Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas to all our members and visitors to our website.
Have a prosperous 2015 !

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Clydebank Blitz

Our final talk of 2014 is tonight (Tuesday 16 December) and is being given by David Carson, Chairman of Clydebank Local History Society.  His topic is the Clydebank Blitz.
Clydebank and nearby parts of Glasgow suffered the heaviest civilian casualties in Scotland due to Geman bombing during the early years of World War II. Many of our members, who were very young in 1941, can still recall hearing the Nazi aircraft flying overhead and being able to see the glow of burning fires away in the distance.
The only fatalities in Kilmarnock as a result of enemy bombing were killed in the early hours of Tuesday May 6 1941.  The 4 victims were living in flats in Culzean Crescent and the houses were struck by one bomb from a single aircraft, although the aircraft dropped 14 bombs in total, in a line from around New Farm Loch, across Kilmarnock Cemetery, Culzean Crescent and finally Riccarton Moss.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Allan Family

Maureen Borland, author and researcher will talk about her new book, The Allan Family: Scottish/Canadian Shipowners “They left the world a better place”, at The Dick Institute on 27th November. Maureen Borland has lived in Ayrshire for most of her life. The books she writes are rooted in her love of Scotland, her interest in Scottish history and Scots families. Maureen will discuss her latest publication, The Allan Family: Scottish/Canadian Shipowners - a history of the Allan family of Scotland and Canada, founders of the great Allan Steamship Line. This is a free event - see

Monday, 20 October 2014

Change of venue

Please remember that this week's talk about Rudolf Hess is at Burns Monument Centre Kilmarnock. Tuesday 7.30 pm. All welcome.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Lecture Programme for Session 2014 - 2015

Our lectures take place fortnightly, on Tuesday evenings between October and March in the Main Lecture Room of  Ayrshire College (Kilmarnock Campus), Holehouse Rd, Kilmarnock, starting at 7.30pm. We generally have an attendance of between 75 and 100 members at our meetings which last no more than 90 minutes.
Non-members are most welcome to attend any lectures which may appeal to them, but please remember that we have costs to cover and that we usually ask for a £2 donation in our tin at the end of the night.

   Kilmarnock & District History Group Programme  2014 / 15


7 October                    Alastair Robertson      ‘The Discovery of Lost Farming History
at Ducanziemere Cumnock’

21 October                  Ian Valentine              ‘Rudolf Hess’

4 November                George English           ‘The Reformation, The Flemish &
Scotland Today’

18 November              Jim Porter                    ‘Art in the Industrial Revolution’

2 December                 Dina Ward                  ‘Fabulous Tapestries’

16 December               David Carson              ‘The Clydebank Blitz’           


6 January                     Ian Mathieson             ‘World War 1 – The Home Front’

20 January                   John McHarg              ‘The Honourable Andrew Fisher’

3 February                   Neil Dickson               ‘A Victorian Teacher in Kilmarnock – 
                                                                        Hugh Dickie 1837-1910’      

17 February                 Hugh Watson             ‘The Gambling, the Winnings: The
                                                                         Dukes of Portland’

3 March                       Bob Holman                ‘Keir Hardie’

17 March                     Davy Brown               ‘Robert Colquhoun 1914 – 1962:                             
                                                                         Kilmarnock-born Artist’



Thursday, 31 July 2014

Squadron Leader Drummond Wilson of Kilmarnock

We recently heard from Roger Leivers of Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire who wrote the following;

'I have researched the very moving story of Sqd Ldr Drummond Wilson, a man of Kilmarnock. The story has been featured in both the local press in Cambridgeshire and also on BBC.
I thought the story would be of interest to your group, perhaps you might have information on the companies they ran etc

He was born in Kilmarnock in 1914, son of a successful Wine and Spirits merchant. His mother died during his birth, so he was raised by his father.

He developed a keen interest in Rally Cars and after his fathers death bought a number which he rallied, including a Squire Supercharged, only 7 were made, six survive and the current owner has brought it twice to our town for events I have organised.

He then got his wings in the RAF, left and became a Flying Instructor, was severely injured in a crash in Newcastle. Recovered and re-joined the RAF as war broke out, as a highly skied pilot he was used as a test pilot, a ferry pilot and also as a flying instructor.

In Oct 41 he joined XV Squadron at RAF Wyton, Cambs, flying the four engine Stirling Bomber, a monster of an aircraft that dwarfed the Lancaster that followed it. He took part in raids over Germany and attacks on German battleships like the Scharnhorst and the Tirpitz.

Having survived one crash in Feb 42 he lost his life in another one on the outskirts of our town on the 11th April 1942. The upper gunner was also killed, the rest survived but were injured, half of those were to lose their lives before the end of the war.'

Roger has supplied a great deal of information which we will pull together and store in our People, Buildings Landmarks & Event page soon.

Additional information is;

Drummond's parents; Matthew Wilson (b 1860, d 24/6/1932) married Elizabeth Henderson (b 1875, d 6/2/1914 in childbirth giving birth to Drummond)

Matthew Wilson snr was a wine and spirit merchant and Elizabeth Henderson's father was also a merchant in the same trade.

MDHW was born in Kilmarnock on the 6th February 1914 sadly his mother died in childbirth. There are no family pictures.

He was an only child of a wealthy wine and spirit merchant who never remarried. He was educated at boarding schools, his preparatory school being Cambusdoon in Alloway Ayrshire. He left in 1926 and went to his senior school Craigpark in Edinburgh.

Motoring was his passion and on leaving school in 1932 he trained as a motor mechanic with Messrs A & D Fraser(Ayrshire) Ltd, Kilmarnock. At this time his father died and he went to live with his second cousin Mrs Isabel Reid Castle Drive Kilmarnock she being his only close relative .

1932 - 1937 During this time motoring was his only hobby and he liked nothing better than sitting behind the wheel of a fast sports tourer. He owned a number of these including an Alpine SS 20,a supercharged MG and the supercharged Squire. He competed in all the premier rallies and hill climbs in Scotland, England and Wales.

In 1937 he competed in the Monte Carlo rally in a Triumph saloon his starting point being John O'Groats. He was also secretary and treasurer of the Caledonian Motor Club. Speed being in his blood flying was the next logical step. In January 1938 he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. After obtaining his wings he became and instructor in training pilots at a civil flying school in Newcastle.

From the outbreak of war 1939/41 he was training future pilots, ferrying aircraft and also on special duties for the Air Ministry as a test pilot. On the 11th October 1941 he joined XV Squadron at Wyton and at 1500 hrs he carried out an aircraft test in a Stirling N 6065 with S/ldr Gilmour.

If anyone knows more about Squadron Leader Drummond Wilson please get in touch with us via info@kilmarnockhistory.co.uk
Roger is keen to hear from you !!

Friday, 18 July 2014

A Walk Round Kilwinning

Jim Kennedy has also advised us of a video on You Tube called A Walk Round Kilwinning. This can be found here and is most interesting.

Kilwinning Original Secession Church

Jim Kennedy of Kilwinning kindly forwarded his account of the town's original Secession Church, Antiburghers To The End. You can find a scanned copy of this at this link
This also icludes the Baptismal Register 1772-1827.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Well Done Graham Boyd !!

Congratulations to our Syllabus Secretary, Graham Boyd, for being awarded the Civic Champion Award by Scottish Civic Trust for his Primary School Town Trail project.
Graham said it was an honour to receive the award but also pointed out that it was a team effort and he paid tribute to the time and effort put into the project by his team of local Primary teachers.  It was their contribution which made the project such a success.

Graham Boyd, nominated by Ayrshire Architectural Heritage Trust, has been the main driving force behind the Kilmarnock 'Town Trail for Primary Schools'.  His voluntary input in producing this invaluable resource deserves to be recognised along with all the other work he has done, much of it with the Kilmarnock and District History Group, to remember, preserve and promote the heritage of Kilmarnock.
The judges said:
"Graham has successfully brought back to life the history and heritage of Kilmarnock in an accessible and fascinating new resource.  Not only does the Town Trail tell the story of Kilmarnock for young people but it promotes civic pride and respect for place and people.  It is a terrific voluntary effort with lasting impact."

We should all be proud of Graham and his team.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Kilmarnock in the 1960s and 1970s

It's the final talk of this session plus a very short AGM tonight.
Graham Boyd and Ross McGregor will be revealing recently discovered photographs of the Kilmarnock area taken during the 1960s and '70s.  They are keeping details very hush hush but assure us that it will be an enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

History of the Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow

Tonight's talk is by Professor Jim Boyle from the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.  His topic will be "The History of the Royal College, Glasgow.  He will be speaking about the College from its origins in Anderson's Institute (1796) up to the present.

The Royal College Building - University of Strathclyde

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lewis Fry Richardson

Tonight's meeting is joint with our friends in KESS. Tony Mulholland wil talk about Lewis Fry Richardson. Click here for more information

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Sir Alexander Fleming

Tonight's talk on Sir Alexander Fleming will be delivered by former Rector of Kilmarnock Academy Frank Donnelly. Kilmarnock Academy is the only Scottish school that can boast two Nobel Prize winners amongst its alumni. 7.30 at Kilmarnock College.
Non-members will be made most welcome.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Robert Burns - John Wilson and The Kilmarnock Edition

Tonight's talk is 'Robert Burns - John Wilson and the Kilmarnock Edition' by John Burnett. 7.30pm at Kilmarnock College. Visitors welcome

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Beith Furniture

A Very Happy New Year to all KDHG members and to all visitors to our Blog.

Our first talk of 2014 is tonight (7 January) in Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock Campus at 7.30pm
Tonight's speaker is Allan Richardson from Beith.  He is speaking to us about Beith Furniture and he is well qualified to do so, since he started as a cabinet maker in Balfour's factory many more years ago than he cares to remember.  It should be a most interesting talk.

Caledonia Works

Staff from Caledonia Works aircraft department in World War I