Found in Gala-It’s just junk-Do you want it?

Murray Dickson

11th November 2009


President Murray Dickson welcomed 80 members of the Old Gala Club to the meeting on 11 November, 2009 in the Upper Volunteer Hall.

Murray introduced David Brown, Scottish Borders Council, who showed pictures of the ornamental street light in Tweed Crescent.  He explained that the light was originally in the Market Square and was moved to Tweed Crescent in the 1930s.   The iron work has deteriorated and on investigation it was found that the lower part which had been covered in concrete is still intact.   The light is now with Ballantynes of Bo’ness for repair and it will be returned to Tweed Crescent.

The title for Murray’s talk was ‘Found in Gala – It’s just junk – Do you want it ? ’ The subject gave an indication of the diversity of the Club Collection of photographs and artefacts and Murray reminded members that the more modern items are also of interest.

The history of medicine and dentistry was the first subject covered, and after showing images of Dr Tweedie and Dr. Weatherhead Murray told us about the use of leeches, showed a leech jar and then a dentist’s drill and artificial teeth.   The Club has some of Dr. Weatherheads’s account books and a book of sketches from his student days.   Photographs of Peel Hospital reminded us of the hutted wards and draughty outside corridors.

The story of Brydon’s Dairy from 1875 was illustrated with images of bottles and cartons showing the Reiver logo and we also saw the dairy at Stagehall, the Ayrshire Market, the Gala Café and Tony’s Fish and Chip shop menu.

Murray showed items connected to Royal Events including a medal given to schoolchildren to commemorate the Coronation of 1902.

A selection of military artefacts included a gun powder horn, photographs of the Border Rifle Volunteers, who fought in the Boer War and a seal of the Selkirkshire Rifle Volunteers.

Appropriate for the evening of Remembrance Day we saw the plaque known as the ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ which was given with a scroll to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the First World War. The examples from the Club collection were in memory of brothers Kenneth and Archibald Wood of Scott Street.

Kenneth, 1/4th KOSB, was killed at Gallipoli on the 12th July, 1915 and Archibald, 1/4th KOSB, was killed on the 29th October, 1918 and is buried in Baghdad War Cemetery.

Murray continued his talk with information on transport with examples from rail and air, including a railway lamp, wheel-tapper’s hammer and a propeller from a Bleriot aircraft.

We viewed other articles from the collection including hairstyling equipment, hats, razors, lamps, candle holders, matchboxes and clay pipes.

Norman Houldsworth thanked Murray for his presentation and for the detailed research he had made into the history of the many items.