FORMATION OF THE CLUB
Among the participants involved in the discussions and negotiations which took place prior to the establishment of Cardonald Bowling Club in 1914, we are particularly indebted to two gentlemen, Mr. W.H. Sinclair, the Club’s first President, and Mr. R. J. McLeod, our first Secretary.
The records of their correspondence and discussions, along with the minute books which have been kept so meticulously by all our Club Secretaries over the past hundred years, have provided us with a valuable source of information to help us compile this history of our Club.
The person responsible for actually building the original green and Clubhouse was a gentleman by the name of William Arthur Baird and it is worth digressing a little at this point to devote a little time and space to his background as it gives us a worthwhile appreciation of the man and his prominent role in the history of our Club.
He was born on 20 March 1879 the son of Sir David Baird of Newbyth, (East Lothian) 3rd Baronetcy and the Hon. Ellen Stuart. He married Lady Hersey Constance Evelyn Conyngham, daughter of Henry Francis Conyngham, 4th Marquess Conyngham on 28 January 1908. He gained the rank of Major in the service of the Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry and held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of East Lothian as well as the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Renfrewshire.
When the 12th Lord Blantyre died in 1900 with no male heir, Erskine Estate passed to his 21 year old grandson William Arthur Baird and in 1901 Mr. Baird came to Bishopton to take up his inheritance. By the end of that year, helped by three Gentlemen amateur golf friends, he had laid out his own personal golf course at Erskine Park. The course was eventually extended to 18 holes and in 1904 Erskine Golf Club was formed with Mr. Baird being appointed as first Captain.
His mother Ellen Stuart being the only surviving daughter of Lord Blantyre, had inherited Lennoxlove Estate in Haddington, East Lothian and in 1912 Mr Baird commissioned the famous Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer to refurbish the house at Lennoxlove. Extensive restoration was undertaken including the Entrance Hall, the Great Hall and the Oak Room. Lennoxlove is now the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, having been purchased by the 14th Duke in 1946.
The history behind the construction of the bowling green in Cardonald is a slightly grey area. We know that Mr. Baird was building the green and Clubhouse for the Scotstoun Estate Building Company but we are not quite sure who actually instigated the proposal. A letter from the Scotstoun Estate Building Company refers to Mr. Baird building a bowling green ‘for us’. Whether that means Baird had offered to do this voluntarily or he had been approached by the Scotstoun Estate Building Company with a business proposition is not known but it is interesting to note that the land was owned by him.
Although Mr. Baird was not initially offering free use of the facility, subsequent history regarding the negotiations leading to the sale of the Club and grounds would appear to endorse the opinion that his role was more that of a benefactor.
Mr. Edward “Wynne” Talbot Crosbie was the manager of the Scotstoun Estate Building Company at that time and he acted as a liaison between Mr. Baird and the parties in Cardonald who had an interest in forming a bowling Club.
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