Bridge of Allan
|Bridge of Allan|
Scots: Brig Allan
Bridge of Allan
Bridge of Allan is a town in Stirlingshire, just north of the city of Stirling. It stands on the Allan Water, a northern tributary of the River Forth, built largely on the well-wooded slopes of Westerton and Airthrey Hill, sheltered by the Ochil Hills from the north and east winds.
Bridge of Allan railway station is on the Edinburgh to Dunblane Line.
The local people of the area, during the Iron Age, were known as the Maeatae and it was they who constructed a powerful hillfort nearby. The early village consisted of seven small clachans; Bridge End, Kierfield, Old Lecropt, Pathfoot, Logie, Corntown and the Milne of Airthrey. The villages were very separate and the villagers lived in the small world of their own communities.
Bridge of Allan was first mentioned in a charter granted by King David I. The charter was written in connection with a dispute between the nuns of North Berwick and the monks at Dunfermline Abbey over the tithes of Airthrey and Corntown. It is undated, but had been granted by 1146.
A hog's back, narrow, stone bridge was built to replace the old ford across the River Allan, in 1520. It rose sharply from the riverbank and dipped steeply at the other side. Soon after a few cottages began to appear around the ends of the bridge and an embryonic Bridge of Allan slowly formed. In the woods above the bridge a mine opened. This was worked from around 1550, and quantities of copper, silver and gold were extracted.
By the middle of the seventeenth century the Airthrey Estate had passed to relatives of the Marquess of Montrose, the Grahams. James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose rose for the king during the English civil war, and in 1645, as the army of the Duke of Argyll passed through the Airthrey estate on its way to the battle of Kilsyth, they burned the manor house down.
The Jacobites were in Bridge of Allan in 1745, where three hundred highlanders set up a roadblock on the bridge and charged a toll for its passage.
Major Alexander Henderson, the Laird of Westerton, drew up plans of how he wanted the village to be laid out in 1850. The plan envisaged spacious streets with pleasure grounds in the woods. He also erected a fountain in Market Street. It was at this time that many handsome stone villas were built on wide thoroughfares, with practically every second house becoming a lodging house as Bridge of Allan became a renowned spa town, especially during the boom years of hydropathic establishments. Among the visitors was Robert Louis Stevenson, who visited annually during his youth.
The Museum Hall was built by the trustees of John Macfarlane in 1887, originally as the Macfarlane Museum and Art Gallery. In its use as a concert venue, it once played host to the Beatles but was subsequently allowed to fall into disuse and considerable disrepair. It has now been redeveloped for residential use.
There are two churches in the village, which face one another at the junction of Keir Street and Fountain Road:
- Church of Scotland: Bridge of Allan Parish Church
- Scottish Episcopal Church: St Saviour's, built in 1857
The Church of Scotland congregation was formed by the union of two Church of Scotland congregations in 2004, when Chalmers Church on the village's main street, Henderson Street, closed. Bridge of Allan Parish Church is notable for some its internal fittings, which were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904.
The first Sunday in August is usually the date for the Strathallan Games. Founded in 1852 by Major Henderson, the games attract hundreds of athletes, pipe bands, and highland dancers.
- Bradley, James; Dupree, Mageurite; Durie, Alastair (1997). "Taking the Water Cure: The Hydropathic Movement in Scotland, 1840-1940". Business and Economic History 26 (2): 429. http://www.h-net.org/~business/bhcweb/publications/BEHprint/v026n2/p0426-p0437.pdf. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
- Shifrin, Malcolm (Last updated 3 October 2008). "Victorian Turkish Baths Directory". Victorian Turkish Baths: Their origin, development, and gradual decline. http://www.victorianturkishbath.org/6DIRECTORY/ListBodies/HydroSF.htm. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- "DSA Building/Design Report: Macfarlane Museum and Art Gallery". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/building_full.php?id=219914. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- McDougall, Liam (2003-03-30). "Beatles' disaster zone up for sale". Sunday Herald. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20030330/ai_n12581740. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- "DSA Building/Design Report: Bridge of Allan Chapel of Ease". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/building_full.php?id=100239. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- "DSA Building/Design Report: Lecropt Parish Church". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/building_full.php?id=232359. Retrieved 2008-09-23.