Thursday, 28 March 2019

Kilmarnock & District Choral Union - 70th Anniversary

The Kilmarnock & District Choral Union are holding a Spring concert as part of their 70th Anniversary celebrations.

This will take place on Sunday 28th April at 7.30pm in Kay Park parish Church, Kilmarnock.

Tickets are £10 and are available from choir members, on the door or by contacting Elizabeth Purdon on 01563 537122 or

The programme includes works by;

Mozart, Tallis, Goodal, Mendelsson, Handel and Vivaldi

Friday, 15 March 2019

AGM and change of speaker - 26th March 2019

Please note that our AGM will take place prior to the final talk of this session on Tuesday 26th March at Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock.

John Smillie will talk about Kilmarnock's proud industrial past in a talk 'We Never Had It So Good'

Monday, 11 February 2019

Change of venue Tuesday 12th February 2019

Please note that this week's talk on 100 years of Gutta Percha by John Stevenson will take place at The Park Hotel, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock. 7.30pm as usual

Monday, 27 August 2018

2018-19 Lecture programme finalised

We have pulled together an interesting programme for our 2018-19 lecture season which starts on Tuesday 2nd October.

Members will receive an e-mail in the next few weeks with subscription details. Those wishing to join for the first time, or re-join after a break, are most welcome at Ayrshire College on the night. Committee members will be available from 7pm onwards to collect membership forms.

Details of the programme can be found here

Please send any queries to us at

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

James Allan - Caprington Castle's Head Gardener

We received an e-mail from Justine Sara in Australia this week which included the following interesting story of her ancestors in Kilmarnock.
If anyone has any information on the Allan family please let us know and we will pass it on to Justine.


Seven members of my ALLAN family are buried in block 191, Plot 28 of the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin. Details complied by Adair KIRKLAND m/s ALLAN

Family Background in Scotland.

James ALLAN was born at Falkland, Fifeshire, Scotland on 15 May 1838, and his wife Margaret m/s KIDD was born on 4 February 1840 at West Calder, Midlothian, Scotland. They were married at West Calder, Scotland on the 10th March 1865 by the Reverend William Learmont. They lived the following twenty-two years at Cunningham’s Caprington Castle, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland where James was head gardener. A family of ten was raised, but as tuberculosis was rife among them, the decision was made to move to Dunedin to the healthier climate recommended by friends who had settled there.

 Sailing to New Zealand.

The two eldest sons, William age 21, and James Kidd age 19, were sent out first, sailing on the “Langstone” to Port Chalmers on 20th May 1885. William kept a diary of the journey which is still in the possession of our family. Their sister Euphemia, the 5th child, born 1st Dec 1871 died, died four months later, on the 26th September 1885, at the home of her aunt Jeannie KIDD at West Calder, Midlothian, Scotland, only a few months before the rest of the family sailed to NZ on the “Pleiades” from Greenock. James ALLAN senior died at sea on the 25 December 1886, aged 48, and was buried at sea off the south west coast of Australia near Cape Leeuwin. The widowed Margaret arrived at Port Chalmers on the 7th January 1887 with seven children, to join her two eldest sons. The youngest of nine, Janet (Jessie) was only three years old.

The family settled in Cumberland Street, Dunedin but after only two years, tragedy struck again with the death from consumption of 22 year old William ALLAN on the 23rd May 1888. The Northern Cemetery Burial Registry [1872-1890] records that he was a clerk, and that his brother James ALLAN was the informant. The Northern Cemetery Plot Purchase Book records that Class 1, Block 191 Plot 28 was purchased by their mother Margaret ALLAN on the 23rd May 1888 and William was buried there three days later on the 26th May.
Only twenty days later Ann Wardrop ALLAN born 21st March 1870 and aged only 18, died of consumption. Her brother James was the informant, and she was buried on the family plot on 12 June 1888. The family in the Cumberland Street home must have felt devastated.

James Kidd ALLAN born 25th Feb 1867 was a carpenter by trade but he was to only have  eight years in Dunedin before he too was stuck down with consumption on 23rd Dec 1892, aged 25.
Two of is younger sisters were also afflicted with tuberculosis.
Apparently any family who could afford to give their children cow’s milk in their diet while in Scotland, unknowingly gave them this illness - the diary herds were not tested for TB as they are today and no antibiotics were available.
On 9th May 1901 daughter Margaret ALLAN was buried aged 24, having died on the 7th May, and two years later on 22nd April 1903 Mary ALLAN who died on the 20th April was buried. She too was only 24 years of age.
The widowed mother Margaret lived to see her two younger sons married. Robert, born in 1867, married Catherine DONERY in 1900, and John born in 1875 married Sarita (aka Rita) MORITZSON in 1911. Four children were born to Robert and Catherine, Margaret Oliver (aka Madge) in 1900, James Livingston in 1902, Robert William Wardrop in 1903  and John Kidd before their grandmother died on 19th Dec 1911. Sadly she did not live to know John and Sarita’s two children Margaret Sarita (aka Peggy) born in 1913, and John in 1916, or to be present when her youngest child Janet (aka Jess) married Frederick Sidney SHRIMPTON at the home of Louis MORITZSON on 14th Feb 1912 at Dunedin. They too had two children, Sidney Allan born 1913 and Margaret Jean (aka Peggy) born 1919. The older sister Jane (aka Jean) born in 1873 had helped care for her siblings and mother and did not marry, but lived with the SHRIMPTON’S in Timaru from 1912 until her death in 8th Jan 1939. She and the SHRIMPTON’S were buried at Timaru Cemetery. Both Sidney and Jess died in 1941.

The final burial in the Northern Cemetery family plot was of John ALLAN. His marriage to Sarita had ended in divorce. He and his children spent much time at Robert and Catherine’s home at “Taieri Lake”, Rock and Pillar and after the death of Robert of cancer in 1922 John came often to help care for the large garden. He died there on 29th Sep 1949 aged 73 years.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Memories of Glasgow Central

We received the following e-mail today. Please contact Jennifer directly if you want to take part in this interesting project.


Dear Kilmarnock District History Group,

My name is Jennifer and I work as a Researcher with STV. 

BBC Scotland has commissioned us (STV Productions) to make a series of six one-hour documentaries that explore the inner workings of Glasgow Central Station and the large rail network that it serves.  The series will be more than an observational series, it will also explore the history of Glasgow and Scotland through the lens of Central Station as it has been the ‘doorway’ to the nation for over 140 years.  Throughout the series we will be following staff and passengers

We are very keen to hear people’s memories of the station and personal testimonies e.g. special meetings under the clock, former employees stories, arriving or leaving through Glasgow Central for a momentous journey etc.  I would really appreciate if you would be able to spread the word through Kilmarnock District History Group.   

We will be filming from the 19th May through to the end of July.

If people have stories to share and are keen to contribute to the show, they can contact me directly on 0141 300 3428.

I am happy to answer any questions which you may have and I am in the office weekdays from 9.30am-6.00pm.

Thank you for your help. 

Kind regards,

Jennifer Kissane| Researcher
Tel: 0141 300 3428 | email:
STV, Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1PQ | switchboard: 0141 300 3000 | website:

Monday, 21 May 2018

Suffrage Centenary Celebration - 26th /27th May - People's Palace, Glasgow

The Transatlantic Literary Women team invite you to our: 

Suffrage Centenary Celebration at the People’s Palace Museum, Glasgow
Sat 26th – Sun 27th May 2018
1pm – 4pm
Free – All Welcome to Attend
All are welcome to join us for a weekend of craft workshops, talks and readings, to celebrate 100 years since partial women’s suffrage!
You’ll have the opportunity to create your own suffragette badge, learn about women’s activism through the museum collection, and drop in to talks on the history of women and the vote.
Our main speaker, suffrage specialist and performer Naomi Paxton, will be talking transatlantic suffrage theatre with a Scottish twist. Social History curator Fiona Hayes (Glasgow Life) will discuss the museum’s suffrage collection, and there will be talks on Scottish suffrage movements by Ruth Boreham (Scottish Book Trust), and American suffragette songs by Catherine Bateson (University of Edinburgh), as well as readings from the suffrage collection letters.
The event is being held in collaboration with the People’s Palace Museum, Glasgow and is being funded by the US Embassy London, the British Association for American Studies, and the University of Glasgow College of Arts Collaborative Research Award.
For more details see our website HERE and follow us on Twitter  @atlantlitwomen