Continued from Part 6….
Continuing our detailed look at the former Blantyre Curling Club. In 1947/48 season past President Mr.Hugh. B Kerr donated a walnut shield with plating as a trophy for competition. This subsequently became the club’s knock out trophy. In that season James Down and Robert Aitkenhead were made Honorary members. Arrangements were also made to play an annual match against East Kilbride and Hairmyres, each Club booking the ice in alternative years.
In 1948/49 season Mr William Walker was elected Honorary President. He donated a Silver Quaich for presentation to the winning club of the match with East Kilbride and Hairmyres. In this season, Life Member, Mr Alex M Lindsey was elected Club President.
As attitudes towards new and varied sports changed in the early 1950’s, the Club’s membership started to decline. By 1953/54 season the format of the Hastie League was changed so that each rink could play each other…twice. David Wallace converted the Hastie Handles into attractive book ends.
In 1956/57 Miss MacDonald of Hamilton donated a silver curling stone trophy to the club in memory of her father Mr. J.F MacDonald, a former President. This was initially allocated for a points competition and subsequently competed for in pairs, mini league then again later back to pairs as it still was by the 1980’s.
In 1957/58 with membership still on the wane, the club decided to branch out into Bowling. The idea was to play locally at the excellent facilities in Blantyre and maintain contact with each other during summer months. It was hoped this would prolong longevity of membership. However, despite this, membership continued to be lean and in decline, even right into the 1960s.
Things were in poor shape and in 1961/62 season there were no meetings. On 17th May 1963 a special meeting was called to discuss if the club should continue to function. Many of the older members so active in previous decades had since passed and the younger members were few and far between. Those attending the meeting however, unanimously decided to continue not wishing to give up or oversee the end of such an established club. James Arneil was elected Secretary and Treasurer and together with Honorary President Mr William Kerr did much to advertise and rekindle the interest in the club, resulting in a much needed bounce upwards of membership. By 1967, it was an end to those lean years.
In 1967/68 season with the opening of Lanarkshire Ice Rink, it was decided to transfer the clubs allegiances there. A closer, more modern venue in Hamilton and in those modern times female members were also permitted to join, valued as much as their male counterparts. A rink was entered in the newly formed West of Scotland League.
In 1968/69 because of the surge in membership (no less thanks to women joining), the Hastie League was formed into two sections, the winners of each to play off for the trophy. The Kerr Shield knock out competition now consisted of 16 rinks and the pairs competition now had 64 players. The Club fully resigned from Glasgow and continued at Lanarkshire.
Between 1968 and 1971, the rink skipped by WC Kerr won sections A, B and C of the West of Scotland League in consecutive years.
Mr Tom Dickson is pictured in front of Lanarkshire Ice Rink in Hamilton. It was his idea who brought together all the clubs which enabled the funding and building of the facility and he acted as Chairperson from its opening in 1967 right up until his retirement in 1984. Tom was also a past President of R.C.C.C in 1979/80 and in the years 1983/1984 immediately prior to retirement, was also President of the Blantyre Curling Club.
Continued on final Part 8 tomorrow…..