The Partick(s) Trail(s)

The Partick Trail, or rather trails, are different to the others we have compiled. Their main object is not just to spotlight the more famous players to have come from the town, the burgh, now a Glasgow suburb, but the formation not of one but two clubs from the same streets to have preceded them. The clubs are Partick F.C. formed in 1875, very much a local club, with its ground at Inchview at the west end of the town, where now there are the northern approaches to the Clyde Tunnel, and Partick Thistle, formed a year later, with its first ground, Overnewton, on the other side of the Kelvin just by todays Kelvingrove Museum and Park, now with its ground outwith the town altogether at Firhill in Maryhill and from the beginning a team that seems to have drawn not just locally but from a wider catchment. 

Of Partick the first committee and teams are both known with naturally cross-over between the two. The former consisted of William Swan, Alex Anderson, the brothers, William and James Campbell, John Paton, John Riddoch, a T. Kirkwood, David Muirhead and Thomas Mair. And of them only T. Kirkwood has proved elusive. Of the others three factors for foundation come through. The first is location. Five alone stayed on Dumbarton Road, at Nos. 194, 204, 314 and 330, within no more than five minutes walk of each other and, coincidentally or not, within the same of the venue of the first ever football international, the West of Scotland Cricket Ground. Moreover, work connected them too. Of the nine six were clerks, commercial and legal, including John Paton, who lived on the other side of the Kelvin. And this extended into the first team. Two of the committee were there, James Campbell and Paton. Add to that two other seeming unrelated Kirkwoods, William and George, the latter another clerk and his brother, a plumber, living on Hamilton St., two Youngs, John and David, from Bridgeton, but also both clerks, John Leslie, a draper, but staying on Dumbarton Road. once more and the Englishman, William Kirkham and eight of eleven are traced. And locality continued to be an important factor even in the teams that through Kirkham were invited down to the Darwen friendlies from 1876. 

In that first eleven Kirkham was understandably included, as were both pairs of Campbell and Kirkwood brothers and John Young. William Swan also took his place on the left-wing and was joined by four invitees, all of whom explicable. In the case of the otherwise Rangers player, William Struthers, it was easily understandable. He had been born and stayed in Partick. And the remaining three all had strong connections with the Eastern club, playing out of Bridgeton so perhaps known or even pals of the Youngs. 

And it was these same connections that seemed to continue into the eleven that also represented the Scots club against the Lancastrians in 1878. Kirkham and Struthers were still there as of the perhaps lesser lights John Boag was another who stayed on Dumbarton Rd., as would James Keay in 1881, having moved from Mansfield St.. Then Stewart was a clerk, boarding on Hyndland St., William McLachlan, a fitter on Merkland St. and Angus McGaw on Russell St. again all within a stone's throw of each other. And between them all were the Suters. Born in Ireland and Glasgow respectively Edward and Fergus were in 1871 both on Merkland Sq., both apprentices, the former to a mason and the latter a plumber. And while would after the match stay in Lancashire, Edward, in 1881 and now qualified, Edward had married and moved to Russell St., in fact to the same address, No. 10, as McGaw. Which leaves the Loves. James, who would flee bankruptcy in Glasgow to be the first to take the Darwen shilling, had been living in Partick, seems to have been like Fergus Suter been a stone-worker. And, if the R.Love listed was James brother, he too was not far away. By 1881 he was a Van Driver just across the water in Hutchesontown. 

And the final connection was age. These, even the ones to take part in the Darwen encounters, were young men either still in or barely out of their teens. Angus McGaw was eighteen, Davie Muirhead nineteen, Jimmy Love and Fergus Suter barely twenty.  They were footballing novices, which make all the more astounding the status given to some of them at least of Scotch Professors.

Partick FC  was to fold in 1885. Its ground has long been built upon but not before Partick Thistle moved there for a while in the decade that followed, including election to the League. Then with promotion ot the First Division for a further decade from 1897 there was Meadowbank. Right by the Clyde and in Partick's town-centre it was finally a home to match the club-name. But, the requirement in 1907 for the land by its owners forced another move, this time with with final settlement in 1909 at Firhill.

For Thistle it meant that it never really became the local team that Partick had been and the clustering of both its players and officials confirms. It also meant that local players, with the exception of Willie Paul, were after Partick's demise seemingly mostly picked up by clubs outwith. Jimmy Bowie, for example, went to Queen's Park before Rangers, Jimmy Lawrence to Glasgow Perthshire in Possilpark and they were not alone.

Indeed evidence for this assertion seems to be there from Thistle's very inception, from when it would draw and probably have to mix, to draw not only on locals but players from across wider Glasgow, a catchment that election to the Scottish League in 1893 and promotion to the the First Division in 1897 would only expand, and be run by officials drawn from much the the same. An early example is the 1877-8 season. The office-bearers were President, D. Stewart, Captain, John Inglis, Vice-President, H. Miller, the Treasurer, G. Leckie and Secretary Hugh McColl. In addition its team of the time included Young, the same McColl and Inglis and also featured a Bowie, Duff, probably Andrew, said to be a Welshman, T. Brown, J. Bennie and Jack Beattie. 

Now whilst Hugh McColl can be immediately identified, His address at the time known to be 2, Russell St. so cheek by jowl with Partick's McGaw and Edward Suter and John Young appears to be the ex-Partick player from Bridgeton, President Stewart might have been Duncan but he stayed outwith Partick. John Inglis too had been born elsewhere, in Kilwinning in Ayrshire and was living in Glasgow, where he would go on to play for Rangers for four seasons from 1880, winning two Scotland caps before heading South to Blackburn, Great Lever and Preston. H. Miller was probably Henry Miller, who stayed locally on Mansfield St., before in 1880 emigrating to the Newark in New Jersey, USA. Then there are a couple of Bowie candidates, Allen and Joseph, likely father of Jimmy, but no certainty and Andrew Duff. It turns out he was in fact born in Monkton in Ayrshire but was living on Dumbarton Road, amidst more Partick players at No. 302. Another to emigrate would be George Leckie, a stone mason/worker to trade, like Partick's Fergus Suter and James Love originally. Surely they would have known each other. He would go to Chicago but before he went he would also stay on Dumbarton Road, at No. 92. Finally there are T. Brown. J. Bennie and Jack Beattie. The first is probably a Thomas Brown, of whom there are five, one, Irish-born and living on Anderson St., a second on Hamilton Drive, a third on Kirklees Crescent and two more on Dumbarton Road, four born outwith the burgh. As for Bennie he was perhaps John or James but neither is probably young enough. And finally there is John Beattie. In fact William John Beattie, he was also to go South. Indeed, born in 1859, he died in 1933 in Burnley in Lancashire having first played for Thistle at seventeen, for two clubs in the Lancashire town, F.C. and Union Star, and on Tyneside for Elswick Rangers, Newcastle West End and Gateshead Association. And, whilst as as a child he had also lived on Anderson St., on the death of his father remaining off-census until 1881, by when he is already in England, he too was more passing-through than local. Although his birth would be in Partick, his father was Irish once more and his mother from Argyll. 

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