Thursday, 29 March 2018

Kilmarnock Station and McFarlane's Castings

After his excellent talk on Alexander Greek Thomson, our speaker Iain McGillivray noticed that some of the castings at Kilmarnock station may well have come from MacFarlane's Foundry in Glasgow - where Thomson order much of his iron from.

Iain says;
'It was a serendipitous discovery for me,, though someone in the group  has perhaps already made the connection

I mentioned Walter MacFarlane, whom I pictured standing beneath his imperial lamppost,  since he collaborated with Thomson on many of his projects; Thomson also designed for him.

The catalogue images come from Historic Scotland’s Facsimile 2 volume version of the firm's 6th Catalogue of Castings - about 1860. It’s in their Technical Reference Series and edited by David S Mitchell in 2009. '

Page 563, extract from,  showing bracket shaft (dimpled)

 Catalogue page 507- extract from, showing spandrel or bracket pair:

And what is at the station .....
Kilmarnock Station, column base, showing anthemion pattern (not found in this catalogue but doubtless made by MacFarlane)

Full column , closest with the Glasgow and South Western Railway in spandrel, other spandrels showing Macfarlanes design, together with his dimpled casting.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Important - next lecture moved to WEDNESDAY 14th February 2018

Because our usual venue of Ayrshire College is closed next week we had, as intimated, changed venue to The Park Hotel, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock.

However - the best laid plans and all that - Kilmarnock FC have been required to reschedule their Premiership fixture with Dundee FC for Tuesday 13th.

It has therefore decided to move the lecture - Ardrossan Castle by Amanda Simpson to Wednesday 14th. This will ensure that our members and visitors will be able to park within the hotel car park without any worry of spaces being unavailable. It also allows the Killie fans in the group to attend both fixtures !

We hope everyone understands the reasoning behind this move and hope you will attend in the usual good numbers for what promises to be an excellent talk.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

All the best for 2018 !

Happy New Year from KDHG. We hope everyone has a prosperous 2018.

Our lectures resume on Tuesday 16th January when Andrew Dick will talk about Ayrshire Mining. This will be an interesting topic and will explore many of Ayrshire's lost mining villages and communities.

We hope to see you then.

Lecture Programme information

Friday, 17 November 2017

Book Week Scotland event - Monday 27th November

Book Week Scotland

Cal Flyn & Karl Geary - Two debut authors, two mesmerising stories – a fascinating evening not to be missed.

Mon 27 Nov 7pm Dick Institute, Kilmarnock

Cal Flyn is an award winning freelance writer and reporter from the Highlands of Scotland. Her work has featured in many leading publications and she is a previous winner of the Independent on Sunday/Bradt Prize for travel writing. Cal was very proud when she discovered that her ancestor, Angus McMillan, had been a pioneer of colonial Australia. However, when she dug deeper, she began to question her pride. McMillan had not only cut tracks through the bush, but played a dark role in Australia's bloody history. Driven to piece together his story and to confront her history, Cal decided to follow Angus's route from Skye to rural Australia. Delving into a dark period in Australian history with a novel’s immediate style, this book asks how whole societies can come to be overlooked, forgotten and shamed.

Thicker Than Water combines memoir, history, travelogue and lyrical nature writing.

Karl Geary is a novelist, actor and scriptwriter. He was born in Dublin and moved to America at sixteen. Unfolding in the sea-bright, rain-soaked Dublin of early spring, his first novel Montpelier Parade  is a beautiful, cinematic novel about desire, longing, grief, hope and the things that remain unspoken. It is about how deeply we can connect with one another, and the choices we must also make alone. The house is on Montpelier Parade: just across town, but it might as well be a different world. Working on the garden with his father one Saturday, Sonny is full of curiosity. Then the back door eases open and she comes down the path towards him. Vera.
Chance meetings become shy arrangements, and soon Sonny is in love for the first time. Casting off his lonely life of dreams and quiet violence for this new, intoxicating encounter, he longs to know Vera, even to save her. But what is it that Vera isn’t telling him?

 'Luminous and moving. A story that asks who you can love and how, and a novel that gets to the heart of things; it certainly got to the heart of me.' Sunjeev Sahota, author of The Year of the Runaways
Should this event interest you, please e-mail Liz-Anne Deans directly at and she will ensure your name is on the door. There is no cost for this event to KDHG members (or website visitors!)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Peter and Nora Poole- WWII evacuees - can you help?

Natalie Brownlie from Queensland Australia writes -

My father Peter N Poole was evacuated to Kilmarnock during World War 2 from Newcastle on Tyne as a small child, along with his sister Nora. They were fortunate to live during that time with his Uncle & Aunt - his Uncle at that time was Provost - his surname was Carney. They lived at 1 Howard Street.
My father returned to Newcastle on Tyne after the War & at the age of eighteen emigrated to Australia. Dad has lived an interesting life working as a stockman on Kangaroo Island for Sir William McBride before joining the Rodeo Circuit & becoming a professional Rodeo Cowboy & both an Australian & Queensland Champion Steer Wrestler. He is now the Official Historian of the Australian Professional Rodeo Association.
Dad speaks fondly of his time at Kilmarnock - I was wondering if you have any information on his Uncle & any images from around the time of World War 2 that I could show him?

If you can help Natalie please contact us at  or directly at  

Monday, 23 October 2017

Prof Sir Tom Devine at Irvine Burns Club

As part of an outreach programme by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Sir Tom Devine will be giving a talk at Wellwood Burns Centre & Museum, 28 Eglinton Street, Irvine,  on 9th November. 

This is a ticketed event but is free.  If any members of the group are interested in attending the evening event at Wellwood they should contact Ashleigh Thow at the RSE as soon as possible.  

Ashleigh's address is:

The event will commence at 7 p.m. with an introduction by Professor Colin Suckling.  Tom Devine will then speak on the Scottish Enlightenment.  The evening will finish with tea & coffee at around 8.30 p.m..

Friday, 13 October 2017

Change of Venue - 17th October

Please note that Tuesday's lecture will take place at the Park Hotel, Kilmarnock. 7.30pm start.