Helensburgh in old picture postcards volume 2

Helensburgh in old picture postcards volume 2

:   Patricia M. Drayton
:   Strathclyde
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-4875-7
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

Levertijd: 2-3 weken (onder voorbehoud). Het getoonde omslag kan afwijken.


Fragmenten uit het boek 'Helensburgh in old picture postcards volume 2'

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Towards the end of the 18th century Sir James Colquhoun decided to establish a new town. It was at the time of the Industrial Revolution and he thought he would attract bonnet makers and weavers who would become the foundation of a small textile industry. The following advertisernent was inserted in the Glasgow Journal Notiee. To be feued immediately for building purposes at a very reasonable rate a considerable piece of land upon the shores of Matig opposite Greenoek; the land lies on both sides of the road leading from Dumbarton to the Kirk of Row. The ground to be regularly laid out for houses and gardens, to be built aeeording to a plan. There is a [reestone quarry on the ground.

The word 'Malig' or 'Millig' means corn-rnill. The village was bounded on the west by the Glenan Bum and on the east by the Millig Burn. It extended northward to the mill which was situated in what is now the lower part of the Hermitage Park. The mill-pond was where the putting green is today.

The inducements offered in the advertisement did not produce the expected workers and for several years no feus were taken up. A disappointed Sir James then decided to create a residential town. He had a distinctive plan, drawn up by himself using a ruler and the development was kept strictly within these lines. The Town Council engaged a MI. Peter Fleming from Glasgow to plan the feus. The streets were to follow the grid-iron pattern and be laid 60ft. wide. They were to lead up from the shore, be turfed with grass and planted with trees. Many yew trees were planred and one old tree still remains and is situated at the top of Glasgow Street. It says much for the power and influence of the Laird that he succeeded in carrying out his plan because at this time the Government Departments insisted that a width of 30ft. was sufficient. The feus were rectangular sites and the houses built two or four per acre.

Sir James wanted to give his wife, Lady Helen Sutherland a special birthday gift, so he named the infant town in her hon-

our. The town coat of arms is a combination of the crests of the two families, the Colquhouns and the Sutherlands,

In 1802 the town was created a free Burgh of Barony by Royal Charter and was controlled by a Provost, three Bailies, and four Councillors. The first elected Provost was Henry Bell of steamship fame. This was a lucky choice for Helensburgh as Bell was an ingenious and imaginative man. Under rus skilful guidance the town began to take shape. When rus steamship 'Cornet' was launched in 1812 it made steam communication between Glasgow and Greenock possible.

At the beginning of the century Helensburgh was encircled by farms. Easterton, Glenan, Kirkmichael, Millig, Stuckleckie Woodend, Monabrook and Drumfork. Today only Drumfork remains. In 1844 gas was introduced to the town by a private company; it was installed in houses and streets and for some years Helensburgh enjoyed the cheapest gas supply in Scotland. By 1868 Henry Bell saw his brilliant idea for a Mains Reservoir put into operation bringing a water supply to houses and commercial premises. Before that water came from three wells, One in Luss Road, another on the corner of Princes Street opposite the Railway Station and the third ne ar the Old Parish Church on Clyde Street. The coming of the Dumbarton, Glasgow and Helensburgh Railway in 1857 really put Helensburgh on the map, both as a holiday resort and a dormitory town. The trains were cleaner and faster and much more reliable than the steamers, as they were not dependent on weather conditions. The town began to attract not only holiday makers but people wishing to make their home there. The large feus, wide streets and superb view of the River Clyde made wealthy business families see Helensburgh as an attractive alternative to the noise and grime of the city. The breadwinners could easily commute daily to and from their businesses and at the weekend they would enjoy the fresh air and tranquility of the pleasant country town. Owing to the generosity of the wealthy residents Helens-

burgh had many facilities for sport and recreation. Kidston Park, complete with fountain and bandstand, was the gift of the Colquhoun family and Provost Kidston. The tennis court in West Princes Street was laid out in a field presented by Provost Breingan, who also donated the bandstand which stood on the common ground east of the Pier. Sir James Colquhoun gave ground at the top of Sinclair Street on which the Skating Pond was created, The High Bowling Green was also on land rented for a small annual payment of 10/- by the same benefactor . Land was acquired from Kirkmichael farm to lay out the golf course, 9 holes at first and later extended to 18 holes. The outdoor swimming pool was the gift of Provost Andrew Buchanan, known locally as 'Sweetie Buchanan' to distinguish hirn from another wealthy resident 'Whisky Buchanan'. The Iormer was a manufacturer of confectionery and the latter owned a firrn making Scotland's favourite drink.

The town became known as the 'Garden City of the Firth of Clyde', it had its share of fameus names, Henry Bell, pioneer of steam navigation and the tewn's first Provost. The Prime Minister who succeeded Lloyd George was Andrew Bonar Law, a son of the Manse, bom in Canada but brought up in Helensburgh. Another son of the Manse was John Logie Baird, the inventor of television, and his boyhood chum and lifelong friend Jack Buchanan, star of stage and screen, both natives of the town and educated locally at Larchfield School. Sir J.G. Fraser, anthropologist and author of 'The Golden Bough', Sir J.D. Hoeker, botanist and founder of Kew Gardens, film favourite Deborah Kerr, and authors A.J. Cronin, J.J. Bell, James Bridie, George Blake, Neil Munro, and Helen MacInnes.

Helensburgh today combines the charm of a country town with quick easy access to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Sinclair Street leads frorn the seafront over the hili to Loch Lomond and the picturesque little village of Luss. Helensburgh has

some of the finest. most interesting and varied exarnples of domestic architecture in the west of Scotland. Many of the villas and mansion houses are the work of architects of the calibre of William Leiper , A.N. Paterson, Alexander (Greek) Thomson, Baillie-Scott and, of course, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh's 'HilI House' is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland and is open to the public throughout the year. It attracts thousands of visitors to the town from all over the world. Some of the local council houses were designed by J.G. Weekes, who was responsible for a great number of council housing in the thirties, The ones at Ardencaple Quadrant in Helensburgh are considered to be among his best.

Helensburgh has splendid modern shops and a wide range of recreational facilities. Visitors can be sure of enjoying whatever kind of holiday they wish, restful or energetic, the choice is theirs.

At the height of the postcard craze cards were being posted at the rate of 500 million per year. Postage was only one half penny. The cards were used for sending messages, much as we use the telephone today. Rich and poor alike wanted to keep a record of their holidays and away days. Most homes had a postcard album which they kept in the Parlour always ready to be shown to visitors. Views of towns and villages of fifty and sixty years ago are much in demand today, they show what many pi aces looked like before they were bulldozed to make way for motorways and modern buildings. These cards are eagerly collected by historians who see in them a means of recording past events which would otherwise be lost to future generations.

The use of a magnifying glass helps to bring out the smallest detail on the cards and adds greatly to the enjoyment of a booklike this.

1. This charming, delicately coloured card dated 1906 features West Princes Streel. On the left is the General Post Office building, built in 1893. The milk cart seen travelling westward probably belonged to one of the local farmers, many of them supplemented their income with a daily milk delivery; they also sold butter and eggs. This cart has three churns, two for sweet milk and one for buttennilk. The chums were aften most attractive being made of highly polished wood, with a large brass tap under which the customers could hold their jug or can to be filled with the amount of rnilk required. Most farmers had a big bell to ring as they went along to let their customers know when they were in the area. Travelling in the opposite direction is a handsome vintage car. The driver is wearing a warm coat and cap.

2. This card is one of the famous 'Oilette series' produced by Tuck. These cards were beautiful!ittle miniature oil paintings by wellknown artists. This one, signed by the artist H.B. Wimbush. is a collectors' item. The !ittle 'potted history' on the back of the card reads as follows: Helensburgh, Gare/och. Helensburgn stands near the entrance of the Gareloch, almast opposite the Duke of Argyll's Castle of Rosneath. It is a pleasant little watering place, the terminus of 2 important railway lines and has a Castle of its own, Ardencaple, formerly the residence of Chief Macaulay of that ilk. The first traffic steamer in the three kingdoms started plying between Helensburgh and Glasgow in 1812. Rosneath CastIe was demolished in 1961. The grounds are now used as a holiday and residential caravan site. Ardencaple Castie was demolished in 1959.

3. This McCulloch card shows 'The Hermitage' when it was the private residence of the wealthy Cramb family. The three brothers and a sister sold part of their front garden on East Argyle Street in 1880 to be the site of a school which was to be known as Hermitage School. Later they presented the School Board with an adjoining piece of ground for use as a playing field. A wrought-iron arch commemorated the gift and the playing field was called Cramb Park. The arch and gates were removed about the time the school building was demolished and a modern building erected on the site to serve as a Primary School only, The senior pupils moved into a new purpose built school at Colgrain in 1966.

4. West Clyde Street in 1902. This card, produced by Valentine of Dundee, is an undivided back. This means that only the address can be written there, the message has to be fitted around the picture on the front of the card. The head of the pier can be seen, also the back of the Weigh Bridge. This was a very busy little office which handled all the cargo unloaded from the ships which called at the pier, as weil as goods brought down from the railway station by the badge porters. From 1844 these porters were licensed by the magistrates and had to wear a brass badge with their licensed number on it on their jacket lapel. It was an offence to act as a porter without being licensed. Coal merchants also had to have their coal sacks weighed at this office. The pierhead entrance was designed by Robert Wemyss, who also designed the Registry Office on West King Street and a few other buildings in the town. The flagpole is prominent on the card and a couple can be seen strolling on the West Esplanade just beyond the pier.

Municipai BUildii>ea, H_I_



5. This card is one of Davidsoa's Real Photograph series. It gives a clear picture of the Municipal Buildings. This fine sandstone building was designed by John Honeyman. Honeyman was a partner in the firm of Honeyman and Keppie of Glasgow. This firm employed young Charles Rennie Mackintosh at the beginning of his career. The building is baronial in style, with turrets and crow stepped gables. It stands on the site of the old town hall which had been a converted theatre divided up inside to accommodate the council chambers, court hall and police office. In 1908 the council invited local architect A.N. Paterson to design an extension to this building. This was built at the back of the old building and faced on to Sinclair Street. There is a stone image of Henry Bell, the town's first Provost, above the door of the main building. The police office was closed some years ago and the force moved to new purpose built buildings on East King Street.

6. This colourful card has a Macduff tartan border intermixed with purpie thistles and the town's coat of arms. The centre of the card is rather garishly coloured in browns and greens. It shows the band stand and Old Parish Church clock tower. Note the large car with its uniformed chauffeur and weil dressed lady passenger coming down from Sinclair Street. The date is 1906.

7. T.W. White of Dundee produced this card which shows part of Hermitage Park. In 1911 the town council bought 'The Hermitage' (see card no. 3) from the Cramb family for f3,750 and developed it as a public park. Hermitage House, as it became known, can be seen on the left ofthe card. The old house has been put to many different uses over the years, during the First World War it was a busy Auxiliary Hospital caring for wounded and convalescent servicemen. Then it became an annexe to Hermitage School until their new Primary School was ready for use in 1926. At the time this card was produced it was being used by the Parks Department as a store and workshop. The dorned top of the war memorial can also be seen on the card.

8. This card was printed by Macneur and Bryden of Helensburgh. It shows Colquhoun Street in cherry blossom time. The blossom when in full bioom is an unforgettable sight. Recentlya visiting Professor of Architecture from Japan was enchanted by the display. He said that his country was known world wide as 'the land of the cherry blossom' but he had never seen such a magnificent display as Helensburgh provided. The trees were first planted by Doctor Ewing Hunter to mark his time with the town council. At first they were edibie cherry, but this proved to be too great a temptation to the local schoolchildren and they had to be uprooted and the flowering variety planted in their place. The good doctor also planted Laburnum trees right up Sinclair Street but one small boy ate a pod and almost died as a result, the pods being deadIy poison, so these also had to be uprooted. It seemed an odd mistake for a medical man to have made.

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