbartonshire Leisure & Culture's Archivist, will tell its story using various resources including the 1960s co-op film 'Tomorrow is Yours'. 

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 with an admission fee of £3 per meeting for visitors who are welcome at all of the Society's activities.

The Society's September 2018 Newsletter

The September 2018 edition of the Society's newsletter has recently been created and edited by committee member Valerie McClure and gives information on the activities of the Antiquaries since the AGM. It can be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the image below.

The newsletter was circulated to those members of the Society who had responded positively to the Secretary's request in May concerning the use of their email addresses for receiving communications; an action necessary following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018. The list of active email addresses will be updated using the information supplied on the renewal slips for the 2018-19 session.

Don Martin: The railways of Kirkintilloch: Thursday 4th October 2018

KDSA Secretary Don Martin this year re-visits one of his favourite subjects, although in fact it is many years since he last addressed the Society on "The railways of Kirkintilloch". Kirkintilloch’s railway history is certainly distinctive. It began with one of Scotland’s earliest public railways, the Monkland & Kirkintilloch, in 1826, and ended with a comprehensive blow of the Beeching axe in 1966, surely one of the most illogical closures of that era. Over these years Kirkintilloch served first as a connecting link between the railway system and the Scottish canal network (including ‘train ferries’ for mineral wagons), and later as a significant railway centre in its own right, with a range of junctions connecting different lines. Passenger traffic ended in 1964, since when Kirkintilloch has arguably been the largest town in Scotland without this facility.

Back o'Loch Halt, Kirkintilloch,1960. (© D.Martin)
Kirkintilloch Town Station, 1961. (© D.Martin)
Evening meetings of the Society are at 7.30 pm in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF. Visitors are welcome at all of the Society's activities.

Society visit to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow: 2 pm, Monday 8th October 2018

On Thursday 2nd February 2017, Ross McGregor, the Librarian and Heritage Manager at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, gave a fascinating talk to the Society on the College's history and collections; at the meeting he also intimated that it might be possible to arrange an afternoon visit for members. This will now place on Monday 8th October at 2 pm as described in the letter below which is being emailed to those members who have already given the Society permission to communicate in this way.
Visit to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, 232-242 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5RJ

 Date                             Monday 8th October, 2018.

 Time                            2 pm in the reception area of the Royal College.

 Duration of visit         About one hour.

Tour of the College    We will be met by Clare Harrison, the Library and Heritage Officer, who will guide the group and be available to answer any questions.

The usual facilities will be available to the group but on this occasion catering will not.

Transport                   This will NOT be provided by KDSA. Interested members will therefore have to make their own arrangements to reach the College by 2.00 pm. The principal options are:

1.    Car parking is limited in the immediate environs of the College and therefore is not recommended. It is also expensive if a bay can be found.

2.    Bus No. X85/87 from Kirkintilloch or Lenzie to Buchanan Street Bus Station or train from Lenzie to Queen Street Station and then either walk (about 15 minutes) or take a taxi. For members arriving at the bus station, there is also the option of taking bus No. 77 from there to Bath Street and then walking through Blythswood Square to St Vincent Street.
It is appreciated that these arrangements have been made at rather short notice and only a few days after the first scheduled meeting of KDSA. Nevertheless, it is hoped that a good number of members will take part in this first outing of the new 2018/19 season.

Final numbers need to be known as soon as possible (Thursday 4th October at the latest); please contact the Society via email: kdsantiquaries"at"

See you there
David Graham

Bits & Pieces: Town Hall, Kirkintilloch, 6.30 pm, Thursday 27th September 2018

Bits & Pieces is an exhibition in the Town Hall of photographs taken by the Society's Secretary Don Martin and locally based photographer, Edward Z. Smith; the latter will also be giving a talk entitled "Scotland from the air" to the Society on Thursday 6th December 2018. The event described in the poster below closes the exhibition and is an opportunity to listen to the two photographers talk about their work and to discuss it with them.

Doors Open 2018: Saturday 8th September

The Society contributed to this year's Doors Open programme in East Dunbartonshire on Saturday 8th September by its presence in the Town Hall and by hosting a guided historical walk focusing on  the railways of Kirkintilloch.

In the Town Hall, the Society provided an overview on its activities and presented a display on the ubiquitous red cast iron telephone boxes manufactured in Kirkintilloch - "The Kirkie Kiosk", curated by Don Martin, the Society's secretary. Various committee members and office bearers - Rita Bennie, David Graham, Les Jenkins, Valerie McClure and Ivan Ruddock - were also in attendance to provide information and answer visitors' questions.

The Society's stand and exhibition in Kirkintilloch's Town Hall. (© I.S.Ruddock)

In the afternoon, Don led a walk from the Town Hall to Eastside where he described the extensive railway system that Kirkintilloch could once be proud of. In the vicinity of the town's former railway station and later the Forth & Clyde canal's unique aqueduct, he explained how the railway grew from the small beginnings of the pioneering Monkland & Kirkintilloch Railway and contributed to the development of the town's iron founding industry before closing in the early 1960s with barely a trace of its existence now being visible.

Don Martin giving his introductory
remarks outiside the Town Hall prior
to leading the walk to Eastside.
(© I.S.Ruddock)

Doors Open 2018: Saturday 8th September

East Dunbartonshire's annual Doors Open Day is Saturday 8th September and Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries will again be participating - this time by means of an exhibition and a guided walk. The full programme for Doors Open and other details may be found by clicking here

"The Kirkie Kiosk" is the Society's exhibition in Kirkintilloch Town Hall (10am - 4pm)  celebrating the locally manufactured telephone boxes while at 2pm a guided walk around the site of Kirkintilloch's former railway station will leave from the Town Hall. Information on the Society's activities will be available during the exhibition.

(© EDLC and D. Martin)
(© EDLC)

Report on the Summer Outing: Saturday 2nd June 2018

On Saturday 2nd June at 1.00 pm, 33 members and guests of the Society began the journey, by coach, to the Royal Burgh of Dunfermline, travelling en route along the M9 past the Kelpies and over the Queensferry Crossing into the Kingdom of Fife. The first stop was at the Carnegie Library and Galleries which was recognised in 2017 with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award. We were welcomed, provided with maps and invited to find our way around this new facility and encouraged to spot some of the special highlights among the display of historic rare objects including a time line of 700 years of Scotland's Kings and Queens, the Meldrum Loom, the Dunfermline Gala Day painting and a cast of King Robert the Bruce’s skull.

With the weather remaining good, it was easy to appreciate from the top floors of the building the associated beautiful gardens, the sculptures of Tam O' Shanter and Souter Johnny and the magnificent views of the Abbey Church, all of which form part of Dunfermline's Heritage Quarter within easy walking distance of the Carnegie Library and Galleries. The Abbey Church was a particular attraction in part because of its royal associations but also because one's eyes were quickly drawn to the top of its tower by the large lettering of King Robert the Bruce. Time was spent inside the Abbey Church with helpful guides admiring the Tomb of King Robert, the carved pulpit and lectern, the Royal Pew and the beautiful stained glass windows. Thereafter, a short walk took one to the site of the Palace and the Pittencreiff Park but unfortunately time was limited and it was not possible to explore them fully before the group was required to walk the short distance to the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, the second principal stop of the day.

The Carnegie Birthplace Museum, Dunfermline.
(© I.S.Ruddock)
At the Museum we were welcomed by the curator and divided into groups to facilitate visits to the home and the associated museum. We learned that the Carnegie story (1835-1919) began in mid-19th century Dunfermline where his father was a handloom weaver of linen in the family home that comprised a single room with box beds on one side and cooking on an open fire. Times were hard and so the family decided to emigrate to North America where Andrew Carnegie (AC) started out as a bobbin boy and later a telegraph operator. Thereafter, with 'inside knowledge of the market' and financial help from his mother, the entrepreneurial skills of AC rapidly developed with involvement in railways, transport and communications. He then amassed a fortune in the steel industry and in the early 1900s sold the Pittsburgh Carnegie Steel Company for $480M becoming the richest American for the next few years. AC then devoted the remainder of his life to large scale philanthropy with particular emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. He was sometimes referred to as the Scottish-American millionaire socialist.

The curator (right) describing what can be seen in the main part of
the Carnegie Birthplace Museum. (© I.S.Ruddock)

A great afternoon was completed with dinner at the Elgin Hotel, Charlestown. Fife with magnificent views overlooking the Firth of Forth and its bridges. Apparently the hotel has links to Thomas Bruce (1766-1841), 7th Earl of Elgin and 11th Earl of Kincardine, nobleman, politician and diplomat known primarily for the removal of marble sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens, some small replicas of which could be seen in the hotel. Dinner was followed by the journey back to Kirkintilloch past Longannet power station and over the Kincardine Bridge. Votes of thanks were given after a most successful half day’s outing to some of Scotland's historic heritage.

Members having dinner in the Elgin Hotel. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Members about to re-board the coach after dinner. (© I.S.Ruddock)
David Graham

Presentation to The Park Centre: Thursday 12th April 2018

In 2017, the membership of the Society approved a proposal by the committee to make a donation to a deserving local charity or cause. The Park Centre's proposed purchase of a defibrillator was the overwhelming choice of the membership as it was perceived to be an asset to the community of users of the premises. 

The presentation was made to Mr David Clark of The Park Centre's Board of Directors at the Society's well attended Annual General Meeting on Thursday 12th April, 2018. In receiving the donation, Mr Clark thanked the Society but also pointed out that he hoped that it would be a long time before the defibrillator ever needs to be used! 

Dr Ivan Ruddock, the Society's President, presents a cheque to Mr David
Clark (right), a member of The Park Centre's Board of Directors, as a
contribution to the cost of its defibrillator. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Annual General Meeting: Thursday 12th April 2018

This session's Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 12th April 2018 at 7.30 pm. It is the opportunity for all members to have their say in the running of the Society. Its activities since the last AGM will be reviewed, the accounts will be presented for approval and the membership of the committee - for which nominations are sought for the current vacancies - will be confirmed.

During the course of the evening, the Society also hopes to present its contribution to the cost of The Park Centre's defibrillator to a representative of the charity. And as this is the last meeting in the 2017-18 programme, it is also a convenient opportunity to make any outstanding payments for this year's Summer Outing to Dunfermline.

The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Cottage and Museum (behind),
Dunfermline. (© I.S.Ruddock)
All evening meetings of the Society are at 7.30 pm in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF.

UPDATE: Prof. Gerard Carruthers: Editing Robert Burns for the 21st century: Thursday 1st March 2018

Due to the heavy snow caused by the "Beast from the East", the Society's  meeting on Thursday 1st March has been CANCELLED. However, the Society is pleased to announce that the talk by Prof. Gerard Carruthers is only being POSTPONED by one week and will now be delivered on THURSDAY 9th MARCH - weather permitting - in The Park Centre at the usual time of 7.30 pm.

Phone boxes, pillar boxes and others - the Lion Foundry's contribution to the visual world: Auld Kirk Museum, Barony Chambers, 2.00 pm Wednesday 7th March 2018

Each year the Society hosts an event in the programme of East Dunbartonshire's Local History Week. In 2018 it will be "Phone boxes, pillar boxes and others: the Lion Foundry's contribution to the visual world". It will be presented in The Barony Chambers at Kirkintilloch's Auld Kirk Museum on Wednesday 7th March at 2.00 pm. The presentation will aim to show the impact that the Lion Foundry has had on streetscapes in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The full Local History Week  programme can be downloaded here.

Lion Foundry products in Kirkintilloch's Peel Park. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Prof. Gerard Carruthers: Editing Robert Burns for the 21st century: Thursday 1st March 2018

Professor Gerard Carruthers holds the Francis Hutcheson Chair of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow. He is an authority on Scottish literature of the 17th-20th centuries, on which he has published many books, articles and essays. A major activity at the present time is as General Editor of the Oxford University Press multi-volume edition of the Works of Robert Burns. He has many other academic interests. In East Dunbartonshire he is well known for his research into the life of Thomas Muir of Huntershill, the prominent Scottish radical of the 1790s. He is also one of the instigators and leaders of a significant project The People's Voice, to study 'Scottish political poetry, song and the franchise, 1832-1918'.

Prof. Gerard Carruthers. (© Univ. of Glasgow)
Alexander Nasmyth's portrait of Robert Burn.
(National Galleries Scotland; photograph © I.S. Ruddock)

All evening meetings of the Society are at 7.30 pm in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF. 

Report on Members’ Night: Members' Collections: 15th February 2018

The Society’s annual Members’ Night was held on Thursday 15th February with “Members Collections” as this year’s topic. A total of twelve members contributed by bringing along items representing their collections and they made the meeting one of the most successful in recent years, despite the rather cramped space available. The evening began by the participants each being given a couple of minutes to describe their collections and how they started them. There was then three quarters of an hour for the Society's members to tour the exhibition and examine the material and engage with the exhibitors. Members' Night 2018 was rounded off in a very appropriate fashion by the Society’s guest of honour - Mr Peter McCormack, East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture's Museums Development Officer – who played the role of exhibition critic or cultural commentator. He discussed the underlying themes of the collections and linked them to his own views on collecting in an entertaining way. 
Peter McCormack addressing Members' Night.
(© I.S.Ruddock)
Below are photographs of each of the displays on show.

Family genaelogy. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Football programmes. © I.S.Ruddock)
Victorian memorabilia found during
renovation of a cottage. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Printing memorabilia. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Various small china items.(© I.S.Ruddock)
Stones and minerals. (© I.S.Ruddock)

A collection of books related to First World
War poets and poetry. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Part of a large collection of books on Arran.
(© I.S.Ruddock)
Some hand knitted figures from a large
collection. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Biographies of the WW1 casualties listed on
Coatbridge's War Memorial.
(© I.S.Ruddock)

A small sample from a large collection of
scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings.
(© I.S.Ruddock)
1950s Hornby O Gauge locomotives, rolling
stock and other items, and a selection of the
first 1000 Penguin books.(© I.S.Ruddock)

Members' Night: Thursday 15th February 2018

The annual Members' Night will be held on Thursday 15th February 2018. The theme this year is "Members' Collections" and the evening will be an opportunity for members to share, examine and talk about what has been brought along. Mr Peter McCormack, Museums Development Officer for East Dumbartonshire Learning and Culture, will be the Society's special guest for the event and will provide some personal reflections on "collecting" and "collections".

Members' Night is one of the highlights of the winter programme and it is anticipated that this year will maintain this fine tradition. 
 (© I.S.Ruddock)

 (© I.S.Ruddock)

 (© I.S.Ruddock)

All evening meetings of the Society are at 7.30 pm in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF. 

Brainworks Project

Members of Kirkintilloch and District Society of Antiquaries are invited to participate in the Brainworks Project supported by the Welcome Centre and the Carnegie Trust. Full details and contact information are given in the poster below.

Rediscovering the Antonine Wall: 12th February 2018

A consultation on the future of the Antonine Wall is being held in the afternoon and early evening of Monday 12th February 2018 in Kirkintilloch Leisure Sports Centre. Full details are given on the poster below and additional information may be obtained by contacting Colin Welsh, Managing Consultant, Jura Consultants Limited (email:, tel: 0131 440 6750).

Paul Bishop: Kirkintilloch during and after the last ice age: Thursday 1st Febuary 2018

The Last Ice Age was responsible for much of the landscape, landforms and soils we live on. As the ice ground its way from the highlands to the sea, it carved great valleys (glens) and moulded the land surface. The sea was more than 100 m lower and the Earth's crust was depressed by the great load of ice weighing it down. When the ice melted, the sea returned and the Earth's crust rose again as the weight of the ice disappeared. The land surface then started its long recovery from the deep blanketing by ice, as vegetation slowly returned to the thawing landscape. 

Prof. Paul Bishop is a geographer and has recently retired from the University of Glasgow. In this talk he explores the various lines of evidence around Kirkintilloch and nearby areas for the presence of this ancient massive ice sheet, and then shows how the landscape recovered from the deep freeze.

British ice coverage during the last ice age.
(Reproduced with the permission of the British Geological Survey
© NERC. All rights reserved.) 

Bardowie Loch - an example of a "kettle hole" created by glaciation. (© P. Bishop)
All evening meetings of the Society are at 7.30 pm in the Park Centre, 45 Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1LF.