Calling a spade a relic

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AN HISTORIC engraved ceremonial spade, dating back to November 22 1881, was returned to the area in 2007 and is now on display at Cove Burgh Hall.

It turned up at a meeting of old friends two decades ago, when Cove resident Maureen Purdie met up with friend Lyle Craig on the Isle of Arran.

In 2006 Maureen bought a book on the history of Cove and Kilcreggan by local resident Richard Reeve, realised the importance of the tool, and contacted the author to tell him of her find.

Mr Craig was happy to donate it to the managers of Cove Burgh Hall, where it now takes pride of place in a display of artefacts of old Cove and Kilcreggan.

The spade was commissioned to mark the cutting of the first sod of the Cove and Kilcreggan Waterworks, an £8,700 scheme aimed at meeting the needs the ever growing summer population of the peninsula burgh.

It was presented to then Provost Clark by the contractors carrying out the works.

Cove Burgh Hall stands on the boundary line between Kilcreggan and Cove, and was for many years the seat of Cove and Kilcreggan Town Council, who governed Scotland’s smallest burgh. They met monthly in a small room upstairs in the building.

After the reorganisation of local government in 1975 the burgh became absorbed into successive larger local authorities, and the condition of the hall gradually deteriorated.

Eventually, in 2000. local residents got together to take it over, and it is now run by a management committee who have markedly improved the building and its facilities.