Don Martin: The Peel of Kirkintilloch: December 2020

The third of the 'virtual' meetings in the 2020-21 season of the Antiquaries is a talk on Peel Park by Don Martin, the Society's Secretary, entitled 'The Peel of Kirkintilloch'.. 

Don is a retired librarian who is well known as a folk singer, and author and researcher of Scotland's history and its railways. In this short talk with a local theme, he outlines the history of Peel Park over the past two thousand years. 


The presentation can be viewed directly by clicking on the above image of Peel Park (copyright Edward Z Smith) or by going to the Society's YouTube channel which can be accessed by clicking here.

Ivan Ruddock: Archibald Scott Couper - Kirkintilloch's forgotten pioneer of chemistry: November 2020

The second of the 'virtual' meetings in the 2020-21 season of the Antiquaries is a talk on Archibald Scott Couper by Dr Ivan Ruddock, the Society's President. Couper was born in Kirkintilloch in 1831, had a brief career as a research chemist in the 1850s and then returned to Kirkintilloch where he died in 1892. 

Ivan is a physicist and retired academic whose research has focused on optical physics; he has also led large European physics projects, and been active in developing physics education and promoting the public understanding of science and engineering. In the short talk, he outlines Couper's life and career, and assesses his contribution to chemistry. 


This presentation with local connections lasts for less than half an hour and can be viewed directly by clicking on the above image of the Archibald Scott Couper or by going to the Society's YouTube channel which can be accessed by clicking here.

Murray Reid: What Lies Beneath: October 2020

The speaker at the first of the 'virtual' meetings in the 2020-21 season of the Antiquaries is Dr Murray Reid, a member of the Society's committee. Murray is a recently retired geologist who spent part of his spare time during lockdown investigating the geology of Kirkintilloch and its surroundings. Here he presents some of his discoveries and illustrates them with his own photographs.

The Campsies viewed from Kirkintilloch. (© J.M.Reid)

This talk on the local area lasts for just over half an hour and can be viewed directly by clicking on the above image of the Campsies or by going to the Society's YouTube channel which can be accessed by clicking here.

The Society's September 2020 Newsetter

The September 2020 edition of the Society's newsletter has recently been created and edited by committee member Valerie McClure. It gives information on the immediate plans of the Antiquaries as well as containing some items of interest to members. It can be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the image below.


The newsletter has already been circulated to those members of the Society who provided their email addresses 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 2021-22 session.

Proposed arrangements for the 2020-21 session of the Society

Following the previous post on 22nd March concerning the postponement of the 2020 Annual General Meeting, much has happened as regards the coronavirus pandemic and the Government’s response to it. With the lockdown in its early stages, it was unclear how the crisis would develop and it was thought that the meeting might be able to take place in September before the commencement of the 2020-21 session. Since then, the country has endured social distancing, self-isolation, the closure of bars, hotels, restaurants, many businesses, community venues and most shops, and the resulting furloughing of millions of employees. 

It is now apparent that social distancing, especially for vulnerable people, might well last until the end of the year and beyond; but even if eased in the autumn, it is likely that many of the Society's members will be wary of sitting shoulder to shoulder in a meeting. Obviously this is the same concern that will apply to churches, theatres, cinemas and concert venues, etc. Consequently, it is now clear that the postponed AGM and a normal programme cannot take place in the autumn. 

To address this rapidly changing situation and yet remain as flexible as possible, the Society's committee has decided to adopt the following approach: 

1. The postponed 2020 AGM will be further postponed until next spring and will be held jointly with the 2021 AGM in the spring. At this meeting, the accounts for 2019-20 and 2020-21 will be presented for approval, and the elections which would have been held this April will be combined with those due to be held next April. 

2. As definite plans cannot be made for the winter's programme, membership renewal will not take place this summer, and the 2019-20 membership will hence be extended until next summer. 

3. Depending on progress with the return to the ‘new normal', meetings will be held next spring in advance of April's AGM if and when possible - perhaps one each in February and March 2021 - although even these meetings may well require an element of social distancing thus restricting the number of attendees. 

As these updated proposals may themselves have to be modified over the coming weeks, please check here to stay informed.

UPDATE: Annual General Meeting: Thursday 9th April 2020

In line with the latest government advice on social distancing and self-isolation, the Society's Annual General Meeting, scheduled to be held on Thursday 9th April, has been postponed. It is likely that it will now be held in the early autumn before the start of the 2020-21 programme, provisionally on Thursday 3rd September. A notice will be circulated in the late summer to confirm the new date.

UPDATE: Tommy Lawton: The Forth and Clyde Canal - Past, Present and Future: Auld Kirk Museum, Barony Chambers, 2.00 pm Wednesday 18th March 2020

In the light of the most recent guidance that older people should self-isolate and unnecessary social interaction should be avoided, the Society's contribution to EDLC's Local History Month on Wednesday 18th March has unfortunately had to be cancelled. It is hoped that this talk on the Forth and Clyde Canal will be given on another occasion.

Tommy Lawton: The Forth and Clyde Canal - Past, Present and Future: Auld Kirk Museum, Barony Chambers, 2.00 pm Wednesday 18th March 2020

Each year the Society hosts an event in the programme of East Dunbartonshire's Local History Week or Month. In 2020, Tommy Lawton of the Forth and Clyde Society will present "The Forth and Clyde Canal - Past, Present and Future'. The meeting will be held in The Barony Chambers at Kirkintilloch's Auld Kirk Museum on Wednesday 18th March at 2.00 pm and members and non-members of the Society are all welcome.

A vintage steam boat participating in the 10th anniversary of the reopening of
the Forth & Clyde Canal on 24 September 2011. (© I S Ruddock)
A one third scale replica of a Clyde puffer seen near Kirkintilloch during the
10th anniversary of the reopening of the Forth & Clyde Canal on
24 September 2011. (© I S Ruddock)

James Kennedy: The Spanish Influenza Pandemic in Scotland: Thursday 5th March 2020

The last talk of the 2019-20 session is also coincidentally the most topical in the light of the worldwide threat from the recently identified coronavirus. James Kennedy, a former nurse, is a Scottish authority on the 1918-20 'Spanish' flu pandemic; he has written and lectured extensively on this subject and the Society is fortunate to have him as guest speaker at its March meeting.

A contemporary poster with similar advice to that being issued by
health authorities in 2020. (© The Red Cross)

A ward in an emergency hospital. (© The National Museum of Health and Medicine)

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 evening events but a donation of £3 is requested.

Presentation to Contact Point: Thursday 20th February 2020

At the 2019 AGM, the membership of the Society approved a proposal by the committee to make a donation to a deserving local charity. Contact Point was the preferred choice on account of its work among the special needs adults of the community.

The presentation was made at the beginning of Members' Night on Thursday 20th February 2020 to Mrs Christine Davis who represented the charity. In receiving the donation, Mrs Davis thanked the Society and described the work of Contact Point and how the donation would help in the running of the Coffee Clubs.

Dr Ivan Ruddock, the Society's President, presents a cheque to
Mrs Christine Davis representing Contact Point as a contribution
to the running costs  of the charity. (© I.S.Ruddock)

Report on Members' Night: A Favourite or Interesting or Significant Book: Thursday 20th February 2020

The Society's annual Members' Night was held on Thursday 20th February with 'A Favourite or Interesting or Significant Book' as its theme. Eight members participated with each speaking for eight to ten minutes on their choice of book and they made the evening an enjoyable event, as is always the case with Members' Night.

The eight books fell into the following broad categories - two on the Scottish landscape and outdoor activities, one on the history of a nearby locality, three novels, one a collection of pieces of journalism and one a Bible commentary. 

'Mountain, Moor and Loch' is a profusely illustrated 1895 guide to the route of the recently opened  West Highland Railway while 'Hamish's Mountain Walk' is the inspiring account of Hamish Brown's successful attempt in the summer of 1974 to climb all of the Munros in a single continuous expedition. 'The Parish of Campsie' is an account of all aspects of the Campsie area by local historian John Cameron and published in Kirkintilloch in 1892. 


The three novels were chosen for different reasons - 'The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul' by Deborah Rodriguez because of its description of the challenges faced by women in Afghanistan; 'The Notting Hill Mystery' by Charles Warren Adams because it might be the first detective novel and that its true authorship is a mystery; 'The Affair at Invergarroch' by Michael Elder because not only is it a good read as a children's book, but also that the author himself was only seventeen years of age when he wrote it. 



Dannie Abse's 'Journals from the Ant-Heap' is a collection of amusing anecdotes from when he wrote for national newspapers as well as being a physician and acclaimed poet. The most physically impressive choice at Members' Night was a three volume nineteenth century Biblical Commentary, i.e. a cross-referenced Bible. What made this particularly interesting was that the set had been presented in 1877 to Mr and Mrs Thomas Coats of the Paisley mill owning family by the minister of Sannox church on Arran; this previously redundant church is currently being developed as a Christian centre by a group including the member whose choice this was.


Members' Night: A Favourite or Significant Book: Thursday 20th February 2020

The theme of this year's Members' Night is "A Favourite or Significant Book", interpreted in whichever way the participants wish. In other words, the book concerned could one that has been enjoyed and could be recommended or is of great literary importance or is even one that has been disliked. The format of the evening will be as in previous years - each contributor has the opportunity of speaking on his or her topic for about five minutes with or without illustrations. 

 (© I.S.Ruddock)

If you are thinking of contributing, please let Ivan Ruddock know of your intention, and if you wish to have some images included in the composite PowerPoint presentation, please send them using the Society's email address that can be found under "Contact Us".

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 evening events but a donation of £3 is requested.

Carol Primrose: From Romans to Rabbits - the Cawder Estate: Thursday 6th February 2020

Local historian Carol Primrose will talk on the history of the Cawder Estate, Bishopbriggs. It is currently the home of Cawder Golf Club with Cawder House its clubhouse, but it also includes major artifacts from previous eras such as the Antonine Wall which crosses it and the Forth and Clyde Canal which skirts its southeastern boundary. In the early 1800s, Charles Stirling, owner of the Cawder Estate, commissioned the prolific nineteenth century Scottish architect David Hamilton to improve the estate and redesign Cawder House in the form visible today.

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 evening events but a donation of £3 is requested.