Edenkill Village

Edenkill Village
Edenkill means a place sloping towards the church in celtic - behind the trees in the foreground is what is now Brown's shop. The field where the sheep are was the site of the Strathblane Fair - a livestock fair.

Strathblane from Station
Strathblane from the Station showing on the left Ardwall & Robinson Cottages & the Glebe Cottage in the middle behind the trees.

There has been a joiner's yard for a number of years in Edenkill. The valuation roll of 1890-91 says that Thomas Barrie was the joiner at Dumbrock. Whether or not this refers to Dumbrock Road is not known but after him the joiner was a Mr Wright. As was the habit then the joiner would also be the undertaker. According to the late Arthur Muir, Mr Wright was noted for pointing out that it took the same amount of cloth to line a coffin as it took to make a suit of clothes, namely 3½ yards! Though hearses would be hired from McAulay's in Milngavie it was quite common for the coffin to be carried by a rota of six men up to the graveyard for burial.

Mr Wright was followed by a Mr Scott prior to the first world war. Mr Scott was very active in the Band of Hope movement and other youth activities. He was succeeded by Mr McIntyre whose wife was also the chiropodist in the village. The joiner's yard closed about the 1970's. The Strathblane Friendly Funeral Society was instituted on the 3rd June 1860 and the president was James Renfrew, treasurer William Paterson and secretary Alexander Benson. According to Guthrie Smith in 1886 funerals were conducted in Strathblane very much the same way as in other parishes in Scotland.

Before the funeral procession left the house there were several courses of whisky or wine and cake served, and before each of them a blessing was pronounced, and after them thanks returned. This was seen as a “pious” fraud and an evasion of the injunction of the Directory for the Publik Worship of God that there be no praying and reading at burials. Guthrie Smith went on to say that refreshments had now been given up and a suitable service of reading and prayer was held in the house of mourning and after the coffin was laid in the grave another short service was held.

Post office and Edenkill Village
At the beginning of Dumbrock Road there was a row of tenements, which are visible in the background of the picture above. These tenements were built about the middle of the 19th century. Dr Rankin, the parish GP used one of the ground floor houses for a period as his house and surgery until he took over the house "Old Edenkilns" further down Dumbrock Road. Also in this row of tenements were Bilsland the carting contractors and carriage hiring business. This business was taken over by Peter Sharp, who was their foreman carter. Opposite this row of tenements were stables. The tenements were demolished in the 1960's. The white building is The Cottage and the small building opposite was formerly the Post Office. This small building was demolished in the 1950's.

Tearooms in the Parish

Campbell's Tearooms
After the closure of the printworks in 1898 the parish was left with a large number of uninhabited houses. This led to the parish becoming a popular place to visit and stay. The opening of the public park in the summer of 1908 helped to retain the parish's popularity as a holiday resort. In those days the tourists appeared to have been more energetic and would walk up the Whangie at the Queen's View, climb Earl's Seat and visit the Meikle Tree at Blairquhosh. The public park would also be visited, as would the Bowling Club. The king's visit in 1909 further served to increase the parish's popularity and the opening of the Village Club in 1911 provided a further attraction. To serve the needs of the many visitors, tearooms abounded. Campbell’s Tearooms, pictured above, was located in the Glebe Cottage. It later moved to Yarrow House at Crosshill then to the villa across the road from the Edmonstone Hall. Campbell's Tearooms in Edenkill was taken over by a family called Robertson who ran it as the Snug Tearoom for a time. In the 1920's a wooden hut that used to be opposite Brown's shop was run by Mrs Woods as a tearoom come snack bar for the many walkers going up the Auld Brae to Mugdock and Milngavie. McGregor's Tearooms were located opposite what is now the Blane Valley Inn. They boasted a hall where picnics could be taken.

The Cryptic Comments of Glenguin

The bridge over the Blane Water at the junction of Dumbrock Road and Milngavie Road was known as Bilsland’s Bridge after a Mr Bilsland who had a shop nearby.
With today's modern sanitation, it is difficult to remember that sewerage used to be discharged into the burn. The 1890’s saw the creation of councils whose actions were to improve the lot of the public. Their actions, however, were not enough to prevent the following cryptic letter being sent by “Glenguin” to the Stirling Observer of the 24th June 1893.
Even with the Sanitary Inspector living in the village what do we find? Ashpits not emptied for months, water closets past speaking about. If the inspector would go to “the palace” he would find something worthy of his attention and at Edenkill as well. When one looks over what is known as Bilsland’s Bridge they are glad to pull back as quick as possible. The fact of the matter is that we are not one whit better than when we had no county council!

The Blane was very much used as an open sewer in that waste from the houses in Blanefield, Netherton and Edenkill drained directly into the Blane. At Blanefield and Netherton ashpits were emptied once a week. At Netherton (1891) they were stated to be too large and one of them especially was in a bad position as regards inhabited dwellings. It was noted also there were comparatively few water closets. Rotting filth was an issue as it was apt to be the cause of the spread of diseases such as diarrhoea, enteric fever and probably diphtheria. The Parish Council minutes of the 18th July 1895 stated that the sanitary conditions of the districts of Edenkill and Blanefield could be improved as the fever was lingering too long. Perhaps the council was anxious that if they delayed "Glenguin" might begin to write his letters again. Dr McVail - Medical Officer of Health ,who was noted for his reforming zeal, instigated many improvements in the parish. Later reports report draining improvements throughout the parish. In referring to the closure of the printworks in 1898 Dr McVail noted in his report of 1903 that people were renting houses in the village as they saw it as a health resort! By the turn of the century steps were being taken to remove some of the more dilapidated properties and this continued for the next half century.

The Cottage and the site of the Strathblane Fair

The Cottage featured very much in the recreational life of the village as, until 1911, it was the village club. The Cottage has a long history. In August 1910 the Saturday Stirling Observer recorded that the last of the thatched cottages in the village i.e. The Cottage was disappearing with the construction of a slate roof and red tile ridge. The date of the building of the cottage is not known but it was estimated that it had been built a century and a half previously. In 1890 the late John Guthrie Smith author of “The Parish of Strathblane” leased it. He gutted the house and fitted it out as a meeting place.

The Reading and Recreation Club, which met at the Cottage, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1911. The Club had been a very popular one in the parish and at that meeting the talk was of the anticipated opening of the new Village Club and the effect it would have on the club.

As well as providing bagatelle, carpet bowling, billiards and dominoes (and a shooting gallery!) The Cottage was also used as a meeting place for the Strathblane Harriers, who would organise paper chases through the parish. The Strathblane Harriers also held athletic meetings at Broadgate Farm. With the opening of the Village Club in June 1911, the Cottage ceased to be a club and reverted back to being a private dwelling.

It is also thought that there was a drover's inn near the cottage but the exact site of this not known. In the fields opposite the Cottage - now developed - was the site of the Strathblane Fair. This was a livestock fair held every November until the 1880's. Schoolchildren used to be given the day off to attend.

©Alison Dryden, Strathblane Heritage Society 2004