The launch of the Trail

Townfoot cottage is one of the oldest traditional cottage buildings in the village. It has had a chequered history. For many years it was lived in by the Gilfillan family and was the base for their bakery business until it moved into new premises across Ibert Road (see here). It was unoccupied in the early 20th century and the Killearn estate donated the decaying building to the Killearn Recreation Club in the late 1930s. The Recreation Club had been operating out of the Wheat Sheaf. With support from the Killearn Trust, the building was partially renovated and opened in October 1939. However, because of the Second World War, it had to close in March 1940. Until the end of the war, it was used by the Home Guard and Special Police Constables.

It reopened at the beginning of 1946. It was a men-only club with activities including draughts, dominoes, cards, darts, and billiards, with pride-of-place being given to summer ice, an indoor version of curling played on a long, narrow polished table with miniature cast-iron ‘stones’. The game was popular in the neighbourhood and there were local leagues. (You can read more about summer ice on these two websites, here and here). By 1953, Killearn had to withdraw from the league as a result of declining numbers. In 1961, with ever-falling membership and repairs required, the Club meetings were discontinued and its furnishings disposed of, though no takers were found for the summer ice table which was broken up. Two of the ‘stones’ are now on display in the Village Hall. The Killearn Trust took over complete responsibility for the building and converted back to a private house.

Three articles in the Killearn Courier provide more information on the building (opens pdf, 4MB), the Killearn Recreation Club (opens pdf, 4MB), and Summer Ice (opens pdf, 2MB).