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THE HELENSBURGH Town Council visitors book, covering 1947-75, appeared for sale at an auction house in Folkestone in Kent in May — and has been bought by Helensburgh Heritage Trust.

Quite how it got there is a mystery. However the Trust was alerted to its potential sale both by member Penny Johnston and by Phil Worms of the former Helensburgh Heroes project.

A 97 YEAR-OLD woman thought to have been the last surviving link with RAF Helensburgh and the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Rhu died recently at the age of 97.

In 2020 Helensburgh Heritage Trust presented Frances McLaren, who had no surviving close relatives, with a framed certificate of appreciation of her wartime service.

A FOURTH carriage clock presented to Helensburgh soldiers who served in the Boer War has been found — but is in very poor condition.

Joanne Byrne, who lives in Ireland, contacted Helensburgh Heritage Trust to say that it had been left to her by a friend who liked restoring old items.

HER Royal Highness Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, had a huge impact on Helensburgh and Garelochside, where she lived in Rosneath Castle and loved the beauty and quietness of the Gareloch.

The area provided a haven for her in her later years after a fascinating and busy earlier life inevitable for a daughter of Britain’s longest serving monarch from 1837-1901.

HELENSBURGH has always prided itself that a Prime Minister came from the burgh, despite the fact that he is known as “The Unknown Prime Minister”.

A Conservative, the Rt Hon Andrew Bonar Law MP occupied 10 Downing Street for just 209 days in 1922-23, succeeding the much better known Liberal, David Lloyd George, who had served from 1916-22.

A HELENSBURGH man who served as a County Councillor for 23 years was a First World War hero who won the Victoria Cross, the top award for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

Colonel George de Cardonnel Elmsall Findlay was born on August 20 1889 in Cardross and died suddenly at his burgh home, Drumfork House, on June 26 1967 at the age of 77.

THE Facebook post was succinct: “Afghanistan, I weep for you.” The surprise was that the author runs a bed and breakfast establishment at Arrochar.

But to anyone who knows Brenda Steele MacCrimmon, it was no surprise that the proprietor of Fascadail on Loch Longside felt that way.

THE SILVER medal Anna Burnet won in the mixed Nacra 17 class at the Tokyo Olympic Games was greeted with delight at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club at Rhu, and by the whole Helensburgh and District community.

It was the climax to date of the 28 year-old Shandon girl’s remarkable career in sailing which began at the age of five in an Optimist dinghy in the Gareloch.

WHILE Helensburgh interest in the Tokyo Olympics was focussed on the sailing stars, gold medalist Eilidh McIntyre, silver medalist Anna Burnet, and finalists Charlotte Dobson and Luke Patience, in one burgh household what mattered most was the cycling.

In charge of the very successful GB cycling team was performance director Stephen Park, OBE, whose parents Douglas and Sylvia live in Crawford Drive.

2020-21 Annual Report

The past year has been a very challenging time for everyone. There can be no organisation, employer or indeed any citizen who has not been affected in some way. Helensburgh Heritage Trust is no exception to this and like many other organisations we have been driven in the direction of technology and the internet to maintain continuity.

A series of Board meetings as well as our AGM have been held via the Zoom Platform. This has meant some alterations to our constitution and I would like to thank Stewart Noble in particular for his experience and diligence in this respect.

Our previous Chairman, David Clark resigned at the end of the last financial year and I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Trust Board to thank David for his sterling work over the years. After several months with no chairman, I decided to offer the board my services and I’m delighted to say that I was elected by them in August. It will be a big job to try to match David’s enthusiasm and effort but I will do my best.

I would also like to thank Geoff Tompson who resigned from the Trust Board in September. Geoff and his wife Trudi were both directors but sadly Trudi had to resign because of ill health in 2018 and passed away not long afterwards, after succumbing to a bravely borne illness. We understand Geoff’s decision and thank him for his contribution. Geoff’s departure has been balanced by the co-opting of Alison Gildea to the board. It is good to have another woman on the board – particularly one with the array of business and creative skills that Alison brings.

It was very disappointing for us to have to cancel our series of Winter Talks at the Council Offices. There was, of course no alternative to this. However, Stewart Noble held a very interesting and enjoyable ‘webinar’ talk on John Logie Baird. Donald Fullarton and Jim Chestnut have continued to improve the excellent HHT website which attracts considerable interest worldwide. During the year a couple of newsletters were produced for members. On the social media side, our Helensburgh Memories Facebook Group once again saw growth and now has more than 8,400 members worldwide.

Planning permission has been granted for a display board beside the RAF Helensburgh memorial at Kidston Park. Although the cost of this can be met from the Trust’s own funds, we are grateful for considerable assistance of a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous. Further donations will of course also be much appreciated.

The Trust has significant input into the committee which has been formed with a view to celebrating the centenary of John Logie Baird’s invention of television in 1925. This committee includes Iain Baird, the pioneer’s grandson as well as Brian Keating who is the man behind the Scottish Submarine Centre and the Tower Digital Arts Centre. We look forward to keeping you informed of progress in organising exhibitions and events to celebrate the achievements of Helensburgh’s  most famous son.

Robert Ryan

HELENSBURGH Heritage Trust has a new chairman.

Trustee and local businessman Robert Ryan has agreed to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of the Rev David Clark at the end of March. His appointment will be ratified at the next AGM.

Welcome to Helensburgh Heritage

Bells Comet

WELCOME to the Helensburgh Heritage Trust website.

We hope you find it simple to navigate, with 1,686 articles, a Photo Gallery with 2,153 images in 23 albums, letters, 18 document downloads, and links to 113 local websites.

Contributions are welcome, and should be emailed using Contact Us.

Follow this link to see a list of, and links to, all the articles in the various categories.

2020-21 Winter Open Meetings

All 2020-21 open meetings were cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions. The programme for 2022 will be announced later in the year.
Meetings, open to all, in Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre, East Clyde Street, 7.30pm.

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Application to Join

Charity Number

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation
SC024603