A look into the past around Polmont

They say a brisk winter walk is good for your circulation so here’s a way to combine healthy exercise with a look back at the past.

Holyrood Abbey

Falkirk’s connection with the abbots

Visitors to our area are often intrigued by the number of ‘‘abbot’’ names throughout the Falkirk district despite the fact that we never had an abbey in these parts.

George Square in Camlelon

The Camelon nailers – fighting for reform

Local history enthusiasts were greatly saddened by the recent death of our friend Margaret Lyon who did so much to uncover the story of the famous nailers especially the ones from Camelon.

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A fireman tackles the blaze at the Scottish Tar Distillers' plant at Camelon near Falkirk in November 1973

Looking back – the tar works fire in 1973

In 1973 the Falkirk district witnessed one of its most dramatic events when a tar works went up in flames.

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Sailing ships in Bo'ness Harbour

The Bo’ness Sea Box – a sailor’s insurance

Once upon a time the town of Bo’ness was the third most important port in Scotland with many local ships trading with the continent carrying away coal, salt and other raw materials and returning with timber from Scandinavia, cloth from Flanders and fine French wines.

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Remember, remember the fifth of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November

This Saturday hundreds of folk will make their way to Callendar Park for the annual fireworks display. Drawn there by the special experience of fire and light on dark chilly nights, they will also be answering the centuries old demand that they “Remember, remember the fifth of November”.

The John de Graeme fountain that still stands in Victoria Park today

Victoria Park: ‘a pleasant resort’ for over a century

Most Sunday mornings I walk my dog round the half mile circuit of Falkirk’s Victoria Park. Sometimes I’m the only one there but quite often there are football matches and occasionally visiting amusements at the north end.

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Veteran singer and actress Gracie Fields waves goodbye to the workers  after her visit

Singing star is big hit on Falkirk visit

Singing star Gracie Fields was greeted with “a hundred thousand welcomes” as she made her first visit to Falkirk in November 1971.

Clocking a golden age for masters of the time in Falkirk

Clocking a golden age for masters of the time in Falkirk

Last week my old pal from Kincardine Ian Park sent me a picture of a grandfather clock which a friend of his had bought over in Fife.

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Callander's shop with the giant fountain pen

Falkirk’s historic shop fronts recalled

With the weather cock in shiny new coat back on his perch and the refurbishment of the steeple well underway, attention is turning to other aspects of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

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Falkirk Royal Infirmary.

Why are Falkirk folk 
called ‘bairns’?

The question I am most often asked by locals as well as visitors is why Falkirk folk are called ‘bairns’ and what distinguishes them from anybody else other than the obvious things like good looks and intelligence.

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An artist's interpretation of the generally accepted perception of the mermaid.

Myth of the mermaid remains an enduring fishy tale...

The mermaid with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish has appeared for centuries in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, Scotland included. ALISTAIR MUNRO recounts some of these acquatic connections with the Western Isles.

Entrance to the Callendar House ice house.

The days of ice houses and factories

When I was a child we had few of the household appliances everyone takes for granted today.

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North Rona could have been turned into a penal outpost

When Rona could have been Scotland’s own Devil’s Island

Devil’s Island, Robben Island, Asinara, Pianosa, Alcatraz – all prisons remote and with very little chance of escape... and little hope. But 150 years ago a small island in the Hebrides could have joined that list, its merit resting on the belief that it would “have all the terrors and none of the attractions of transportation to Australia”.

Debbie Clarke looks at the case put in 1852 for turning North Rona into a penal colony on Stornoway’s doorstep.

Lock 7 under construction, 1923. Photo: J.A. McDonald. Brock University Alan Sykes Welland Canal Collection.

Workers’ memorial group seeks details on canal’s tragic Scottish cousins

The Welland Canal in Ontario, Canada, links Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and forms a key section of the St Lawrence Seaway.

Last leg of cast iron trip down the mighty Carron...

Last leg of cast iron trip down the mighty Carron...

The last leg of my trip down the Carron follows the route taken for well over a century by the iron articles manufactured at Carron Works destined for the markets of the world.

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Larbert viaduct and the old bridge over the Carron

Dunipace to Carron: history all along the riverbanks

This week I am continuing my historical odyssey down the Carron to mark Communities Along the Carron Association’s recent Queen’s Award.


VIDEO - 100 years of the tank

Today marks the 100-year anniversary of the first use of the tank in warfare.

The new-look Sindy

Sindy doll returns with a makeover

One of the most popular British toys of all time is making a comeback.

Pupils will be taken back to Victorian times

School takes a trip down memory lane

Pupils at Falkirk’s oldest primary school will be taking a peep into the past and experiencing education in the Victorian age next week.

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