Sense of Place event put the focus on town’s proud past


MORE than 100 people enjoyed a fascinating insight into Kirkintilloch’s past at a recent event to mark the 800th anniversary of the town becoming a Barony Burgh.

The ‘Sense of Place’ event was organised by Kirkintilloch & District Society of Antiquaries and took place at St Ninian’s High School.

The keynote talk on ‘A Sense of Place’ was provided by Peter McCormack, East Dunbartonshire’s Museums Development Officer. Peter explained that a sense of place could be achieved by examining museum objects, but also through local literature, including poetry.

He suggested that Kirky folk should never forget the quality of our nineteenth century poet David Gray, who would surely have attained much greater fame if he had not died at a young age.

Peter was followed by Don Martin, who explained why he believed that the town’s claim to be “Scotland’s Canal Capital” is a valid one. No other town centre has the close relationship with its canal that Kirkintilloch has. No other town had such a varied range of canal activity in its history. No other Scottish town achieved such a reputation for canal boatbuilding.

Bill Black then described some aspects of Kirkintilloch’s industrial history, beginning with the linen industry of the eighteenth century and earlier.

When linen was superseded by cotton, Kirkintilloch gained a reputation for the specialised manufacture of ‘lappet muslins’ - cotton cloth with raised floral decoration, much of it for export. Bill then emphasised the comprehensiveness of the range of manufactured products of the local iron founding industry with a selection of excellent illustrations, including his own beautiful photograph of the surviving County Arcade in Leeds.

The meeting concluded with an excellent presentation of ‘Kirkintilloch in Film’ by Liam Paterson of the Scottish Screen Archive.

The use of a large screen to display footage of early and mid-twentieth century life highlighted the wealth of forgotten detail that is not always obvious in still photographs.

The meeting was chaired by television journalist Elizabeth Quigley, who had spent her childhood years in Kirkintilloch and Lenzie and was educated at local schools. Her relaxed and friendly manner set exactly the right tone for the meeting.

The vote of thanks was given by Provost Eric Gotts of East Dunbartonshire Council.