Sunday, 15 April 2012
The MacRosty Bandstand -Crieff's Edwardian Gem
1920s pic looking from bamdstand towards the old Tea Room
Sketch by June McEwan local artist of Crieff
As a young schoolboy in the distant past I used to spend much of my summer holidays with family friends in a little cottage called Barnshaw in a narrow lane off Comrie Road . Ideal of course for an escape to the wonders of nearby MacRosty Park . In those immediate pre war years life was slowly returning to a semblance of normality . My main attraction in those days was that smooth stretch of water above the Weir where the laid starts and tumbles its way through the Park heading for the mighty Earn . Many a naval encounter was fought a s I propelled a large inflated inner tube about the pool in an attempt to sink the Bismarck !The old Mill was still standing where now the somewhat inappropriately named “ Park Manor “ dominates the landscape . Tucked away amongst the tall pines and looking somewhat forlorn was the old Bandstand . The Park gifted to the Town by solicitor James MacRosty was formerly a nursery and it was laid out as a Park in 1902 . We , the citizens of the Town , have much to be thankful for as the be wooded acres have provided a place for pleasure and indeed relaxation over the decades . The recent refurbishment funded from Lottery sources is very much due to the incredible efforts by Pat Camp[bell and her colleagues in the Friends of MacRosty Park who put in so much effort to ensure that the Park returned to its pristine best . What then of the Bandstand ? It was cast in 1906 by the Albion Foundry and is described in architect speak as : ” octagonal with Corinthian capitalled slender columns supporting the roof; balustrade with swagged panels round the stage “ The background to the company which produced this master piece is somewhat fraught with a see saw like existence . In 1896 Sun Foundry relocated from Parliamentary Road in Glasgow to Clippen in Linwood, suggesting that the company was starting to struggle. They closed in 1899, only three years later. It is somewhat curious that Sun Foundry did not appear to embrace the constructional opportunities of cast iron for building which Saracen and Lion did with much success. In March 2004 we discovered that George Smith relocated to Alloa just before the main company went out of business in 1899 and established the Sun Foundry, Alloa - the archive extract which confirms this is this extract from The Alloa Journal dated April 27th 1889 : 'The Alloa Sun Foundry, pleasantly situated on the north shore of the Forth, is well worthy of notice as an extensive and very important local industry, which, in the last two years, has developed into imposing dimensions. The buildings in which the work is carried on were erected about 20 years ago, and although at one time a very large trade was done in them, this place of business, which was known as the Albion Foundry, stood empty from the year 1878 until 1887. In March of the latter year, Mr George Smith (Senior Partner of the present firm and formerly of the Sun Foundry, Glasgow) took over the foundry, and set about reviving the industry. He soon had a number of workmen busily employed. The work gradually increased as the labour put forth by the firm began to be known and appreciated, and within the space of two years this large foundry, covering as it does an area of between 3 – 4 Acres, has been almost entirley utilised for carrying on the work required of it, and will soon, as we understand, be taxed to it’s utmost extent'. At this stage further research is required to identify how long this arm of the business lasted for.