Bridge of Allan
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Bridge of Allan
A map of Bridge of Allan from 1945

Bridge of Allan (Scots: Brig Allan,[1][2]Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid Alain) is a town in the Stirling council area in Scotland, just north of the city of Stirling. It lies on the Allan Water, a northern tributary of the River Forth, built largely on the well-wooded slopes of the Westerton and Airthrey estates, sheltered by the Ochil Hills from the north and east winds. Most of the town is to the east of the river; the bridge is part of the A9, Scotland's longest road, while the railway line and the M9 pass to the west of the river. Bridge of Allan railway station is on the Edinburgh to Dunblane Line.

History

During the Iron Age, the local people of the area were known as the Maeatae and it was they who constructed a powerful hillfort nearby. The early village consisted of seven small clachans: Bridge End, Kierfield, Old Lecropt, Pathfoot, Logie, Corntown and the Milne of Airthrey. The villages were very separate and the villagers lived in the small world of their own communities.

The site occupied by modern Bridge of Allan stretches from the clachan of Logie across the Allan Water to the University of Stirling. It was first mentioned in a charter granted by King David I. The charter was written in connection with a dispute between the nuns of North Berwick and the monks at Dunfermline Abbey over the tithes of Airthrey and Corntown. It is un-dated, but had been granted by 1146.

A hog's back, narrow, stone bridge was built to replace the old ford across the River Allan in 1520. It rose sharply from the riverbank and dipped steeply at the other side. Soon after a few cottages began to appear around the ends of the bridge and an embryonic Bridge of Allan slowly formed. In the woods above the bridge, a mine opened. This was worked from around 1550, and quantities of copper, silver and gold were extracted.

By the middle of the seventeenth century, the Airthrey Estate had passed to relatives of the Marquess of Montrose, the Grahams. James Graham rose for the king during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and in 1645 as the army of the Duke of Argyll passed through the Airthrey estate on its way to the battle of Kilsyth they burned down the manor house.

The Jacobites were in Bridge of Allan in 1745, where three hundred highlanders set up a roadblock on the bridge and charged a toll for its passage. One of the old toll posts is still on display on the path leading up from the road.

In the early 19th century the town was little developed and typified by small, straw-roofed cottages.[3]

Major Alexander Henderson, the Laird of Westerton, drew up plans of how he wanted the village to be laid out in 1850, envisaging spacious streets with pleasure grounds in the woods. He also erected a fountain in Market Street. It was at this time that many handsome stone villas were built on wide thoroughfares, with practically every second house becoming a lodging house as Bridge of Allan became a renowned spa town, especially during the boom years of hydropathic establishments.[4][5] Among the visitors was Robert Louis Stevenson[6] who visited annually during his youth.

In 1870 Bridge of Allan became an independent Police Burgh with its own Provost.[7] In the same year Laurence and Edmund Pullar moved to Bridge of Allan to open the huge Keirfield Works on the south-west of the town. This huge factory served as a major satellite for his father, John Pullar's firm of J. Pullar & Son later known as "Pullars of Perth". The Bridge of Allan plant serviced all of central and southern Scotland, whilst Perth served the north. The Pullars also built extensive housing schemes from the 1880s onwards to house the growing workforce. The Pullars also bought Westerton House from Major Henderson to use as their home.

The Museum Hall was built by the trustees of John Macfarlane of Coneyhill in 1887, originally as the Macfarlane Museum and Art Gallery.[8] In its use as a concert venue it once played host to the Beatles in 1962 but was subsequently allowed to fall into disuse and considerable disrepair.[9] It has now been redeveloped for residential use.

By 1900 the town had four churches: the parish church still linked to the Church of Scotland; two United Free Churches, Chalmers Church and Trinity Church; and St Saviour's, Scottish Episcopal Church. The town is currently served by Bridge of Allan Parish Church, Church of Scotland, and St Saviour's.[10]

Pullar Memorial Park was created in 1923 to house the Bridge of Allan War Memorial to those lost in the First World War. It was erected by the industrialist Edmund Pullar son of John Pullar, creators of Pullars of Perth.[11]

Bridge of Allan was formerly administered by firstly Stirlingshire County Council and then Central Regional Council.

Bridge of Allan, ca. 1890 - 1900.

Strathallan Games

Pipe band practicing at the Strathallan Games in 2004.

The Sunday following the first Saturday in August is usually the date for the Strathallan Games. Founded at Westerton in 1852 by Major Henderson, the games attract hundreds of athletes, pipe bands and highland dancers.

Notable residents

Churches

There are two churches in the village, built opposite each other at the junction of Keir Street and Fountain Road. These are St Saviour's Episcopal church built in 1857,[13] and the Church of Scotland's Bridge of Allan Parish Church, notable for some of its internal fittings being designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904.[14] Until 2004, there was another Church of Scotland congregation; Chalmers Church on Henderson Street. Which has since been turned into flats

Outside Bridge of Allan, on the A9 road to Dunblane, is Lecropt Kirk (also Church of Scotland).[15] Historically, this church served the entirely rural parish of Lecropt, west of Bridge of Allan.

References

  1. ^ The Online Scots Dictionary
  2. ^ Scots Language Centre: Scottish Place Names in Scots
  3. ^ Robert Chambers, "Picture of Scotland" 1827
  4. ^ Bradley, James; Dupree, Mageurite; Durie, Alastair (1997). "Taking the Water Cure: The Hydropathic Movement in Scotland, 1840-1940" (PDF). Business and Economic History. 26 (2): 429. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Shifrin, Malcolm (3 October 2008). "Victorian Turkish Baths Directory". Victorian Turkish Baths: Their origin, development, and gradual decline. Retrieved 2009.
  6. ^ https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/bridge-of-allan-p235601
  7. ^ Logie: A Parish History, Menzies Fergusson 1905
  8. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: Macfarlane Museum and Art Gallery". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. Retrieved .
  9. ^ McDougall, Liam (2003-03-30). "Beatles' disaster zone up for sale". Sunday Herald. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Logie: A Parish History, Menzies Fergusson 1905
  11. ^ http://www.scottish-places.info/people/famousfirst974.html
  12. ^ Stewart, Iain. "Grave Location for Holders of the Victoria Cross in the County of Surrey". Archived from the original on 2008-07-03.
  13. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: St Saviour's Episcopal Church and Rectory". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. Retrieved .
  14. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: Bridge of Allan Chapel of Ease". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. Retrieved .
  15. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: Lecropt Parish Church". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. Retrieved .

External links


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