Tom calls this place home for 12 years from 1782. He moves out here with his Mum and Dad when he’s 17. His Dad’s family were from out this way before they moved to Glasgow so he has some connections already. He does as is expected of him as the son of a local laird but he also starts discussion groups among other non-conformists in the area.
Relationship with Place
My family are from Glasgow. In 1965 my dad was teaching building trades at Clydebank Technical College. With the financial security provided by this job, my parents took out a mortgage on a Wimpy house on a new build estate at the edge of the city. This was Bishopbriggs.
None of the people we were living beside had any established connection with the place; it was a blank sheet for the residents. We lived a mile away from the old town centre. I was amongst the first intake of pupils at Woodhill Primary School; I was also in the first intake of pupils at the High school.
An enlightened group within the local authority had named our Secondary school Thomas Muir. Staff at the new school must have discussed how they could introduce Tom’s principles to the pupils. We were instructed that the school was opposed to the election of prefects and that this was an acknowledgement of Thomas Muir’s egalitarian principles.
Thomas Muir and Bishopbriggs High School were demolished around 2009 and amalgamated in a new building on the Woodhill site. Parents were then canvassed on the naming of the new school, and in the spirit of times, a legacy of New Labour aspirationalism, elected for the inflated title of ‘Bishopbriggs Academy’.
Losing the name Thomas Muir from this public building in Bishopbriggs is a significant lose for anyone interested in the promotion of awareness of Thomas’s ideas and principles in the area.
Tom moved to Bishopbriggs from Glasgow when he was 17. His fathers’ successful trade as a hop merchant and grocer allowed him to buy an attractive three storey house with a small estate just north of the city. The house was just twelve years old, set back from the old post road to Edinburgh, Huntershill House was surrounded by elm and beech trees with a view of the Campsie hills on one side and the river Clyde on the other. The family’s move coincided with Tom’s matriculation at Glasgow University. It must have taken some time to get used to this new house since the family had previously lived above their shop across the road from the University but were now ten miles away on a property which needed management, with the added challenge of a new community of neighbours and parishioners to make their home amongst.
Following the symposium chaired by Jimmy Watson at the Thomas Muir Festival on the 27th September 2012, I decided to rebuild HELPFINDMYNEIGHBOUR.COM as a continuing contribution to raising awareness about Thomas Muir.
I’d built the website in 2008 as part of an art project called South by Southwest sponsored by local authorities in the South West of Scotland. I designed the site with the help of 55 degrees an IT company in Glasgow. Unfortunately in 2010, 55 degrees were declared bankrupt and this web address was seized as an asset. Earlier this year I was notified that the domain name was once again to be made publicly available.
After attending the symposium in Turnbull High School, which was full of hope and enthusiasm, I promised myself I’d investigate how to relaunch the website, updating pages that had been researched but lay unpublished. This ‘Bishopbriggs’ link celebrates the support I’ve drawn from the efforts of the Watson family who are deeply involved in promoting the name Thomas Muir in East Dumbartonshire and beyond.