As a change from my usual writings on football, here's a fascinating book that was published exactly 100 years ago, in November 1913. The Royal Caledonian Curling Club annual - still published today - is a superb source of information. In those far-off days it had over 560 pages, with reports on every conceivable aspect of the sport such as competitions, meetings, news from abroad, obituaries and membership lists of every member club. With almost 750 clubs, that takes up a large proportion of the book, and if you look hard there are some real gems that show curling's broad appeal.
For example, there was a curling club based at Crystal Palace on the outskirts of London (see below), and one of its committee members is none other than the famous cricketer, WG Grace.
As a football historian, I am intrigued by the high profile of Captain RM Christie of Dunblane CC, who spoke several times at the annual meeting. He was a Scotland football internationalist in 1884 aged just 18, and president of the SFA in 1903-04; he would later be one of the older casualties of the first war, dying of wounds in 1918 at the age of 52. In fact, my home town of Dunblane had three clubs in membership, the others being Dunblane Thistle and Keir.
Social historians will be intrigued to see places with a curling club that might seem unlikely today, such as the Glasgow suburbs of Ruchazie and Shettleston.
The RCCC was flush with funds, overseas tours were contemplated, and the overall sense is one of aristocratic patronage, contentment and success. Little did they know that a year later the old order would disappear: the annual could not be published, most clubs would be dissolved for the duration of the war, and many of the young men would never play again.
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All blog posts, unless stated, are written by Andy Mitchell, who is researching Scottish sport on a regular basis.