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The History of Blairgowrie
Chapter IX


Institutions, Societies. &c.—Banks—Barty Mortification—Blairgowrie and District Photographic Association—Choral Society—Constitutional Club—Dramatic Society—Dundee Blairgowrie and District Association—Edinburgh Blairgowrie Club—Evening Classes—Free Masonry —Horticultural Society—Literary Societies—Mechanics' Institute— Post Office—Press—Shepherds—Volunteer Rifle Brigade.

BANKS.

The Western Bank of Scotland

WAS the first to open a branch in Blairgowrie, on 17th August, 1832. A branch was also opened in Coupar Angus about the same time, but as it dirl not pay it was closed. Messengers iu those days had to come and return by mail coach from Glasgow. The Bank first carried on business at the Cross, over shop now occupied by D. Adamson, ironmonger; then it removed to Leslie Street, shop now occupied by Miss Campbell, tobacconist; and thence to the present building in High Street. The Western Bank was incorporated with the Bank op Scotland in the autumn of 1838. Robert Robertson, some time parish schoolmaster at the Hill, was the first agent. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander Robertson, who also was succeeded by his son—the present agent— Robert Robertson.

The Commercial Bank

Opened a branch in the town early in September, 1832. It carried on business in that house in Brown Street long afterwards occupied by Peter Sturrock, parochial schoolmaster; from thence it was transferred to Commercial Bank House at top of Brown Street; and ultimately down to Wellmeadow. The first agent was James Anderson, Solicitor, who was succeeded by his son, I. Henry-Anderson, S.S.C., and latterly by A. W. Bennett, transferred from Pitlochry.

Blairgowrie Deposit Company.

A meeting of the townspeople was held on the 5th August, 1836, to consider the formation of a Monthly Deposit Companj. This was ultimately carried into effect under the name of the Blairgowrie Deposit Company, the following gentlemeu being the first oflice-bearers: Bailie Robert Ayson, Pres.; Geo. Gellatly, brewer, Vice-Pres.; Geo. Macdonald, shoemaker, Treasurer; and Wm, Johnstone, writer, Secretary.

The shares, limited to 130, were taken up by 116 subscribers, who had to make monthly payments as required, the monies being lent out on obligations, bills, bonds, and properties.

The Company seem to have got into difficulties, and efforts were made to wind up their affairs. The last minute recorded bears date 3rd March, 1849, when the properties held by the Company in Rattray and the Muir of Blair were exposed for sale.

The Perth Banking Company Opened a branch of their Bank in Blairgowrie under the charge of Wm. S. Soutar, Solicitor, on the 11th November, 1851. This Bank existed here until it was bought up by the Union Bank of Scotland, in 1857. On the retirement of W. S. Soutar, Jas. 1). Sharp, transferred from Rosehearty, was appointed agent.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Opened a branch in Millbank House in 1857, and erected the present banking offices in Allan Street in 1872. John Panton, Solicitor, was agent from the opening till his death in 1898, when David Mitchell was appointed.

The North of Scotland Bank Opened a branch in 1882, in Bleaton House, Leslie Street, John B. Miller, Solicitor, being appointed agent.

National Security Savings Bank of Perth.

A meeting of gentlemen interested in the establishment of a branch of the National Security Savings Bank in Blairgowrie, in connection with the Perth Savings Bank, was held on the 12th October, 1839—Robt. Geekie, Esq. of Rosemount, Chairman.

By intimation from the Parish Church pulpit 011 the 13th, a further meeting was held on the 14th October, when a branch was established, by the voluntary association of the leading inhabitants of the town and district as its trustees and managers, in terms of the Acts of Parliament, and agreeably to the printed regulations of the Perth Bank.

Shortly before the County and City of Perth Savings Bank had been established, and the District Trustees adopted as their Constitution the “ Rules ” formed 011 the basis of those which had been duly certified for the Perth Institution under the existing Savings Bank Statute.

The first rule noted that “ this institution, formed for the safe custody and increase of small earnings belonging to the industrious classes of the Town of Blairgowrie and its vicinity, shall be named The Blairgowrie and Rattray Branch of the National Security Savings Bank of Perth.”

W. S. Soutar, Writer, was appointed Cashier.

The minute-book finishes up very abruptly at 30th October, 1840, and further minutes are not available till the 3rd January, 1889, when Thomas Soutar was appointed Joint-Cashier along with his father.

For many years before this, great discrepancies had appeared in the ledgers, which led to a thorough investigation of the Bank’s affairs, and Messrs W. S. & T. Soutar were relieved of their duties on 29th January, 1889. Mr John Panton, Solicitor, was appointed Cashier, and the business thereafter removed to his offices in Royal Bank Buildings.

Since the opening of the Branch the business has flourished. From 28th October, 1839 to 1st February, 1840, the sum lodged amounted to 509 8s; at 31st October, 1855, it amounted to 11,087, 15s T|J5; at 31st October, 1888, it amounted to 50,410 2s 7d. During this year it reached its greatest sum, but nearly 10,000 were withdrawn by depositors, owing to certain well-known circumstances. O11 31st October, 1892, it had, however, regained its footing, the amount in the books being 47,219 19s 4d. On the death of John Panton the agency was transferred to R. Robertson Black, Solicitor, Bank of Scotland, November, 1898.

The Cheque Bank

Is represented by William Stewart, merchant, Leslie Street.

Barty Mortification.

Mr George Barty, a tobacconist in Perth and a native of this parish, by his settlement bequeathed one-third of the ftee residue of his estate to the Dean of Guild and Guild Council of Perth, in trust, for the purpose of laying it out on heritable security and paying the interest thereof annually to the Parish Schoolmaster of Blairgowrie and his successors in office, to defray the expenses of educating “ all the orphans, fatherless, and poor children ” belonging to the parishes of Blairgowrie, Rattray, Ben-dochy, and Ivinloch, in the Parish School of Blairgowrie,* the children to be recommended by the ministers and Kirk-Sessions of these parishes, and those bearing the name of Barty or Soutar to be preferred. Mr Barty died in June, 1838, and his bequest came into operation at Martinmas, 1841. The fund mortified amounted to 1400, and there were at one time upwards of 50 children enjoying the benefit of the bequest.

They were taught the same branches and enjoyed equal advantages in all respects with the other children attending the schools.

When free education was instituted throughout the country, the trustees of this Mortification resolved to found yearly bursaries of 4 and upwards (being the free interest of the capital as far as it would admit annually), for competition among scholars attending school in this and the other neighbouring parishes aforementioned, to * encourage them in the pursuit of knowledge and education.

Blairgowrie and District Photographic Association.

This Club was formed on the initiative of two local ' amateurs. ho, finding the need for such an Association, “ advertised a meeting to be held in the Temperance Hotel, on 13th February, 1894, and there, under the Chairmanship of the late Provost Bridie, the Association was formed, with Mr Alex. Geekie, of Coupar Angus, as it' President. The necessity of the Association having a local “ habitation and a name,” was at once felt, and

on the 17th April, 1894, club-rooms were opened—the old Masonic Hall, Brown Street. The first excursion of the Association was to Kettins, on the 11th June, and the first competition, on 10th July, for the best illustration of the word “ Caught.” In December, 1895, the Association had the first Photographic Exhibition ever held in the town. The result was a great success, artistically and financially. It was truly “ International ” in character — exhibits being forward from Scotland, England, Ireland, Spain, United States, Canada, and Australia. Since then the Association has been the pioneer of photographic advancement in the district. On the 25th November, 1896, they gave an exhibition of the “ Rontgen rays,” and the following night a public exhibition, in the Public Hall, of the Cinematograph or “ Animated Photography.” In January, 1898, they held their second International Exhibition, which was also a decided success.

In 1896 a Field Club Section was instituted in connection with the Photographic Association, with the object of studying Natural Science and Archaeology by the exhibition and preservation of specimens, the reading of communications, the holding of lectures and excursions, and the formation of a natural history library and museum. In 1898 the Photographic Association opened new rooms in the old Volunteer Drill Hall, George Street.

The Choral Society.

Started iu 1867, the Choral Society was, from the first, [very well supported by the music-lovers of the district, some of them tried veterans with good voices and considerable musical cultivation, who encouraged and inspired those in the callow stage to do their best towards acquiring a mastery over that wonderful instrument, the voice.

The first concert was given on 29th January, 1868. The Society were fortunate in having Mr John Smith, teacher, ivinloch, for its first Conductor, who continued iu the office for two years, till he left the district. In 1870 Mr Hirst became Conductor, and so hard did the chorus study that free concerts were given in 1873, including “ Judas ” and Israel.” In 1879 Mr Neale was chosen Conductor, which position he held for many years. With the view of jutting the Society on a more satisfactory financial basis,

a bazaar was organised in 1881, which realised, after all expenses were paid, about 270. In 1891 Mi Howells was named Conductor, and continued till the Society became defunct in 1894. It was, however, resuscitated under the batons of Mr Fisher and Mr Parker, and again flourishes.

The Constitutional Club

Was opened 16th November, 1891, by Lord Stormont. Having acquired the upper flat of the Blairgowrie Hotel, a splendid suite of rooms, comprising billiard room, amusement room, reading room, library, &e., with rooms for keeper, was fitted up. In the reading room all the leading papers are to be had, while the library contains a'* grand collection of all the newest and best books published.

Meetings for the discussion of politics and the strengthening of the Constitution, smoking concerts, &c., are held occasionally.

Dramatic Society.

On the 0th October, 1875, a Dramatic Club was formed with the object of “studying the legitimate drama and the provision of harmless and innocent amusement during: the winter months.” For a number of years the Society was fairly successful, but members leaving the town and getting tired of the play, with little encouragement from the public, it became defunct. It, however, acquired a new lease of life about 1894 under the title of the “ Garrick Club,” which has also been fairly successful.

Dundee Blairgowrie and District Association.

A meeting of the natives of Blairgowrie and district i resident in Dundee was called by advertisement to be t held in Lamb’s Hotel, on Thursday, 22nd December, 1870, at 8 p.m., for the purpose of forming an Association, when f 25 gentlemen came forward. Mr Alex. Weddell was called j; to the Chair, after which the meeting proceeded with the * business of the evening. A draft of the rules, previously drawn up, was submitted, approved of, and adopted.

Office-bearers and members of Committee being appointed, the Treasurer proceeded to enrol members, when p, 23 joined, forming the Association, to be called, as stated in the rules, “The Dundee Blairgowrie and District Association,” its aim and objects being “ to maintain and promote a friendly feeling amongst tlie natives of Blairgowrie and district resident in Dundee, and to advance their interests in every way which to the Association may seem desirable; ” “ the membership to consist of natives of Blairgowrie and district, and of others who, from an interest in Blairgowrie and its welfare, may wish to join the Association ”—“ the Association to meet 011 the first Monday of every month in order to consider and carry out measures for attaining its objects.”

At the first Committee meeting, on 27th December, arrangements were gone through for the first annual festival of the Association, The festival, which was a grand success, was held in Lamb’s Hotel, om Tuesday, 17th January, 1871—Provost Yearnan presiding, supported by Orimond, Tait, Weddell, &c.

Permanent meeting-rooms for the Association were secured below St James’ Church, Euclid Crescent, at a rent of 12s a-year, with two lights but no fire, and on the 7th February, 1871, the first literary meeting was held, when Thomas M‘Laggan read a very interesting and instructive paper. At the other monthly meetings during the year, debates on various subjects took place, papers were read, songs and humorous stories given, with extempore speeches and readings. On Saturday, 1st August, 1872, a pic-nic excursion of the members and friends to Glamis Castle was held, starting from the High School in machines. From this time up to 1875 there was a gradual falling away of members, till the membership

I was reduced to seven, who resolved to dispense with the monthly meetings, but act as Committee for the arranging of the annual festival.

On the 11th January, 1875, the Association was re-formed, with an attendance of 15, but, except for arrangements of the festivals, the meetings proved very uninteresting, and were held at irregular times and places, so that from the 12th February, 1870, to 28th February, 1881, the Secretary’s books record no minute of any meeting being held.

The Association was once more resuscitated on 28th February, 1881, and continued for a few years, the meetings being held in Mathers’ Hotel, Crichton Street, until the 19th July, 1884, when it again succumbed, only to be renewed with greater life on 3rd December, 1889, the chief object then being the annual re-union and festival, which came off successfully on 7th March, 1890, within the Thistle Hall, Union Street. Chief-Magistrate Bridie presided, and speeches were given by D. H. Saunders, John Malcolm, Rev. A. S. Inch, and others, enlivened with songs, recitations, &c., by Esplin, Fleming, Douglas, &c. A grand assembly followed, upwards of 50 couples taking part. The Association is now defunct.

Edinburgh Blairgowrie Club.

This Club, popularly known as the E. B. C., was formed in 1859 by a number of students at Edinburgh University who had received their education iu Blairgowrie or its neighbourhood. Most of them were natives of Blairgowrie and Rattray. The first President was D. K. Miller, afterwards U. P. Minister in Eyemouth, aud the first Secretary was J. W. Pringle, afterward U. P. minister in Jedburgh. The original had all, with one exception, been for longer or shorter time pupils of John Inch in the Free Church School of Blairgowrie, and the first intention of the Club, in addition to that of promoting a kindly feeling among the members themselves, was to encourage scholarships in their old school by giving prizes to the best pupils in certain subjects in that school. Shortly after, however, the area of encouragement was widened to all the schools in Blairgowrie and Rattray that would accept of it. The meetings of the Club were held on Saturday evening (the first of each session of College being on the third Saturday of November), the others following every fourth Saturday thereafter till March or April. They were held by rotation in the lodgings of the various members, and at each meeting an essay was read and criticised. The session was generally wound up with a supper, at which the President read his retiring address.

Occasionally meetings were held in summer if sufficient members were available to form a meeting. After a few years the meetings began to take a more social turn, for, in addition to the literary character of the entertainment, which was carefully kept up, the members were invited to tea by the one in whose lodgings it was the turn of the Club to meet. This was kept up for a long time very successfully until some ungracious landladies began to find fault, and this difficulty resulted in the Club meeting in Adam’s Temperance Hotel in High Street, each one paying for his own entertainment. The new atmosphere did not seem to be so congenial as the old, and the Club began from this time to decline in spirit till it sank into an instrument for convening an annual meeting for social purposes of a larger kind than had been formerly held. In this capacity it did not last long, but seems to have been merged into a wider organisation for convening the natives of Blairgowrie and District to a soiree and assembly once every year. Thus the Club has now ceased to exist. Not more than half-a-dozen of the original members, if even that number, now survive ; some of the most brilliant of them died not many years after its formation. Among these were Thomas G. Stewart, Mathematical Master in the Edinburgh Institution, who met his death when experimenting with nitric acid preparatory to the illuminations for- the Prince of Wales’ marriage on the 10th March, 1863. Stewart was a brilliant mathematician, and bade fair to take a foremost place as a man of science. William Cowan, one of the most cultured Greek scholars that Edinburgh University has produced, died in December, 1865, of typhoid fever. Dr James Neil-son, who for many years practised medicine in Blairgowrie, died more recently. The details of the various sessions are accurately and, in some cases, graphically recorded in the minute-book.

Evening Classes.

Evening classes for the study of Science and Art subjects were first instituted about the year 1878, the pupils being taught privately and journeying to Dundee for examination. In 1881 they were first opened in the town under the auspices, and conform to rules, of Science and Art Department, and managed by a local Committee. The late George Dickson was the first teacher (Mathematics) under the Department, and the writer was the first student registered (No. 1). Since that time the Classes have been put upon a broader basis, and there is now scarcely a night during the session but several subjects are being taught, embracing all subjects in Science, Art, and Technology.

In 1885 the syllabus of the City and Guilds of London Institute was brought out, and classes started by local teachers. They were most successful for several years, the students, particularly in the textile branches, carrying off the highest prizes (medals and money) offered under competition to Great Britain.

For several years, from 1887, the classes were under the tuition of resident teachers ; but latterly they have been allowed, through lack of energy on the part of the management, to gradually lose heartening. Local teachers are, however, doing their utmost to encourage and educate the pupils.

Under the School Board, in 1896, classes for Cookery and Laundry Work were started in a special building erected for that purpose in connection with the Public Schools. These, however, have not been a success.

Freemasonry.

About the year 1774 a Free Masons’ Lodge was first instituted in the town, and for a considerable time it was in a flourishing condition, but, as in other places at that time, it gradually diminished and seemed as if it would perish altogether.

In 1859 Freemasonry took a fresh impetus in America and this country; consequently Blairgowrie was not wanting, and on the 12th October, 1859, the Lodge of St. John, 137, was revived. For some weeks before, a considerable number of the inhabitants were initiate*! into the mysteries of Masonry. On this evening (12th October) the brethren assembled iu the Town Hall, at 6 o’clock, when the Lodge was opened by David Dickson, R.W.M., and the office-bearers of Lodge Ancient, Dundee, Xo. 49. The Charter of Confirmation having been read and the various jewels laid before the presiding brother, office-bearers were installed. Thereafter the brethren to the number of sixty were marshalled in procession, and marched through the town in full regalia, headed by the Coupar Angus Instrumental Band playing the Masonic Anthem, the Blairgowrie Band bringing up the rear. The first ceremony of any , importance in which the Lodge took a part, after its resuscitation, was the laying of the foundation-stone of the new Public Hall of Blairgowrie on the 20th October, 1 1800, performed by the Right Hon. the Earl of Breadal-bane, Right Worshipful Grand Master of Lodge of Scotland.

Since that time it has taken a part with Lodges in the surrounding cities and towns in matters pertaining to the Masonic craft. The Lodge has been in a highly-flourishing condition since 1859, and it is worthy of note that a separate Lodge was formed a number of years afterwards to suit the convenience of members—“ Royal Arch Chapter, No. 108.”

The members of Lodge St John, No. 137, meet for the business of the craft within the Town Hall, Blairgowrie.

Horticultural Society.

This Society was first instituted in 1857, and for a number of years was in a flourishing condition. Then it was the custom to have an exhibition of flowers, fruit, and vegetables twice a-year, but the want of public interest in its proceedings caused its failure.

In 1876, however, it was revived, and it now holds an annual display of flowers, fruit, vegetables, and works of Industry, each year becoming more interesting and popular.

LITERARY SOCIETIES.

The Blairgowrie Parish Church Literary Association

(“The Lit.”) was inaugurated in January, 1885. The Rev. Robert Kemp, having suggested its formation, convened a meeting, which not only adopted the suggestion, but made it assume a practical form on the spot. It has been very successful in its works, and for a number of years did good service to the town by introducing popular lectures and concerts by eminent lecturers and artistes. Under the Association’s auspices Dr Moxey (Leo Ross), Professor Blackie, Paul Blouet (Max O’Rell), C. C. Maxwell, Rev. David Macrae, Andrew Osier, Miss Imandt, Madame Annie Grey, Dickson Moffat, and others, have given entertainments. In 1890 an annual Burns Concert on behalf of the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh (founded in 1738 by George Drummond of Blair), was started, and with the help of local talent the Committee of the B.P.C.L.A. have since then forwarded over 120 to that noble institution. In October, 1890, the Association extended its usefulness by issuing a monthly magazine, while in session, continuing the same till March, 1892, when it ceased. At Xmas, in 1892, however, it was reissued in the form of an “Annual,” which has continued since, and is much appreciated at home and abroad, and speaks volumes for the energy and ability of the B.P.C.L.A. The session begins in November and ends in March, the members meeting every Monday evening at 8.30 in the Photographic Rooms.

The Young Women’s Literary Association

Was started on the 18th February, 1892, and is in a flourishing condition. The members meet iu the Session-House of the Parish Church on Monday evenings at 8.15.

St Stephen’s Catholic Union

Was formed in 1890. Meetings are held fortnightly on Wednesdays in St Stephen’s Hall; concerts and amateur dramatic entertainments are occasionally given. A reading room and lending library are also iu connection with the Union for members’ use.

The First Free Church Literary Association

Was formed on the 12th September, 1892, and has been very successful. The Association issued the first number of a,n admirably got up magazine, “The James Street Magazine,” at the New Year, 1898.

Mechanics’ Institute and Working Men’s Club.

The Working Men’s Library was first formed in 1853, in a small room in Leslie Street, and afterwards there were several changes of locality, till the present handsome buildings in the High Street were erected in 1870, at a cost of over 850. The block comprises two shops, reading room, library, &c. In the library there are upwards of 3,000 volumes, and in the reading all the chief daily papers and periodicals are to be found.

In the autumn of 1890 it was proposed to adopt the Free Libraries’ Act, and to form the Mechanics’ Institute into a Public Library, if Blairgowrie and Rattray, two separate burghs, could legally co-operate. It was found that this could not be done, and the idea was abandoned. In September of that year (1890) Andrew Carnegie, of Pittsburg, America, made tlie gift of 100 towards the purchase of books. On the 2nd November, 1896, a billiard table was introduced into the amusement room, and has proved an immense success.

Post Office.

When the Post Office was first established in Blairgowrie I have been unable to find out, but about the end of last century business was carried on in a small shop (now demolished; on the site of which Keay’s buildings in High Street are now erected. When business necessitated increased accommodation, several changes were made —to No. 7 Allan Street, and latterly to 23 High Street, adjoining the Queeu’s Hotel.

The first postmaster of which there is any record was James Peters (born 1766, died 1860.)

In 1867 the staff consisted of a postmistress, 1 assistant, 1 letter-carrier for the town, and 2 rural postmen. There were then two deliveries of letters each day, while a third delivery was introduced in 1869. In 1870 and onwards the introduction of halfpenny postage and postcards and the parcel post increased the work and required an augmented staff, as also in 1872, when telegrams were taken over from the Railway Company.

For the convenience of the public, receiving boxes are placed at the foot of Leslie Street, foot of Newton Street, and top of Dunkeld Road.

In 189$ the staff consisted of 1 Postmistress, 4 assistants, 113 town letter-carriers, 4 rural postmen, and 3 telegraph messengers—and there are only two deliveries a-day of letters, and one delivery of parcels.

The Press.

The printing press was first introduced into Blairgowrie in 1838, but it was not until the year 1855 that a newspaper was produced.

The first issue was on Saturday, 21st April, 1855, published at 68 High Street, by Ross & Son, under the title—“ Ross’s Compendium of Week’s News ”—to be issued occasionally, and consisted of a single sheet, 12 inches long and 81 inches wide, printed on both sides. It was thought at the time to be a foolish venture, the town not being large enough to warrant such a proceeding, yet steadily the paper flourished under various titles, increased in demand and size, till it now consists of four leaves, 21 inches by 16 inches, or eight pages of 6 columns each, with a weekly circulation of about 3,000 copies. It is now issued every Saturday morning, from the office in Reform Street, under the title of “ The Blairgowrie Advertiser.” Early in the 80’s a mid-week paper, commenced during a Parliamentary election, was issued from the same office, but was, after a time, discontinued.

In 1876 a rival paper to the “Advertiser”—"The Blairgowrie News ”—was started, but it survived only about three years. It was issued by Larg & Keir from an office in Leslie Street.

The year 1894 witnessed another epoch in the annals of the press in the town, by the birth on 29th September of the “Free Press and General Advertiser,” from the office of D. C. & W. Gibson in Leslie Street. It is an eight page paper; size, 10 inches by 7 inches, of 2 columns each; published every Saturday morning, and delivered gratuitously to every householder.

Shepherds (Ancient"Order of.)

The Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds (Lodge Tullyveolan), was instituted in Blairgowrie on 10th May, 1884, under the Dundee District, John Smith, painter, being elected first Chairman.

It has a large and influential membership, and is in a highly-flourishing condition. In 1887 the Society revived the Highland Games, which had been allowed to lapse, in the district, and through their energy these sports are now considered one of the events of the season among athletes.

In 1801, when this country was at war with France and Britain was threatened with invasion by Napoleon, the people of the land were roused to embody themselves into Companies for drill for protection of life and liberty. In Blairgowrie a small company of 8 officers, 63 privates, and 1 drummer was raised as the . “ Blairgowrie Volunteers.”

History does not record how long this corps existed; but, probably, after the defeat of the French at Trafalgar, it was disbanded.

On the institution of the Volunteer movement in the kingdom in 1839-60, the gentlemen of Blairgowrie resolved to form a corps, and a meeting was held in Brown Street Chapel, on 13th December, 1859, to make arrangements. John L. Campbell of Aclialader presided, and expressed the hope that the movement would be successful; that, by having trained riflemen in the country, a stop would be put to the periodical panics so mischievous in their effects upon commerce ; and that, if Volunteers came forw ard, the Government would be saved the necessity of increasing the standing army.

Subscription lists were at once opened, and soon upwards of ‘200 was raised.

James Young, brewer, offered the use of his extensive premises at Hill of Blair, in one flat of which he thought the corps might shoulder their rifles without interfering with the roof. James Crockart, gunmaker, was requested to undertake the duties of armourer, 'which he said he would willingly do, and a room for an armoury was taken, at a yearly rent of 5, from Win. Robertson, baker, High Street. On Monday, 23rd January, 1860, J. L. Campbell received a communication from the Lord-Lieutenant of the County that Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to accept the services of the corps. On the 6th February officers were sent by Government to inspect ground for a range, and they chose the ground immediately behind 'Woodhead, near the Heughs of Mause. Ground at the Dark Fa’s was first taken for a practice ground. For a considerable time the range was at Wood-head, when it was removed to the Welltown, from which it was removed to the Darroch, near Fengus Loeh, and again to its present position at Castlehill, Rattray.

It was resolved to adopt the pattern of the Dundee Rifle dress, and the materials of the same colour and texture as those of Perth. The expense of the uniform was about 3 12s 6d, including belts.

On 15th February the following gentlemen were elected as sergeants:—James Young, David Chalmers, J. L. Robertson, Alex. Murdoch, Thomas M’Lachlan.

On the 25th March the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty was taken, John Fleming, Chief-Magistrate, and John Rattray of Coral Bank attending as Justices of the Peace; James Anderson, solicitor, acting as Clerk to the Justices.

The Company was drawn up, forming two sides of a square, iu front of the Justices, and the oath was administered amid profound silence. The following is an extract from the “ London Gazette ” of 23rd March:—

“Commissions signed by Lord-Lieutenants, March 16th, 1860. 5th Perthshire Rifle Volunteers—John Liviugton Campbell, Esq., to be Captain; William Shaw Soutar, Esq., to be Lieutenant; Richard Penketh, Esq., to be Ensign; Rev. Wm. Herdman, to be Hon.-Chaplain; Robert A. Balfour, Esq., to be Hon.-Assistant Surgeon.” Sergeant Seaton, Instructor.

In April the Government supply of rifles and ammunition arrived, consisting of 80 rifles and 25,000 rounds of ammunition, with caps, &c., to match. 16,000 of these cartridges were ball, whilst the remaining 0000 were blank, and the Lochy House was turned into a magazine for their storage.

On the 10th May, John Saunders of Bramblebank, George Sidey, Alex. Muuro, and John Cowan, Rattray, were elected Corporals.

An Instrumental Brass Band was formed in connection with the corps, the drum being, by permission of Allan Maeplierson, embellished with his crest and motto— “ Touch not a cat but a glove.”

On the 7th August, 1860, the corps was present in Edinburgh at the review of Scottish Volunteers by the Queen.

J. L. Campbell, Captain, retired after two years. R. Penketli succeeded in command, and when he left the district G. B. Anderson was appointed. On the death of that esteemed officer, 1868, D. Chalmers, who had meantime graduated from the ranks, was promoted to the Captaincy, and latterly to the rank of Major, retiring in 1800.

In 1860, on the retirement of Instructor Seaton, Sergeant-Major Wilson, late 71st Highland Light Infantry, was appointed Drill Instructor, which position he retained till 1892, when he retired, and was succeeded by Colour-Sergeant White, late of 93rd Highlanders.

In 1880 the old uniforms were cast aside and the Highland dress adopted, with the same tunic as formerly, the tartan being Athole tartan, which afterwards gave place to the tartan of the 42nd Highlanders (“Black Watch”), of which famous regiment, it, with other corps in the district, forms the 5th Battalion.

In 1881 the corps was again present at the second review of Scottish Volunteers by Her Majesty in the Queen’s Park, Edinburgh.

During the annual holidays in July the Volunters have the benefit and enjoyment of a week in camp, where they go through their drill, &c., as though in cam]) with the regulars. The year 1890 saw the institution of this movement here, when the camp was at Delvine; it has since been at Birnam. Aberfeldy, &c.

In June, 1895, several members of the corps were presented with long-service volunteer medals by the Government. Those members were :—


Several years ago the Instrumental Brass Band was dispensed with, and a Pipe Band took its place.

For nearly 30 years the corps had the use of the Episcopal School as an armoury and drill room; but it was considered advisable to erect a drill hall to suit the corps, which was done in 1897-98. The hall, opened in Feb., 1898, by the Earl of Breadalbane, is one well adapted for its purpose, and provides all necessary accommodation for drill and for armoury, &c.


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