Extracts from James Taylor's book

Cairntable Echoes



Glenbuck village has suffered severely for years from an inadequate supply of water. In summer and dry weather "The Spoot" was the scene of many an assembly of housewives, and where the news of the district was thrashed out on many a well-contested battle of tongues, but that has now passed away.

About ten years ago the County authorities appointed a Committee to deal with the matter, but they found them selves confronted with many difficulties, the most formidable being the small district, the area and valuation being so small that it was prohibitive for the purpose of having a good scheme. Last year the village was in starvation of water, the population was less owing to the closing of some of the pits, and thus increased the difficulty of taxation. The Committee did not lose heart, and approached Mr Charles Howatson of Glenbuck, who, after discussing various details and arriving at a satisfactory result, generously agreed to let the County Council have a supply from springs on the Hareshaw Hill on his land, the only condition being that he should be allowed to take a supply from his house and one or two tenants, from the tank to be erected. This cleared the way of the Committee considerably, and they were further very generously helped by Mr J. G. A. Baird of Muirkirk and Messrs Wm. Baird & Co., Ltd., through Mr Robert Angus of Ladykirk allowing their house to be included in the Rating District, though each of them had formerly provided supplies for themselves. The area for rating was thus increased and the burden lightened for those in the village proper and on the Cairntable side.

On Friday last (28th April) the Engineer, Mr Eaglesham, Ayr, with Mr Young (Contractor), Muirkirk, along with Mr Howatson of Glenbuck and Mr John Kerr, Convener of the Committee, visited Glenbuck, and, after seeing that the work was all in order, turned on the water, which is of excellent quality and in abundant supply.

By September, however, all was not well with the water in Glenbuck, as the report in the September 22 issue explains:

Water(?) Supply

In response to several notices posted throughout the village, a very largely attended meeting of ratepayers was held in the Public Hall on Wednesday evening last. According to the notice, the business was "to take steps to see about the water supply being seen into." 

Mr William Hastie, sen., presided, and introduced the business, stating that they were all aware of what was the cause of the meeting. He then spoke of the new water supply and the very bad water that was passing through the pipes. They felt something must be done to remedy the evil. There was no doubt they would have to pay the price of good water, and that was what they were not getting. He then called for an expression of opinion from those present. The expressions that found vent were few, spouters being scarce, but, like the parrot they thumped away at the thinking. It was ultimately decided that a public petition be got up drawing the attention of the authorities to the state of the water, that same to be presented to the Parish Council at their first meeting. The petition had already been got up, and signed by almost every ratepayer in the district. It is felt that the mixture may be quite wholesome, and meat and drink combined, but the inhabitants would prefer them separately.

Council Meeting

At a meeting of the Sub-Committee on 7th October, Mr Angus reported that he, along with Mr Kerr, had accompanied the Engineer every the Glenbuck water supply, and having discussed the matter with the Engineer, he expected that, with the carrying out of a few simple suggestions, all complaints about the state of the water would be remedied, and they had authorised the Engineer to get the work done.


The curtain has finally been rung down on the grim tragedy which was enacted on a Glenbuck byway in the spring of 1908, by the suicide of the culprit in Perth Prison on 13th November, 1912, Thomas Bone, Jr., was sentenced to death in the High Court held in Glasgow for the murder of his wife at Glenbuck, but a respite was granted on the eve of the day set aside for his execution. Bone was undergoing confinement during His Majesty's pleasure in Perth Penitentiary, and, it appears, had been giving considerable trouble to the wardens for some time, latterly being regarded as a dangerous lunatic. Although closely watched, he took advantage of the 15 minutes' absence of the warder, and committed suicide in his quarters by hanging himself with a bedsheet, which he tied tightly round his neck and attached to a peg in the wall. It is understood that the body was still warm when the warder returned, but life was extinct.






The Quoiting Champion of the World

The sons of Glenbuck have won fame in many spheres; but in the realm of sport, considering the population, the village is perhaps without rival in the production of men who have reached the high water mark.

It is our sad duty to-day (November 30th, 1916) to refer to the death of an illustrious native, one of the brightest lights the quoiting world has ever known, viz.: Mr Thomas Bone, the undisputed Champion of Great Britain, which sad event took place in his native village on Tuesday of last week. Tommy was a miner to trade, and several years ago he received an injury to one of his eyes while at work, losing the sight of it. He never seemed to fully recover from the accident, and for a about a year he has been an invalid, the end coming as above stated, much to the regret of all who knew him.

Tom Bone was born in Glenbuck 48 years ago, and has always resided there. He came into the limelight in the quoiting circles when he was twenty years of age, playing his first stake match in 1888 at Cumnock with the renowned James McMurdo, and won by 61 - 42. Since that time he has always been in the fore in the realm of quoiting, and he had few if any equals, having defeated all who came before him. He first won the Scottish Championship from Watters of Lochgelly in 1889, at Glasgow, defeating the Fife man by 61- 58. Watters was undoubtedly his most notable opponent, and many an historic battle they had. In other Championship matches he played with Andrew Connel of Darvel, Robert Kirkwood of Banknock, and the present Champion of Scotland (the title having been relinquished by the subject of this sketch owing to ill-health) - Richard McBride of Galston, meeting the latter in four big matches, winning three times and losing once, this at East Calder, by 61 - 58. One of the most historical matches ever played in Scotland was that for the Championship of Great Britain, between Tom Bone and James Hood of Liverpool, the English Champion, the match taking place at Motherwell about eight years ago. In such deadly form did the Glenbuck marvel play that day that the English Champion was seldom allowed an opportunity to score, and the Englishman was defeated by 61 - 27. Bone also held the record for the Ballochmyle Silver Quoit, having won it no fewer than 14 times - a record which in all probability will never be equaled. His name is also engraved on the Howard-de-Walden Cup no less than six times. In tournament play he was peerless, and has competed at all the principal events. In the premier quoiting tournament of Scotland, held annually at Darvel, he competed for four medals, which must be won twice before becoming one's own property. Of these he won two outright, and on the last occasion he competed he beat his opponent, Robertson, by 15 shots to nil in the final. His last appearance in the ring was with John Durney at Barrmill in an exhibition game, fully a year ago, but as Tom was far from well, and had the sight of but one eye he was unable to do himself justice, and this proved to be his last game.

Many an exciting game of practice has been seen at Glen-buck, firstly between Tom and his brother James, who now resides in Motherwell, where Tom was a great favourite, and latterly with Matt. Park, now with the colours. James especially was very little behind Tom in ability. Tom was unmarried, and resided with his sister in Glenbuck.


Glenbuck was visited by a very severe thunderstorm on Tuesday afternoon (24th June, 1914). A torrential rain, accompanied by hailstones of solid ice and as large as marbles, soon made the burns overflow their banks, especially the one that flows past the school. The culvert was unable to take away the water, which swept down the Store Brae, tearing up the road, the debris forming a bank at the foot of the brae. The water then made its way towards Old School Row, Office Row, and Jubilee Row, and some of the houses there were flooded. This happened just as the miners were arriving home from work, and they at once led the water into the Public Park. At several parts the road was washed away to a depth of three feet. The children coming out of the school had to be carried over the water, which was fully eighteen inches deep. On the other side of the village the road was also flooded, but not to such an extent. Several landslides occurred on the Douglas Road and on the Hareshaw Hill. On a part of the road at Parishholm, near the Dam, about thirty yards of the fence was forced into the middle of the road by a slip on which there were some young trees. Considerable devastation has also been done by flooding in the approach to Glenbuck House, while on Glenbuck Estate, as well as the adjoining farm of Monkshead, all the sheep bridges have been washed away. With the latter farm vehicle traffic has been completely suspended, even parties on foot having to take to the fields. The Douglas Water overflowed its banks and ran into Glespin Pit. Ten men were entombed thereby, but fortunately all were got out in safety after some trying experiences. It was the most severe storm that has visited the district within living memory. Muirkirk completely escaped the storm.


Mr Logie Davidson, head salesman with Messrs Currie, New Cumnock, has been appointed manager of Glenbuck Co-operative Society in succession to Mr A. V. Hazle, who has resigned to take over the Royal Arms Bar.It is interesting to note that Mr Davidson, a Glenbuck native, started his working career in the Store, and was in fact the first boy to be employed by the Society.

MINING (1916)

Glespin Pit closed some time ago, and the plant came under the auctioneer's hammer quite lately, the landscape being quite changed about the little village. The lessees of the neighbouring colliery at Carmacoup, the Kinnox Colliery Co. Ltd., have now taken a lease of the minerals under the lands of East and West Glespin, and have also bought over the workmen's houses at Glespin, to the number of fully forty. No time has been lost in getting to work on the new fields, and coal is now being produced. A considerable number of the Glespin miners are now employed there, and it also affords another open door for Muirkirk district men.


The other day the door of a shop in Glenbuck which had gathered round it memorable associations for the younger people of Glenbuck finally closed—at least under the old regime. We refer to the shop known as Leezie Milliken's. A year or two ago Leezie went the way of all flesh, and her successor has now hurriedly sold off. What the feelings of the myriads of young people who frequented the shop in years gone by for ginger pop, ice-cream, or hot peas, according to the season—aye, for anything, including a crack and some sport—what the feelings of those who frequented it in its palmy days would have been to have viewed the now empty establishment we leave themselves to imagine. It must have caused something akin to a shock, for it was the rendezvous of the youth and beauty of the place—the local Westminster, and the headquarters of all the Football Associations. With the demise of Leezie, however, it gradually lost its charm, and the house was subject to the same vagaries as affect at least all small concerns—amongst them the personality of the proprietor, for Leezie was of the happy-go-lucky type, and, while the butt of many a joke, she could give and take. Truly, the old order changeth


What was termed the "new" railway when it was laid between ten and twenty years ago, by the Caledonian Railway Company, linking up the existing railway from Lesmahagow to Gallawhistle Pit, Glenbuck, with that at Muirkirk, it is now approaching probably its last phase. The railway was completed, but was never opened for traffic. Some years ago the rails were lifted. These are being re-laid by contractors for the purpose of dismantling the bridges and removing the iron girders from the several inconsiderably viaducts which spans the glens at Crossflatt, Ponesk, and Glenbuck, for, it is said, use in France.


During the holiday week (July), while Mr Richard Bone, Ladybank, Glenbuck, was taking a walk alongside Ponesk Burn, he was surprised at coming suddenly upon a mother otter with her two young ones. They were on the grass at the side of the burn busily engaged in devouring an eel. When the mother espied Mr Bone she showed true maternal instinct, and showed fight, but the intruder proved the stronger, and all three were dispatched. Mr Bone carried them home and had them skinned. Otters have been observed in the district before, but none have been secured.



On 24th January 1918, at his residence at Glenbuck House, Mr Charles Howatson breathed his last. Mr Howatson, who had reached the ripe old age of 86 years, and was a well-known and striking personality in the district, and had been visibly failing of late, although he was still able to attend to business, and walk about the house, till Monday of last week, when he had a paralytic seizure, from which he succumbed on the Thursday following.

Mr Howatson was born in 1832, in the Parish of Auchinleck, and came of an old and honourable farming stock. He was the eldest son of the late Wm. Howatson of Cronberry, who died in 1882, and who was the second son of Charles Howatson of Craigdarroch and Cronberry. His mother was a daughter of George Samson of Rigg, Auchinleck, and his father's mother was eldest daughter of John Reid of Duncanziemere and Cronberry. With such an array of farming sires it can be of little marvel that Mr Howatson had from the first been strongly attracted by similar pursuits.

For long, however, the main business of his life lay in a different sphere. At the age of 15 he entered the offices of Messrs Wm. Baird & Co., ironmasters, Gartsherrie, and eight years later, when that firm acquired Muirkirk Ironworks, he was appointed to organise and manage the new concern. Previously these works had proved a comparative failure, but under the new management they made a fresh start, and have since had a history of uninterrupted success. While manager of the works, Mr Howatson took a personal interest in the men under his charge, encouraging temperance and thrift, stopping the sale of liquor at the Company's Store, and paying a bonus to the workmen who were abstainers. He retired from the management of the works in 1870.

Meanwhile Mr Howatson had found leisure and opportunity to indulge in other pursuits. In 1863 he was offered, and accepted, a lease of the farm of Crossflatt at a rent of ten shillings for each ewe and hogg kept on it during summer, and which farm he latterly fell heir to. Mr Howatson had also acquired the Dornel Estate, and in 1865 had taken the farms upon it into his own hand, and afterwards adding it to Hall, Glenmuir, Auchinlongford, Tardoes, as well as Duncanziemere, which had belonged to his great grandfather. In 1872 he purchased Glenbuck Estate, and in 1879 Glenbuck House was built, the present handsome edifice replacing the farmhouse which was once the only residence on the Estate. On the occasion of his leaving Daldorch House in 1880, to take up residence in his new home, Mr Howatson was entertained to a public dinner in Catrine. In recent years Mr Howatson also added the neighbouring farm of Monkshead to his estate.

On his acquiring the Glenbuck Estate, Mr Howatson opened up the minerals, and for a time the gascoal produced was in active demand. These were worked for many years by the Cairntable Gas Coal Co. Now they are leased to and being worked by the Burnbank Coal Co. But it was as a breeder of blackface sheep that Mr Howatson stood out pre-eminently. When he first got possession of Crossflatt he began, by draining and liming, to improve the quality and quantity of the herbage. Then he proceeded to vastly improve the flock of blackfaces itself, which, when he acquired it, was of no more than secondary quality. His object was to produce a highly-bred strain of blackface sheep of the type best suited for the climate and pasture. In this Mr Howatson was entirely successful, and among other advantages the lambs on Crossflatt came to be woolled all over with so thick a natural coat that the severest weather had no effect on them, while from 1864 to 1875 the average weight of fleece increased from 3¼ to 5½ lbs., and in 1888 it was 6½ lbs., or fully a third more than the average weight of blackface fleeces on similar land in general. With the purchase of Glenbuck estate Mr Howatson's opportunities of improving the blackface sheep increased, the estate having been famous for these 100 years before. The Glenbuck estate was also greatly improved by Mr Howatson. Draining and liming were carried on upon the land, replacing most of the old bleak heath with a sweet greensward of natural grasses and clover, while plantations were made on exposed parts, which afforded much needed shelter for the stock. Mr Howatson raised the Glenbuck flock to a National reputation, and at the annual shows of the Highland and Agricultural Society (the premier Scottish Show) he made a record of winning the blue ribbon twelve times in succession with shearling rams—a record that will most probably stand. In 1909 Mr Howatson was waited on and presented with a solid silver salver, candelabra, &c., from the principal breeders of blackface sheep in Scotland, England, Ireland, and the Colonies, in recognition of the interest which he had taken in improving the breed during a period of nearly half a century. In 1903 Mr Howatson let the farm of Crossflatt, the stock going with it, since which the fame of the flock has been worthily upheld by Mr Clark, the lessee. Although Mr Howatson has long retired from bringing forward shearlings for show and sale, that the flock is still very much to the fore is proved by the fact that Glenbuck lambs always fetch high prices, and only last autumn one of the flock brought the highest price ever paid for a blackface lamb.

The late Laird was of a genial and homely disposition, and in his day took a great interest in the work of the Commission of the Peace, the County Council, the Parochial Board, and the School Board, while he also founded the Glenbuck Bursary to assist the local students at the Universities. In 1882 he took the chief part in establishing the existing quoad sacra Parish Church at Glenbuck, while his interest in the local Covenanters is shown by his erection of a fine obelisk in Muirkirk Cemetery to their memory. Mr Howatson also came prominently before the public in 1892 when he was adopted Unionist candidate for South Ayrshire, but on that occasion his health broke down, since which he never ventured to enter the political arena.

Mr Howatson is survived by his widow, a son, and two daughters. The funeral took place to Auchinleck Cemetery, where there was a large concourse of mourner.


An explosion at Haig Pit, Whitehaven, on 5th September,1922, claimed the lives of 39 miners. Mr James Strickland, recently manager at Grasshill Colliery, and now in charge of the nearby Ladysmith Pit, was hurriedly called by telephone on the morning of the explosion, and took an active part in the rescue operations.


American newspapers to hand refer to the fact that "Joe Muir, one of the best known of Wheatland County's pioneer residents this week acquired 1,600 additional acres of land in the Hepley district, at a cost of 24,000 dollars (roughly £5,000). This makes a total of 12,000 acres of the finest ranch land in the State now owned by Mr Muir, who is one of the State's leading sheepmen." Also "Jeremiah Williams and Co., of Boston, Mass., were the successful bidders for the 38,000 lb. wool clip of Joe Muir, one of the big sheepmen of the district, paying 60½ cents per pound for the whole lot. Representatives of four firms bid upon the clip, three turning in the same bid. The successful bidder was decided by the flipping of a coin, with chance decreeing in favour of Williams Co. Mr Muir's clip is a very choice long staple wool."

It will be interesting to our readers to learn that the Joe Muir referred to above is the eldest son of the late Mr David Muir, sub-postmaster at Glenbuck, and of Mrs Muir, still residing there, and a brother of the local motor boss, so that he is an Ayrshire man, and, to be still more definite—a Glenbuck man. Mr Muir left his native village about 37 years ago (1882), when quite a lad, previous to which he was employed on farms in the district. He left home with the greatest asset a child can inherit, viz., a sound constitution, and the valuable asset of robust health, but with very little in the way of worldly gear. On arrival in the States he was employed as a shepherd in Montana, and in time got a little sheep ranch of his own, since which, through grit and energy he has risen to be the owner of one of the biggest ranches in the States, as exemplified by the fact that he raised 5,000 this season. Mr Muir visited his homeland about 26 years ago. He is a widower.




Mr. McKenzie is a son of the manse, his father being the late Dr Mackenzie of Summertown U.F. Church, Govan. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and University, passing through the Divinity Hall of the Established Church. Acting first as assistant Lamington, then at Strathaven, it was while at the latter he received the call to Glenbuck, where he was ordained in January, 1895. Since his advent to the upland village, Mr. Mackenzie has had a very quiet and peaceful existence, and has been withal assiduous in his attention to his flock, being concerned and interested in their material and spiritual welfare, and obeying the biblical injunction to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.

Just as Mr. MacKenzie is a son of the manse, so Mrs. Mackenzie is a daughter of the manse, her parent being the Rev. John and Mrs. Bain of Wilsontown U.F. Manse, her maternal grandfather being the late Mr. Paul, coalmaster. Mrs. Mackenzie rejoices in an excellent reputation in her own district, and will no doubt be an acquisition to the village. As she is frank of manner, of a bright disposition, and full of life, the good folks of Glenbuck would, if they tried, probably find, as the whale did with Jonah, that a good thing simply can't be kept down. Mrs. Mackenzie will soon know that the Glenbuck heart is both kind and warm, and we welcome her to the Parish.


Owing to lack of orders, Grasshill Colliery is again being closed down for an indefinite period. The majority of the 200 workers employed withdrew their "graith" on Friday (14th April, 1932), with about 20 men kept on to make the necessary preparations for the closing down of the Colliery. Work was resumed only in October last after a stoppage lasting over five months, and probably this period will again elapse before a re-opening may be anticipated. And from the 11th May Issue:—

Serious Outlook at Glenbuck

It now seems definite that Grasshill Pits are to be closed for good. All paraphernalia has been cleared out of No. 1 Pit, and brought to the surface, and there is now a staff of men in No. 2 Pit drawing pumps, girders, &c., and bringing everything to the surface except the large quantity of coal that is believed to be lying there. The decision of the owners to close down is a serious blow to the little village that has left a bright spot in history. It has cast quite a gloom over the village, as there is no other work in the place for the men thrown out of employment.



Manager, Grasshill Pit, Glenbuck



Mr and Mrs Robert Lindsay have just celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in Glenbuck. The Lindsays are well known and highly respected all over the district, and although Mrs Lindsay has been in indifferent health for some time, both she and her gudeman are bright and cheery.

It was at the age of eleven years that Mr. Lindsay started as a herd laddie in the Parish of Carmichael, and at the age of fourteen engaged himself to "Parishholm," where he remained for a number of years. There he married the lady who has been described to us as "the bonnie lass o' Wanlockhead," and entered the service of the late Mr Charles Howatson, first at Daldorch House, Catrine, and nafterwards at the House of Glenbuck. For the long perion of forty-eight years Mr Lindsay faithfully served Mr Howatson, first as a coachman and then as chaffeur, until death removed a kind and considerate master. Mr Lindsay still remains in the service of the family, as chaffeur, having altogether being over fifty years in his present situation. When the day of transition from the carriage-and-pair to the motor car arrived, Mr Lindsay, though no longer a man in his teens, rose to the occasion and tackled the wheel, and may now be seen piloting



Fire broke out on Saturday forenoon in Hillside Cottage, owned and occupied by Mr Forbes Marshall. The fire originated in one of the attics, and had got a good grip of the building before it was discovered. Saturday being the working day few men were about, but those who were there made heroic efforts to save the building, assisted by about every woman about the village, the latter playing a noble part in keeping the men supplied with water. All kinds of receptacles in the way of buckets, pails, jelly pans, etc., were brought into use. The efforts of the workers were of little avail, however, as there was a strong wind blowing, and soon the whole building was enveloped in flames. Attention was then turned to the buildings close by, and great excitement prevailed when it was seen that there was grave danger of Dalziel's Buildings and Vass's Buildings being caught by the flames, which stretched across the road.

Indeed a part of Vass's Buildings actually caught fire, and a special effort had to be made to check what might have had very serious results. By this time nearly all the occupants of the two buildings had practically all their furniture removed out to the back green. When the fire was discovered the Ayr Fire Brigade was phoned for, and lost no time in being on the scene, considerably less than an hour having elapsed from the 'phone call till the firemen were on the spot, but by that time Hillside was burned to the ground. The furniture in the lower flat was saved. The damage, which is estimated at £5500, was mostly covered by insurance. The cause of the fire is unknown.


In March the very first re-union of Glenbuck folks over the age of sixty years took place in the Public Hall. Mr John Rodger, Headmaster, was in the chair. In his remarks Mr Rodger said he first visited Glenbuck in December, 1885, just before his commencement of duties in the opening week of 1886, when, according to the Ayrshire Geography, the population was 365. A few years later, however, a census proved the population to be 1,174.

Long before he knew it, Glenbuck was famous in history—in Covenanting times when men contended and suffered for civil and religious liberty. Then came the industry of iron and ore smelting, but this lasted less than 20 years. Later, a number of weavers combined their industry with that of farming. They died out, too, the last weaver passing in 1880. However, all would remember the houses in Stair Row, where the weavers used to live.

After the weaving industry coal mining began to prosper. First there was the Eglinton Iron Coy., then the Cairntable Coy., followed by the Auchenstilloch Coal Coy. It would mow be well over eighty years since the Eglinton Iron Coy. started Maidenbank Pit, which was abandoned in a few years.

Other pits, all well known to his hearers, were afterwards developed—Grasshill, Galawhistle, Davie, etc. Mentioning the pits recalled the names of the manager at Grasshill—Mr McCulloch, and his faithful assistant, Mr Andrew Tait; and Mr Muir and Mr Robert Crosbie of Cairntable Pits.


The village of Glenbuck can surely claim a record, compared with any other village of its size, and indeed very many much larger, in producing sons to gain worthy recognition in the realm of sport, and more especially in football circles.

The largest population ever recorded in Glenbuck was 1,300 about fifty years ago, and to-day the population is between three and four hundred. Glenbuck Athletic Football Club was instituted in 1888, and won the Ayrshire Junior Cup in 1888-89, 1889-90, and 1890-91—a record which has never been equalled. Although there is no team in the village nowadays, Glenbuck can still produce football "goods," and quite a number of Glenbuck boys are keeping up the good name and reputation in senior football to-day, while to all intents and purposes there are other first-class players in the making.

Here is a list of players Glenbuck has given to senior football, and the names of many will recall pleasant memories to some of the old readers:—

Joe Wallace to Newcastle.

Alex. Wallace to Airdrieonians.

John Menzies to Lanemark.

James Muncie to Middlesborough.

Bob Blyth to Rangers, Preston, Portsmouth.

Alex. Tait to Preston, Tottenham.

John Crosbie to Ayr, Birmingham.

William Muir to Everton, Dundee, Hearts.

William Knox to Everton.

Thomas Knox to Hamilton.

Hugh Knox to Sunderland.

Walter Ferguson to Sheffield Wednesday.

Robert Tait to Mother, Cowdenbeath.

William Blyth to Portsmouth, Preston.

Thomas Brown to Leicester, Chesterfield, Portsmouth.

Peter McIntyre to Preston Sheffield Wednesday.

Alex. McConnell to Grimsby, Sheffield United.

John McConnell to Kilmarnock, Bradford, Grimsby.

John Ferguson to Hamilton, Cowdenbeath.

Johnnie Bone to Everton.

Jock Bone to Aston Villa.

John Hastie to Celtic.

James Nisbet to Ayr United.

John Anderson to Kilmarnock.

Alex. Shankly to Ayr United.

James Shankly to Portsmouth, Sheffield United.

John Shankly to Portsmouth, Blackpool, Alloa.

Robert Shankly to Alloa, Turnbridge Wells, Falkirk.

William Shankly to Carlisle, Preston.

John Davidson to Coventry.

John Murdoch to Clyde.

James Weir to Cowdenbeath, Southend.

David Henderson to Motherwell.

Alex. Park to Falls River (America).

John Wallace to Partick Thistle.

Bert Wallace to Hamilton, Plymouth Argyle.

Tommy Brown to Blackburn Rovers.

Sandy Brown to Preston, Portsmouth, Tottenham.

In addition to the foregoing, the following players, although not resident in the village, were introduced to first-class football by Glenbuck, ours being the only junior club they ever played for:—

John McKenzie to Newcastle, Hearts.

George Halley to Kilmarnock, Burnley.

Robert Crawford to Preston.

William Banks to Kilmarnock, Manchester City.

Archie Garrett to Hamilton, Millwall.

In the quoiting world, too Glenbuck has produced many keen sportsmen and doughty opponents, and surely none can claim to have produced a more skilful exponent than Thomas Bone, the undisputed Champion of Great Britain.



Sunday last was a day I shall not readily forget. I visited my native village of Glenbuck to attend the closing divine service in Glenbuck Church. The service was conducted by the Rev. C. Horn, the last Minister of the Church, and the Rev. Chris Jack of Muirkirk Parish Church, who has conducted the services at Glenbuck since the Rev. C. Horn left to take over Lawers Church. There was a large congregation of previous members of the Church—some from New York, Melbourne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Motherwell, Cumnock, Muirkirk, Douglas, Douglas Water, and Glenbuck.

Mr Horn gave a most interesting address, and spoke of the happy times he had spent amongst the congregation in Glenbuck. He then asked the Rev. Chris. Jack to accept the Glenbuck congregation as members of Muirkirk Church.

To me it was a moving ceremony. As I sat in my pew of the little Church, visions of the past flooded my memory. I recalled by boyhood days as a Sabbath School scholar in the old Church, which was opened for public worship on 16th July, 1882, a few years before I was born.

I thought of the gentlemen who had ministered in the Church since then:—The late Rev. John Wallace, the late Rev. Colin A. McKenzie, the Rev. David Baird, and the Rev. C. Horn. I recalled the children's soirees; the magic lantern pictures, shown by the late Mr Archie Young, Muirkirk, at the cantatas by the Church Choir, under the conductorship of the late Mr Andrew Tait. I also recalled many of the worshippers who used to attend the Church, most of whom, I regret to say, have now passed on.

I was proud to be present at such a service, yet I felt sad to see the door of the old Church closed for the last session of worship.

At the same time it was a pleasure to meet old friends and Sabbath School companions whom I had not seen for many years, and who, like myself, had returned to pay their last respects to the old Church.

Altogether it was a most impressive service. The praise list was suitably chosen, and the large congregation joined heartily in the singing. The Rev. C. Horn thanked the office-bearers and congregation for the loyal support given him during his six years as Minister of Glenbuck Church. He paid special tribute to the organist, Mr Bert Davidson, for his excellent service.

At the close of the service, Mr Horn shook hands with each member of the congregation as they left the Church for the last time.

Well might the psalmist say:— "I love They Church, O God.

Her walls before Thee stand,

Dear as the apple of Thine eye,

And graven on Thy Hand."


Douglas Water.


The school celebrated its seventieth birthday recently, and the following is a short history from a Parish Book, compiled by the pupils last year.

The passing of the Education Act of 1872 brought into being the Parish School Board, upon whom devolved the duty of providing schools in every parish throughout the land.

The original school, of which no records remain, was carried on in a large "single end" in the now defunct School Row. While the present structure was in the course of erection, the school was held in the byre at West Glenbuck, but the cold weather of the 1875-76 winter made it impossible to carry on this temporary arrangement, and for several months no schooling was available in the village.

Glenbuck School opened on Monday, 13th March, 1876, when 106 children were admitted, and after a short address they were dismissed for a week "to allow the painters to varnish the desks, etc." The first—and sole—teacher was Mr W. S. Baikie, and his roll in the early days showed remarkable fluctuations. It is interesting to note that slumps in attendance coincided with visits by the School Board Treasurer each quarter for the purpose of collecting fees.

In 1877 the School Board Clerk had to advise the teacher "to be careful in firing the stove so as not to destroy it by overheating."

Next year the introduction of a new text book had an adverse effect upon the roll, as many parents could not afford to purchase it, and simply withdrew their children from the school.

As the roll mounted to over 140 pupils the staff was increased to two teachers, assisted by two monitors, aged 12¾ years.

Non-payment of fees called for periodic visits by the head-teacher to Cumnock J.P. Court, and on December 5, 1878, one of the villagers was fined five shillings or sentenced to five days in prison. There is a note recording that "he did not pay the fine, so was sent to prison."

Two years later, in 1880, the roll had risen to 180 pupils, and the following year tragedy came to the School when two boys were drowned in Glenbuck Loch while sliding on the ice.

Structural defects became obvious in 1881, when "snow that had blown in under the slates began to melt and came through the ceiling, causing some inconvenience." The School Board decided to enlarge the building, and work was begun in June, after the summer holidays had been re-arranged to suit the builders.

By 1882 the attendance had soared to 220, and the staff now consisted of two teachers and three pupil teachers.

Next Year, 1883, saw the closing of the Lady Pit and the School roll fell quickly to 140.The opening of a new pit in 1884 sent the figures up to 160 and in 1885 to 190 pupils, still under two teachers assisted by two pupil teachers.

On 5th January, 1886, as the result of the Board's decision to increase the staff, Mr John Rodger was appointed first assistant. Attendances now average over 200 under a headmaster, an assistant, and an infant mistress.

Mr Baikie resigned in October, 1888, and was succeeded by Mr Allen from Stewarton. After a fortnight's work in School, Mr Allen was removed home critically ill, and he died in March, 1889.Mr Rodger was appointed as his successor on 11th March, 1889.

By now the roll was about 280, still under the tuition of three teachers and one pupil teacher. There was a serious epidemic of fever, and with a third of the children off school, the Board closed the premises for a period of three weeks.

18th November, 1892, was a momentous day for the little village when Glenbuck Water Scheme was opened. Unfortunately, during dry spells the villagers occasionally found that no water flowed through their new pumps. The inauguration of the service caused the School Board to grant a holiday for the great occasion.

In 1894 new dual desks were installed in school and some of these are to-day serving the grandchildren of those boys and girls who hanselled them that April morning, 52 years ago. The miners' strike of that year had severe educational repercussions, as many of the parents were unable to buy the necessary books for their children.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the roll mounted steadily to almost 300 pupils and, on the recommendation of H.M. Inspector, the building was divided by sliding partitions, in 1899, into five classroom, and the staff increased to five teachers, one pupil teacher, and one monitor.

The long drawn-out strike of 1902 saw the families leave the district, but work on the new railway to Coalburn brought fresh families to the village. By 1905 the school staff was increased to six teachers with one first year pupil teacher.

The closing of the Galawhistle and Davie Pits started another exodus, the school roll dropping by over sixty pupils in six weeks and the staff was reduced to four teachers once more.

In September, 1920, the school was closed for the induction of Rev. John Henderson in the Parish Church at Muirkirk. During the period of the First World War the roll fell slowly but steadily.

In February, 1918, the school closed for a half-holiday to enable the pupils and staff to attend the funeral of Mr Howatson, chairman of the School Board. In October influenza was rife, and it was necessary to close the school for four weeks. The re-opening date was 11th November, but, when the news of the Armistice was known, a holiday was immediately declared.

The 1921 miners' strike had an adverse effect upon school attendances, and "no boots" and "no clothes" were everyday reasons for absence.

Flush lavatories were installed in October, 1921, and the following year the Galawhistle and Davie Pits, which had been re-opened during the war, once again closed down. More families moved elsewhere in search of employment.

The 1926 miners' strike did not affect the children to the same degree as previous strikes, for arrangements for communal feeding were speedily and successfully put into operation.

Next year, 1927, saw the retiral of Mr John Rodger, Glenbuck's "Grand Old Man," after 38½ years of service as Headmaster of the village school. He was succeeded by Mr James D. Kirkwood, who was to hold the reins of office until his early and untimely death in February, 1943.

Decay was now evident in the local coalfield and many families left the area in 1829 to seek employment elsewhere.

The closing of Grasshill Pit in 1933 seemed the beginning of the end and more migration took place.

The population decline, proceeding at an accelerating pace since 1933 was partially arrested by the outbreak of war in 1939, when the school roll had fallen to 42 children. By February, 1943, the number of children on the roll had declined still further to 36 pupils.

To-day, the roll stands at 33, but it is interesting to note that this is "rock bottom," since the war children are beginning to make their appearance in school, and yearly admissions of 10 are replacing former yearly admissions of 5 or 6 pupils.

This brief history of the school for the past seventy years provides a mirror in which we may view the events of the village during the period.

To-day, the villagers, learning of the plans by the experts, are uneasy as to the future, and the Glenbuck native may be pardoned for quoting the National Bard—

"An forward, tho' I canna' see,

I guess an' fear."

[The above was written a few months ago, and the closing paragraphs should be read accordingly]


(Reprinted from the book, "The Glenbuck Cherrypickers)


In the Glenbuck Athletic days two teams established a big reputation over a wide area. One consisted of Hugh, Knox, Alec Knox, Tom Knox, Bobby Crosbie and William Mitchell; the other included James Blyth, Archie McBride, Wattie Ferguson, William Knox and Peter Knox. The five Knox brothers subsequently played together as a family team and proved almost invincible. So far did they carry all before them that they actually won 40 of the 41 competitions in which they played in one season. This is an achievement which leaves little scope for future record breakers. The reason for their success is clear enough. They played together as a team, indeed, a family team. Their tactics were carefully worked out and pre-arranged, and there was a perfect understanding amongst the brothers. Their opponents played as a collection of individuals, and found the tactics of the Knoxes altogether surprising and baffling. When we remarked to Hughie Knox that the five-a-side game seemed to be a very strenuous affair, involving a lot of running about, he shook his head. "No," he said, "the art of the game is to make the ball do the running about." So often did these men win the prizes - usually clocks or barometers —offered in the competitions that, after a while, they didn't even trouble to carry them home, but would hand them as a gift to any acquaintance standing on the touchline. Another team which was mentioned as being hard to beat was composed of John Hastie, Bob Tait, Jimmy Tait, William Wallace and John Ferguson. This teams dates from the later, Cherrypicker period.

Glenbuck Public School 1928

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