Johnshaven Jottings - Signing off next week


I have decided the time has come to “put down my pen” and the Johnshaven Jottings of Friday, October 10 will be my last.

However, it is hoped to continue the column in some form or other and the Editor, Mike Rankin, would be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to take up the cudgels. He may be contacted by email or by phone on 01569 762139.

Return of the movies

When was a commercial movie last shown in Johnshaven? Well, although it was a very long time ago, there will still be many who remember when Purvis, a Montrose firm, brought the stars of the screen to the Village Hall on a Friday night in the 1950s.

Much of the seating at that time comprised wooden benches and those at the rear of the hall were much sought after by the younger patrons for whom the film perhaps was of secondary importance. In those days, too, continuity was interrupted as the projector had to be switched off to allow the reels to be changed.

Still, in those simpler days, a night at the movies on your own doorstep and with a chip shop just across the street, was something to savour. Now, after an absence of around 60 years and, if all goes according to plan, the credits will start to roll again in the Village Hall very soon now.

This possibility has come about following the recent meeting of the Village Hall Committee who agreed to participate in the NEAT Flicks community cinema scheme. NEAT (North East Arts Touring) supports village hall committees and other community groups with advice and assistance and for the last ten years has brought professional touring theatre to the Johnshaven Village Hall.

It also runs NEAT Flicks which supports a network of volunteer promoters to show films in their local halls. Those who join the scheme benefit in a number of ways such as financial help with meeting any losses made on film screenings, access both to screening equipment and regular menus of film.

While there are costs involved in setting up the scheme, such as insurances and licences, these are believed not to be prohibitive and the hall already meets all the physical requirements to allow films to be screened to an audience.

No date has so far been fixed for the first screening but keep an eagle eye out for the posters.

No chipper across the street, though!

Cycle Rides

Now that the nights are “fair drawin’ in” the Monday evening cycle runs from the harbour have now been moved to Sunday mornings with a departure time of 9.30. As before, all ages and abilities are welcome with the route being tailored to suit those who come along. Since the idea behind the initiative is that the runs would be a social activity as well as improving physical fitness no one will be left behind and there will be earlier turn-offs for those who wish to ride a shorter route.

There is no cost, all you have to do turn up at the harbour just before half past nine on Sundays, advisably helmet clad.

Masonic Lodge

By far Johnshaven’s longest surviving organisation, the St John’s Masonic Lodge on Main Street, constituted in 1769, began its 245th season on Tuesday night.

When it was agreed to establish a Masonic Lodge in Johnshaven it was to be “for the benefit of indigent members, widows and orphans” and for much of its history St John’s was both Masonic Lodge and benevolent or friendly society. There seems to have been no particular reason why 1769 was the year in which the Lodge was founded.

However, the village had not recovered from the depredations of the Seven Years’ War and the activities of the press gang and the fishing industry was in decline. Social security was, of course, unheard of and, although poor relief was the responsibility of the Kirk Session, old age, unemployment, illness and infirmity were never far from any door and poverty a regular but unwelcome visitor and, although membership of the Society was restricted to members of the Lodge, some time later two girnals were built for the provision of grain to be available for the whole village in times of hardship.

Times changed, however. Complications arose between the Masonic Lodge and the Benevolent Society and in 1887 the two separated and, following a legal dispute over a property, the Benevolent Society was wound up in 1911 and the St John’s Masonic Lodge became just that.

From the very outset members intended to erect a meeting place of their own and although, during all those years various attempts were made, it was not until 1887 that they managed to achieve their aim when the present Masonic Lodge or Hall was built on the “Dykies” at a cost of £364.11.7. There was a suggestion about 20 years ago that the hall be sold and the Johnshaven Masons meet in a neighbouring Lodge.

This, however, came to nought and so the members of Lodge St John continue to meet in the Main Street building as they have done for 127 years now. They also, as other Masonic Lodges do, continue to uphold their original charitable objectives. They initiated the annual Masonic Fetes at Wairds Park in the 1980s which raised around £40,000 for good causes over 20 years and more recently have supported the Provincial Grand Lodge of Kincardineshire’s November dinner dances in Stonehaven which have contributed thousands of pounds to local charities.

Prize Bingo

In his usual jovial mood Bowling Club Treasurer, Bill Inglis, welcomed a full house to the last of the prize bingo sessions of the summer at Wairds Park on Saturday night. He then got down to the business of calling the numbers, as always lucky for some, not so for others, and finished a busy evening by thanking all who had contributed to the success of the event which had raised £159, before expenses, for the Bowling Club.

The five prize bingo sessions have been very well attended this year. They are organised by the Bowling Club and the Wairds Park Bowling Carpet Fund Committee on alternate months and the two organisations have shared a total of approximately £650 and they wish to thank all who have supported the fund-raisers so well during the summer and autumn.

Mearns Coastal Parish Church

In the absence of the minister, Sunday morning’s united service in St Cyrus Church was conducted by the Rev Margaret Benton from Inverbervie. After the service the congregation stayed behind to enjoy a few minutes of fellowship and refreshment.

This Sunday’s services will be held at the usual times of 10am in St Cyrus Church and 11.30am in Johnshaven Church.

Table Top Sale

Don’t miss the opportunity to “bag a bargain” at the table top sale in the Church Hall tomorrow, Saturday from 10 am until 12.30pm. Run by the ladies of Mearns Coastal Church Guild, items will be priced from 50p upwards. There will also be a free cuppa and all are welcome.

Bowling Club

The Bowling Club’s decision to organise bounce games on Sunday afternoons has proved to be an inspired one. Turnouts have been good, the season extended well into autumn, the weather has been fine and as long as it continues that way so will the bowling. Two o’clock is starting time and the green is open to all.

Bridge Club

A reminder, too, that the Bridge Club starts bidding again in the Village Hall (small) this Monday, October 6 at 7pm. New members will be made most welcome.

Carpet Bowls

When the Village Hall underwent a major renovation in 1975 the Village Hall committee decided, in order to make greater use of the premises, to lay down a badminton court and purchase an indoor bowling carpet and a set of bowls. Both sports proved so popular that shortly afterwards the Games Club was formed with badminton and carpet bowling sections, although it is open to any other sport to be admitted should the demand arise.

Over the years carpet bowling has had its ups and down but in recent years it has been well supported and on Tuesday, October 7 at 7.30 pm the bowlers will be rolling out the mats to begin their 39th year

On the same night, a little later than usual, last season’s competition winners will receive their trophies.

Carpet bowls is a gentle sport but, nevertheless, an excellent way of keeping active during the long winter nights. So why not come along on Tuesday at half past seven and give it a go.

Community Council

The next meeting of the Community Council will be held in the Village Hall (small) on Wednesday, October 8 at 7 pm. Items for the agenda should be in the hands of the Chair, Don Marr, Old Schoolhouse, Seaview Terrace by Monday, October 6.


On a gorgeously sunny Sunday, as warm as it had been the entire summer, the Bowling Club entertained Stonehaven Past Presidents at Wairds Park 25 years ago. It was the visitors who were the brighter at the end, though, as they got the better of their hosts by 68 shots to 40.

On the same day Henry Hepburn, a former teacher at Johnshaven Primary School brought the boys of King Street Dons to Wairds Park for a football match against the local school, the result being an honourable 5-5 draw..