Community “Big Dig” to locate Stirling’s first ever swimming pool

School children and local residents in Braehead will get an opportunity to find out about Stirling’s first ever public swimming pool at the end of the month – but will first have to find it and then get their hands dirty uncovering it.

On Friday 31st August, children from Braehead Primary and Fallin Primary will be involved in a “Big Dig” on the site on the grounds of the former Millhall Colliery, where Stirling’s first ever swimming pool opened in July 1913.  Then on Saturday 1st September, local residents will get a chance to continue the investigation in the second of this two day event.

When it opened, the ‘Stirling Journal’ newspaper described the swimming pool as 25 yards long and 12 & a half yards wide and built of ‘nicely finished white glazed brick work’.  It was paid for by a donation from the Fallin Public House Society.

In August 1913 the first public swimming gala was held at the pool and 70 spectators watched a number of races and events.  Trophies were presented, including to H Miles, who won the first 100 yard race.  By 1917, the Stirling Observer reported that more than 400 people were paying an annual subscription to use the facility.

Poor industrial relations and low pay for miners in the 1920s meant that the facility struggled and eventual closed.  By 1942, it had disappeared from Ordinance Survey maps and slowly disappeared from the landscape and memories of local residents.

No pictures of the swimming pool are known to exist – could you or a relative have something in a box in the attic?

The local Community Council, along with Community Development Trustee and ward councillor Chris Kane, have teamed up with Guard Archaeology and Stirling Council Archaeologist Murray Cook to see what, if anything, remains of the swimming pool.

Chris Kane and Wendy Maclean on the site of Stirling's lost swimming pool
Chris Kane and Wendy Maclean on the site of Stirling’s lost swimming pool

Councillor Chris Kane says,

“Part of me hopes that the pit owners simply backfilled the pool and it is still there, waiting for us to dust it off and fill it back up.  But with work going on at the colliery until the late 1950s, more likely the heavy machinery on the site will have churned it into rubble.    I’ll be happy if we find some fragments of glazed bricks.   More importantly we’ll have hundreds of school pupils and local residents finding out more about a fascinating part of our community’s social and industrial history.” 

Community Council Chairperson Wendy Mclean says,

A few years ago the Community Council produced the “Braehead & Broomridge Heritage Trail” which talks about our community connections with everything from the Battle of Bannockburn to our local World Champion Pipe band.   At the time we didn’t realise that we also had Stirling’s first swimming pool and so we’re going find out as much as we can and add it as a stop on our already packed and fascinating local heritage trail.”

Local interest in the swimming pool was rekindled when local historian Craig Mair published an article in the ‘Forth Natural Historian” journal, entitled “Fallin’s Gothenburg Public House and Stirling’s Forgotten Swimming Pool”.  You can access a copy of the article here (it’s in volume 34, page 145).

For more information on the Braehead & Broomridge heritage trail, click here.

Event Details

Date:  Saturday 1 September 2018 (note Friday is for school visits only)

Time:  10am-4pm

Start / End:  Millhall, bing, off Millhall Road (Springkerse side), Stirling

Directions:  Turn off the A095 Kerse Road at the “Arnold Clark Renault Garage”.  After garage, turn right just before “Action Lawn and Leisure” and follow road until you see a path with a security barrier.  The dig site should be visible approximately 30m beyond the barrier.  Conditions:  paved access to dig site.  Dig site is in a field, approximately 10m from paved road.  There is no toilet on site, with the nearest publicly accessible toilets at Springkerse Retail Park ¾ of a mile away.

Booking;  while you can simply turn up, it would be helpful if you could email if you would like to take part.

Former Millhall Colliery

Free Cycling Advice and “Dr Bike” maintenance at Braehead Community Garden on Thursday

 

Braehead Community Development Trust has teamed up with the Stirling Cycle Hub and Recykabike to offer a series of cycle events in the community garden this summer.   All events are 4pm-6pm and free.

Dr Bike at Braehead
Dr Bike at Braehead

Thursday 14 June:  Get the experts to give your bike a once over and sort any small issues.  Get information on summer cycling, including route planning, advice and some freebies to help you on the way.

Thursday 12 July:  Get the experts to give your bike a once over and sort any small issues.  Take part in a short guided cycle along the Braehead Heritage Trail.  Make your own smoothie in a bike-powered blender.

Thursday 9 August:  Get the experts to give your bike a once over and sort any small issues.  See and try some of the Cycle Hub’s electric bikes, carbo bikes, bike trailers, etc.  Advice on route planning, summer cycling and some freebies to help you on the way.

Thursday 13 September:  Get the experts to give your bike a once over and sort any small issues.  Get ready for autumn cycling with advice on route planning and some freebies to help you on the way.  Test out a variety of bike lights.

Braehead Community Garden Plant Sale on Saturday 12 May

Gardeners across Stirling will have the opportunity to get a head start on their fruit and vegetable growing this year thanks to Braehead Community Garden.  On Saturday 12th May from noon-4pm, the Big Lottery funded facility will be hosting its third annual plant sale.  Vegetable plants, bedding plants tomato plants, perennials and decorative planters will be available for sale.  All money raised will be used to help run the two and a half acre site on Broom Road, just two minutes drive from the city centre.

Ann Kirk, Jim Kirk, Tracy Rich and Troy Norin preparing for the plant sale in the Braehead Polytunnel
Ann Kirk, Jim Kirk, Tracy Rich and Troy Norin preparing for the plant sale in the Braehead Polytunnel

Plants for sale have been grown from seed in the giant polytunnels at Braehead.  Run entirely by volunteers, Ann Kirk is the Community Garden Propagation Manager and has been busy with her team readying the plants for sale. 

Ann says,

“The Polytunnels are fantastic for bringing on seedlings and whether you’re looking for a broccoli plant or a strawberry plant, we’ll have a huge selection of fruit and vegetables for sale.  After we received so many requests last year, we’ve also grown a variety of perennials and decorative plants for sale, and we’ve got some rowan trees as well.  With prices much keener than you’ll find at supermarkets and garden centres, and to help a community project into the bargain, I hope gardeners come along and support our annual sale.

Visitors to the sale will also be able to take a tour of the garden and learn about all of the different elements of this project.  Visitors who live within one mile of the garden will also be able to apply for a raised bed and become a growing member.

The Garden address is Broom Road, Stirling, FK7 7GU.  The plant sale is on Saturday 12 May from noon-4pm.  Please pass on the details to anybody you think might be interested!