Some leisure activities have changed little since the 18th century, according to the Statistical Account of Old Monkland in 1794:
“Alehouses:- There are no less than 30 inns or public houses in the parish. These, it must be confessed, are attended with the most pernicious effects to the health and morals of the people. It is no uncommon thing for a labouring man to spend all his wages in these houses, and suffer his unhappy wife and children to continue in want and wretchedness. Government could not adopt a wiser measure than to raise the price of licenses.”
Carmyle has two such alehouse dating back to the 19th century. The Auld Boat Hoose, or “bottom shop” in River Road, opposite the spot where a boat would ferry people across the Clyde from the Cambuslang side, and the Auld Hoose, or “top shop”, round the corner, a few hundred yards up Carmyle Avenue. Other drinking places such as the Cue Club and Bowling Club have opened since then. It would seem that now, as in the late 1700’s the price of a licence does not deter the alehouse owner.
Other pastimes, for the majority of men, included football and kiting in the Cardie Park, alongside the river; pitch and toss and card schools on the river banks; and swimming. Two favourite bathing spots were the Margin and the Lade. The Margin, beyond the “Horseshoe Falls” was dangerous and although many were drowned there, it was still very popular in summer. The Lade was a stretch of water running from the mill along the ferry boat crossing.
As a young girl, growing up in Carmyle, Sunday afternoon was spent going to Sunday School and then, after tea a group of us would go to the Bluebell Woods, while the boys and young men would go swimming in the “Margin”. Others would sit around the Bleachfield Green and watch the bathers around the “Lade” and there was always afire going in the little island.
Clabber dancing was a popular event for everyone in most mining villages and Carmyle was no exception. Apparently, someone played an accordion in the open air, while folk danced in the street, sometimes till early morning.
Bowling was a favourite recreation for the older men in the village. The green in River Road, along from the Boat Hoose, was being played in the late 1890’s. By 1960, when the Club became a member of the Glasgow and Scottish Bowling Associations, the participants were much younger and female players were joining in. Today, as with most bowling clubs in Scotland, the Carmyle Club has a drinks licence and members can enjoy year-round social and bowling activities.
Foxley Bowling Club in Carmyle Avenue was instituted in 1914. The ground and pavilion were provided by Stewart and Lloyd’s Steel Tube Company, as a goodwill gesture to the community east of Tollcross. The company were then building their tube-making plant in the district. The Club took its name from the local estate called Foxley. Several residents of Carmyle are members and a friendly rivalry exists between the two clubs.
Who is lying in the shot? (Note the Power Station in the background)
Bowlers on Carmyle Green
Football has long been a favourite pastime in the village and the Carmyle Fernlea was an active participant of the sport in 1914, when they played in the Glasgow and District Amateur League. The patrons of the Club, shown on the membership card were mainly business men in the area, such as the Parks who owned the Bleachfield and the Grahams who owned the Boat Hoose and a grocer’s shop in Carmyle Avenue.
Boghead Park referred to as their ground, is thought to be the area now known as the “Cardie Park”.
Another football team popular in the 1950’s, was the Carmyle Hearts run by Duncan (Dunkie) Wilkie. They played on the ground now occupied by the Community Centre. There have been other teams in the village, from time to time, including the Boys’ Brigade and Schools, but information is sparse as to titles or achievement.
At present there are school-boys’ teams, Wolves Boys Club, run by Thomas Eddie, and they have travelled as far afield as the U.S.A. Their trips etc. are financed by their own efforts in fund-raising.
I have been informed that several village players in the past, have reached 1st Divisional status, but I have no actual facts on names etc., therefore I will mention only one famous footballing success story. Walter Smith was brought up in the Gardenside area of Carmyle and attended Carmyle Primary and Mount Vernon Secondary schools. He played with numerous football teams before signing up for Dundee United. He became Scotland’s Under Manager, then went on to his present position as Manager of Glasgow Rangers.
There used to be a pavilion on the Cardie Football Park, which was sold to Johnny McGrory, the British Featherweight Champion boxer. He used it as a training camp, and when he emigrated to Canada, the pavilion was taken down in sections and moved to Garrowhill Bowling Green, where it was used as a clubhouse.
Domestic chores, and family life, left little time for female leisure activities, but by the early 20th century women were gaining more freedom with the invention of labour-saving devices for the home. Free time was usually spent sitting outdoors, or on the green by the river, chatting to neighbours. The building of the Carmyle Miner’s and Village Welfare Society Hall in Gardenside Avenue opened up a whole new manner of pastimes for the women folk of the village. The following excerpts from original notices will give the reader an insight into the planning and effort involved in establishing an extremely important part of the historical, social and economic development of the community.
We had a very good Village Welfare Hall. On Monday nights the Cooperative Women’s Guild met, on Tuesdays there was a whist night, on Wednesday nights we had bingo and on Thursday evenings the Welfare Women’s Guild had their meeting.
In the early 1950’s the “Halls” were badly in need of decoration, so the committee at that time decided on a Fete to raise money. I think the whole of Carmyle looked forward to it. There was the Glamorous Granny, Beauty Queen and Bonnie Baby contests, and also a “Go as You Please” for young and old alike. Two of the judges were football players - one from Celtic and one from Rangers.
A group of volunteers having a break from the ‘Teas’ tent at a Welfare Gala
On the Saturday of the fete, there was a marquee behind the “Welfare” for teas, coffees and soft drinks, then there was the flower arrangement, jam-making, cake and candy and home-grown vegetable stalls, and of course, a “white elephant” stall.
Doctor Thomas (Sen.) opened the fete and Willie Ward (Sen.) provided ponies for the young to have pony rides.
Throughout the years the children of the village enjoyed a variety of entertainment - a picture show on Saturdays, at Easter time f/icy had parties, divided in to three separate age groups and the same at Halloween and Christmas. In the summer they had day-trips to the seaside. At that time the committee took it in turns to sit in the Welfare Hall on a Friday night, collecting money from the parents to pay for the outing. This way, the parents did not miss the money, so much, when paying it up. It was a great “Welfare” and many good nights I spent there.
My wedding reception was held in the Welfare Hall in October 1953. About 80 guests attended and a bar was set up in the kitchen downstairs with barrels of beer and bottles of spirits. After a steak-pie meal, purveyed by the Co-operative, we danced to a live band. Some of the male guests left the reception, to go to the Boat Hoose pub, and missed the group photo.
My “new” husband and I left early and were given the usual noisy send-off We walked down the drive of the Orchard Park, opposite the halls, to the tenement building at the bottom, in River Road. We had bought a small room and kitchen, in the close,for £100. We were hardly inside when the light went out - the meter needed a shilling - and we didn’t have one, so we hung about outside, until the reception was over, and borrowed a shilling from my mother. I was so embarrassed!.
I remember going to Bingo in the village Welfare Hall on Wednesday nights and those who went enjoyed their evening including a cup of tea and a biscuit. We also had bus runs on Saturday evenings in summer. We would assemble outside the hail. It was called the 6-5 Special. If you guessed your destination you got your money back.
Bus run leaving from the Welfare Hall
I went to the dancing in Carmyle and Dave Scott and his Night Hawks were the band who played there every Saturday. Bill Irving was the M.C. I came from Rutherglen and I thought nothing of walking alone along the path by the river, to get to Carmyle. My sister married the M.C.’s brother John Irving.
The village Welfare consisted of a large hail, lesser hail, kitchen, two committee rooms, a shop and a billiards room, which had three billiard tables. Apart from the co-op and church guild meetings, mens’ sections etc., the Welfare had practical and educational advantages. There was the Baby Clinic, Rent Office, Library, Sewing, Dancing and Keep Fit Classes and sometimes religious services for member of St. Joseph’s congregation.
To me, the hay-day of the welfare, was after the war when the forces came home. They were intent on enjoying life to the fulll. I remember the big dances held for V.E. and V.1., when hot pies, cakes and tea-bread were served and if there was any “drink”, it was carried in the mens’ coat pockets - the cloakrooms were always busy then!
A group of forces enjoying the local hospitality in the ‘Welfare’
The Carmyle Community Centre in Hillcrest Road, at the corner of Naismith Street was opened in 1982. It comprises of a large hall, a lesser hail, kitchen, toilets and an office. The centre is run by a voluntary management committee and advised by a Community Education officer. The committee employ a full-time caretaker.
Various organisations use the centre, such as the Indoor Carpet Bowls, Youth Club, Dancing Classes, Senior Citizens, Alcoholics Anonymous, Football Training, Mothers and Toddlers and most recently the Play Group. Carmyle Primary School also use the large hall for Physical Education. The centre is hired out for dances, engagement and wedding receptions, public meetings and birthday parties.
The committee also hold fund-raising events, as a financial back-up to the Strathclyde Regional Grant. As you can see, the centre is a popular meeting place, for young and old in the local community.
The Management Committee is also responsible for the upkeep of the Community Mini Bus which was purchased with the proceeds of fund-raising events. It can be hired for weddings, funerals, hospital visits, dance or theatre outings etc. It is also hired by the Education Authority to bus children to and from Carmyle and St. Joachim’s Primary Schools.
The Orchard Park Centre in Gardenside Avenue is a meeting place for the Senior Citizens of the village. It was opened by Councillor Cohn McNicol on the 31st January 1970. The centre consists of a sitting room, kitchen and toilet facilities. There is also a verandah. A local voluntary committee was formed to run the Centre, and they serve tea or coffee to locals who drop in for a blether, while out shopping, or just to pass some time.
Meals are delivered every day except Saturday and Sunday, and folk who live on their own can enjoy a three-course lunch at a very reasonable price. Meals are also delivered to the infirm who are unable to leave their homes. The committee hold fund-raising events such as whist or bingo evenings.
Since its establishment in 1978, Carmyle Community Council has sought to be the voice of the community, participating in local issues, such as house modernisation programmes, traffic congestion in the area, environmental and social problems. It provides a link between community interests and local government. The Council has promoted several Gala Days which were greatly enjoyed by the folks in the village. In 1986, for example, the committee organised a full programme of events, with something for everyone.
Carmyle Community Council also set out to publish a local newspaper - The Observer - but although very popular and in great demand, only about 13 issues were published between September 1985 and November 1987, due, mainly, to lack of committee members.
These Councils are voluntary bodies and rely on people to give up some spare time to serve the needs of the community but, alas, it isn’t easy to induce people to join such committees, therefore, time-consuming projects, such as Gala Days, are lost.
NOTES: Updated for 1st March, 2010.
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