Walking Kirkintilloch with Don Martin

19.05.14 / By Fiona Dean /
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In the company of historian Don Martin, myself and Trevor Cromie, Artist in the Archives went on a fantastically informative tour of Kirkintilloch. Starting from Peel Park, Don set the context for the remarkable heritage of Kirkintilloch by describing aspects of the Antonine wall, introducing us to an example of an old weaver’s cottage – one that would have escaped notice unless pointed out; and walked us on a circuit that encompassed the famous red telephone boxes of the Lion Foundry as well as a visit to the site of where the foundry once was. Don’s knowledge is encyclopaedic and all kinds of detailed information was retrieved and shared with us. As we walked near the site of the Lion Foundry, Don recalled and conjured up the most vivid memories of working railways and canals and their links to the industries. The idea of the railway acting as a connector of communities and industries across the length and breadth of East Dunbartonshire and beyond really foregrounded the connectivity of the area. From steamboat puffers to ship builders and current day canal cruises, Don brought to life the diversity of heritage that Kirkintilloch and the wider region holds. We ended our walk at the Caurnie Soaperie – operating since 1922. Described as Hand made and authentic 1920s from the granite floor to the soap splattered rafters the soaperie, even from the outside, feels like you’re looking into a window to the past that is still so relevant and meaningful to today.