Milngavie Music Club was founded by Alexander Duncan and Herbert Downes with the aim of holding local concerts, the first of which took place on 16 October 1942. Membership was small in the beginning, but with the introduction of season tickets in 1944, significantly increased, reaching a peak of 450 members in the early 1960s. As membership grew, the Club was able to engage well known artists for their concerts; the first such was Frederick Lamond, the renowned pianist, who gave a concert in 1944. Other internationally famous artists followed, including Kathleen Ferrier, Peter Pears, and Benjamin Britten.

For the first twenty years, the concerts were held at Milngavie Parish Church Hall, but in 1962 the club moved to the Town Hall. As well as its concerts, the Club also ran nine music festivals between 1947 and 1975, each lasting three or four days. The highlight was the 1953 festival, with performances by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten, including the Scottish premiere of Britten's 'Lyrics and Ballads by Thomas Hardy'. The Club continues to put on concerts today, and over the past thirty years has received funding from the Local Authority and the Scottish Arts Council to help it to continue to attract world class performers.

Download a copy of the constitution of the club »

(Historical summary from the catalogue entry for Milngavie Music Club Archives, 1944-2002). For further details see A Short History of the Club written for the Diamond Jubilee of Milngavie Music Club by Donald Pack. The Archives, including a copy of the Short History, are held by East Dunbartonshire Archives »
at Brookwood Library, Bearsden.

Archives catalogue entry as pdf »     Guardian obituary of Herbert Downes »