Douglas, Milngavie

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Milngavie (pronounced Mulguy) is a town in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It is on the Allander Water, at the north-western edge of Greater Glasgow, and about 6 miles (10 km) from Glasgow city centre.  One of the large estates in the area was Douglas Mains, and several features in the town take Douglas as their name.

The Douglas Arms
Two names may be seen above the doorway, namely, M. Weir and C. Bissland. Mr. Bissland was actually superseded by Mr. Weir. There was an old tradition that the famous outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor, made periodical visits to this hostelry where he engaged in bouts of wrestling with the local wrestling champion. Although handicapped, as he was, by a short stature, it might be surmised his length of arm would more than cornpensate for his lack of height in such contests. As far back as the 1850's, a line of stage-coaches, plied hourly to and from Glasgow, which helped to add to the residential character of Milngavie. The businessmen could live in sylvan surroundings, and yet have comparative easy access to the city for their business commitments.

Douglas Street

Douglas Gardens
Just like the majority of towns in Britain, Milngavie had a war memorial erected to honour her dead of the First World War, 1914-1918. This photograph shows the dedication of the War Memorial, situated at the former Douglas Park Gardens, Douglas Street. The corner of the building to the right became the site of the City Bakeries. The building on the left, was that of the Douglas Arms Hotel. What a dismal place it now seemed to be when you compare it to the lively, vital photograph which we have just seen! It is hard to believe that there is now a large supermarket on the site now. Charles Bissland of the Douglas Arms was the first honorary treasurer of the burgh. One of the reasons for the Douglas Arms to be looking so run down, would be due to the fact that Milngavie by the second decade of the twentieth century, was weU into the railway age, and it was only prior to the advent of the railway, that the Douglas Arms was so important as a staging post for the stage-coach. The name, Douglas Arms, was of course taken from the weU-known local family, Douglas of Mains.

The War Memorial Gardens were situated on the site of the Milngavie Gas Works. The precariously perched gentlemen on what appears to be a washhouse roof, at least wou1d be able to obtain a good view of the proceedings. The one incongruous feature in the whole photograph, appears to me to be the raised umbrella at the rear of the monument! Of the two visible ministers, standing with bowed heads facing the memorial, the gentleman nearest to the monument, was the Reverend David H. Hislop, the minister of Cairns Church, formerly minister in Stranraer. Mr. Hislop was inducted to Cairns on 1st May 1919, and remained there until 1923 when he was called to North Morningside Church, Edinburgh.


The Douglas Picture House opened around 1927. The proprietor was Mrs Breckenridge, on behalf of her family, which had previously shown films in the old Town Hall. The Douglas Picture House closed on 24th February 1962, with “Greyfriars Bobby” starring Donald Crisp.

The building, renamed Douglas House, was converted into shops and offices.

Douglas Academy
Douglas Academy, which opened for the first time in 1967, is a six year non-denominational, co-educational, comprehensive school serving the Milngavie, Craigton and Baldernock areas.

The coat of arms on Douglas Academy school badge combines references to its geographical position and to the history of the grounds in which it is situated. The upper half, with its cross and roses, is part of the arms of the Burgh of Milngavie, while the lower half shows symbols associated with the Douglas family, owners for many generations of the Mains Estate on which the school stands. By tradition, the heart represents the heart of Bruce, taken by a member of the Douglas family on crusade against the Moors. The Gaelic motto "Neart-Tre-Eolas" means "Strength Through Knowledge".

See also:
Douglas Arms Hotel
Douglas of Mains family



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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017