JBH Struthers Interview, 1910 (Part 2 of 3)

During an Auchentibber Garden Party in June 1910, reporters interviewed Inn and Quoiting Grounds owner, Mr. J.B.H Struthers. Today, continued on from yesterday, his interview continues with an explanation of the measures initially taken to form the beautiful former Italian Gardens.

1923 Auchentibber, The Terrace

“My first step was to gather together a number of the men to whom I explained my views, and asked for their cooperation. I pointed out the possibilities of the place; how it could be made a veritable paradise; a quiet retreat where after a hard day’s work one might repair for rest and recreation. Just at this time the old Scottish game of quoiting was being revived in many towns and villages throughout the county, and soon a club was formed here. This club was the means of providing me with bands of willing workers all eager to carry out work, no matter how arduous, with no thought of reward other than a quiet word of appreciation and thanks.

To convey some idea of the labour involved in the early stages of the enterprise, it may be mentioned that something like 500 tons of earth were removed from one part of the ground to another as the nature of the operations demanded, and all done by means of ordinary garden barrows. Indeed, the very stones of which all these terracings are built, were quarried by ourselves. By these patient labours the beauty of the place has grown from year to year, to which beauty almost every dweller in our midst has been at some time or in some way a contributor.

Here, for example, it a beautiful seat copied from a famous Royal Academy picture, and faithfully reproduced in all its details by our handy village joiner, morticed by hand every bit of it and no glue. You see that fine tree yonder? It was brought by mindful hands just a little sapling all the way from ‘the auld countree.”

These ferns and mosses which adorn the fountains and even the ‘baggies’ which disport themselves in the basin were brought from far and wide by the boys and girls. The fountains were entirely constructed by ourselves, and the making of them gave us not a few firm lessons in patience and perseverance. All these fossils were taken from the bowels of the earth and placed where you see them by kindly hands. That fine statue of Neptune there at one time adorned a corner of the late Mr Cowan’, famous rock gardens at Rosehall, Paisley.”

As we move along we pass through a leafy tunnel, which has its exit on the “Rose Gardens,’ which in another month will be seen at their very best, and already gives ample promise of reward for the labour of the early spring. At various points here are placed rustic seats and tables seductively embowered in greenery. In such a bejewelled comer guarded on either side by the gently detaining caresses of “Dorothy Perkins” and “Innocence” and other little gardens gods, models of the sculptor’s art, nothing but the finer expressions of the soul can be uppermost.

There is yet another corner of equal charm, this time a representation of Italian methods, a pergola, a something embowered in massive greenery, yet of quite spacious dimensions. Here in close proximity to the beautiful fountain already referred to one can sit and partake of refreshments to the accompaniment of its rippling waters, and forget the fretting worries of life in thoughts more enabling than those produced by over indulgence in a close stuffy tap-room. At another portion of the little paradise, a dainty rustic stair leads you on to a charming roof garden where the eye can, at a sweep, take in the quaint and laminating beauty of the whole place. The centre area of the ground, which is 24 yards wide, is neatly enclosed as the playing pitch of the Auchintibber Quoiting Club. The little pavilion, which is well appointed with all accessories, is built on the rustic fog house principle, and is strictly in harmony with the quaint and pleasing design of the other buildings and appointments. “

Continued on Final Part 3 tomorrow…..

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