F A M O U S    G I L B E Y    H O R S E S


Harry Hawkins drives Provost W Macfarlane Gray in heavy rain.

The dog cart drives off at the burgh boundary with Provost W. Macfarlane Gray as a passenger.

   A page from history came to life on Tuesday afternoon, when Mr Walter A. Gilbey and two of his famous show horses, drawing a 50-year-old dog cart, drove through Stirling.  Mr Gilbey and his horsemen were met at the burgh boundary in Bannockburn Road by Provost W. Macfarlane Gray.
   The dog cart was made in Stir­ling over half a century ago by the coachbuilding firm of William Kinross & Son and it gave Mrs M. Kinross, 13 Clarendon Place, widow of the man who built it, great pleasure to see such a fine piece of Scottish craftsmanship being driven through the town.
   When the provost joined the coach party, which comprised Mr Walter Gilbey, Mr I. M. Hay, now head of the firm of William Kinross & Son: Mr L. C. Hislop, general manager of the Gilbey firm in Scotland: Coachmen Harry Hawkins and James Shannon, there was a very heavy shower of rain but he remarked, “It was most exhilarating to drive in the dog cart.
   Mr Hawkins is a very experienced coachman as he drove the Lord Mayor of London in all his processions for eight years and also the Queen's coach at her Coronation in 1953.
   When the coach arrived at the Municipal
  Buildings, one of the onlookers was Mr J. McLean, 20 Barn Road, Stirling, told an ‘Observer’ reporter that he might have had a hand in painting that very coach when it was built for he was on the firm's staff at the time.
   After the dog cart was parked outside the Municipal Buildings, the provost and magistrates were introduced to the visitors in the Provost's Room.  In his speech of welcome, the provost said, “It is a fine piece of Scottish craftsmanship which has lasted over 50 years and I am sure the people of Stirling will like to see it.  I am delighted that Mrs Kinross could be with us as she knows a lot about horses and dog carts.
   Mr Gilbey replying said that he did not know why people in Scotland did not have much interest in driving horses and carts as they have many quiet country roads and not so much heavy traffic as in England.
   After the reception in the Municipal Buildings, Mr W. Gilbey, Provost W. Macfarlane Gray and Mrs Gray, Mr and Mrs I. N. Hay, Mrs Kinross, Mr L. C. Hislop, Bailie W. A. Milne, Bailie J. Hogg, Dean of Guild M. Kelly, Bailie J. Cullen, Mr J. E. Cheetham, town clerk depute, and Mr J. Watson, town chamberlain, adjourned to the Golden Lion Hotel for lunch.
     The coachmen, however, took the horses, Brandy and Vodka on a circular tour of Glebe Crescent, Gladstone Place, Snowdon Place, Dumbarton Road, and back to the Municipal Buildings.
   After lunch Provost Gray, addressing Mr Gilbey, said, “How happy we are that you should come through Stirling today with your Stirling built dog cart.” He remarked how clean and well varnished the cart was and said that one could almost use it as a mirror for shaving.
   Replying, Mr Gilbey said that although he was not of Scottish blood he had many interests in Scotland including his three distilleries on Speyside and a chain of shops under the name of ‘Cameron.’  He thoroughly enjoyed displaying his horses and dog cart at the Edinburgh Festival and had also enjoyed some of the performances at the Festival.
   Mr L. C. Hislop, Gilbey's Scottish manager, explained that the Gilbeys' interest in horses related back to the olden days when whisky and wines were carried in horse driven traps.  Horses were partly responsible for their income and were thus well cared for.  He told Provost Gray that they would be only too delighted to exhibit their horses and dog cart at a future Stirling Festival.