Kirkintilloch in old picture postcards

Kirkintilloch in old picture postcards

:   Don Martin
:   Dunbartonshire, East
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2999-2
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Kirkintilloch in old picture postcards'

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An examination of the history of Kirkintilloch convenient1y begins with the Roman era, when an Antonine Wall fort was established in the locality. The Antonine Wall was built about 142 or 143 A.D. to further contain some of Britain's aggressive northern tribes who had previously been hemmed in by Hadrian's Wall, further south. The name 'Kirkintilloch' would not have been known to the Romans. In its original forrn, 'Caerpentaloch', meaning 'the stronghold at the head of the ridge", it is part1y P-Celtic and partly Q-Celtic and as such probably dates to the seventh or eight century A.D., when the Q-Celtic speaking Scots from Ireland were beginning to replace the native P-Celtic speaking Strathc1yde Britons in the Forth-Clyde valley. Very litt1e is known about this Dark Age era in Kirkintilloch. With the commencement of the mediaeval period, however, the picture becomes a litt1e c1earer. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries local power was vested in the prominent Comyn family, possessors of territory in many parts of Scotland. The Comyns were responsible for establishing a parish church at the Auld Aisle and a cast1e at the Peel. In October 1211 King William the Lion granted the liberty of a burgh ofbarony at Kirkintilloch to William Comyn. The fundamental right to hold a weekly market was thus established at a very early date. The Comyns fell from favour during the reign of Robert the Bruce and were supplanted as feudal barons locally by the Fleming family. During the fourteenth century the Flemings arranged for the transfer of the barony, which extended from Kirkintilloch to Cum bernauld and was known as 'Lenzie', from Stirlingshire to Dunbartonshire, forming a detached portion of the latter.

The old ecc1esiastical parish was also known as 'Lenzie'. The parish church remained at the Auld Aisle until it was superseded by a new church (which later came to be known as 'The Auld Kirk') at Kirkintilloch Cross, in 1644. Five years later, by decree of the Commissioners for the Plantation of Kirks, the old parish of Lenzie was divided, to form two new parishes, Easter Lenzie and Wester Lenzie. The church at the Cross then became the Parish Church of Wester Lenzie, later Kirkintilloch. 1t was superseded as Parish Church of Kirkintilloch by new St. Mary's beside the Canal, in 1914, and is now part of the local museum. By the seventeenth century control of Kirkintilloch Burgh was in the hands of proprietors of the Newland Mailings - the landward parts of the burgh. These proprietors met once a year to elect two bailies, who in turn held courts at which they could fine, imprison or banish offenders from the burgh. At a later date assistants were appointed to help the bailies and these eventually developed into a kind of Town Council. There was no real democracy, however, until the nineteenth century. An elected body of Police Commissioners, with responsibilities for policing, lighting and cleansing, was established in 1836. This was in turn superseded by a further body of Police Commissioners, with far greater powers, in 1871. The 1871 Police Commissioners were headed by a Provo st and soon came to be known as the 'Town Council'. The old council, elected by the Newland Mailing proprietors, remained in existence and were usually referred to as the 'Old Town Council' for purposes of distinction. They lasted untill908.

During the post-mediaeval period Kirkintilloch became more

and more concerned with the manufacture of linen cloth. Flax was grown in many local fields; after harvesting it was put through the various complexities of preparation; it was then spun into linen yam and woven into linen cloth. A specialised market was held at Eastside. A most important event was the opening of the first stretch of the Forth & Clyde Canal, from the Forth to Kirkintilloch, in 1773. The town was then perhaps entitled to be described as 'Scotland's fust inland port'. Half a century later it became one of Scotlaud's first railway terminals when the Monkland & Kirkintilloch, the second public railway in Scotland, was opened (in 1826). Around this period Kirkintilloch's first foundry, the Old Foundry, was opened. Three further foundries, the Star Foundry, the Basin Foundry and the Lion Foundry, were opened later in the nineteenth century. All were situated close to the Canal bank in positions where they were able to take advantage of both water and rail transportation. Linen manufacture was almost entirely superseded by cotton early in the nineteenth century. Handloom weaving went from strength to strength in the town at this period, until by the late 1830s there were more hand-looms in the town than in any other in the west of Scotland, excepting only Glasgow and Paisley. Power-loom weaving was not established until the second half of the nineteenth century, but it lasted well into the twentieth. Handloom weaving had almost died out by the turn of the century, though the odd weaver could still be found down to about 1920. Other important industries to be established during the nineteenth century included coalmining and boatbuilding.

An important early-twentieth century issue had a considerable effect on the appearance of the town. Under the provisions of the Temperanee (Scotland) Act of 1913 local electors were entitled to vote in a 'Local Veto Poll' to decide on the level of licensing to be permitted in the community. A poll was held in Kirkintilloch on 2nd November 1920 and resulted in a substantial majority for 'No license'. Eight of the local publicans hopefully applied for renewal of license in April 1921, but all were refused. The last ten public houses of the old order closed for good on 27th May 1921 and thereafter no alcohol was on public sale in the town for nearly half a century. An unfortunate effect was the disappearance of Kirkintilloch's old inns, some of which had considerable character.

All of the photographs in this volume are from Strathkelvin District Libraries & Museums Collection, located at the William Patriek Library, Kirkintilloch. The Libraries Department is indebted to the many local people who have donated postcards and other types of illustration, or loaned them for copying, Those who have helped in this way are too numerous to list in detail, though Miss Jane Fleteher, MI. Robert Keown, MI. James Leitch and the late Mr. Isaac Black deserve special mention. Kirkintilloch Camera Club have also supplied numerous photographs. During the last few years the Libraties & Museums Collection has grown at an everincreasing speed and it is hoped that local people will continue to help with it in the same way as they have in the past.

1. High Street, looking west, in 1874. Kirkintilloch High Street is sometimes referred to as 'East High Street', but the shorter name is more correct. Unquestionably the original main street of the town, it doubtless continued up Peel Brae to the castle at the Peel, during its earliest days, West High Street would have been of secondary importance, probably of later date. Apart from the old Crown Inn property, high up on the right hand side, all buildings shown have now gone.

2. High Street, looking west, about 1895. At the top of the hill can be seen two of Kirkintilloch's old inns, the 'Black Bull', with large sign outside, and the 'Crown', just beyond. The horse-drawn bakers van is from Kirming Park, on the south side of G1asgow. The two properties on the extreme right were demolished during August-September 1984.

3. Luggie Bridge, about 1880: view looking west, with High Street beyond. Because of the treacherous nature of Luggie Water at certain seasons, a bridge was necessary here at an early period when fords sufficed for most Scottish river crossings. Kirkintilloch lay on one of the main east-west packhorse routes across Scotland and the packmen relied on this bridge for the free flow of their trade. The bridge has been rebuilt on many occasions, most recent1y during the early 1880s, not long after this photograph was taken.

4. The Black Bull Inn, High Street, about 1910. The 'Black Bull' was one of Kirkintilloch's old inns which ceased to function in 1921 when the sale of alcohol was prohibited in the town. As weU as the usual licensed provision it had a large functions room which was heavily used by local organisations during the period before there was any public hall in the town. The Black Bull Inn had held its license since 1731, it was said, but this did not save it from demolition when the town went 'dry', The 'Black Bull' designation was perpetuated by a cinema of the name on the same site (now a Bingo Hall).

5. 'Life-boat Saturday' parade in High Street, looking east from the Black Bull Inn. The Life-boat Saturday parade was an annual event, but this is probably that of 14th September 1901, when a special effort was made. Contingents of cyclists left Kilsyth, Bishopbriggs, Lenzie, Chryston, Lennoxtown and Milton of Campsie at times between 2.20 and 2.40 p.m. They then proceeded to Peel Park, from where the main procession departed at 3.00. It went on via West High Street, Glasgow Road, Broomhill Gate, East High Street and Cowgate to Lenzie, retuming by way of Gamgaber and Moncrieff avenues to Dalrymple's Woodhead Park. The thatched houses on the right were demolished in 1904.

6. High Street, looking east from the Black Bull Inn, about 1905. This photograph ean readily be dated from the photographic evidence. The old thatched cottages in the previous picture (described in the 'Kirkintilloch Herald' of the period as an eye-sorel) were swept away in April 1904. They do not appear in this view, but neither do the Conservative Rooms, erected on the same site in 1906. The character of High Street is once again due to undergo drastic change. Ir current plans are carried out a new road will cut across it here at right angles, on a different level, effectively destroying the continuity of this ancient thoroughfare.

7. Road junction at 'The Cross', about 1895: view looking east into High Street, showing the B1ack Bull Inn. The street going off to the right is Cowgate. The old market cross, which once stood here, was knocked down by young miscreants in the year 1815. The broken stone was removed to the bed of the Luggie Water, supposed1y for safe keeping, but eventually all trace of it was lost.

and Victoria Park, Kirk intilloch

8. Glasgow Road, about 1905: view looking east, into West High Street. On the right is the 'Washington', another of Kirkintilloeh's old inns, whieh like the 'Black Bull' had a meeting hall attaehed. After the town was voted 'dry' in 1920 the Washington innkeeper, Thomas Pate, did not attempt to have his lieense renewed, unlike most of the other local publieans. He retired with dignity and closed his doors on Friday 27th May 1921. The inn still stands today, oceupied as a dwelling house.

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