Tribute to the Wilson Family, Penicuik

THE WILSON FAMILY: FIVE GENERATIONS IN PENICUIK CURLING CLUB

WILLIAM WILSON (Club member 1839-93)

William Wilson was a painter, as was his father Charles. William’s grandfather, George, hailed from Wanlockhead, the son of the manager of the lead mines and scion of an old covenanting family. George Wilson took up the trade of a painter and plasterer and moved to Carlops with his son Charles and grandson William, who was born in 1808. Both Charles and William carried on the trade of George Wilson and all three built and occupied adjacent cottages in Carlops. In 1824, Charles was presented with a medal from the Highland Society bearing the words “In respect of the cleanliness and neatness with which the cottage was kept”. The medal was presented on behalf of the society by Mr James Mclean of Nine Mile Burn, who incidentally was a founder member of Penicuik Curling Club in 1815. The business flourished and William Wilson decided to move to Penicuik in 1839, where he joined the curling club. William was one of the club members who backed the proposal by fellow Penicuik Curling Club members Dr John Renton, John Piper and Charles Cowan to join the Grand Caledonian Curling Club at its inception in 1838.

He was appointed skip in 1842 and took part in the first Grand Match at Penicuik in1847, playing with John Piper, Dr Alison and John Dewar against Cumbernauld. Aside from his trade and curling, William was an officer in the free church, a member of the Free Gardeners and served on the parochial board. In the last few years of his life he loved to sit and chat about the old coaching days, when there was no police commission, railways, or machines for making paper! William Wilson died in July 1893 in his 84th year and after 54 years association with the club.

CHARLES WILSON (Club Member 1859-1927)

Baillie Charles Wilson took over the painting business from his father William. He joined Penicuik Curling Club in 1859, some twenty years after his father, although the first reference to him in our curling records is in October 1865 when he is appointed to the club committee. Charles served on and off the committee for the next forty years; the last record of him in the minutes is his appointment to committee in 1906. Charles curled well into the 1900’s winning the club medal in 1887 and seventeen years later in 1904! He spoke very eloquently at the centenary dinner in 1906 when he enthused affectionately of the fourteen years he had played in Charles W Cowan’s rink, reminding all present that in the eleven years when they had a full rink, they never lost a match! At that time Charles Wilson had been a member of the club for 57 years. He continued as a member till 1919, when he was appointed an Honorary Member. He died in 1927. This stalwart of the club had been a member for 68 years!

DAVID L WILSON (Club Member 1897-1964)

Charles’ son, David L Wilson, was born in The Glebe, now called Imrie Place, in Penicuik in  1881.  He was given the middle name of Lawson in memory of his grandfather Charles Lawson, another stalwart of the curling club. D L joined Penicuik Curling Club in 1897 and served in the Royal Flying Corps, and subsequently the Royal Air Force in France in 1917-18. His son, Charlie Wilson, was born in 1915 and a fourth generation of Wilson curlers was destined for inclusion in the club’s history. David played in the last Grand Match at Carsebreck in 1935 and won by 20 shots. He died in 1964 after 67 years in the club! He was a very well respected member of the community and church in Penicuik.     

David Wilson with his wife and young son Charlie, taken c1919

 CHARLIE WILSON (Club Member 1947-2006)

Charlie Wilson JP was born in 1915 and was called up into military service in 1939. He travelled through North Africa and Italy until demobilisation in 1946. Charlie joined Penicuik Curling Club in 1947 and was soon appointed skip.  He skipped in the last Grand Match at Lake of Menteith in 1979, beating Glamis No 2 by 15 shots to 10. In that game his third player was Willie Ross, who was playing in his fourth Grand Match! Charlie was appointed an Honorary President in March 1989, received the Royal Club gold medal for fifty years membership in 1997, and died in 2006 having given 59 years service to the club!

Charlie in front of Curling House
c 1978

LAWSON WILSON (Club Member 1965-1987)

Charlie’s son, Lawson, joined Penicuik Curling Club in 1965 to be the fifth generation of “Wilson the Painters” in the club. He played until 1987 after 22 years as a club member.

This was a truly remarkable, and probably unique, family. The family business of “Wilson the Painters” was a well respected and much loved institution in the town for 150 years, and their combined service to Penicuik Curling Club, totalling 270 years, is likely to be a record unmatched in any club, in any sport, in any country.

Tribute written by Honorary President Jim Cowper. November 2019