James Fitzmorris – Polmont air ace

I was talking this week to my friend Kenny Baird of Bo’ness Hill Climb fame when the conversation turned to First World War aeroplanes and in particular the exploits of the Polmont air ace Major James Fitzmorris.

The opening of Dawson Park in 1904 and (below) Powfoulis, the family home of the Dawsons.

One name that can’t be avoided in Bainsford

One name that is hard to avoid if you live down Bainsford way is Dawson. There is a street and a park as well as the Dawson Community Centre, the Dawson Mission and, of course, the former Dawson Park school, now renamed and relocated to Stenhousemuir.

East end of Falkirk in 1960 with the Olivet Gospel Hall on the left and St Francis School on the right

Memories of Falkirk’s east end

There are a few parts of Falkirk town centre that have hardly changed for decades or even centuries. The area round the steeple with Tolbooth Street, Wooer Street and Fleshmarket Close is one obvious example and Newmarket Street is another with street layout and buildings from the Victorian era.

The inspectors were called by worried members of the public

Swan in a bit of a flap in town centre

A fully grown swan may have thought that the car park at Williamson Street in Falkirk was a small lake in this picture taken from our archives.

The babies receive their special gifts

Special delivery for happy mums

All these youngsters were born on Monday, January 18, 1982 – the same day that Falkirk Royal Infirmary celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The battle monument erected in 1927 and (below) the Redcoat Dragoons face the highland clansmen.

Take a walk through Falkirk’s battle history

In pursuit of a healthy lifestyle I bought an exercise bike last week and once I work out how to put it together I’ll get started!

The war memorial at the Dobbie Hall and (below) guardsmen wait in the Passchendaele mud in October 1917

The fallen of Larbert 
and Stenhousemuir

A week ago I wrote about the Christmas experience of local wives and families as 1916 drew to a close. With the horrors of the Somme fresh in their minds there were no doubt many fervent prayers that 1917 might bring an end to the suffering and see the safe return of those who had survived and remained in the trenches or at sea.

The Tattie Kirk today from the old graveyard

The Tattie Kirk – Falkirk’s most unusual building

The most unusual building in Falkirk – and one that I get asked about most often – is the little octagonal Tattie Kirk in the Cow Wynd.

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The hoard of Roman coins discovered in August 1933 and (below) Robert Wallace, the workman who unearthed them.

Falkirk’s greatest
Roman discovery

Two weeks ago I wrote about the new issue of the local history journal Calatria and used a photograph of the famous Roman coin hoard discovered in the 1930s.

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Falkirk around 1916.

Christmas 1916 – Falkirk at war

As we approach the season of goodwill and over indulgence spare a thought for our grandparents’ generation facing Christmas 1916 in the dark shadow of the Great War. The disastrous Battle of the Somme had ended a few weeks earlier after five months of carnage but the casualty lists continued to grow and families throughout the district mourned their losses and waited in fear for what 1917 might bring.

Map of Falkirk area from around 1590.

Calatria – recording Falkirk’s history

Regular readers of this column will forgive me if I use this week’s article to celebrate a personal historical milestone.

Carnera with his 'sign'

Carnera – heavyweight champion of Falkirk

Although I wrote about today’s topic quite a few years ago I still get asked to tell the story of one of Falkirk’s most famous inhabitants – not a politician or a sportsman or even a wealthy foundry master but a horse, and a great big one at that.

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Millfield House

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.

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