The Antonine Wall

13th September 2018

Jim Mearns

Glasgow's Singing Traditions

11th October 2018

Adam McNaughtan

Reconstructing Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art

8th November 2018

Liz Davidson

Glasgow's First World War through the City Archives

13th December 2018

Irene O'Brien

When Sundays brought The Post

10th January 2019

Jill Scott and Bill Hicks

An Evening for Members and Friends

14th February 2019

Members' Night

The Maid of the Loch

14th March 2019

John Beveridge

What's Past is Prologue 

a musical history of Glasgow from the archives and collections of the Royal Consrvatoire of Scotland
12th April 2019

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
13th September 2018

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Attendance: 67 attendees.  

Chair: President, Mr Brian D. Henderson  

Welcome: President Henderson opened the meeting by saying, “as your new President, may I welcome you all to the opening meeting and enrolment night of the Old Glasgow Club, for our new session. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, a particularly warm welcome to those of you who are joining us for the first time. And, we do hope that any of you who are visiting, for the first time, will decide to join us. Thank you all very much indeed.” 

Safety: If you hear the fire alarm, there are fire exits at each side of the room. Please make your way quickly and calmly to the nearest fire exit, and meet at the assembly points, so that you can be accounted for. 

Mobile phones: Please check to make sure that your phone is switched off, or in silent mode. 

Apologies: There were apologies from Maureen McRobb, Anna Forrest, Freda Graham, Jane Collie, Glen Collie, Dorothy Blair, Artie Trezise, Cathy Wallach, Margaret Thom. 

Minutes: The minutes of the last ordinary meeting, held on the 12th April, were approved and proposed by Margaret Walker and seconded by Iain Henderson. There were no amendments or matters arising. 

“We are trying to cut down of paper copies of the minutes, ladies and gentlemen. To ensure that we have your email address, if appropriate, please see Niall, our Membership Secretary. Thank you.” 

President’s Report: President Henderson told us - “As you will be aware, this year marks the centenary of the end of the FIrst World War. I recently attended a session at the Mitchell Library, about the Belgian refugees who came to Glasgow during the Great War. 

Glasgow Corporation played a major role in the relief of some 20,000 people. The City was then one of the largest in the UK, with a population of over 1 million, following the 1912 Boundaries Extn Act. 

A collaborative project has taken place between The City Archives Office and Stirling University, as part of a UK wide initiative based in Leeds. They are trying to trace the refugees lives, using records held by The City Archives Office. A detailed hand list now exists. 

Should any of you have an interest in the subject, please contact The City Archives Office - either online, or by visiting their office: fifth floor at the Mitchell Library.  

Moving forward again, I would like to call upon Joyce, our Club Secretary, to present her report. Joyce, thank you.” 

Secretary’s Report: Club Secretary, Joyce McNae told us about events and exhibitions in and around Glasgow. Quiz - have you taken part in tonight’s quiz - Where would you find this building? 

Summer Outing to Scone Palace was an enjoyable and successful trip. We were shown photographs of our new President, Brian at Scone Palace, and the unseasonal hailstones on the way to Bridge of Allan. 

Old Glasgow Club ordinary meeting talks 2018/2019 - 

11th October 2018 - ‘Glasgow’s Singing Traditions’ with Adam McNaughtan 

8th November 2018 - ‘Reconstructing Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art’ with Liz Davidson 

13th December 2018 - ‘Glasgow’s First World War through the City Archives’ with Irene O’Brien 

10th January 2019 - ‘When Sundays brought The Post’ with Jill Scott and Bill Hicks 

14th February 2019 - ‘An Evening for Members and Friends’ 

14th March 2019 - ‘The Maid of the Loch’ with John Beveridge 

12th April 2019 - ‘What’s Past is Prologue - a musical history of Glasgow from the archives and collections of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’ 

A reminder that Old Glasgow Club merchandise is available at our pop-up shop and information desk. The pricing for the OGC items - tea towels £3.50, notebooks £1.50, bags £4.00, OGC badges £3.00, OGC pens £1.00. 

Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival 2018 - 116 open buildings, guided walks and events that runs until 16th September. 

‘Royal Windows’. The Royal Infirmary is going to be home to a suite of stained glass windows. Joyce invited Past President, Alison Sannachan to the stage to tell us more about them, being that she works there. 

Alison told us that they had been informed that there is going to be stained glass windows commemorating the city’s 14 traditional trades, incorporated into the Trades House of Glasgow for over 400 years. The windows are in the link corridor between the old and the new building. This part of the building overlooks the Necropolis, which means it gets a lot of sun. 

The first of the windows has just been unveiled. 

Joyce thanked Alison and continued : 

There is a new exhibition opening on 21st September at Kelvingrove called ‘Brushes with War’. It is a powerful and emotive insight into the experience of soldiers from World War I through the drawing and paintings they created. It features original artwork from German, Austrian, French, Belgian, British, American, Canadian, Australian and Russian soldier-artists, providing an uncensored account to the experience of ordinary soldiers.  

A truly impactful exhibition that marks the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI which runs from 21st September until the 6th January 2019. More information and bookings can be found at 

The new Clutha Distillery - a planning application has been submitted by Glasgow company Douglas Laing & Co to build the distillery at Pacific Quay. It is expected to open in Autumn 2019. 

Staying on the subject of Clydeside, we were told that the Directors had been speaking about the Clyde and the petition to stop developers building on the A-listed Govan Graving Docks. Glasgow City Council have now formally rejected the planning permission that had been sought by New City Vision to build 700 flats, a museum, restaurant, shops, office space and hotel on the sight. The proposed development was thought to have failed in preserving the historic interest of the listed docks. 

Joyce invited Niall to the stage to speak to us. 

Club Membership Secretary, Niall Houser, thanked everyone that had already filled in their enrolment forms for Session 2018/19. He reminded members that still had to complete their forms about the new Gift Aid option, and the Contact Box, which has to be ticked if you would like the minutes sent electronically to you, and allow us to contact you. 

Talk: Our President introduced tonight’s speaker, “It now gives me very great pleasure to introduce Mr Jim Mearns, our guest speaker, who will be taking us to the Antonine Wall, on a journey through time tonight. 

Jim is Editor of The Scottish Archaeological Journal, former adviser to the Lord Provost, has a Master in Urban and Regional Planning, Past President of the Glasgow Archaeological Society, and of The Nomad Club, which is very intriguing. And last, but by no means least, a self-employed thinker!  

I love the self-employed thinker, no doubt Jim will enlighten us. Please give him a very warm OGC welcome.” 

Jim thanked Brian for his flattering introduction and congratulated Brian on becoming President of the OGC this year. 

When Jim looked up the OGC on internet, a fact popped up from 5th September 1818, the day that gas arrived in Glasgow. Jim is going to go further back than this, back to the second century, when the Romans were in Scotland. 

The Romans had started as a small city state that expanded around the Mediterranean Sea to become what we call The Roman Empire. The Romans first came to Britain under the rule of Julius Caesar around 55 BC. 

We know that the Romans were in Scotland 3 times. “When Antoninus Pius became emperor in A.D. 138, the northern frontier of Roman Britain lay on a line between the Tyne and the Solway, along which Hadiran’s Wall had recently been constructed. We cannot be certain why the Romans advanced into Southern Scotland at this time.  

Local unrest may have prompted their northwards march. Alternatively, it may have been, in part, a political decision taken in Rome, designed to achieve an early foreign policy success for and unwarlike emperor”, who was more of a philosopher than a soldier. 

Unlike Hadrian’s Wall, which is a specific structure, built completely of stone, with a road, ditch, forts, fortlets and small castles, the Antonine Wall is a turf wall with stone foundations. 

The Antonine Wall ran from Old Kilpatrick on the west coast to near Bo’ness in the east, and was around 37 miles long. 

It is known that the Romans had a treaty with the people of Fife, and it may be that the forts that were built north of the Antonine Wall, as far as Perth, were shielding the population of Fife against raiders from the north and west. 

There have been remains of forts discovered at seventeen sites on the Antonine Wall: Old Kilpatrick, Duntocher, Castlehill, Bearsden, Balmuildy, Cadder, Kirkintilloch, Auchendavy, Bar Hill, Croy Hill, Westerwood, Castlecary, Rough Castle, Falkirk, Mumrills, Inveravon and Carriden.  

The forts were placed at approximately every 2.2 miles or so. There could, as yet, still be more forts waiting to be discovered. All the excavated forts consisted of principal buildings that included a headquarters, the commanding officer’s house, granaries, barracks and at least one suite of bath-houses, 

There were also fortlets, resembling mile castles (lookout towers) found along the Antonine Wall, the most recent ones found at Seabegs Wood, Croy Hill, Kinneil and Cleddans, east of Duntocher. 


Shown in cross section, the wall had a Military Way/ Road to get supplies through (around 5 metres wide), there was a gap of 10 metres, then the wall, which was around 4 metres wide and 3 metres high, with a stone base and turf Rampart. There was then a 3 metre wide Berm (of flat space), a 12 metre wide x 4 metre deep ditch, which had an ankle breaker of a trough at the bottom, and an outer mound. 

It is not known how long it took to build the wall, we can only guess. What is known, is that the Romans were only in Scotland at this period for around 20 years. 

Jim showed us fascinating photographs and drawings of the wall, Peel Park, Kirkintilloch, plan drawing of Balmuildy, plan of the fortlet and enclosures at Wilderness Plantation, Cadder Fort (the canal builders were gentlemen and built around the fort), photographs of bath-houses, aerial views of Rough Castle, Westerwood fort and the distance slabs, to name a few. 

When the forts were abandoned, the Romans buried possessions that they did not want to take with them, this has helped the preservation and survival of the artefacts, which are in the Hunterian Museum. Along with tools, household items, shoes, jewellery, statuettes and altars, there are the unique distance slabs. 

There are at least 18 inscribed distance slabs, celebrating the work of the legions which constructed the Antonine Wall. “Each slab records that the work was undertaken for the emperor Antoninus Pius, then names the legion responsible, and the exact distance completed, in paces or feet.” The slabs, which are made of local sandstone were set into stone frames along the length of the wall, and probably faced south into the Empire. These distance slabs can be seen at The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. 

Jim finished his talk by telling us that the Romans were not defeated, they chose to leave Scotland. 

More information on the wall can be found at  

President Henderson thanked Jim for his fabulous talk, and invited the audience to ask him questions, requesting that the questions were brief and relevant. 

Q I was just wondering if Bar Hill is set back from the wall because it is like Vindolanda near Hadrian’s Wall. 

A No, because Vindolanda was an auxiliary fort and Bar Hill was definitely a fort. Bar Hill and Croy Hill forts are both at the highest point of the wall. 

Q That was a very interesting talk. What year was the Antonine Wall built? 

A It was built about 139 AD. Not sure about the building time though. 

Q You gave the impression that the natives above the Antonine Wall were friendly, were the Romans aware of places like John O’Groats? 

A As far as the Romans were concerned, they circumnavigated Scotland, built forts around Scotland and took marching camps all round Scotland, including the North of the country and felt Scotland was under control. 

     They always had a purpose, whether it be in trading people/ slaves, gold. They were trading across the  

     Channel, so they would have had a good grasp of the geography of the area, and know that Britain was an island. 

Q You mentioned that soldiers weren't allowed to to marry? 

A Yes, that’s correct, they signed up for 20 years and weren’t supposed to take wives. Tablets found at Vindolanda have the Governor’s wife’s requests on them, so, if was one rule for the soldiers, and one rule for those in charge. 

Q What would they have written on, would it have been slate? 

A No, it would have been wax tablets.  

Q I have to plead my ignorance. When you said 140, was that after Christ’s time?

A Yes, 140 A.D. 

Vote of Thanks: President Henderson called upon former club Director and fellow member, Mr Bill Crawford to give the vote of thanks on behalf of the club. 

Mr Crawford said, “Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I found that a very interesting evening, and I am sure that everyone else here did too. Yes, its been a very interesting evening, especially since it is on our doorstep. We have probably all at some time been on the wall, or the ditch, and not been aware. 

Jim, I would like to thank you most sincerely on behalf of the club, for coming here tonight, and making us a bit wiser than when we left home this evening.” Bill asked us to join him in showing our thanks to Jim for his great talk. 

AOCB: Past President, Stuart Little informed us that tonight’s Quiz had been disastrous. We got named streets near the street shown in the Quiz but not the actual name of the street in the photograph. Because of this, Stuart picked the person who named the nearest street to the correct answer of Derby Street. The winner with the closest street, was Club Secretary, Joyce. 

Next Directors Meeting - Thursday 4th October, 6.15pm start at Hutchesons’ Grammar School, 21 Beaton Road.

Next Ordinary Meeting - Thursday 11th October, 7.30pm start at Adelaides, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow.  

Close: President Henderson thanked everyone for their attendance and participation tonight, and informed us of the next 

Directors and Ordinary meeting dates. “Our next Ordinary Meeting is “Glasgow Singing Traditions” with Adam McNaughtan. He spoke to the club about 30 years ago, so you could say this is a repeat talk!” Brian wished all safe home. 

Shona Crozer - Recording Secretary 

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
11th October 2018

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes to be posted

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
8th November 2018

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes to be posted when available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
13th December 2018

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes to be posted when available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
10th January 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow
Minutes to be posted when available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
14th February 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes to be posted when available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
14th March 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow
Minutes to be posted when available

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
11th April 2019

held at Adelaide's, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow

Minutes to be posted when available

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
9th May 2019

held at Glasgow City Chambers
Minutes for the 2019 AGM will be available after they are approved at the AGM in 2020