Down memory lane

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ONE of Milngavie’s biggest claims to fame is that it was once home to the experimental Bennie Railplane. This was a form of rail transport invented by George Bennie, which moved along an overhead rail by way of propellers.

Bennie Railplane interior

Bennie Railplane interior

Despite superficial appearances, it was not a monorail, as it used both an overhead running rail and a guide rail below.

It was intended to run above conventional railways, separating faster passenger traffic from slower freight traffic.

A prototype ran over a 130-yard line in Milngavie in the 1930s, but Bennie was never able to secure funding for further development and went bankrupt in 1937. The line was demolished for scrap in the 1950s.

100 YEARS AGO - February 16, 1912

MRS GEMMELL, from Partick, was the speaker at the monthly meeting of the British Women’s Temperance Association held in Milngavie and Baldernock United Free Church Hall. She talked to everyone about the Anti-Alcoholic Congress at The Hague - making special mention of the people who impressed her most in the meeting of 2000 people from all over the world. She said: “Their methods all vary, but they are striving for the same end, to rid their countries of the effects of the drink traffic.”

WILD birds and their nests was the topic of a lecture given at Milngavie Mechanics Institute by Mr J. Williamson from Milngavie in the Burgh Hall. There was a fairly large attendance and the lecture was illustrated by 153 lime-light pictures including a coloured ones all taken by the lecturer himself at Loch Lomond, Gourock, Bearsden and the Bass Rock. Mr Williamson was praised for his lecturing skills but criticised for his ‘woeful lack of rhetoric’, and the speed with which he passed the slides on and off the screen as it meant that he was unable to give a clear description of the birds and their nests.

75 YEARS AGO - February 20, 1937

A MAN who was seeing friends off on the Belfast steamer at the Broomielaw, Glasgow, fell into the Clyde and drowned. Samuel Livingston (40), of 17 Lochend Drive, Bearsden, was waving to his friends just before the vessel sailed, when he stumbled on the quay and fell between the side of the ship and the wall of the quay. Attempts to rescue him were unsuccessful but dragging operations later recovered his body.

THE chairman of Bearsden’s New Kilpatrick District Council reported that the council’s decision to dedicate the playing field at Killermont as a permanent memorial to his late Majesty King George V had been suggested to King George’s Fields Foundation in London. An objection was made by a member about the spiked railings round the field, which they said posed a danger to children and it was agreed that the engineer would pay attention to this matter.

50 YEARS AGO - February 16, 1962

MILNGAVIE and Bearsden did not escape a 123mph gale which swept Scotland. Trees were blown down, slates torn from roofs and chimney tops were brought crashing to the ground by the savage wind. An elderly Bearsden man was slightly injured when he was blown off his feet in Roman Road as he battled against the wind and passers-by helped him home. A lot of rain also came with the wind, many of the low-lying fields in the area were under five or six inches of water.

MILNGAVIE hit national and TV news for having the highest council house rents in Scotland. In a publication of a government white paper the average Milngavie rent was £69 and after rebates were given to 288 out of 1,011 houses, of £61. Even the latter figure was 20 per cent ahead of other council areas and the report asks: “Is it possible that our Independent councillors will be a little less independent and self-righteous and stop seeing all the rest of Scotland as out of step?”

25 YEARS AGO - February 20, 1987

BEARSDEN East Community Council was going to write to the organisers of discos held in local halls about incidents of violence. The discos ran into problems after an attack on a young girl in Bearsden Burgh Hall. She and her friends were attacked by a group of girls during the disco - they claimed that they had been pulled to the floor, kicked, punched and had their clothes torn. They also said they received threats that they would be ‘done in’.

BEARSDEN’S All Saints Church entered its 90th anniversary year in better shape than ever - thanks to a new £100,000 extension. This allowed room for a new vestry as well as another 50 seats and it was built to exacting standards in record time after the congregation raised £96,000 for it. Rector Kenneth Roach was delighted with the extension which matched the existing wooden structure. The congregation had also helped by sanding wooden floors and digging survey holes.

10 YEARS AGO - February 15, 2002

COUNCIL tax in East Dunbartonshire increased by five per cent in a budget that the administration insisted ‘puts people first’. More cash was promised for social work, town centre safety initiatives. including the expansion of CCTV, litter wardens, drug rehabilitation support and kerbside recycling.The ruling Liberal Democrat group pointed out that the increase from their projected figure was necessary because of Scottish Executive directives - like personal care of the elderly. Depute leader John Morrison also said that East Dunbartonshire was still one of the lowest council tax chargers in Scotland.

BEARSDEN pop star Darius Danesh signed a recording deal with Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell. Darius, who was 21 at the time, met with Cowell, who had branded him ‘cheesy’ and ‘corny’ throughout the hit talent show to discuss the deal.Darius, who made it to the top three of Pop Idol, said that he was the ‘luckiest man alive’ but wouldn’t reveal how much he would pocket from the deal.