The Marquess of Breadalbane
IN view of the Fiftieth
Annual Meeting of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1888, a Special
Committee was appointed at the Meeting of the previous year to consider what
should be done in the way of celebrating the Club's Jubilee. Among the
suggestions sent up in the Report of this Committee, and adopted by the
Club, was one to this effect:-- "That a Literary Committee be appointed,
with powers, for the purpose of preparing a sketch of the Royal Club's
history during the last fifty years." Of this Literary Committee, the Rev.
John Kerr was appointed Convener, and the preparation of the volume was
thereafter entrusted to him to be carried through under the Committee's
Some words are necessary to
explain how a work thus primarily intended to be a sketch of the history of
the Royal Caledonian Curling Club should gradually have developed into a
"History of Curling." The story of the Royal Club was obviously but the
concluding chapter of a long history which had yet to be written. It was
thus very early seen that, to do justice to the subject, it would require to
be treated more fully than was at first contemplated. At the Jubilee Dinner
in 1888, Lord Balfour of Burleigh said "that one of the wants which might
reasonably be filled in the Jubilee year of the Club was a really good
painstaking history of the game, which would hand down to posterity all that
was known of it at the present time." That want, it is hoped, has now been
supplied; at all events, every effort has been made to do so.
To all who have assisted in
the work hearty thanks are due—to the Secretaries of local Clubs for their
answers to the queries sent out by the Committee; to Professor Forster
Heddle for his valuable contribution; to T. Thorburn, Beith, for the great
amount of trouble he has taken to give us information of a practical kind on
stone-manufacture; to Messrs Kay & Keanie for similar information and last,
but certainly not least, to Mr William Douglas, the son of the esteemed
publisher, who has in every possible manner done his best to make the volume
worthy of the subject.
All curlers will join in an
expression of regret that while the work was being written three noble
veterans have been removed from the ranks--Mr Charles Cowan, Admiral
Maitland-Dougall, and Sir John Ogilvy.
The volume having greatly
exceeded the limits originally designed, it has been found necessary to omit
a Glossary of Curling Words and Phrases, also a large collection of Songs
and Humorous Stories marked as worthy of preservation. The ground having
been so far cleared by this "History," justice may yet be done to the other
subjects referred to, in a second volume, which will be forthcoming whenever
an earnest demand is made for its production. The trouble and anxiety
connected with the preparation and publication of a work such as this
commemorative volume is have been great; but these, it is believed, will
soon be forgotten if by its means a fresh enthusiasm be inspired in a game
which develops all that is manly and good in social life, and unites in one
brotherhood all ranks and conditions of men.
EDINBURGH, 15th April 1890.
PART I. - ANCIENT CURLING.
PART II. - MODERN CURLING.
PART III. - MISCELLANEA
Auld Daddy Scotland sat ae
Bare leggit on a snawy brae,
His brawny arms wi' cauld were blae,
The wind was snelly blawing:
As icicles froze at his snout,
He rowed his plaid his head about,
Syne raired to heaven a roupit shout,
Auld Albyn's Jove misca'ing:
Chorus—"Oh! for a cheery,
To send through a' the soul a flame,
Pitt birr and smeddum in the frame,
And set the blude a-din'ling.
"Oh, dool and wae! this
What care I for our hills sublime,
If covered aye wi' frosty rime?
I'm right nuisehantlie dealt wi'."
Quo' Jove, and gied his kilt a heeze,
Fule Carle! what gars you grunt and wheeze?
Get up! I'll get an exercise
To het your freezing melt wi'.
I'll get a cheery, heartsome game, &c.
"Gae, get twa whinstanes,
round and hard,
Syne on their taps twa thorn roots gird,
Then soop the ice for rnony a yard,
And mak' baith tee and colly:
If in the hack your fit ye hide,
And draw or inwick, guard or ride,
Syne wi' your besom after't stride,
We'll hear nae main o' cauld aye.
That, Sawney, 's what I ca' a game," &c.
"Great thanks!" auld Daddy
"Sly, pawky chield, for thy advice,
We'll birsle now our shins on ice,
Instead o' owre the ingle:
Let ilka true-born Scottish son,
When cranreuch deeds the snawy grun',
'Mang curling cores seek harmless fun,
And gar his heart's blude tingle."
Oh! curling, cauld•defying game, &c.
Curling in Canada and the United States
A Record of the Tour of the
Scottish Team, 1902-3 and the Games in the Dominion and the Republic by the
Rev. John Kerr (1904)
IT was incumbent on me as Captain of the Scottish curling
team that I should prepare and publish a full and permanent record of our
historic tour in Canada and the United States in the winter of 1902-3 an
event quite unique in the annals of curling, and fraught, as I believe it to
be, with most important and beneficial results from a National and Imperial
point of view. This was due to the Mother-club, the Royal Caledonian, which
sent the team with a Message of Goodwill to her bairns across the sea; to
the members of the team, who so loyally supported their Captain and so
manfully played their various parts; and to our brother -curlers in Canada
and the United States, who extended to us such a hearty, enthusiastic,
never-to-be-forgotten welcome wherever we went. A bald but faithful record
was all that was at first intended. But, like Topsy, it has "growed"; In
fact, the book developed on my hands to such an alarming extent that I began
to be afraid that it would make a Frankenstein of me. Quite a modest tome
might have been made of the bare record of our famous Curling Trek in the
Dominion and the Republic. But as I proceeded with this, it became apparent
to me that a favourable opportunity was offered, which it would be wrong to
neglect, of adding a new and interesting chapter to the History of Curling
which I had written for the Royal Club some years ago, by giving a historic
résumé of the origin and development of the game at the various
Transatlantic centres visited by the team. This I have, at considerable
trouble, been able to furnish, and I hope it will prove to be a solid and
reliable basis for any future history that may be
written of Curling in the land of its adoption, where the game has such a
glorious future before it, and where it is destined to play a most important
part in the evolution of a great race. The testimonies of love arid loyalty
which are here recorded unite to form a necklace of sparkling diamonds for
our Empire-Queen, Britannia, and I feel certain that the result of our tour
will be what was intended by the Royal Club a closer and more sympathetic
fellowship between Canada and Scotland, and a notable advance toward
Imperial Federation. The description of the charms of the Canadian winter,
more especially from a curling point of view, and the incidental references
to other pleasant features will, I am sure,
make this book a powerful Emigration Agent, so that
many may be induced to leave the old country and
settle in the Land of Promise and Plenty. The wonderful gallery of portraits
and illustrations which I have brought together in these pages will, I
trust, supplement the good work done by the team, and unite as "brithers a'"
the Knights of the Kowe at home
and on the other side of the water; while its story of friendly forgathering
and genial good-fellowship will, no doubt, be an inspiration to the
generations that come after us to follow the best traditions of the grand
old game. It has been my good fortune to make a kinematograph of the busy
pursuit of this healthy pleasure in the Dominion and the States, and
transfer to permanence its fleeting forms and figures. The picture is worth
preservation, and at the opening of the twentieth century it is an augury of
hope for centuries to come. The motto thereof may well be the words of the
old Scots psalm
Behold how good a thing it is,
And how becoming well;
Together such as brethren be,
In unity to dwell.
My friend, Mr. John L. Low,
of golfing fame, when he was going out to America with some Varsity players
last spring took a "wick" off our team by saying that he and his men were
simply going out for a jolly time of it, apart from match winning or losing,
unlike the Scots curlers, who, when they; "discovered the quality of their
opponents, abandoned the idea of conquest, and gave out to the world that
they had come on a mission of peace", etc. When I tackled friend "Johnny";
with this misrepresentation he went down on his knees and confessed that he;
"had made a chronological mistake by post-dating the moment when the
missionary spirit entered into your broom-fellows." Knowing his addiction to
story-telling I frankly forgave him. This volume furnishes facts which show
to Mr. Low and others that our Mission of Goodwill was really our first aim,
and our winning of matches a secondary matter, and that our success in both
was far beyond our expectations.
It is no easy matter to place
in the forefront of our book, as the custom is, the names of those who have
been helpful. In trite phraseology "they are too numerous to mention"; If I
omit some, or fail to acknowledge contributions of any kind which I have
made use of in this volume, such overlook, I trust, will be forgiven. I also
hope that any errors as to matters of fact will be pardoned, for at such a
distance from the scene of action it was impossible to verify many
I must thank the Royal Club
for all that was done for our Mission, and her many members who took an
interest therein. The stars in their courses seemed to fight for us, so far
as the Club s officials were concerned. It was most fortunate that Lord
Mansfield was the Club s President, for he has proved no mere figurehead as
so many have been in that office, but the most practical and painstaking
President the Club ever had: true to his inheritance, he took a deep
interest in our tour, and the team owe him a great debt of gratitude for the
manly and dignified way in which he supported them.
Then what shall I say of that
Prince of Club Secretaries .Mr. Adam Davidson Smith, whose breezy enthusiasm
is at all times such a freshening force to the Royal Club and all its
agencies and endeavours, and who with sleepless anxiety and unremitting
attention looked after the preparations for our tour? No wonder, when he saw
us off at last, that he lay back in his secretarial chair and felt like
Othello that his occupation was gone. The strenuous advocacy of Sir John
Gilmour also greatly assisted us, for the Baronet of Montrave's support of
any cause always ensures its success. Nor can I forget the assiduous labours
of the special Committee who were entrusted with the selection of the team
and the arrangements for the tour, and the able manner in which their
arrangements were carried out by Mr. W. Lindsay of Messrs. J. and H.
Lindsay, who, though overwhelmed with other calls, seemed to regard our trip
as the sole concern of his life.
Time would fail to detail the assistance received from
curlers across the water. Among numerous helpers I may name Mr. F. C. Simson,
Professor Murray, Mr. Keltie-Jones, Dr. Parke, Colonel Stevenson, Mr. D.
Guthrie, Mr. W. D. Aird, Mr. W. J. Beatty, Dr. Thorburu, Colonel Edwards,
Mr. J. D. Flavelle, Mr. M Fadden, Mr. Milne, Mr. Davies, Mr. Forrest Macnee,
Mr. James Thaw, and the late Mr. D. Foulis. But I must say that the greatest
of all my helpers in this work was the venerable ex-Secretary of the Ontario
Association, Mr. J. S. Russell, who furnished me with a large quantity of
carefully prepared material specially concerning his Province. Second to him
I name Mr. J. P. Robertson of Winnipeg, who deserves to be held in
everlasting remembrance for all that he has done for curling in Manitoba. As
regards the publishing of this volume, I deem it right to say that when I
was hesitating whether to venture or not because of the expense, Mr. Arthur
Sanderson came forward and by his generous order of a thousand copies "right
away"; encouraged me to proceed. If the volume as now issued meets the
approval of such a cultured patron of the Fine Arts as Mr. Sanderson is, I
shall be more than satisfied. My fidus Achates, Major Scott Davidson,
has done me invaluable service, as he did throughout
the tour, and for revision of proofs I am obliged to
Secretary Husband and Mr. Provan.
To the engravers of the most of the illustrations,
Messrs. M. and T. Scott, Leadervale Works, Edinburgh, and to the printers of
the volume, Messrs. K. and E. Clark, Ltd., I feel much
indebted for their great patience, and for the pains they have taken to
make the volume worthy of its subject.
DIRLETON, February, 1904.
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