DUNNING PARISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
WELCOME TO THE SOCIETY
We're delighted to welcome you as a member in this founding year of the Dunning Parish Historical Society. As a member you're entitled to attend free the various talks, workshops tours and other activities sponsored by the Society (see the 1992-93 programme on the back of this newsletter). You're entitled to make purchases from the Society at substantial discounts (e.g. copies of photos from the contemporary history collection and publications). You're also entitled to receive free of charge a copy of this and future newsletters.
The purposes of the Society are to encourage original research into the rich history of Dunning, and to make the fruits of this research available for information and education of young and old. We are particularily pleased to be affiliated closely with Dunning Primary School, where our research material is currently to be stored, amd where pupils will be among the first beneficiaries of the Society's findings. A charming example of original historical work forms the major part of this first newsletter: a hitherto unpublished recollection of Dunning's two major golf courses by Mrs. Barbara 'Babs' Gordon. (The first course had been constructed, well before Mrs. Gordon's time, on the cow pasture next to Milady's Wood and lasted only a year because of 'the rough nature of the pasture'). Mrs. Gordon has been well-known to members of the Golf Club for many years and is still a regular worker at the Clubhouse. Perhaps you have some information that might appear in the next newsletter!
IF STONES COULD SPEAK
The first large-scale research project undertaken by the Dunning Parish Historical Society is a survey of gravestones in St. Serf's churchyard. Blessed with mostly sunny days for their field work, a team of Society members headed by Ken Laing and including Greta Laing, Peter and Alma Duncan, Isobel Barnett, Janet, Catherine and Louise Crowe, Nan Ross and Kate and Iain Lambie has completed the recording of inscriptions and other details about the over 450 gravestones.
Now they are engaged in the painstaking jobs of double-checking every detail of the notes taken, of putting the information on word-processor, of preparing maps of the graveyard and of transcribing the data.
A future job will be placing the information into a computer database for the rapid access by pupils, family historians, and other researchers including postal members of the Society.
The Society has now been officially granted charitable status, a step which will give us tax-exemption as well as flexibility in fund-raising.
MEMBERSHIPS IN THE DUNNING PARISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Please send your name, address and cheque to the Treasurer, Mrs. Jane Young, Meadowland, Newton of Pitcairns, Dunning. Tel: 521
GOLF FROM ITS EARLIEST DAYS IN DUNNING
Mrs. Barbara Gordon
When I came with my family to Pitcairns Cottages in 1919, the Club was in full swing at the Mains of Pitcairns. My sister and I used to go up on a summer's night and stand at the first tee to watch the players. We weren't allowed in, so just stood and watched all the keen golfers. I remember old Charlie Laing, Peter Sword and my headmaster William Kerr.
Mrs Greta Laing informs me that from 1906 to 1907 the first Golf Club was sited at Kincladie Park, but by 1919 this park was used for grazing dairy cows. Eck Clark owned some and they were housed at night in what is now the golf tractor shed. The Mains of Pitcairns became home to the Club in 1907.
It seems the Club always had great difficulty getting greenkeepers - Club members sometimes took turns cutting the greens and fairways. I know of at least five successive greenkeepers - Jock Golder, Jock McClashan, Hughie Horton, Tammy Tully and Dave McInroy. Of course, it was hard work cutting the greens by hand mower!
The fairways were cut by an old single reel mower which rattled along at the horse's heels. Later though, a motor mower was bought and housed in a tool shed built by Davie Wilson the joiner. Another mower for the fairways was bought, with shafts to yoke the horse and a seat for the driver. If memory serves me correctly, this contraption was brought down to sit at the tool-shed in Rollo Park for a time.
The Club had quite a nice wee clubhouse with twelve lockers - most folk just walked up from the village in those days. They cost one and sixpence per year, and quite a few of the players shared one.
I remember the fees being seven and sixpence for men and five shillings for ladies. A day ticket cost one shilling and a round set the player back sixpence. A lot of matches, both home and away, were played - I can remember Pullers, GAFLAC, Blackford and Newburgh visiting the Club. Teas, courtesy of Robertson the baker, were brought up in an urn with sausage rolls and cakes. The cost ran at about one and six per person. A mini-bus hired from Peter Steven's garage carried players to away matches, providing they paid one shilling each!
The annual rent of the course was 12 pounds, paid to Lord Rollo, and Mr Lewis Angus of Pitcairns paid 10 pounds to the Club for the privilege of grazing his sheep an the course. A horse was hired from Mr. Angus for work on the course for 5 pounds a year.
Water was laid into the Clubhouse around 1936 by plumber Jeck Dunn and a wee lean-to shed with one toilet was erected at the back.
From 1924 onwards at various times, my father was part-time green keeper. During these times, my sister and I had to hurry home from school, change our clothes, grab a jeelie piece ... then off up the brae to work. We got the 'birk besoms' from the tool shed, then set off to sweep the sheep droppings off the greens.
I can remember one afternoon we were busy when two balls landed in the centre of the green. We were in a hurry, as our pals were coming up to go birdnesting with us after tea - so we just kept on sweeping away. Up came Martha Orr and Ann Philip: two of the club champions, playing a tie. I can see Martha yet as she strode on to the green. She was a tall, well-built lady and, drawing herself to her full height she exclaimed: 'Girls, if you please: How can anyone putt with a broom going swish swish?' We sheepishly apologized, but I'm afraid we were rather severely reprimanded by father when he got to hear about it.
Another task we had was to go armed with a watering can to wet the sand in the boxes on the tees. There were no plastic tees in those days, so the players made a mound of sand to tee their ball on. If they were playing well, we would sometimes get two pence from them if we were lucky.
I also remember a father and son from Leadketty, who took winning very seriously indeed. Before a tie, Jim Bett used to give my father a shilling to put the holes in certain specified positions on the greens. Of course he was sworn to secrecy - a shilling was a lot of money in those days!
The layout of the course was as follows: the 1st ran up alongside the Path of Condie road. Then you walked back to a tee, and drove westward over the burn. The 3rd was just a good chip shot straight uphill. The 4th went eastward to the top of the hill, and the 5th went still eastward over a big gully where the burn ran. The green was opposite Boghall road end, with a high netting fence at the back keeping the balls from the road. The 6th was right up to the corner next to Middlethird, and the 7th was over the big gully again and right along the top of the glen.
The 8th was right down the den side ... and it rather fascinated our young innocent minds. For at that time, quite a few who golfed were courting couples - some of whom were later to marry and live in the village.
On a balmy summer's evening, I am sure many a wayward ball was sent left into the den. Then, of course, it was over the dyke and into the brackens to hunt for it - and much longer than the regulation 5 minutes for a lost ball was spent over there.
The 9th was tricky. A rock face 20 feet high, some yards in front of the tee, meant you really had to get the ball in the air or it came back and landed at your feet. If you played left to avoid the rock, you ran a great risk of going out of bounds into the tattiefield. The home green was a big round one in front of the Clubhouse.
My Husband was always keen to try his hand at golf, but we were married then with two small children. His pay as a forester with Lady Wilson of Kippen was 35 shillings per week, so there was nothing left for luxuries.
However, I remember around 1934 there was a jumble sale in the Masonic Lodge, where he was a keen member. I recall him rushing home to see if we could manage to rake up 5 pounds, as he had spotted a set of clubs, bag and a pair of shoes.
Needless to say, we did manage somehow and from then onwards he followed the same pattern: he came home from work, had his tea, washed ....... then on his bike and up to the course. Before the Club was disbanded in 1939, he had his name on two of the cups. I remember him coming home one night overjoyed - he had beaten the Club Champion. Lawrence Whytock.
I never really got to play golf at an early age, but my sister and used to take one of the clubs from an unlocked locker and have a go. It always exasperated me, because I had a tendency to play left-handed and the clubs were the wrong way round! But later my sister and Evelyn (now Hrs Kettles) played for a year or two.
My father enlarged and returfed quite a few of the greens. We went up to Gatherleys farm and cut turf about 24 inches wide and 6 yards long. We rolled it up roly-poly style, carted it down and rolled it out again. After a good covering of sand, it was then ready to play on in the spring.
When the Club wound up in 194O, I think they had about 59 pounds to their credit. Six years later, Lord Rollo of Duncrub gifted the Alley Park to the villagers of Dunning as a recreation park, to be known as the Rollo Recreation Park. It was to accommodate all sports and a large pavilion was to be erected for all organisations. A park manager was also to be appointed.
But before any of this took place. Lord Rollo passed away and trustees were elected to run the park. Potatoes had been grown in it during the war years, then it was laid down in grass by Peter W. Howie.
The old committee of the Club got together in 1951, and decided that somehow they would start up the Club again. A plan was drawn up by Joe Anderson of Perth for a nine-hole course, at a cost of 3 pounds. Then they really set to work - cutting greens and making tees and bunkers. A lot of intending lady members helped to gather stones, and after a great deal of sweat and toil, a course was finally laid out.
Lord Rollo of Pitcairns opened the Club in 1954, when he drove the first ball. Doreen McLeish (now Hrs Sutherland) retrieved the ball and was presented with a sovereign for her efforts.
The first club fees were 12/6 for men, 10/- for women and 2/6 for the juniors. A tractor was purchased from Willie HcInroy of Baldinnes for the princely sun of 20 pounds. There was no Clubhouse at all to begin with, but later we managed to buy a small hut which we erected at the first tee.
Later a porch and a wee kitchen were added. Ladies were able to get a cup of tea after their competitions, thanks to a calor gas ring. The dishes were washed in a small basin sitting on a tripod stand - sometimes I think more washing liquid went on the floor than anywhere else.
The water came from a stand-pipe outside. There was no sanitation whatsoever - except for the bushes by the 7th tee! I think I must have lost dozens of hairnets there. I always wore one to keep the hair out of my eyes when it was windy, and it used to regularly catch in the bushes.
On a Sunday morning, John McIntyre (who was a keen golfer) used to cone down and sell tickets to visitors. His good lady always came down with his 3 o'ciock coffee. During the week, there was a box fitted to the door far green fees.
Again, it seems there was an endless succession of greenkeepers: Dave Doig, Jackie McRae, Dave Miller, John Gale, Stewart Fenton, Jim Joss and Roy Smith to name but a few. It may have been the amount of work involved or the insufficient pay, but they just seemed to come and go.
Around 1967, my husband took over as greenkeeper. I was back then where I started - helping to rake bunkers and cutting banks of burns, etc. Many new bunkers were made during the time he was employed, and water mains were also laid at different points on the course to make watering of the greens easier.
Things gradually improved each year until 1981/1982, when we were busy building a big new Clubhouse. We toasted the opening by the late Dr Janet McLaren in summer 1982 with glasses of champagne. It had all mod-cons - running water, carpets and other benefits greatly appreciated by all.
Will and Evelyn Kettles, Isobel Lawson and myself have done regular duties - keeping the place spick and span, selling tickets to visitors and making the odd cup of tea and coffee.
My husband retired from his duties in 1978 and was presented with a lovely carriage clock, suitably inscribed. Mr Lumsden was then greenkeeper for two years and Jimmy Sneddon did the fairways. Pete Stratton started part-time at first, as he was still employed at Bridge of Earn. But later, when he retired, he devoted much more time to it. Since then, the two of them have worked very hard on it. I can safely say that they have made our little course as good as any in the country.
We suffered a great loss with the sudden death of Mr Roy Smith in July. He had been a faithful and trustworthy member of the Club for many years and will be very much missed by everyone. Two lovely wooden seats, suitably inscribed, have been erected at the Clubhouse in his memory.
I wish our Club every success in the future. Sometimes I sit in my quiet moments and think about how much I have enjoyed many, many happy hours amongst my dear friends here and many good games of golf. But I still feel that, had I been privileged to play up on the old course at the top of the Mains Brae, I would have found it much more of a challenge.
Published and printed by the Dunning Parish Historical Society
HOUSE-DETECTIVES To add to our knowledge of parish family names, unusual feu terms, field names, etc. we ask the help of property-owners willing to lend us copies of their historical house and farm deeds. Owners would receive, in return, the benefit of any additional knowledge uncovered about the history of their properties. We also require helpers to search the deeds. PLEASE CONTACT JANET CROWE, TEL: 535
NEWSPAPER-CLIPPERS We'd like sharp-eyed volunteers willing to watch the Courier and the P.A. for any mention of Dunning. (The Perth Library does save some material but mostly major & unusual items; we want all the everyday material: weddings, births, winner's lists, etc.) PLEASE CONTACT COLIN YOUNG.
HISTORIC PHOTOS Two kinds of helpers wanted: First, people willing to donate or lend photos of Dunning from historic times up to the recent past. Second, people willing to help catalogue photos, and to help in other ways with the collection. PLEASE CONTACT SIMON WARREN, TEL: 523
INDEPENDENT RESEARCH PIECES Members are encouraged to undertake whatever topic of research interests them and to submit articles for publication by the Society. If you're keen but don't have a topic, we have on hand several subjects as well as donated material crying out for a researcher, e.g. The Mystery of Dunning's Lemonade Factory, or the Bothy-Boy Photo. PLEASE CONTACT LORNE WALLACE, TEL: 581 OR WALTER PERRIE.
EPHEMERA COLLECTOR Wanted, somebody steady and reliable to spend a few minutes each week simply collecting used posters and handbills from shops about events held in the village the previous few days. Perth Museum advises us that this ephemera is an invaluable record for the future. PLEASE CONTACT COLIN YOUNG
Thursday Oct 1 CLUES TO THE PAST Slide-talk by Lorne Wallace 7.30 p.m. Dunning Primary School
Saturday Nov 7 COFFEE MORNING & PHOTO SALE (Plus Baked Goods) 10 a.m. Dunning Village Hall
Wednesday Nov 11 FIELD TRIP - Behind the scenes at Perth Museum 7.30 p.m. 20 places only. Tel: Shona Sinclair on 566
Thursday Nov 26 ARCHAEOLOGY FROM THE SKY. A talk, with aerial photos by Dr. Jack Stevenson, Ancient Monuments, Scotland. 7.30 p.m. Dunning Primary School.
Thursday Jan 14 FIELD TRIP to the Archives, Sandeman Library, Perth. 7.30 p.m. 12 places only.
Thursday Jan 28 WHAT'S IN A NAME? A talk about the origins of placenames in the Ochils by Angus Watson, Aberdeen University. 7.30 p.m. Dunning Primary School.
Thursday Feb 18 FIELD TRIP to the Local History Dept, Sandeman Library. 7.30 p.m. 15 places only.
Thursday Mar 11 MEMBERS NIGHT. Short presentations incl. Fuller's Earth. 7.30 p.m. Dunning Primary School.
Thursday May 27 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & special speaker. 7.30 p.m. Dunning Primary School.
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