Montrose Girls Club – a collection at Angus Archives

Photograph of female nurses in their uniforms, from the early 20th century.

Angus Archives holds a range of interesting material relating to women and girls who have resided and still live in the area. The Montrose Girls Club is an extensive collection which includes records such as minute books, scrapbooks and correspondence.

What did the Montrose Girls Club do?

On the 5th of December 1914, the Montrose Girl’s Club was opened at St. Mary’s Hall, Montrose. The Club was founded by Miss Fraser of Kirkside, with three main objectives. The first was that the Club would provide pleasure and enjoyment to the girls of Montrose – a place where they could meet twice a week with their friends and spend time together through work, games, and music.

The second objective was personal profit, and what the members could gain from joining. The Club proposed to teach its members handicrafts; to create beauty to add to their homes, and to give as gifts to others. They also proposed to have singing, as something for themselves and to provide entertainment.

MS30/1/1 Montrose Girls Club: Cafe Chantant. © Angus Council Collections cared for by Angus Alive Museums Galleries and Archives 

Thirdly, the Montrose Girls Club focused on patriotism. Forming shortly after the outbreak of World War I, the conflict was very much in their thoughts. Its members believed that it was their duty to do their bit, and to make the country, which so many men and boys were sacrificing their lives for, a place worthwhile.

MS30/1/1 Red Cross hospital soldiers garden party Rossie Castle, 1916. © Angus Council Collections cared for by Angus Alive Museums Galleries and Archives 

Throughout the Club’s existence, they were involved in many fundraising activities. During World War I, they sponsored hospital beds for the Red Cross, and provided funds to the Japanese YWCA after the 1923 earthquake.

MS30/1/1 Montrose Girls Club: Fundraising programme. © Angus Council Collections cared for by Angus Alive Museums Galleries and Archives 

The Montrose Girls’ Club scrapbook, which contains photographs, press cuttings, postcards, letters, and concert programmes, records the activities of the club. To the front of the book is an image of the members of the Montrose Girls Club taken in June 1918, within the book pictures of the Girls Club Hall and reading club are included. A letter from the Scottish Branch of the British Red Cross Society has been attached,  the letter thanks the Montrose Girls Club for their contribution totalling £50 for the naming of their bed in the Springburn Hospital. The letter also notes that the club raised the money in a short time, and thanks them for their efforts.

MS30/1/1 Montrose Girls Club: Abbaye de Royaumont Hospital. © Angus Council Collections cared for by Angus Alive Museums Galleries and Archives 

The Montrose Girl’s Club ceased to operate in the late 1960s.

Ladies & golf at Angus Archives

Other collections regarding women held by Angus Archives are the North Links Ladies Golf Club and The Brechin Ladies’ Permanent Coal Fund collection.

The North Links Ladies Golf Club collection is composed of minute books, which details the election of office-bearers, competitions, and prize winners. Furthermore, it contains a list of junior members 1934 – 1972.

Many of the club’s original members were wives, daughters or mothers of golfers who were members of the Mercantile, Victoria or Caledonia clubs, which at the time were still male only.

At the first annual general meeting in 1928, the club had a membership of forty-four, an impressive start. While the women were offered the use of an annexe to ‘The Villa’ as a clubhouse, they were also set on the notion of their own clubhouse, and in 1928 devoted their efforts to raising the £503. required for its construction.

There was also a Junior Section of the North Links Ladies Golf Club, Montrose, formed on 12 January 1935. Its main aim was to encourage girls to participate in the game and to organise competitions.

Brechin Ladies providing fuel

The Brechin Ladies’ Permanent Coal Fund collection is composed of collection is composed of minute book, including the election of office-bearers, the names of fund subscribers, treasurers’ reports and any other business of the committee. It was established in 1861 with an aim to provide fuel to ‘necessitant parties’ in the City and Parish of Brechin.

Amongst the first patronesses of the fund were: the Rt. Hon. The Countess of Southesk, the Hon. Miss Maule, Mrs Chalmers of Auldbar, Mrs Captain Peareth of Gannochy Lodge, and Misses Carnegy Arbuthnott of Balnamoon. Funds were initially raised through subscriptions, and then by yearly donations of £2.

The Fund was eventually ended on 26 May 1976 due to years of inactivity. The final sum of £79.7s.0d, minus expenses, was donated to the Brechin Victoria Nursing Association and the revenue from another bequest was turned over to the Kirk Session.

A gallery of images on the Montrose Girls Club

Further information

Angus Archives: Visit Us: Local Family History • ANGUSalive

Written by Karen Clarke and thanks to C Pearson for image permissions.

Edited by Isabel Lauterjung.