Kettering and District Caledonian Society

Patron: Duke of Buccleugh K.B.E.

A History of Kettering & District Caldeonian Society

The Society was started at the Royal Hotel, Kettering, on January 27th 1933, by small group of enthusiastic exiles who had been spurred on by Dr. John Allison then Medical Officer of Health for Kettering. Naturally, Dr Allison became the first President. From small beginnings of an original membership of 51 the Society grew steadily to a membership of 280 by 1950 where its growth was limited only by the capacity of the local halls. Hard upon the heels of the Kettering Society’s formation came the great new Steelworks to Corby only 8 miles away in 1934. The advent of the works brought a host of new members as many of the executives, staff, and workers resided in Kettering.

The Society was formed and its objectives were as follows:

Organisation of concerts, lectures and social and other gatherings for fostering Scottish sentiment and promoting friendship among its members; the maintenance of the traditions and customs of Scotland; the stimulation of interest in Scottish history, literature, music, etc., and in interest of and for the benefit of the Scottish community in Kettering and District

This Society was inaugurated through the enthusiasm and hard work of Messrs. D. M. Allison and J. Munro and the following Ladies and Gentlemen formed the first Officers and Committee:

President: Dr. John Allison, F.R.C.S.

Chairman: Mr. D. M. Allison.

Vice-Chairman: Miss J. Whyte, M.A.

Hon. Treasurer: Mr. J. H. Munro

Hon. Secretary: Mr. Ian Campbell-Robertson

Ass. Hon. Secretary: Miss Jean Thomson

Committee: Mrs. Strachan, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Wicksteed, Dr. H. S. Strachan, Mr. C. Elliott, Mr. D. J. Bell and Mr. W. Hughes.

Hon. Chaplain: Rev. O. F. M. Campbell

Hon. Auditors:: Mr. R. D. Silver and Mr. R. Scott

There was a General Meeting on March 2nd 1933 when Rules were passed and future events discussed.   A Dinner Dance was held at the Royal Hotel on March 31st.

The Halloween Children’s Party held on 31st October was a great success. A large number of children were present and great credit is due to the Ladies of the committee who undertook the whole organisation and responsibility for this.

On November 9th the Ladies arranged a Bridge and Whist, and the evening concluded with a informal Dance.   On November 30th our first Caledonian Ball was held at the Royal Hotel, and this proved an extremely popular evening.

The membership at the end of 1933 was 91 members and 2 Associate members.

Shortly after the forming of the Society the Duke of Buccleuch agreed to be Patron of the Society this association has continued through the generations.

This was followed in 1935 by Lady de Capell-Brooke agreeing to be Patroness.

A short lived Pipe Band was formed in 1935. 

The society was one of those which found a way of keep going during the second world war. Activities were curtailed but never suspended. During those war years the society formed a knitting club to aid the Saint Andrew’s comfort fund. As a result of the affiliation with the St. Andrew’s Society the wool had been obtained without coupons and 100’s of garments were sent to H. M. Forces.   By 1947 the popularity of the Society meant it had to move its dances from the Royal Hotel to the much larger Central Hall to accommodate the growing membership. Due to the increasing number of members dance classes were organised.

The Society appointed its first woman President in 1950. Mrs Scott was a founder member of the Society and was present at that eventful meeting at the Royal Hotel. After the closing of the Central Hall, the Society used a variety of venues to suit the different functions it was providing for its members. The highlight of the society Golden Jubilee was The Burns Supper which was held at the Grampian Club, Corby, and 180 people attended the event. The Haggis was ushered in tae th’Skirl o’th, Pipes and addressed by Mr William Currie who was President in 1976. Mr James Robb delivered The Immortal Memory with panache, the President Mr John Mclaren followed with his humorous delivery of The Land We Live In and our visitors Mr. McLaren was a past President in 1955. His Worship the Mayor of Kettering Councillor T. Freer gave the response. Toastmaster for the evening was Mr Maurice Rowles who had been President in 1980.

With the demise of the Steelworks the Society has continued, but is now open to all of those, regardless of nationality, who enjoy Scottish traditions and culture.

There is a newly formed 12 o'clock club and a host of different events arranged for members.