Falkirk Ice Rink Ltd.

During 1937 numerous meetings took place between some of the most influential businessmen in Falkirk.  These were men who were shaping the town’s future on the ground and included Walter Alexander of the bus company and the accountant Festus Moffat.  Early in 1938 Festus Moffat, 138 High Street, was entrusted with the formation of a company to operate a new ice rink and in February it was announced to the press that Falkirk Ice Rink Ltd had been formed with the intention of erecting and operating an ice rink in accordance with plans drawn up by Messrs Wilson and Wilson ARIBA, Falkirk and Grangemouth, at a cost of around £40,000.  The following month a prospectus was published and 30,000 ordinary shares of £1 each were offered to the public.

The directors of the new company were:

  • Walter Alexander, JP, director W Alexander & Sons Ltd, Solsgirth, Dollar.
  • John Dunn, haulage contractor, West Borland, Denny.
  • John Malcolm Todd, shipbroker, 10 Abbots Road, Grangemouth.
  • Robert Wyllie Howie, firebrick manufacturer, Highbank, Laurieston.
  • Joseph Mitchell Lamb jr, ice manufacturer, Major’s Place, Falkirk.
  • John Dingwall Maxwell, sand merchant, Callendar View, Redding Rd, Laurieston.
  • John Stewart, building contractor, Duncairn, Bonnybridge.
  • James Towers, firebrick manufacturer, Willowbank, Larbert.
  • James Wardlaw, potato merchant, Gateside, Old Polmont.
  • Henry Wilson, architect, Westpark, Laurieston.
Illus: Festus Moffat

The pace of activity was positively frenetic.  Approximately 6 acres of level ground was secured from William Forbes of Callendar on the north side of Grangemouth Road at a feu-duty of £25 per acre.  The Dean of Guild passed the plans on 28 April 1938 and at the beginning of July the hay field was turned into a building site with the intention of opening in December.  R J Buck, who had been the assistant manager at Streatham Ice Rink for eight years, was appointed as manager of Falkirk Ice Rink, and took up post on 1 August.  He helped to tweak the plans for the building and started recruiting staff and preparing a programme.  By the beginning of September it was evident that the construction work was a month ahead of schedule and the opening was brought forward.  Bookings were taken for January onwards.  Steps were taken in the formation of curling and figure skating clubs with the Olympian Miss Gladys Jaggers granted life-membership of the latter.  Trophies for competition were donated by Buck and by WB Callander, jeweller.  In November Dave Davies, National Skating Association silver medallist, exhibitionist, and barrel jumper, was appointed as chief instructor at Falkirk.

Illus: The Earl of Stair throwing the first stone (Falkirk Herald 3 December 1938, 6).

The Ice Rink was formally opened on 30 November 1938 by the Earl of Stair, the president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, who threw the first stone.

In the evening the ice hockey section was opened by Mrs J Gordon Thomson, wife of the Unionist candidate for Stirling and Falkirk.  A crowd of 4,000 saw the match between the Falkirk Lions and Perth Panthers.

G.B. Bailey, 2022