Kirkcudbright Parades in the 50’s

At Kirkcudbright History Society’s November meeting Mr Sam Kelly of Kirkcudbright kindly stepped in at short notice to give a large audience an opportunity to see cine films made by Mr Bendon who had owned and run the cinema in Kirkcudbright from 1944 till the 1960’s. The cine films shown were from the early 1950’s and are in the Archive of the Stewartry Museum. With whose permission Sam has digitised them.

The clarity and colour of the films shown was tremendous. Mainly pageants and processions, with detailed views of the people who had turned out to watch these events.

The Harbour Square with tiered seating, was the main arena for the crowning of the Princess with all the attendant pomp and ceremony whereas the Castle grounds provided an arena for country dancing, maypole dancing and an opportunity for some younger members of the audience just to roll around on the grass.

The Streets of the town played host to processions of horses and riders taking part in the Riding of the Marches.

St Mary’s Isle drive was the assembly point for a host of decorated floats and tableaux with participants in an astounding array of detailed and elaborate costumes. There was beauty, horror and comedy portrayed. These included groups of Brownies, Cubs, Guides, Scouts and Soldiers alongside floats, sponsored by the many businesses of the town, and of course the Bands to lead the parade.

Horses and riders rode around the streets stopping at the Royal Hotel for the Stirrup Cup-all in their finery. The sun shone on Kirkcudbright and behind the spectators the buildings and landmarks could be seen as well as an amazing selection of buses and cars. These gave interesting background detail and a spectacular setting for a grand show. Mr Bendon chronicled these events of the early 50’s and throughout the evening the audience were totally immersed in trying to recognise family and friends who might have been there as he moved among the crowds.

Sam Kelly
Sam Kelly

Kirkcudbright shone through in the films – full of colour, well organised activity and a tremendous sense of community involvement and effort much as it continues to do so to this day.

Sam Kelly now does the same service for the town – making a modern archive of all the many events throughout the year.

Thank you to Mr Bendon and Sam Kelly for recording and showcasing these events which was enjoyed by all.

The next meeting will be in Kirkcudbright Parish Hall on December 13th at 7.30 when Lizanne Henderson will be “Hunting Witches in Galloway “.

Go to www.kirkcudbrighthistorysociety.org.uk for more information