These are brief summaries of recent articles added to the website
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The Heritage Society held an Open Afternoon on Saturday 21st. May in Rutherglen Library. We had missed holding this event for the past two years due to Covid. The event was part of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Libraries Local Heritage Month.
We did an illustrated blog entry about the Open Afternoon. Click here to see how the day went.
Histories of Malls Mire and Cuningar Loop
At the Open Afternoon, we displayed some local history information which we supplied to Clyde Gateway in connection with their creation of the new mixed-use community park at Malls Mire and development of the existing park at Cuningar Loop. The information is intended for display on interpretation boards to be placed at these two heritage sites.
Our Annual Report
The Heritage Society's 2022 AGM was held on 28th. April at which the Convener's annual report was submitted to the members.
The Society had a busy and varied year despite Covid restrictions. This illustrated report summarises the diverse activities which we undertook in the 12 months to the end of March 2022.
We have put a copy of the report on the website for you to read. Click here.
Cpl. Robert Horsburgh Robertson: Dead Man's Penny
We were very happy to help Patricia Davies from Hamilton find a fitting home for a memorial plaque commemorating the death of a local man in the First World War. The story of Cpl. Robertson's Dead Man's Penny which appeared recently in the Rutherglen Reformer was contributed by us, and we have expanded it into a feature for the website. Click here to read this article.
The Castles of Rutherglen and Cambuslang
This is a tour around the sites of the castles of Rutherglen and Cambuslang, including Farme, Rutherglen, Drumsargard and Gilbertfield. Using historical texts together with archive maps and photographs, we find out something of the history of those castles as well as the stories of the people who once lived within their ancient walls. Click here to read this article.
More blogs added to the website this month, reporting on the Society's recent activities:
The first is about an illustrated talk given by two of our members, Bob McDonald and Colin Findlay, to the ASDAN adult learning group on the history of coal mining in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. Click here to read about that.
The second blog is about the launch of a book in Rutherglen Library, written by Bob and Colin on the same theme entitled A History of Coal Mining in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. Click here to see that blog.
A busy few weeks for Bob and Colin were rounded off by their attendance on behalf of the Society at the launch of the Hope Sculpture at Cuningar Loop on 8th. December. Click here to go to that blog.
We are grateful to Crawford Smith for sending us some business papers belonging to his grandfather Wylie Shields who ran a joinery business in Rutherglen for many years. These papers, dating back to the 1930s, provide a fascinating insight into the day-to-day workings of a local business in the inter-war years. We were able to build up a more detailed picture of Wylie Shields with additional information supplied by Crawford, together with a little research of our own. We also reveal the identity of the little girl pictured in one of the most memorable photographs in the book Rutherglen Lore! Click here to read that article.
We've posted some blogs on the website reporting on the Society's recent activities. Two are in connection with our involvement with a group of local adults who we are assisting with their local history course. Click here to read about the talks we have given to the group so far, and click here to find out about the group's visit to some of Rutherglen's boundary stones.
The third blog is about a tour of Rutherglen Cemetery led by representatives of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which we arranged for members of the Society to coincide with Remembrance Day this year. Click here to read about that.
Jean Baptiste Toner
An addition to our Famous and Notable Ruglonians section. In the years between the two World Wars, Mr. Toner was a well-known pianist, giving recitals on BBC radio. Here, we follow his progress from Rutherglen to London and then America as he pursued his musical education and career.
Speedway at Shawfield Stadium
Traditionally the home of Clyde FC, the stadium also hosted the Glasgow Tigers speedway team between 1988 and 1998. Here, Jim Henry, who was Clerk of the Course at Shawfield in the 1990s, tells us the history of speedway at the stadium during those years. Many thanks to Jim for submitting this article and for the excellent photos which illustrate it.
The Burgh Cup - updated
We started this page last November using information provided by the late David Jackson, the Burgh Cup's foremost historian. At that time, we asked for other Burgh Cup memories which we could add to the feature. Many thanks to those subscribers to this website and to the Auld Rutherglen Facebook page who sent us their wonderful Burgh Cup memories and photos. These have now been added to the Burgh Cup page. These new contributions cover the period from 1947 to 1990, the penultimate year in which the cup was contested.
Seath's Pocket Watch
This is the fascinating story behind an engraved gold pocket watch presented to Thomas B. Seath of Rutherglen shipyard, by an appreciative Victorian customer.
The article includes some splendid photos of the pocket watch, now a treasured family heirloom, a brief biography of Seath's flamboyant customer and a description of the luxury yacht, the building of which prompted the gift of the pocket watch.
The Jasper Brown Boundary Stones Project
Rutherglen Heritage Society has been researching and recording the stones which marked the ancient boundary of the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen for some years. In 2019, Hamilton Museum allowed us to make a copy of a notebook in their collection written by Jasper Brown, Rutherglen's Town Officer in the 1920s. In this notebook, Mr. Brown had recorded the location and condition of the boundary stones which were found at the reddings, or inspections, of the Royalty boundary in 1923 and 1926.
By tradition, boundary stones were placed around the Royalty boundary by local burgesses. This practice had its origins in the town perhaps as far back as the foundation of the Royal Burgh in 1126. A large number of these ancient stones had disappeared by the time Mr. Brown compiled his notebook, and many more have vanished in the years since then.
Obtaining a copy of Mr. Brown's notebook prompted us to deepen our research into the boundary stones, and to explore the lives of some of the burgesses whose initials they bear. The notebook also provides a fascinating glimpse of how parts of Rutherglen looked almost 100 years ago. We visit some of those locations, comparing Mr. Brown's descriptions with how these places look today.
We have pulled this new research together on a web page, adding archive maps and photographs to illustrate the text, along with excerpts from Mr. Brown's notebook. We have also included an interactive Google Map of Rutherglen on which we've plotted the location of boundary stones.
We're very grateful to Ian Young for these two contributions. Ian lived for many years in Kingsheath Avenue, attending Bankhead Primary and Rutherglen Academy. He now lives in Edinburgh.
Rutherglen Academy Ballads Club
Ian shares his memories of Rutherglen Academy's Ballads Club. Founded by teacher and future MP Norman Buchan in 1957, and led in turn by Ian Davison and Adam McNaughtan, the Ballads Club inspired a lifelong love of performing folk music in Ian and like-minded schoolmates. It also led to his encounters with such folk music luminaries as Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger and Billy Connolly.
Late Extra! Extra Final!
Ian's paper round in King's Park the 1950s and 1960s, helped pay for his first guitars (and his Third Lanark season ticket!) Here, he recalls the joys and tribulations of his youthful labours which took him back and forth across the boundary between Glasgow and Rutherglen, at a time when people read far more printed newspapers than today. Ian also tells of his time as a grocery delivery boy.
Sgt. John Brown Wishart, DCM
We're much obliged to Jean Wilson for sharing with us the remarkable story of her father's cousin, a Rutherglen-born hero of the Great War. What perhaps he lacked in stature, he more than made up for in courage. Decorated for his bravery under fire, he settled quietly and modestly back into civilian life after his wartime exploits.
Bottles and Jelly Jars
Collecting empty bottles and jam (jelly) jars was a favourite way for children to raise money in times gone by. Here, Stuart McNab recalls the joys and hazards of this enterprise with Carol Foreman.
Many Ruglonians will have known David who sadly passed away earlier this month. David was a great authority on the history of Rutherglen, and we put this piece together as a tribute to him.
The Burgh Cup
Among David Jackson's most treasured possessions was a Burgh Cup winners medal from 1958. Here, David provides a brief history and some personal memories of the cup which was contested by Rutherglen's primary school football teams from 1910 until the early 1990s.
We need your help to expand this item. Do you have any Burgh Cup recollections, photographs or press cuttings which you could let us have to add to this article? If you or anyone you know have memories of playing in the Burgh Cup, please let us know and we'll add those stories to this feature. You can contact us about this through the website.
Continuing the sporting theme, this is the remarkable story of Archie Jackson, 'Cricket's Tragic Genius'. Born in Rutherglen in 1909, he emigrated to Australia for whom he played two test series against England. Dying at an early age, Jackson was often compared to his teammate, Don Bradman.
These major events in the town's calendar took place in Rutherglen's wide Main Street for several hundred years until the early 1900s, attended by horse traders from all parts of Scotland and beyond. The fairs were widely recorded in history books and in newspapers of the time. Some of these accounts are reproduced in this illustrated feature.
Toryglen Boundary Stones
In early September, three of us went on a boundary stones hunt in Toryglen, historical maps having told us that some had been placed along the course of the Malls Mire Burn which marked the western boundary of the Royal Burgh. Find out how we got on in this blog.
Read about the rise and fall of this Victorian publican and local 'character', who upset his tee-total neighbours (and the law!) by selling alcohol at his hostelry in Cathcart Road to thirsty customers on the Sabbath.
Bankhead Pond Memories
Stuart McNab shares his recollections of childhood visits to this much-loved local bathing spot in the 1950s. The article features archive and current photos of the pond.
Overtoun Park Bandstand
Historian Carol Foreman gives us an illustrated history of this local landmark, describes its travels to garden festivals in the 1980s, notes the changes to its colour scheme over the years, and highlights its present poor condition. Contains some rarely seen photographs.
Background map by Charles Ross, 1773, reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland