Many of you may remember the Bandstand, which stood at the West end of Saughton Park near Ford’s Road, but here’s a wee bit of its interesting history:
The Scottish National Exhibition, which ran from May-Oct 1908, was held in Saughton Park,
recently purchased from the Bairds, who held the land since the 1660s. Once was it over, the prefabricated buildings (and two bandstands) were dismantled, with many being relocated to form Portobello’s Marine Gardens. The Edinburgh Corporation felt the Bandstands were so successful, that they purchased two Cast Iron Lion Foundry No. 23 Bandstands in 1909 (different from the Exhibition’s mainly timber ones), one of these would sit in the Meadows, the other being in Saughton Park.
Over the years, Saughton’s Bandstand would be a stage for many an entertaining event, where people gathered from the locale to enjoy. Some of these included:
13 May 1917 – The British Legion Band & the 7th/9th Royal Scots Pipers
2 Jul 1917 – Mr A.W.G Beaton’s Concert (Red Cross Appeal)
6 Jun 1930 – Experimental Gramophone Recital
June 1935 - The Smart Set Concert Party, all week each evening at 7:15PM.
28 Jun 1941 – Fisher Williams Concert Bureau
These Concerts continued into the 1960s and ‘70s. Unfortunately, by the ‘80s, the Bandstand was in a sorry state, and was dismantled in 1987. Luckily, it was put into Edinburgh Council Storage – the Meadows’ Bandstand suffered a less-fortunate fate, being scrapped in 1953.
The bandstand was visited in August this year by Pete McDougall, Richard Shorter Architect, Rebecca Sampson consulting project Engineer and myself, at the Council Storage Facility. It was stacked on a shelving unit. Some pieces are missing, but it is more-or-less complete.
On 10 November 2016 , Richard Shorter and I arranged to go through to Kirkintilloch, the home of the Lion Foundry, to view a selection of original documents relating to our bandstand. Janice Miller of the East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Archives was incredibly helpful with our enquiry. We viewed several original drawings and blueprints of both the Saughton and Meadows Bandstands, which will be key in the forthcoming restoration.
We were also able to view the Lion Foundry’s original catalogues, which provided more detail on certain parts of the bandstand, such as the railings and finials.
The Lion Foundry also produced the iconic red telephone boxes and post boxes.
Once the drawings were viewed, and copies purchased, it was suggested we go to the Auld Kirk Museum across the road, which has a display on the Lion Foundry, and also holds several of the original casting moulds. The curator was equally helpful, informing us that the moulds, while uncatalogued, are available to be viewed – which will be done at a later date if necessary. This is incredibly useful, as, in the instance that the bandstand is missing a piece of which they hold the mould, a new casting can be made.
He then pointed us in the direction of Peel Park, which has a beautiful Lion Foundry Bandstand – The Perry Bandstand (a slightly earlier model than ours), which was restored in 2003 with the aid of HLF funding. There is also a Lion Foundry fountain, both were installed in 1905.
If you’d like to know more about the Bandstand, and the Lion Foundry, be sure to check out:
East Dunbartonshire Libraries
Join the Kirkintilloch Foundry Challenge – help create an interactive list of surviving objects at