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Johnstone Machine Tools reach around the World (Story 1)
Recently we have been amazed to find evidence of how Johnstone Machine Tools reached right round the world.
This first story starts when John McFarlane, a visitor to the Museum, told us about his father's uncle, Tom McFarlane, who had worked in Loudon Bros Machine Tool Company in Johnstone. He added that Tom had not only worked in Loudon's but had been in charge of a small team who travelled to Russia to install a huge planing machine in a Russian Machine shop. John subsequently brought us in a photograph of this event. The Machine was a Planing Machine and one of the largest machine tools made by Loudons. (Sample photo attached, actual photo to follow).
In November 2013 two gentlemen from the USA came in to the Museum and had a look round. They announced that their ancestors back in the 1920s had lived in house that was number 2 Houston Square in the centre of the Town.
We found a photograph of Houstoun Square on the outside cover of a book we had for sale, and lo and behold, there was number 2 that had long since been demolished. They were delighted with their find and wished to purchase the book.
But there was a catch. They didn't have any British currency but had credit cards. They asked if we had a Card Machine and the answer was "unfortunately no".
That was nearly 10 years ago. The Covid outbreak has resulted in very few of our visitors carrying cash these days. This notification is to announce that we have now entered the 21st Century and the Museum is now equipped with a Card Machine. We are only 10 years late. But better late than never.
We are delighted to announce that Morrisons have reopened the Automatic Entrance at the Bridge end of the store. We have seen an immediate increase in the footfall to the Museum. The volunteers really appreciate seeing visitors return.
Thanks to all those who purchased one of our Calendars this time round. We have now SOLD OUT. It's always a balancing act to know how many to purchase each year. We don't produce it to make a profit but neither do we wish to see the Museum lose money. We broke even about a week ago and a last minute sales effort on New Years Eve saw our last one sold. Here's wishing you all a Very Happy New Year for 2022. If you missed out this time round order early for next Christmas.
Johnstone Band had a piece of music specially commissioned to perform at the recent Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships. The piece, Black Cart Water by Nicholas Olsen, celebrates Johnstone’s industrial past with the thread and cotton mills that were powered by the Black Cart Water. We hope you enjoy our performance.
Thanks to Mark Good for his work on the video, to Ryan Bradley for the audio, to Kukscinema Scotland for drone footage and to Iain Murray of Johnstone History Museum for his assistance.
We are delighted to let you know that Johnstone History Society Talks will return in October.
We will be at our usual venue of the Masonic Hall in Collier Street at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 12th October when we will have a talk from Douglas Breingan, of Renfrewshire Leisure, entitled 'Scottish Gardens - Mediaeval to Georgian' which Douglas tells me will feature some local gardens that might intrigue you! The talk starts at 7.30 so be there on time as we will have to keep covid rules at this point in time.
Kali Lindner and her family from Montana in the USA, recently visited the Museum, seeking information about her ancestors, the McLaurin family, of Smith & McLaurin fame. They also wished to find anything they could about Cartside House, the McLaurin's family home.
We were able to find information about the McLaurins who lived in the Mansion over the years. Cartside House was sited on the land across the road from the present Smith & McLairin Company Premises.
Follow the link below to read the story of the history of Cartside House.
It was wonderful to get back to some sense of normality when we opened our doors once again on Saturday. We even had a queue at the door. Thanks to Morrisons for opening the store entrance at the museum, we even had some passing traffic.
We are delighted to tell you that we will be reopening the Museum on Saturday 1st May. The Museum volunteers are organised and will be ready to show you round or answer your questions. We are delighted to welcome back Cathy Craig who has been absent for some time. We are also delighted to welcome Gerry Kavanagh to the team. Gerry, along with our own Gail Reid runs the very successful Johnstone History Facebook page. So, we will be there to welcome you on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 1030 till 4pm. Morrisons have reopenend the Museum end access door and the Cafe will also be open. See you soon.
Johnstone - The “Cap of Liberty” and the “Radical Rising” by Angela Gillespie
The end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 brought economic depression and social unrest. In 1816 some 40,000 people attending a meeting in Glasgow Green to demand more representative government and an end to the Corn Laws which kept food prices high. The Industrial Revolution had affected hand-loom weavers who saw their wages slashed. Artisan workers sought action to reform what they saw as an uncaring government leading to demonstrations and protest. As industrial distress deepened, the demand for reform grew more insistent but the government only replied by measures of suppression. The French Revolution had produced a profound effect on political thought throughout the country - “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” was an explosive slogan - with an appeal that carried across frontiers. It was hope to the underprivileged and oppressed but terror to those in power.
Read the whole story about how this "Radical Rising" affected Johnstone in Angela Gillespie's latest story.
The Brig O' Johnstone: a research article by Angela Gillespie
As is well known the Brig O’ Johnstone is shown on Blaeu’s map of the County of Renfrew, published in Amsterdam in 1654, the name being shown as “Ihonstoun,” this map surveyed by Timothy Pont about 1590.
Angela Gillespie has studied the events of the time. Follow the link for the exciting details.