History

William Drummond Star pyramid

Nurseryman

1793 -1869

William Drummond was the eldest son of the well-known Stirling family which included Peter Drummond and his nephew Henry.

With William Rankin and Charles Rogers, William was one of the instigators of the Valley Cemetery and his obesession with religion can be seen in the Martyrs' Monument and the Star Pyramid (also known as Salem Rock). He commissioned this from William Barclay in 1863; note the white marble bibles incorporated by Barclay round the base of the ediface and the names of religious tracts (published by his brother Peter's Tract Enterprise). Sadly the bronze eagles which used to surmount the globes at teh front disappeared in the 1960's or 1970's.

It is dedicated to all those who suffered martyrdom in the cause of civil and religious liberty in Scotland. William established a pleasure garden round the Pyramid, complete with trees and plants (available from drummonds nursery). he also paid for five of the six statues seen in various parts of the graveyard and donated trees to be planted round the national Wallace Monument (also available from Drummonds Nursery).

A native of Dunblane, William Crawford spent most of his childhood in Deanston, where his father was a mill foreman. A moulder by trade, William worked in Egypt for a firm of Liverpool engineers and on his return to Scotland married a Glasgow lass, Margaret McKenzie, and set up a china merchant’s business in the city. William returned to the Stirling area in 1872 with Margaret and their first son, David, and opened another china shop.

This was in Baker Street, near what is now the Hog’s Head pub at the corner of Friar Street. Realising the value of property William purchased extensively in the area and built a number of shops in Murray Place. He was also responsible for building the County Club, for many years a meeting place for the businessmen of the town at the corner of Murray Place and Station Road.

Amongst his other purchases were properties in King Street and Murray Place, and in 1879 work started on the Arcade, which consists of two malls leading to a communal central square. In all, there were two hotels, a theatre, thirty-nine shops and six dwelling houses. The Arcade Theatre hosted a variety of performances ranging from music hall to traditional pantomime, and could boast of appearances by Scottish favourites such as Will Fyffe and Harry Lauder. Its name was changed to the Alhambra Theatre in the 1930s but it closed in the 1950s, when its narrow stairs and passages were defeated by Public Safety regulations. The Arcade itself has undergone two recent ‘facelifts’ and with its light, airy appearance is still is an attractive building, a handsome testimonial to William Crawford, china merchant.