Walking in footsteps of legendary Glasgow philanthropist

Ramblers met recently to celebrate the life and works of Beatrice Clugston (1827-1888) who built both Lenzie and Broomhill Hospitals.

Local ramblers walked in the footsteps of Beatrice Clugston during their latest outing.

She also founded the Dorcas Soci ety and the Association for the Relief of the Infirm, both of which continue her good work to this day.

When Lenzie Hospital was opened as a convalescent home in 1873 most patients walked there from Lenzie Station and the Ramblers followed in their footsteps, remembering its role as a home for children at the end of the 1960s and for older people until it closed in 2000.

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At the hospital, they heard more about the organisations Beatrice founded that continue to help people 160 years later.

Walking through Lenzie brought the group to the Bothlyn Burn with reminders of its use as a feeder to the Forth and Clyde canal.

The weir was a popular destination in Victorian times and the group hoped that Beatrice took time out from her remarkable fundraising and charitable efforts to enjoy the weir.

Walking along the old railway line path to Woodilee, the group made its way on to the Auld Aisle Cemetery where tribute was paid to Beatrice at the national memorial that was built with a magnificent bronze plaque, sadly vandalised in 2011.

Members, however, were pleased to hear of plans to restore the monument and also heard how Miss Clugston’s work as a prison visitor in the 1860s inspired her to improve the lives of prisoners’ families and hospital patients.

Her efforts were so much appreciated that her monument was paid for by public subscription. Indeed, her fundraising efforts still hold some records. One bazaar raised £1.5 million in today’s value. It even attracted the attention of Queen Victoria who sent her apologies and £100 when she could not attend.

Beatrice’s bazaars were supported by people from as far away as Campbelltown. In 1882 a bazaar was opened by the Moderator of the General Assembly with a prayer and bible reading and the public enjoyed the band of the Highland Light Infantry.

Ramblers continued their walk to the Woodhead and Luggie Water Parks, and along the canal to reach Beatrice Gardens, the new estate whose name commemorates the founder of Broomhill Hospital in whose grounds their homes are built.

Appropriately, they heard that Broomhill House was originally owned by the Bartholomew family, the Edinburgh map publishers, who sold it to Miss Clugston in 1876. Walkers remembered her portrait in the hall, visiting patients and buying crafts before its closure in 1995.

The group continued to St David’s Church where Miss Clugston worshipped in the 1860s and 1870s and where her funeral was held in 1888. Many patients walked with her coffin from there to the Auld Aisle.

Ramblers walked in Beatrice’s footsteps as they returned to Woodhead Park and the railway path to the house in Lenzie, bought for her by public subscription.

Beatrice’s mother hoped the move would end her daughter’s habit of “constantly bringing in the halt, the lame and the blind to be fed and clothed”.

A return to Lenzie Station completed a day of exercise and education; the Victorians would have approved!