The Weavers Society of Anderston

Instituted 3rd November 1738                                                                                           

Incorporated By Royal Charter, 25th October 1902               

and

By Supplementary Royal Charter, 14th April 1925                     

AW Crest

At the beginning of the 18th Century, the village of Anderston, which was situated only a short distance from the City of Glasgow, was celebrated for its weaving industry.

In order to protect their industry twenty-two villagers, who were members of the weaving community, joined together to form a Society and on 3rd November 1738, signed an informal document known as "The Contract of Society". This was the only course open to the Founders to protect their industry, which at that time, was being seriously affected by the introduction of unskilled labour. If the weavers had been carrying on their trade in a Burgh of Barony or other similarly constituted community, they would, in all probability, have received Royal recognition by being granted a Charter of Incorporation, empowering them to insist upon all professing their craft, being properly qualified and skilled tradesmen.

The position was rectified in 1824 when the Village was erected into a Burgh of Barony by the granting of a Royal Charter, followed two years later by an Act of Parliament, which conferred the powers of a Police and Municipal Burgh.

As in similar Societies, the capital funds originated from the small contributions paid by its entrants and members. Over the years, these funds were gradually accumulated to a sum, which enabled the first Capital Investment to be made in 1764. This investment, which took the form of the purchase of a plot of ground fronting the King's Highway (afterwards Argyle street) and known as John Logan's Feu cost the Society £60 Sterling. Obviously the purchase was to provide a suitable meeting place, in which to conduct the Society's business. A further plot of ground, adjacent to the first purchase, was acquired in 1769 for £50 Sterling. These purchases were made in the name of "The Community of Weavers", the name under which the Society was known at that time.

The Community held both of these properties until 1852 when, by a Decree of the Court of Session, they were adjudged the property of "The Weavers' Society of Anderston" and a Charter of Confirmation was granted in their favour by the Incorporation of Tailors in Glasgow as immediate lawful Superiors in the lands. Two further plots of ground were purchased at a later date and it was from these four areas of ground, which were contiguous, and on which substantial buildings were erected, that the Society derived its main source of income.

By 1902 the Society's importance among the benevolent institutions of the City of Glasgow was recognised. With an increasing capital stock, the need for greater security had become apparent. As the original Contract of Constitution, which was not a legally binding document and need not be adhered to by its members, the need for a Royal Charter of Incorporation was recognised. A Petition, supported by many leading citizens of Glasgow, was presented to King Edward VII, explaining the Society's usefulness as a benevolent Institution in consequence of which a Royal Charter was issued on 25th October 1902. This was followed by a Supplementary Royal Charter from King George V on 14th April 1925, which extended the bounty of the Society to unmarried daughters and maiden sisters of deceased members, which to that date, was available only to decayed members and their widows.

By the passing of the Act of Parliament of 14th May 1846 (an Act under which all exclusive privileges and rights of trading in Scotland were abolished), the original objects of the Society ceased to exist. From that date the Society has retained its personality and still continues to carry on the benevolent purposes, which the Founders had in mind in 1738. The weaving industry has long since ceased to exist in Anderston. These were replaced with shipbuilding and engineering. These, in turn, have almost disappeared.

With its absorption into Glasgow, the character of the Burgh altered completely and most of the old landmarks disappeared. By the Anderston Re-development Scheme, several years ago, what remained of the old Anderston has now almost completely disappeared.

The Directors, who now take the place of the original Founders, have tried, as far as possible, to retain for the Society its interest in the locality. They welcome into membership the representatives of those, who, in former times, were associated with the old Village and Burgh. For many years, the Annual Meeting of the Society was held in the Church Hall belonging to the old Relief Church in Heddie Place. By the passing of time, the Relief Church became the United Presbyterian Church of Anderston, and then Anderston Old Church. At the time of the re-development of Anderston, the three Churches, Anderston Old, St Peter's and St Mark's Lancefield, were united to form a new charge, which in turn, united with Kelvingrove Church, to become the present Anderston-Kelvingrove Church. The Society retained its old association and for many years held its Annual Meeting in the new Church premises although more recently, the Annual Meeting has been held in the offices of the Secretary to the Society.

The Secretary (contact details below) will be pleased to give further information about the Society on request.

T. Wilson Aitken, Secretary
The Weavers Society of Anderston
c/o Maclay Murray & Spens LLP

T: 0330 222 1716
E: Wilson.Aitken@mms.co.uk