Ardrishaig’s sporting memorial to a king

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Colin Cameron

The photograph above might not, at first glance, seem particularly remarkable.

But look a little closer and many readers will recognise King George V playing field in Ardrishaig.

The photograph was handed to the Argyllshire Advertiser by sisters Mary MacDonald and Alma McGuinness, natives of Ardrishaig. Taken from a family album dating back more than 70 years, the image clearly depicts an important occasion at the playing field – though Mary and Alma don’t know what that might have been.

A little investigation by the Advertiser reveals that the pitch is one of just two in Argyll and Bute – the other being in Rothesay – created as part of a nationwide playing fields project in memory of King George V, who died in 1936. More than 400 were constructed around the country, with 85 in Scotland.

Each field would display heraldic panels in memory of the king, each one to an approved design. These were issued, free of charge, as a gift by the foundation and became the official emblems of the national memorial.

Money to purchase the land was raised locally, with a grant made by the foundation from 1937. After purchase the land was passed to the National Playing Fields Association – now known as Fields in Trust. Ardrishaig’s King George V playing field is now managed by Argyll and Bute Council.

Looking at the photograph, Mary and Alma recalled that Glengilp Farm above the field was ‘McKechnie’s farm’ and that the patch of woodland was known as the ‘Fairy Wood’.

The banks at the pitch-side appear newly excavated, and people are in their Sunday best – so could this be a photograph of the opening of the King George V playing field in Ardrishaig in the late 1930s??

If you would like to comment on this, contact the Advertiser by calling in to our Lochgilphead office, email editor@argyllshireadvertiser.co.uk or call 01546 602345.

PICS:

King George V playing field – but is this the grand opening? no_a51OldArdrishaig04

The playing field as it appears today. 06_a51KGVpitch03

The unicorn symbol – on the left side of the gateway as required in Scotland. 06_a51KGVpitch01

And on the right hand side, the lion. 06_a51KGVpitch02