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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Keir Hardie Society

It was the second meeting of the Kier Hardie Society today. The aim of the society is to keep alive the ideas and promote the life and work of Keir Hardie the founder of the Labour Party. Note, this is about the ideas as well as the history.

The meeting was held in Cumnock where Hardie lived for most of his life. We started with a business meeting in the Town Hall where there is a fine bust of the great man sculpted by Benno Schotz. It was well attended and there is plenty of interest in the project, not only in Scotland, but around the world. We then visited the Baird Institute with its Hardie Room full of memorabilia and a fine collection of photographs maintained by the staff of East Ayrshire Council.

A short walk from there is the Congregational Church where Hardie preached occasionally before falling out with the church deacons. Then along the road to Hardie's home, Lochnorris House. Now owned by a former Nalgo Branch Secretary I worked with when I first came to Scotland. Finally, the family graveside in the old cemetery.

The weather was kind to us and it was an enjoyable day. A range of activities are being planned to take the society forward over the next year. If you would like to join the Society the Acting Secretary is Richard Leonard at the GMB and the candidate for this seat in the May elections. The ideas and heritage of Keir Hardie couldn't be in safer hands.

Lochnorris House today.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Dave
    My name is Kane Smillie. Your familiarity with Keir Hardie may bring you to recognise my surname. My Great Great Grandfather was Labour Pioneer Robert Smillie. I'm writing to you because you might be interested to know that I am the proud owner of the very Keir Hardie bust, I believe that is what you call the mounted head and shoulder statues, that sat in Robert Smillie's Reading Room. Or smoking room as it would seem as he was a pipe smoker. In that very room under the fading eyes of the bust I now own I'm sure the two of them would have had many a good debate, Hardie drinking only tea as he always did. I am not sure how many of these busts were made or even if any others still survive. It was made out of plaster of paris and perhaps Roberts smoking did the bust a favor, preserving it very well considering its fragility and age. There is however a smokers tinge to the color. If you would like I could send you some nice pictures of the bust. I am sure it is something the Society would be interested to see.

    Kind Regards Kane Smillie.