Within the centre of Kilsyth are many interesting structures – decorative and commemorative – and all can be very easily located.
There is much ornate Victorian and Edwardian cast-iron work including the work incorporated in five of the Bridges over the Garrell and Ebroch Burns, which flow through the town. These bridges, of several designs, can be seen at Innsbridge (Stirling Road/Tak-ma-doon Road junction), Station Road, Burngreen Road, King Street and Main Street, their strong stylized patterns providing a contrast to the soft foliage of the trees and greenery of the banks and the everchanging movement of the water, whether in spate or meandering along.
Burngreen,with its well kept formal flowerbeds, paths and trees has, as its very handsome centrepiece, an Edwardian Bandstand (1910) and nearby, a Drinking Fountain(1910) which depicts the daughter of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. This was gifted to the town by Provost Murdoch. These pieces were cast not far from Kilsyth, at the Lion Foundry in Kirkintilloch.
Installed in Burngreen also is the monument dedicated to the International Peace Year (1986). A formal dedication was made by Provost James Pollock along with Madame Marie-Thérèse Pirolli, Mayor of Meulan , Kilsyth’s Twin-Town, which is in France, N.W of Paris. In 2011, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Year of Peace, Friends of Burngreen Park donated 25 rose bushes of the variety “Peace” and the planting is marked by a plaque donated by Kilsyth Community Council.
In 1923 the town’s War Memorial, an imposing 18ft Celtic cross of Aberdeen granite, was erected in a prominent position, again in Burngreen, and was unveiled by Sir Archibald Edmonstone. All those lost in the First World War and those who lost their lives in the Second World War and in the conflict in Northern Ireland are honoured and their names recorded.
Plaques affixed to the Bandstand record and commemorate those members of the Kilsyth Public Band and of the Kilsyth Town and Victoria Band who laid down their lives in the First World War.
In 1990, the Rotary Club of Kilsyth buried a ‘Time Capsule’ containing various items representative of the era with the proviso that it be opened in 2040. This is sited near to the Ebroch Burn and the Cats’ Close.
On the site of the ancient meal market, at Market Square, there is a Drinking Fountain (1869) which had been gifted by a baronet of the aforementioned family, the Edmonstones. He was of an earlier generation but bore the same name, Sir Archibald Edmonstone, a name passed down from father to son over many centuries.
A monument erected by the district miners in 1996 and designed by pupils of Kilsyth Academy and St.Maurice’s High School commemorates the History of Mining in the district. This monument is situated in the small memorial garden which is near to the Garrell Burn, adjacent to Charles Street. Part of the mile-long Provost McCann Walkway runs alongside the burn at this point and there is a memorial plaque here(1995) which acknowledges the splendid civic contribution to the town and community made by Provost Patrick McCann during his many years of office.
Benno Schotz, the well known sculptor, was commissioned in 1954 by Kilsyth Burgh Council to create a Memorial to Provost John Jarvie who had been the first freeman of the burgh. This is in the form of a portrait in relief and can be seen in the appropriately named John Jarvie Square, off East Burnside Street.
Main Street, winds from Market street northwards. It is a pedestrian precinct and the paving materials have been varied to echo the windings of the burns which cross the town, while poetry incised on the stonework of the focal points has the same theme and was contributed by members of the local community. An inset medallion on the paving is inscribed with ‘North Lanarkshire Council’, ‘Kilsyth Community Council’ and the date of the official renovation works, 2005.
A similarly inset medallion was commissioned at the same time by the the Rotary Club to mark the centenary of the founding of Rotary International in 1905 and of the local Rotary Club in 1974 This is sited at the junction of King Street with Main Street near to three spectacular steel trees of modern design which contrast with three natural trees of the same height which are planted in likewise fashion at a pathway a short distance away.
A Memorial to the Reverend Dr Jeffrey (1910) at Howe Road was gifted by the members of a religious group who held meetings on Sunday afternoons. These were referred to, at the time, as the PSA (Pleasant Sunday Afternoons) A magnificent banner depicting the PSA is still extant. North Lanarkshire Council had this banner restored and it now hangs in the Museum within Colzium House.
Burngreen, along with the former Kilsyth Miners’ Welfare Park has now been designated Burngreen Park. In this account the older name Burngreen is used and the area referred to is the formal area which includes the bandstand but which in the days of linen production, was a bleaching green. After gathering, the flax was first retted (placed in the waters of the Garrell Burn in order remove the external covering of the fibres by rotting) Following retting the linen would be spread out on the ‘green’ to be bleached.
Occupying a prominent position at Balmalloch overlooking the town, Kilsyth Academy is an early example of the work of Sir Basil Spence who was later to become well known as architect of Coventry Cathedral.
Another notable landmark exemplifying modernism is the “A” listed St. Patrick’s Church by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia. This is situated on Low Craigends.
Register of Listed Buildings in and around Kilsyth
|Parish Church, Backbrae St||B|
|Old Graveyard & Watch Tower, Howe
|St. Patrick’s Church, Low Craigends||A|
|Market Chambers, 6-10 Market Sq||B|
|Pump, Market Sq||C|
|48 & 50 Market St||C|
|Garrell Mill House, Tak-ma-doon Rd||B|
|Garrell Mill, Tak-ma-doon Rd||B|
|55-63 Main St||B|
|36-42 Main St||B|
|Brownville, Balmalloch Rd||B|
|Bentend Steading, Nr. Carron Bridge||C|
|Glenhead Cottage, Banton||C|
Kilsyth in the Fifties
The artist, William Piper, generously donated this collection of paintings to the people of Kilsyth. He had lived in the town for 10 years following the Second World War, before making his home in the U.S.A. and he hoped his ‘Memories of Kilsyth’ would be enjoyed by the community. The Community Council are very appreciative of Mr Piper’s gift. His paintings will evoke many reminiscences and have importance both as works of art and as a historical record of Kilsyth as it was, in the middle years of last century.
You can see the Piper paintings here
(Photos courtesy of Ian Jarvis)