Our long community history is important to local people
Rutherglen has existed as a community with local powers and identity for a thousand years.
The original Royal Charter was granted by King David in 1126 but Rutherglen must have existed as a community before that. Indeed, at one time, Rutherglen controlled within its boundaries a good part of Glasgow, apparently as far as Shettleston Cross at least.
In the later 19th century, there was a steamer run by Thomas Seath which went six times a day from Hutchesontown Bridge in Glasgow to Rutherglen Quay until it was overtaken by the trams. Even now, there is a right of passage down the River Clyde from Rutherglen granted by the Royal Charter and still exercised by the Rutherglen Cruising Club.
This long community history is important, giving a sense of place to local people, many of whom trace their ancestry back for many generations in the Royal Burgh. Council changes
In 1974, the Burgh Council was abolished – along with the old County Council of Lanarkshire - in favour of a two tier system of Glasgow District and Strathclyde Regional Councils.
In 1995, in turn, Rutherglen escaped from Glasgow to become part of South Lanarkshire Council.
It is over 40 years since Rutherglen had its own council, but there is still a wealth of material on the history of the area through the local Churches; bowling, tennis and golf clubs; Friends of Overtoun Park; social clubs and even pubs. There are a number of websites and social media sites devoted to the history, paintings or photographs of Rutherglen over the years, while South Lanarkshire continues to support the Landemer festival. The Royal Burgh and the Future The time is now right, in my view, to look at how Rutherglen organises itself today and what it can offer.
I have long thought that the community council might call itself “The Royal Burgh of Rutherglen Community Council” and that there is a case for a broad-based Royal Burgh Civic Amenities Forum to take forward arts, music, film and drama in the area.
Local transport is another area with potential for change to meet modern needs – and what about a Town Centres and Commerce Trust to look at the commercial opportunities and environment of the local centres, building on the improvements to the Town Hall and town centre landscape undertaken by the council?
Praise Councillor Robert Brown has praised Landemer Day, an historic event in the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen
Tradition Councillor Robert Brown (second from left) with other local elected representatives, at Landemer Day last month