Referring to a little souvenir booklet from 1909 written by the workers who created the Auchentibber Quoiting Green and surrounding gardens, these words tell of how Auchentibber Inn owner Mr. J.B Struthers being disillusioned at dreary little villages and inns, wanted to create something at Auchentibber, presumably not only to beautify the back of his Inn, but also to attract people to the area and enhance the surrounding area of his new business venture. The narrative is transcribed directly as:
“Conditions of Scottish Village Life – Several years ago, the promoter of this enterprise (Mr J.B. Struthers) in his rambles through Scottish Villages was much pressed by 2 facts. Namely, the utter dreariness and aloofness of the little Village Inns, and the bored, disconsolate air of the villagers, hanging idly about working hours, and longing presumably for the weekend visit to the nearest town and its bustle and doubtful pleasures, Ice Cream Shops. This bond exists no longer, and a void has been created in village life which prim institutes and tawdry Ice cream shops will never fill. They lack the one thing needful, sociability.”
The booklet refers to Struthers observations at a time prior to 1899, before he acquired his Auchentibber Inn. In a way, some things haven’t changed in the 100 years. Struthers rightly noted people needed something to do, somewhere that would bring them all together, especially in Auchentibber, which at that time was a busy little mining community. He may have observed in the 1880s and 1890’s miners looking for social recreation. His father JBH Struthers had built the Masonic Halls at Main Street in earlier decades and the reference to prim institutions and ice cream shops, it think may have been an observation to Kirkton at the time. Being the nearby Innkeeper at the corner of Auchentibber Road and Sydes Brae, I’m sure that as a businessman, he would have thought bringing people to a location near his Inn, would be a worthwhile venture.
In this previously unseen photo is the Lounge in the Rose Garden in 1909, within Auchentibber Gardens. The gardens clearly were becoming established by that time, and beautiful already in their own right. A very pleasant place to walk around and to watch the nearby quoiting sports.