Parish Activities of days gone by

Football Team 1907
Football Team 1907
some of the members-
G Harrison, W Kinghorn, D McMillan,
W Galloway D Muir
A Muir & TC Gough standing at side


Football is a game that has been enjoyed by many in the village over the years. Guthrie Smith records that the Strathblane Football Club was formed in 1876 and the first club lasted until 1885 under the captaincy of Alexander Benson Jun. and Mr Thomas Thorpe, secretary. At that time the club encountered difficulties with obtaining a suitable pitch to play on although Guthrie Smith, writing in 1886, was hopeful that this would soon be resolved.

A moment of glory occurred for the club in 1879. Dr Rankin, the Village GP, had a connection with Queen's Park Football Club in Glasgow and arranged for a match to be played between Queen's Park and Strathblane. There is an alternative point of view that the fixture was in fact the result of Strathblane beating Lenzie 2-1, Milton of Campsie 2-1 then Falkirk 1-0 to reach the forth round of the Scottish Cup and finally play Queen's Park rather than an arranged meeting!

The Glasgow News of Monday 24th November 1879 carried the following report of the match: -

The match was played at Hampden Park and resulted in an easy win for the senior club. The late arrival of the strangers caused the match to be divided into two periods of forty minutes, and after the kick-off by the younger club they played with great dash. Their career, however, was a short one, for Ker soon had the ball between the posts, followed by another goal from the foot of H Fraser. A third was credited to Ker, but in a moment of carelessness on the part of Queen's Park, the Strathblane team made a capital goal. On ends being changed, the play was all at the Strathblane end of the field and the senior club lowered their opponents' colours seven times, the game finishing ten goals to one. Fraser did great work for Queen's Park, scoring five goals, while Ker had three, and Kay and Davidson the other two.

The opening of a public park in early summer 1908 saw the formation of a football club. The name of the team was reported in the Stirling Observer as the Blane Valley Eleven.
In September 1908 they beat Glasgow Douglas FC five goals to one. By 1909 the name had changed to Strathblane FC. This team beat Cadder FC 6 goals to 0 and celebrated with tea in McGregor's Halls. In September 1909 as the Blane Valley Eleven they beat Mugdock Rangers 2 goals to 1 in a match played in the public park. As far as can be gathered the team played in blue and white strips.
After the First World War, the Strathblane Comrades Team was formed and played for a number of years. In the Stirling Observer of 22nd December 1922 it was reported that the Strathblane Comrades played the Anglo American Oil Company and beat them 6 goals to 1. In the team was R Love, C Donnelly and W Anderson, J McPherson, R Adams and A McKay, J Dunn, R Chisholm, J McCall, D Currie and F Raeside.

In 1947 Blanefield Thistle was formed and since then has established a name for itself. In 1952 Blanefield Thistle won the Cameron Cup, which was originally donated to the Forth & Endrick Football Association in 1910. Blanefield Thistle won the Cameron Cup again in 1972 and 1973.

Blanefield Thistle 1952
Blanefield Thistle Cameron Cup Winners 1952

The Tennis Club

The Stirling Observer of the 21st June 1913 recorded that -
On Saturday last, Lady Helen Graham, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Montrose, in the presence of a large and fashionable gathering opened the new tennis courts. In her brief comments Lady Graham remarked that the people of Strathblane were fortunate in having such a generous dweller in their midst as Mr Yarrow, the donor of the new tennis courts splendidly situated at the foot of the hills. After other speeches by main local dignitaries, the courts were opened for play with Lady Helen playing the first ball. Tea was served in the marquee and the day was voted one of the memorable days in the parish!

The Scouts

The Scout Troop was started by Miss Edith Gairdner at Blanefield in August 1908 and was known as the 1st Strathblane (6th Stirlingshire) Boy Scout Troop. Five boys were enrolled into the Curlew Patrol. In June 1911, the troop's number changed to 18th Stirlingshire and by 1953 had changed again to 36th Stirlingshire.
Initially the Scouts met every Monday and Friday evening in the Gatehouse Blanefield under the supervision of Mr Wylie, Lennoxtown.
The Scout Troop had the honour of being inspected by King Edward during his visit to Duntreath in September 1909 when they formed a "Guard of Honour" at Blanefield Station. This same troop was later one of a number inspected by King Edward at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. Scout rallies were held with the Killearn and Campsie troops in the grounds of Blanefield House. In January 1910 the boy scouts gave what was probably their first such concert in the pavilion. There was singing, signalling displays, an indian club display, a gymnastic display as well as a cornet solo which was very well received by all who attended.

Boys Brigade

Boys Brigade

There was a Boy's Brigade in the parish in the 1890's but little is known about its origins though pictures survive of a rather fierce looking group of boys armed with realistic looking weapons wearing what could be Boy's Brigade outfits!
The Stirling Saturday Observer of the 30th April 1898 records that the 1st Strathblane Company took part in the annual inspection of the Glasgow Battalion. Travelling by train from Strathblane they marched from Queen Street Station through the rain to the parade ground. In the march past and in other movements of drill the comment was made that the company demonstrated that country boys were at least as efficient, if not more so, than their town comrades. While marching back along the streets, they showed their superior marching powers in overtaking several companies and keeping up a lengthy and steady pace for a distance of over three miles. The boys efforts were rewarded with a good tea at one of the city restaurants which banished all thoughts of rain and weariness. The work of the company, the article continued, "was now coming to a close for the session and both officers and boys were looking forward to the company inspection and prize giving as bringing them a much needed rest from a hard winters works"

Cricket Club

Strathblane Cricket Club 1900
The above picture was taken c.1900, of the Strathblane Cricket Club. William Reid Gardner is holding the ball and Robert Lindsay Gardner is holding the bat.They were the sons of John Smith Gardner who had been manager of the Blanefield Printworks for a number of years.

Guthrie Smith writing in 1886 said that a cricket club has been formed in the parish once or twice, but has never succeeded in getting a proper field. There is now a prospect, however as in the case of the football club, of a suitable ground being secured. However by 1898 the Strathblane Cricket Club had been formed and according to the Stirling Saturday Observer the club had a total membership of 60 and had joined the Glasgow and District Junior Cricket League. Their fixtures for 1898 included playing Rutherglen, Mount Florida, Thornliebank and Lennox Castle. Where the cricket pitch was is not known nor is how long the club was in existence.

©Alison Dryden, Strathblane Heritage Society 2001