Walk & Talk - Milngavie

When & Where

This is a Scottish Local History Forum event.
Thursday, 18 May 2017 - 10:00am
Former Court Room, Milngavie Town Hall, Station Road, Milngavie, G62 8BZ

Event Details

Putting the 'Mill' in Milngavie

In association with the Milngavie Heritage Centre, the Forum is organising one of its popular walk and talk events. The walks will incorporate the mills of Milngavie and the architecture of John Woodburn.

The mill is such a key symbol of Milngavie's history, even of the community's name, that it is perhaps unfortunate there is no agreement on what it should be called. Should it be Davie's Mill, Guy's Mill or Gavin's Mill? Local people perhaps prefer Watt's Mill, in honour of the family of millers so long associated with the enterprise. James Watt of the Mill (not to be confused with the famous engineer, who also had Milngavie connections) was a significant member of the local business community. He served as Provost of Milngavie from 1876 until 1879.

Milngavie has had a long history as a small but energetic manufacturing town, producing a varied range of goods. Over two hundred years ago there was already a whisky distillery, a calico printing works, a linen weaving factory, a cotton spinning mill and two bleachfields for the whitening of cloth. One of these, at Clober, was operated by James McGrigor, whose son-in-law was the engineer James Watt. Watt took a keen interest in the development of bleaching processes at Clober, employing his special talents to the local benefit of Milngavie. The other bleachfield, at Craigton, was later associated with one of Milngavie's best-known families, the Blackwoods.

Of the local provosts the most influential in the development of Milngavie was John Woodburn. Woodburn's vision was to create a new commuter suburb of Glasgow, along the lines of Bearsden. He bought up land and erected substantial dwellings to appeal to the Glasgow business community. He enjoyed undoubted success in creating something quite new in Milngavie, alongside the time-honoured Milngavie industries. The railway had been open since 1863, but for many years the only commuters to use it were those living in Bearsden. By 1900 the number of new cottages and villas in Milngavie was a direct cause of the line from Westerton being widened from single to double track, also the rebuilding of Milngavie Station.

For further information on the Milngavie Heritage Centre go to http://www.milngavieheritage.org.


10.00 Registration; tea/coffee (included)

10.30-12.30 TALKS
Harnessing running water – watermills in Scotland, Baldernock and Milngavie - Professor Paul Bishop
Accommodating early commuters in Milngavie - Donald Shankland

12.30-14.00 LUNCH break (cafes and restaurants in town centre; lunch is not provided)

14.00-16.00 WALKS: groups swap over at 15:00.
Milngavie Mills - led by Prof Niall Logan and Prof Paul Bishop
John Woodburn's Milngavie - led by Donald Shankland


You can pay online here now or download the booking form and send it to us with a cheque.

Ticket Type Price Buy
Milngavie Walk & Talk - Member Ticket £10.00
Milngavie Walk & Talk - Non-member Ticket £15.00


The Forum


£10 members, £15 non-members

Event Location

Former Court Room
Milngavie Town Hall
Station Road
G62 8BZ