KIRKINTILLOCH, its Provost said with pride, had been civilised when Glasgow was but a peaceful green field beside the Molendinar and Edinburgh had yet to emerge from the east coast’s swamps.

Hugh Gillies, an Aberfoyle man, a speaker of 23 languages, made the assertion in April 1956 when the Evening Times profiled his town. “We were the first in the field with many things,” he added. “Long before government assistance was provided we were taking a practical interest in old folks’ welfare. We were among the first, too, to have a municipal bank.”

The newspaper said Kirkintilloch Junior Choir (pictured), conducted by Mrs Meta Macpherson since the death of her husband, had won world fame, while the male voice choir had taken first place on three occasions at the Edinburgh Music Festival. The town also had a thriving social scene and a well-supported football team, Rob Roy. Dancing and social occasions took place in the Town Hall and the Miners’ Institute, though jiving – all the rage at that time – was prohibited, possibly from the latter.

The town’s most famous son was Tom Johnston, the former Scottish Secretary (who, incidentally, also spoke of Kirkintilloch having been settled while Glasgow was still a swamp). Johnston’s municipal memories, the profile noted, went back to his days as a member of the cleansing committee, when “he used to sit around a table and chew horse beans to protect the town’s horses from an inferior food supply.”