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New Schools and Education site update HERE

With radical new changes in the pipeline for Cumnock's Schools we have updated our Schools and Education page to provide a comprehensive history of education in Cumnock from 1800s - 2017 - facts, figures and accompanying galleries.


Cumnock Men & Women in WW1 Presentation

The talk by Cumnock History Group member Kay McMeekin looked first at recruitment and the surprising rush in 1914 of young men to enlist. So many wanted to sign up that new regiments had to be formed. The local regiment was the 1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers based at Ayr.

We know from a Chronicle report that Mr Hunter’s char-a-banc was filled with eager young lads on the afternoon of Monday 14 September as he took them to Ayr. William Hunter’s char-a-banc held 24. One of them was John Nicol who died at Arras in 1917. Also on 14th September 3 neighbours from Skares Row all went to Glasgow and enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders. 2 of them didn’t come home. All were miners, single and in their early 20s.

We had a look at medals too. Everyone who served got at least 2 medals the British War Medal (solid silver) and the British Victory Medal. The two together were affectionately called Mutt & Jeff. Men who had volunteered in 1914 or 1915 also got the 1914 Star or 1914-5 star. The three together were known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred. Cumnock men also got an enamelled silver Cumnock Parish Medal. Those who died got a death plaque know as a dead man’s penny and a scroll from King George V. There were several awards for Gallantry from the Military Medal to the Victoria Cross.

We looked at women who served as nurses. Generally they seemed to be from well to do families. The miners’ daughters were too busy getting married and having babies to go off to nurse. Two local nurses who died were Agnes Kerr Earl who died in 1919 while nursing in Serbia. She died of septicaemia; and Agnes Ross, a high-ranking police officer’s daughter who died of pneumonia while nursing in Epsom, Surrey. Three other local women were awarded the Royal Red Cross by the King at Buckingham Palace.

Finally we had a look at what was going on at home. The Cumnock Chronicle reported on working parties of local women who organised flag days and other fundraisers. There were Christmas parcels containing socks, a sweater, chocolate and cigarettes, writing materials and a Christmas card. Farms were asked to donate eggs for wounded soldiers. The paper was full of stories of letters home from soldiers, who was home on leave, who had won a medal, who was in hospital, who was missing or dead. The obituaries are a great source of information. Other events reported were sporting and farming news, world news and politics, adverts, and intimations. There was also the Spanish flu epidemic which claimed 25 lives in October - November 1918.

The best bit about doing the research was finding photos of men, many of which hadn’t been seen by family members before. Read their stories on HERE

You can download an edited PowerPoint version (20mb) of the presentation HERE


HLF Grant

Cumnock History Group has received a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage grant. This exciting project, Pennylands Camp 22 on the Dumfries House Estate has been given £10,000 to explore the history of this WWII POW Camp.

Have a look at the project HERE

Download the Pennylands Newsletter HERE



Cumnock 2016

Our celebratory event of Cumnock being made a Police Burgh in 1866 was on Saturday 10th December and was a great success.

Here are some of the Victorian style photographic portraits of guests, the screen-printed commemorative postcard featuring the hand-stamped original Cumnock Burgh seal from the 1860s and a visit from the Cumnock Weathercock - not seen for 45 years! Read about it HERE