While it is accepted that the current name Bearsden originated from the railway station built in 1863, the origin of the name itself is unresolved. It was taken from a house near the station site, but also appears to have been a name for the immediate area. A common explanation is that the sons of a local laird once kept a pet bear in a den there, but there is no evidence to support this. Indeed, as Dr James McCardel pointed out in his "History of New Kilpatrick", captive bears do not live in dens, but in pits.
Bearsden is pronounced Bears-Den' [ˌbe:rzˈdɛn] - with either the emphasis on the second syllable, or equal emphasis on both.
The Scots motto on the Bearsden coat of arms is "Bear the Gree", which means 'to take first place'.
Little of the fort remains to be seen today. However, close to the fort was a Roman bath-house, built in approximately 142–143 AD. The bath-house's remains were discovered by builders digging foundations for a housing development in 1973. The site was donated to the government, and today the remains lie well-preserved 150 metres from the town centre. Furthermore, two stretches of the Antonine Wall's stone base can be seen in the New Kilpatrick cemetery on Boclair Road.
The Bearsden Amateur Football Club was constituted in 1890 and its founders were drawn mainly from the employees of the staging post, originally situated at Bearsden Cross. Their first ground was in Drymen road, now the site of the public hall and All Saints church and when the ground was re-developed the club moved on to Station Road where they played until the club disbanded on the outbreak of war in 1914.
In 1919 the club reformed and played for the first time on their present ground at Thorn Park.
In 1906, many buildings were built at Bearsden Cross by Mathew Henderson (he also tried, unsuccessfully, to develop another commuter suburb at Drumchapel). Bearsden continued to expand in the twentieth century as residents built large independently-designed villas, estates of bungalows, and other types of houses. Few sites are now left unoccupied. In 1898 the first Boys' Brigade company in Bearsden (1st Bearsden BB Company) was formed. In 1908 the first Scout group in Bearsden, the 24th Glasgow Scout Group, was formed. In 1958, Bearsden became a Burgh. Then, in 1975, it became part of Bearsden & Milngavie District Council. Since 1996, it is one of the five towns of East Dunbartonshire Council.
It can also be accessed by road, of which the main routes are:
|Road||Starting point||Ending point||Common names|
|A739||Craigton||Canniesburn Toll||Bearsden Road, Switchback Road|
|A809||Canniesburn Toll||Drymen||Drymen Road, Stockiemuir Road.|
|A808||Bearsden Cross||Hillfoot station||Roman Road, Roman Drive|
|A81||Centre of Glasgow||Callander||Milngavie Road|
This aerial photo of Bearsden Cross may be useful when reading the following paragraph. The photo looks south, and the main road running in the vertical direction is Drymen Road. The single (very straight) road which intersects Drymen Road near the centre of the picture is Roman Road.
The town centre is located at the intersection of the A809 (Drymen Road) and A808 (Roman Road). It is known as Bearsden Cross, and, as of December 2005, its surrounding roads were being upgraded by East Dunbartonshire council. Bearsden Primary School, the Burgh Hall, Bearsden North Parish Church, and All Saints Episcopal Church are all located immediately next to the town centre. A quarter of a mile east along the A808 (Roman Road), there is a Roman bath-house (see 'History', below). North, along the A809 (Drymen Road), there is New Kilpatrick Parish Church, Brookwood Library, and Bearsden Ski Club.
40 years on, the club is based at the West of Scotland Snowsports Centre in the town, and has a membership of about 1200 skiers, boarders and social members. Following the proud traditions of the club a number of skiers are now in the fulltime British Team.
Having spent circa £1million in 2005-06, the club now provides dry slope facilities, incorporating Main alpine slope, two nursery slopes and the freestyle slope. This freestyle slope is the home of the Legion Snowboard who cover the freestyle scene in and around Scotland. However, Legion are independent of the ski club.
Here We Go Down the Nursery Slopes Andrew Wilson Takes His Children Skiing in Austria and Finds That the Instructors' Relaxed Style Is to Everyone's Liking
Oct 04, 1998; "DADDY, DO people here ski every day?" This searching question was the one moment above all others on our first family skiing...
What's Your Bag? Nursery Slopes, Powder ... or Spa? the Novice ; 'Small Girls Overtook Me and Men of 70 Looked on Me with Pity. but I Did a Turn on a Red Slope (V Gd, as Bridget Jones Would Say)'
Oct 09, 2005; Embarking on your first ski trip is a bit like starting at big school. You arrive at a place where everyone but you seems to know...