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Missing Plaque

The Kipps War Memorial
by Grant Cullen

page 1

A little of the background on this memorial.

The North British Railway had a locomotive maintenance shed and yard about half a mile east of the present site of Coatbridge Sunnyside station known as `Kipps` - apparently that was the name of the farm upon whose land the shed was built in the 1860`s. In the early part of the 20th century this depot was home to almost 80 railway engines and was a big employer in the area. The memorial was erected in the early 1920`s and was affixed to the outside wall of the engine shed offices. When the shed was closed by British Railways in 1964 with subsequent demolition and site clearance taking place several years later. The plaque was recovered by local railwaymen and taken and affixed to wall of what was then the quite new Railway Staff Association Social Club. After the Social Club in the 70`s closed the premises was empty for a while before becoming a short lived pub.

The Scotsman, Tuesday 21st March 1922:

Coatbridge - Mr William Whitelaw, chairman of the North British Railway Company, yesterday visited Coatbridge, and in 4 presence of a large gathering, unveiled a large grey granite tablet containing the names of the men employed at Kipps who served during the war. The memorial, which was dedicated by the Rev. Adam Maxwell, has been placed on the wall of the office facing the Companys main line between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and between Kipps and Sunnyside Station.

The busy commuters rushing to catch their Glasgow bound trains from Coatbridge Sunnyside Station will never give it a glance, but many of them will daily pass by an enduring memory from the NBR era of some of the darkest days in the early part of the 20th Century.

Some of our older members who visited Kipps MPD (65E) prior to its closure in January 1963 may remember the War Memorial which adorned the wall of the shed offices, facing the running lines. Amazingly, this NBR and Coatbridge historical artefact survives to this day, albeit built into the wall of what is now an Indian Restaurant.

After closure the Kipps site was used for some time for storing redundant locos but was finally demolished and cleared several years later. Around this time the Coatbridge Railwaymans Staff Association built a new Social Club adjacent to Coatbridge Sunnyside railway station and the members retrieved the Kipps "Great War" Memorial and had it built into the exterior wall of the Club facing onto Sunnyside Road. With the subsequent run down of the railways in the Coatbridge area (as all over Scotland) in the 1970 s, membership of the "Railway Club", as it was locally known, declined and it subsequently folded. After some time lying empty it was taken over and converted into a Public House. Since then there has been several changes of ownership (and name) of the property and it is currently used as an Indian Restaurant (Shimla Cottage).

The building has recently undergone a face lift but the Kipps War Memorial is still on the wall, in remarkably good condition despite its 80-odd years in the pollution of Coatbridge. It is a plain granite slab with metal lettering, all of which is fully legible, and reads as follows:-

In Commemoration of the Men from Kipps L. R. Dept., N.B.R. 
Who Served in the Great War 1914-1919   
Those in the Centre Column made The Supreme Sacrifice

 
 James Bryson   William Anderson  David Irons  
 John. Bulloch   George Amott  John Kellock  
 William Campbell    Andrew Clunie      George Miller  
 James Collins   Charles Coyle  David Murray  
 Arthur Dignon   George Dunn  Hugh Murray
 George Ferguson    Thomas Gardner      Joseph McCaldon  
 David Fleming   James Irons  Allan McCormick
 David Fletcher      Dennis Leonard  Hugh McFadyen
 Findlay Gartshore   Duncan Storrie  William McCraw  
 William Gray     David Walker  John McPherson  
 Stephen Gray  

 James Walker

 William Nimmo
 John Macgaily    Thomas Wilson    
 Paul Hennon    

I have in my possession a 510 page tome entitled "Coatbridge and The Great War" which was written by Rev. Samuel Lindsay of Coatbridge Baptist Church and published in 1919. This volume records the names, by regiment, of every citizen of Coatbridge who served King and Country as well as a full record of the supporting efforts of all those left behind on the "Home Front".

In addition to being a comprehensive record of all the regiments in which Coatbridge men served, the book is a fascinating social record of life in the "Iron Burgh" during those dark days.

Rev. Lindsay, who was assisted by his wife and two daughters in the compilation of this "magnum opus", states in the preface that,

"This book has been written with the avowed intention of perpetuating the memory of those citizens belonging to the Burgh of Coatbridge who have taken part in the Great War, particularly those who have made the supreme sacrifice"

The North British Railway had a locomotive maintenance shed and yard about half a mile east of the present site of Coatbridge Sunnyside station known as `Kipps` - apparently that was the name of the farm upon whose land the shed was built in the 1860`s. In the early part of the 20th century this depot was home to almost 80 railway engines and was a big employer in the area. The memorial was erected in the early 1920`s and was affixed to the outside wall of the engine shed offices. When the shed was closed by British Railways in 1964 with subsequent demolition and site clearance taking place several years later. The plaque was recovered by local railwaymen and taken and affixed to wall of what was then the quite new Railway Staff Association Social Club.

now go to
 The Kipps Memorial
page 2

 

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