My ever-dependable contributors Hugh and Christine Stewart have sent me a piece regarding the 150th anniversary celebrations of Blythswood Curling Club.
Many congratulations to the Club on reaching this milestone and I hope you enjoy reading about their history:
It was exactly 150 years ago on 12 September 1864 that Blythswood Curling Club was founded when thirteen local men met in the Red Smiddy near Inchinnan to establish the Club. One of the founders was Lt. Colonel Archibald Campbell who later became Lord Blythswood from the Blythswood Estate in Renfrew where he lived, hence the name of the Club. Blythswood House was located on what is now the 15th hole of Renfrew Golf Club.
Lord Blythswood was a remarkable man. He joined the army at sixteen and fought in the Crimean War. He was a Tory MP and Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire. He was an amateur scientist and had a laboratory at Blythswood House. He experimented with cathode rays, X-rays and radioactivity.
Those thirteen original members established traditions that are kept alive by the modern day members. Then, as now, the members were enthusiastic about the game and enjoyed playing it. In the 19th century that meant travelling in the winter to wherever there was ice. The club did have its own pond on the Blythswood Estate but the club minutes also record games at Lochwinnoch, Paisley, Bishopton, Greenock, Port Glasgow and various locations on the River Cart. Nowadays things are probably a bit easier but members do still have to brave the journey up to Greenacres no matter the weather!
Then, as now, the club played against many other local clubs. In 1887, for example, Blythswood played Erskine for two bags of meal and one ton of coal. Erskine won the meal and Blythswood won the coal! These early relationships continue today with friendly matches against other teams and in local league games.
Then, as now, the club valued the social aspect of membership. In the early days the club frequented establishments which are no longer with us such as Mrs. Woodrow’s Inn, Booth’s Hotel and the County Hotel in Renfrew. In the more recent past Friarshall Hotel in Paisley was a frequent meeting place but since its demise the River Inn in Crosslee has been the venue for Annual General Meetings and dinners.
Finally, then, as now, the club was optimistic about its future. In the early days the number of members attending an AGM could be as low as four or five but the club always managed to keep going. At other times the numbers reached over forty and there was a waiting list for membership. Today Blythswood is going against the trend of many clubs and is maintaining its membership.
The club would love to recruit new members so if you are interested, please email their Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos are © Hugh Stewart 2014
Image is © Blythswood Curling Club