Club History

This history first appeared in January 2003 in the brochure for the bonspiel celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the first formal record of the Club.

In the early days curling became popular because as a winter game it fitted in well with spare time in the agricultural calendar, which was especially true during a freeze. This allowed local curling and the Grand Match between North and South.

The Orbiston Curling Club purchased a minute book in 1877 and this book records the decision to buy a minute book as unanimous. As the first recorded meeting agreed to re-elect some of the officers of the club this was not the first year of the club. The club pond at that time was at Orbiston Mains to the south of Bellshill and the first Ordnance Survey map shows a curling pond near the farm house. Interestingly the pond appears to be still there, and is well know to members of the Bellshill Golf Club as a water hazard on the third hole. The map is dated 1864 and this suggests that the club was organised back then to maintain the pond.

For reasons that were not recorded the decision was taken to prepare a new pond. This was immediately to the east of the West End School on land owned by the Carnbroe Trust. A sum of £17 was paid to a Mr Urquhart to level the ground and the pond was leased and used from 1883-1908. During this time many minutes record the need for repairs, one minute noting that the fence was being carried away in section by men rather than boys. The banks of the pond also needed frequent repair and water was expensive, a minute of 1903 indicates that it cost £4 5s to fill the pond.

In 1886 the club changed its name to the Bellshill Curling and Skating Club. Season tickets were printed and issued. Late payment of fees was a common issue in the minutes in those days as now. By 1906 the skating part of the name had been dropped but there appears to be no formal minute of this happening.

In 1908 curling returned to the Orbiston pond, with other games being played on the Holytown and Hamilton ponds. In 1902 the secretary was asked to investigate joining the RCCC and in 1903 the club joined the RCCC and we still have the original membership certificate dated 7th September 1903 This brought invitations to the annual Grand Match at Carsebreck.

The weather determined when curling could take place and early Annual General Meetings in about October tended to decide which games would be played when ice became available. Early prizes were often pairs of inscribed curling stone handles. At the end of the season a supper would be held in a local inn with prize giving and singing of songs.

The influence of the weather meant that whole seasons could go by without curling, this eliminated the 1904-05 season. By 1908 reliable ice was available at Crossmyloof in Glasgow courtesy of the Scottish Ice Rink Co. Often in those years Crossmyloof was used as a backup in case Orbiston ice was unavailable. This Crossmyloof ice rink was used up to about 1915 but the rink closed during the war. In the 1920s indoor ice was available in Edinburgh and monthly games were played there in outings by train. A new ice rink at Crossmyloof was opened in January 1929 and this became the home of the club. The normal length of a curling game then was 3 hours.

The club competitions were usually of about four rinks with one or two rinks being entered for central competitions. In 1910 the club struggled to get two rinks and the committee decided by three votes to two to suspend the club. Fortunately this was rescinded by a general meeting 5 months later and a normal season was completed.

From 1928 to 1968 Curling was based at Crossmyloof. During the Second World War curling stopped to be resumed in the 1946-47 season.

Since the war the club has grown to its largest size. The move to the new ice rink in Hamilton for the 1967/68 season led to an increase of members that saw the club league up to 10 rinks.

The last Grand Match in 1979 was attended by 2 Bellshill rinks.

Ordnance Survey map of 1864

1864 Ordnance Survey map of Orbiston showing a curling pond

Image produced from the service with permission of
Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey.