&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.
The Western Bank of
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
The Cheque Bank
Is represented by William
Stewart, merchant, Leslie Street.
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
Blairgowrie and District
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 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.
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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 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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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.