Uphill on last leg of historical Falkirk circular

My historical walk round the circular has reached the last leg and it’s uphill all the way!

Just beyond Bainsford Bridge is the art deco building once the office of Falkirk Iron Company.

Built in 1936 it is now in flats but at least it is still there. To the left, where the sheltered housing is today, stood the little Grahamston Subscription School –replaced by the Northern in the 1870s.

It is gone but surviving across the road is the Grahamston and Bainsford Co-operative Society building (1908) now converted to shops and the home of Falkirk’s first Freemasons, Lodge 16.

Crossing Dalderse Avenue brings us to another of Falkirk’s centres of iron founding.

Turn right at the Star Inn, for years the haunt of folk club fanatics, and at the end of Gowan Avenue beside the canal you’ll find the bricked up remnants of Gowanbank Foundry.

It was opened in 1870 by Malcolm Cockburn, Provost of the Burgh and all round important man of business.

Nothing remains of the next door premises of Grahamston Iron Works known to all as ‘Mitchell’s foondry’.

Back to the main road for a moment’s silent regret that Walton’s ice cream shop no longer sells the magic wafers and cones. Today it is a successful photo studio called, appropriately enough, the Ice Factory.

The Oddfellows Hall (now Megazone) was built in 1883 for a Friendly Society but I remember it being used for Sunday services by St Francis Xavier’s while the new building in Hope Street was under construction in the late 50s.

Grahamston was awash with foundries, churches and pubs. On the right is Grahamston United opened in 1875 and presently home to three other congregations whose buildings are long gone: the Methodist Church in James Street (1892), the Congregational in Meeks Road (1893) and Grahams Road Church (1879) whose thin spire dominates many of our old images of Grahams Road.

In the passing did you know that the spire of Grahamston United was the inspiration for the Falkirk FC logo and not the town steeple?

It was visible from Brockville and if you take a look you’ll see what I mean.

The Victoria Bar (known as the Vicky) and the Graeme Hotel have survived but the Empire is gone and the old RB buffet is almost unrecognisable as Baristas.

We may safely avoid the retail park roundabout and head on towards the bridge that carries the road over the railway line.

Grahamston Station dates to the arrival of the railway in 1850, though the present buildings are from the 1980s.

Up until the late Victorian period people used a footbridge here and wheeled vehicles were forced round the arc of Macfarlane Crescent.

Few folk of my vintage will forget either McCready’s Chip Shop or the greyhound ‘Stadium’ which stood in the Crescent.

Known of course as the ‘dugs’ this was an unregulated ‘flapper track’ where all manner of jiggery pokery went on.

Suffice to say that many a hound was fed a few pies from McCready’s to make sure it didn’t run too fast!

The Railway Bar on the bridge is a really interesting looking building and, amazingly, one that I have never been in!

Ahead of us on the left is the old Post Office, now the fantastic Hub, and over the road the former Burns’ Bar (Firkins) now being refurbished.

Like the trams we turn right into Newmarket Street passing on the corner the former Salon Picture House and the mock Tudor House.

I am now back where I started a month ago. It shouldn’t take you quite so long!