Friday, March 02, 2012

Skippers and Boards at Lochmaben

It takes someone with a very special passion for our sport to spend time transcribing old curling club minute books. This is what Lynne Longmore has done, and she's now published a book, Minutes of Note, summarising her findings from the minutes of The Lochmaben Curling Society in the years 1823-1863.

There's more about Lynne's efforts here, on the Curling History Blog. The book costs £20.

I was completely fascinated to read the details of Parish bonspiels, where the club would field five or more boards (teams) of eight curlers, each with a skipper (rather than skip). Games would be played not for a specific time, but until one side reached a score of 21.

I found it surprising that for the period described, the eight curlers in a team played only one stone each. It was not until 1850 that the 'two stone principle' was raised at the AGM, and the proposal made that this be adopted. The proposal was defeated, and the club continued to play eight-to-a-team for another ten years.

By this time, four aside and two stones each was becoming accepted by neighbouring clubs, and was well established in other parts of the country. In November, 1861, a proposal was again made to adopt the 'two stone principle'. Lochmaben again voted to continue playing with just one stone each. A year later, the move to two stones was accepted, but only narrowly by 23 votes to 21. The traditionalists did not give up, and the matter was raised again in 1863. The 'two stone principle' was favoured by just one vote!

Such are the treasures in Minutes of Note. Buy the book and read it yourself to find others!