Glasgow Archers in the 1950’s
As part of our 75th anniversary, we brought you details of the Glasgow Archers that existed in the 1840’s. A club that may have no connection to our GA, but it still bears the name so we can’t help but feel a kinship towards them. But what of our own direct ancestors. The archers who formed GA in 1948 and built the foundations of our club 75 years ago. Oh, we got you covered! We have a foolscap notebook containing minutes from GA committee meetings and AGM’s from 1954 until 1974 … and are they an eyeopener. Go get a caf or a tea, this is some good stuff:
The notebook opens on September 29th 1954 at the AGM for that year. Instantly, there is a feeling of familiarity as the subjects discussed include the club constitution, uniforms, coaching and fees. Almost 70 years separate us from these archers but it seems little changes for an archery club. We discussed the exact same things last year (2022).
Back in the day, club uniforms were somewhat limited in scope, something that was noted at the time as being quite restrictive. GA’s club uniform was, for the ladies .. a green skirt or slacks and a white or green top. For the gents, grey Lovat or green trousers and a green top. Shared uniform items were a green wind cheater with the club badge on the breast and a green peaked cap with your classification badge on the front. As they were all shooting longbows, the tassel if worn was to be scarlet. This is significant because the AGM notes say “… if a tassel is worn at the belt it should be all scarlet as this is the original colour of the Glasgow Archers tassel in 1844”. And right there we have a connection to Glasgow Archers 1840. We know of this club through old books being digitized and modern internet search engines. Archers in the 1950’s had no such tools. Did they read paper copies of the same (at the time 100 year old) books that we did or was there some personal knowledge of Glasgow Archers 1840 in the club? Was there an older club member who knew of or was a member of the 1840’s club before it folded? Oh the questions we have!
Back to our Glasgow Archers: At the beginning of 1954, GA were shooting outdoors at Hogarth Park in the east end of Glasgow. At the time, this was a small stadium and open playing fields which had a pavilion (see comments below) that the club had access to. The Hogarth pavilion was extensively used by the club and hosted tutorials, private GA parties and even archery film nights. Hogarth Park’s groundsman was tipped a half bottle of whisky every Xmas, we suspect, to look the other way occasionally. Unfortunately the pavilion had been broken into several times and club kit damaged or stolen (recorded AGM 1958 minutes). As a result the club was already looking for a new field but it was noted just how hard it was to find suitable sites in Glasgow (we feel you bro!). In a little foreshadowing, Pollock Park is mentioned as a possibility but rejected due to cost.
Indoors, towards the end of the 1950’s the club was shooting at the Maryhill youth club hall. However a mid 50’s AGM notes a location referred to only as “the tunnel” where indoor archery took place. Pretty sure its not the 90’s/noughties Glasgow night club so once again, so many questions.
GA was active throughout the late 50’s in trying to promote archery in Glasgow. Chief amongst their attempts was getting fliers printed and distributed at the fetes they attended. At the fetes they set up Come and Tries which was also something they did at the Schoolboys (Boys and Girls) Exhibition at the Kelvin Hall each year it was held. For the princely sum of 6d (that’s 6 pennies in pre decimal currency and about 75p today), you got to shoot four arrows at balloons. Get four hits, you got your money back. Probably along with a friendly chat about archery in Glasgow and a membership form. :o)
So how much did GA membership cost back in the day? Club membership for an adult in 1955 was a £1 annual fee and 6d (a shiny sixpence to you gov) per day shooting. Juniors paid a 10 shillings annual fee but we can’t see any daily rate for them. By 1961 it had doubled to £2 and 2 shillings but no note of junior costs as it was suggested at the AGM, parents be polled for a fair fee. The club treasury was not often spoken about but it was recorded in 1961. At this time the club had just £14 in funds but no-one seemed overly concerned. That would be about £400 in 2023 terms or roughly a weeks average salary for a man at that time. (Our extremely laid back current treasurer would be throwing a fit and heavy objects if that’s all we had in the bank!)
This period in club history closes off with somewhat rapid negotiations and move to Cartha Rugby Ground in Pollock Park during 1961 (literally 300m from our current home of Norwood). This is where we will pick up the tale in a future article – Glasgow Archers in the Swinging 60’s. Yeah Baby! Oh Behave!
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