A History of Giffnock Curling Club
The Club was founded on 3rd September, 1930. The opening minute of the first meeting, attended by eight gentlemen with two apologies, stated
“A meeting of local gentlemen interested in curling was held at Ravenslea, Giffnock on Wednesday 3rd September, 1930 at 8p.m.”
The founding members were:-
D F Lochhead (appointed first President)
W G O Lindsay
T G More
W G Kennedy
J S Brown
It was decided at the first meeting that the membership be made up of 16 regular members and the number of occasional members be unrestricted. In the early days, membership was restricted to those living in the Giffnock area.
In the original constitution adopted at the First Annual General Meeting in September, 1931, under “admission of members”, it stated:
“The name and address of every candidate for a member shall be submitted to the Secretary. He shall make enquiries of the members whether the candidate is persona grata. If the candidate is acceptable to the members, the Secretary will call a Special General Meeting to admit the applicant”.
By October, 1930 the Club had been admitted as a member of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club , and in January 1931 was admitted to the Glasgow Province. The Club’s very first trophy was donated by the inaugural President, D. F. Lochhead, in January, 1931. The “Lochhead Quaich” was to be awarded annually to the winner of the Points Competition, and to this day is keenly contested each year.
The Lochhead Quaich
The first Annual Dinner was arranged to be held in the Royal Scottish Automobile Club in February, 1931. At a committee meeting it was proposed that in order to avoid the number 13 at the Dinner, the President should have the opportunity of inviting one guest. Unfortunately, one of the members called off owing to ill health and the President, therefore, was asked to invite a second guest.
Invitations were extended to Colonel Wilkie and Mr. John Hamilton, both of the Viking Curling Club. These gentlemen both had to sing for their supper by replying to the toast to the guests. Later that year, in appreciation of the hospitality extended to them, they generously presented an ivory mallet to the club which is still used at our meetings today.
In November, 1931 the Vice-President, W Swan, suggested a Medal Competition and it was decided to form three rinks. Mr. Swan stated he would be delighted to present a chain to the Club. It was resolved that the Club should provide annually a medal on which the names of the winning rink would be engraved and attached to the chain.
The Swan Medal
At the Annual Dinner in April, 1932, the President congratulated the members on the improvement of their play and was certain that during the next season, honours would accrue to the Club. This indeed proved to be the case. In season 1932/33 the Club won the Waldie Griffith Inter Province Match when they defeated the Penninghame Rink, in which were three Scottish internationalists, by 14 shots to 7.
The Club had also been victorious in all the Province matches.
The President was decidedly of the opinion that the Giffnock Curling Club had now established itself in the curling world.
At a committee meeting in November, 1935, the President, Mr. Christie, intimated that through the good offices of Mr. Swan, Mr. Robert Stein, a long time Giffnock resident, had presented a handsome cup to the Club. This was called The Terregles Cup and it was decided to institute a knock-out competition.
The Terregles Cup
Mr. D F Lochhead, the Club’s first President, on intimating his retirement from curling in 1937 due to ill health, was made an Honorary Member in view of his past services to the Club.
The Second World War – 1939 to 1945
Owing to the outbreak of the Second World War in September, 1939 and, as a consequence, the requisitioning of the ice rink at Crossmyloof by the military authorities, the Club’s activities were brought to a standstill. For a period up to 1943, the President in 1939, Mr. Leckie, continued to pay the insurance premium on the Club’s trophies and the subscription to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. However, as there appeared to be no immediate prospect of the ice rink being de-requisitioned and therefore the revival of the Club, he decided to discontinue these payments. All the Books of the Club were kept by Mr. Leckie and were available should the Club be re-formed.
Resumption of Activities
The next meeting of the Club - a Special General Meeting - was held on 17th October, 1946. Mr. G Leckie as last President was voted to the Chair. The Chairman explained that the meeting was suggested at an informal talk he had had with some members and that its purpose was to consider the resumption of the activities of the Club. He intimated that only nine members had indicated a willingness to continue. It was necessary, therefore, to bring in new members if the Club was to carry on. As two of the existing members were occasional it was agreed to admit nine new regular members, making the number of regular members sixteen. Insurance of the trophies was renewed as was membership of the RCCC.
The following year the number of regular members increased from sixteen to twenty-four. Shortly thereafter it was agreed that the Club join both Glasgow and Renfrewshire Provinces. In 1950 the membership was further increased enabling the Club to have eight rinks for both the Swan and Terregles. Later, after lengthy discussion on movement of skips, it was agreed that for season 1952/53, in the Terregles Trophy, Swan skips and threes would be reversed. At the Annual Dinner in April, 1951 the President referred to the unsatisfactory condition of the ice in the main rink on which they had just played prior to the Dinner. So poor was the ice that the few games remaining of the season were cancelled.
Many years later when the Points Competition was being played for the Lochhead Quaich, there was a tie between Jim Allison and Wilson James. Both had to go back on to the ice and throw a stone to the head. Unfortunately neither made the head on the first attempt as the ice had melted and a pool of water had formed at the faraway hog line. Jim being Jim let go his delivery which by all intents and purposes should have smashed the barrier but more by good luck than guidance due to the water finished at the front of the head. It was the only time Jim won the points.
The ice sessions in the earlier days lasted three hours and there was a mid-session interval when both teams would repair to the bar. The sessions were subsequently reduced to two and a half hours and what became standard practice then was that each player would go off in turn with his opposite number. At a committee meeting in February, 1954 it was suggested that the ladies might be invited to the annual dinner in 1955 and this is minuted as receiving the unanimous support of the Committee! However, at the ensuing AGM several members expressed the opinion that this was not appropriate for a curling club dinner. The general feeling of the meeting was against inviting ladies and the matter was dropped.
The President, at the AGM in April, 1956, remarked on the extraordinary success the Club had had in the Renfrewshire Province Bonspiel with two rinks up respectively 15 and 20 shots thereby winning the Shand Harvey Trophy (aggregate), President’s Prize (20 up), and RCCC Medal (ave. per rink). At the AGM in 1958 it was unanimously agreed to appoint T G More and W Watson Hon. Life Members of the Club. The former was the only remaining founder member in the Club, while the latter joined only one month after the formation of the Club.
Willie eventually decided to retire from active curling in 1974 at the ripe old age of 96! It was reported that he gave up because his feet were getting cold. To mark the occasion and in appreciation of his services to the Club a presentation would be made to him at the next Club dinner. It was further agreed that the Club donate a trophy to be named after Willie Watson to be played for annually. The Willie Watson Trophy is awarded to the winning rink at the opening bonspiel each year. Unfortunately, Willie was in Mearnskirk Hospital on the occasion of his 100th birthday.
The Willie Watson Trophy
George Lyall Graeme Young
Wilson James Willie Watson Willie Waugh
The season 1972/73 brought some success in outside competitions. The rink skipped by E McIntyre won the Renfrewshire Province Knock-out Competition for the Barrett Cup. In the West of Scotland Men’s League, the Club’s rink skipped by A Cartwright topped their division for the second successive year gaining promotion to Division B for the following season.
Mr. A Cartwright had been appointed President of the Glasgow Province. Further achievements followed in season 1974/75. The rink again skipped by E McIntyre won the Glasgow Province Shanter Trophy, while the rink skipped by G Young won the Glasgow Province Friendship Trophy. In the following year G Young skipped the winning rink in the Renfrewshire Province Barrett Cup for the second time in four years.
In 1981 the President, George Carruthers, donated a cup to the Club to be called the Jubilee Cup. This is presented annually to the winners of the Pairs Competition.
The Summit Centre Ice Complex was being constructed in 1985 in the centre of Glasgow at Finnieston. The committee decided to pay to the complex an ice booking charge of £20 in order to protect the interests of the Club should members desire, at any time, to change from Crossmyloof.
In due course the decision was taken to move to the Summit, the official opening of which took place mid-February, 1986. The Swan that year was completed at Crossmyloof while the Terregles was all played at the Summit. At the AGM in 1988 it was agreed to change the Terregles from a straight knockout to two leagues of four with each team playing each other twice, followed by semi-finals and a final. In season 1989/90 the Club won the Glasgow Province Competition, the Arthur Frame Trophy, by a rink comprising G Young (skip), G Barnes, A McAulay and A Gilchrist.
The Club had its 60th anniversary in 1990 and to celebrate it was decided to have an invitational bonspiel - to be held on 9th October, 1990. Six clubs with whom Giffnock had close relations were invited to put forward a rink to play against 6 Giffnock rinks. The guest rinks were:- Beechnuts, Cathcart Castle, Clarkston, Pollok, 69 Ladies and Glasgow XX. There was a drinks reception at 5.00p.m. with the bonspiel at 5.30p.m., followed by dinner and presentation of prizes.
Due to financial difficulties at the Summit Centre in the early 1990’s, a Summit Debenture Scheme was introduced. In essence, clubs who wished to continue curling at the Summit and to continue receiving broadly similar ice allocations were persuaded to subscribe to the Debenture Scheme. The first repayment from the Scheme was received in early 1994 and the Committee decided that, rather than spread the repayment thinly amongst all the members, three members could be repaid in full annually with the names being drawn from a hat at the Annual Dinner. It was of course hoped that this might increase attendance at the Dinner!
Past President Wilson James was one of the first lucky recipients of the repayment at the Dinner in April, 1994 and very generously donated it to the Club to purchase a trophy for annual competition. After considerable deliberation, it was decided to award the Wilson James Stone - a most attractive glass curling stone - to the winning guest team at our annual bonspiel.
At the AGM in 1998 it was reported that due to the possible closure of the Summit Centre, alternative ice rinks were being considered for the following season 1998/99. Subsequently, East Kilbride was booked for the Swan and the Galleon at Kilmarnock for the Terregles. However, at the start of that season a problem arose with the lease at the East Kilbride curling rink with the result that no curling was expected before the end of December. Consequently, the Swan league was not able to start until January, 1999, thereby restricting the league to eight matches as the first half was lost.
During this period of uncertainty, a new shopping centre incorporating an eight sheet curling rink was under construction at Braehead, near Renfrew. The Secretary was instructed to continue to show our interest in this venue. At the AGM in April, 1999 the meeting agreed to have all our ice at Braehead for season 1999/2000. The committee decided to hold a Millennium Bonspiel and ambitiously extended the invitation to eight clubs. We now invite eight clubs to our Annual Bonspiel and it is one of the highlights of the year. To recognise fifty years of curling, the Club presented Graeme Young at the Annual Dinner in 2003 with a painting of outdoor curling at Strathearn.
The annual fixture with Pollok Curling Club commenced in season 1961/62 and is our longest standing match. Initially the match consisted of two rinks but was later increased to three rinks. At the AGM in 1964 the President referred to the death of Willie Kyle who had been a member since 1959 and was also a member of Pollok. His widow, Mrs. Kyle, had donated a trophy – The Kyle Cup – to be played for annually between the two clubs. There is a great friendly rivalry between the two clubs and the match is very keenly contested each year.
The match with Clarkston Curling Club (later to become Lynn and Clarkston) commenced in season 1974/75. In that year, when he was Giffnock President, Wilson James and his friend Ian Morton very kindly presented a trophy for annual competition – known as the Morton James Cup. Other matches include Cathcart Castle, Drystanes, Old Glenalmond and 69 Ladies.
... to be continued.