History of the Dominies CC 1982-2023

History of the Dominies CC 1982-2023

Once upon a time, there was a Modern Studies teacher at Leith Academy called Iain Copeland, who got a chance to try curling, enjoyed it, and thought it would be a good idea to start a new club. So it came to pass that in 1982, a meeting was called in the large and draughty staffroom of the (now former) Leith Academy with invitations to all Lothian teachers. Since teachers are all trained to fill in the register at meetings, the copy of the names from that night shows 46 names, some of who went on to join the Dominies (which they mostly were, of course, already), including Jim Aitken, Geoff Dawe, Winnie Ogg, Pat Reoch and William Wood. As a result of the night's discussions, a committee was formed to progress the affairs of the club, with Jim Cannon as the new president, Marion McCormack vice president, Iain Copeland secretary, Elizabeth Rennie treasurer, and Iain Grimmer, David Lane, and Cath Lambert on the committee.

When curling got started in the first full season, a number of friendly games were played among the club members, and some coaching was done to improve our technical skills. We split our playing fairly evenly between Murrayfield curling rink and Gogar Park. For those of you who were never able to get there, Gogar was a compact 4-sheet curling rink overlooked by a bar and restaurant, with large picture windows, large and comfortable changing rooms, and a friendly atmosphere. Some of the structure is still standing, and is used to keep the rain off the Royal Bank of Scotland's grass-cutting machinery at the site.

Having started the ball rolling (should it be the stone sliding?) Mr Copeland resigned as secretary in 1983, having been offered a new job at a well-known local fee-paying school, and I assume was able to avail himself of private-sector curling thereafter.

As a mixed club, and playing a game where the sexes can be equally skilled, our record for equality hasn't been too bad so far. While the USA, leaders of the free world, has to date excluded half of its population from fulfilling the role of President, Dominies CC has had several female Presidents, not to mention Secretaries and Treasurers.

A few snippets from the annals:

(1984) "Stuart Meldrum's rink had an 8-end on 19th February in a fun game at Gogar Park. We challenged Merchiston on 4th April at Gogar. Dominies won by 11-5. The same report mentions the winner of the club competition, one "Jim Cannon."

(1985) The club was quite quick off the mark in investigating club badges and sweaters, with the ladies on the committee deciding that maroon was a fetching colour. It is not recorded what the club president thought of this decision, compelling him to wear the colours of the "other side" of Edinburgh from his beloved Hibees. A friendly game was arranged with visiting curlers from Plainfield N.J., who being in the middle of a tour were probably a bit more battle-hardened than their opponents. After Christmas, a league competition for the "Dominies Quaich" was played. It was won by Stuart Meldrum's rink, with Jim Cannon as runner up. We lost in the second round of the KGIV, but were more successful in the Midlothian Province Bonspiel, beating Chartered Surveyors 19-3.

The acquisition of the Quaich was something of a story in itself. The previous year, JC had approached Teacher's Whisky about sponsorship. They declined. Since rivals Cockburn's marketed a whisky called "The Dominie," they were approached too. Two intrepid committee members were invited to their HQ to discuss the deal, finding that their new town building, which looks externally unremarkable, has rooms replicating the vessel that Bonnie Prince Charlie eventually sailed away in, in homage to another of their brands, "Drambuie." During the conversation, the Cockburn's man revealed that their last sponsorship was of International Yacht Racing. While the Dominies CC was hardly in that league, Cockburn's did donate a handsome trophy, and an amount of "product backup" for a number of years. The whisky seemed to go down quite well with its winners, less so the hazelnut liqueur which was thoughtfully provided for the lady prizewinners in lieu of whisky.

Over the next few years, the club continued to develop, with 5 Quaich rinks, 4 Thirds rinks (first played for in 1986-7), Pairs, Points, and teams in the KGIV, Midlothian Province Bonspiel, Robson Trophy, Glenfarclas League, and competitions at venues like Pitlochry and Stranraer. Individual members were also playing for other curling clubs, the various Super Leagues at Gogar, or the Men's League. We also started to play regularly against a group of Fife teachers, generally organised by Tom Sommerville, and competing in due course for the Kinross Tankard. These games were enriched as much by the friendly competition as by the generous plates of stovies served afterwards in the curler's bar at the Green Hotel in Kinross.

(1987) Ice costs: Gogar Park £3.60 per person. Murrayfield £3.25 per person.

(1989) AGM & dinner at the Clarendon Hotel, 7th April. Cost £8.00 per person. Given the facilities on offer at the time, the club decided to move all its fixtures to Gogar Park Ice Rink.

(1990) W Kerr Scrimgeour donated the pairs trophy to be played for annually as the "President's Pairs". The trophy is in pewter, and in the shape of the traditional Scottish flagon called a "Tappit Hen."

(1992-4) Paul and Glenda Wilson from Canada were on a teacher's exchange visit, and embraced all things Scottish during their stay. As a memento, they presented the club with a trophy for the winner of the Points Competition.

(1996) The AGM reports on the results over the season, and after lamenting over our showing in the KGIV and Glenfarclas League, it says "the best result was in the Province Bonspiel, where both of our rinks won their matches, finishing 3rd overall".

(1998-9) The club suffered a slump in the number of players, being able to field only 3 rinks in each of the Quaich and Thirds competitions. Things improved in the next season, with new members joining, including Billy Dickson, Tom Hardie, and June Kidston.

(2001) The club participated in the first Indoor Grand Match, with the outdoor one not having happened since 1979, and unlikely to do so again given the current winter temperatures. The club was drawn against Currie-Balerno at Gogar park in the Province Bonspiel. Their other 2 teams had won handsomely in the morning sessions, and all they had to do was win against easy opposition to claim the silverware. They lost. Someone called Janette McLeod joined Dominies CC thanks to being introduced to the game as well as the Dominies by colleagues at Broughton HS, Liz Cargill and Jane Milliken.

(2003-4) AGM mentions "some uncertainty" about Gogar Park Ice Rink, but there was hope that the curling could continue for 1 year. (History Lesson: in those days, Fred Goodwin was still a thrusting entrepreneur, the Royal Bank of Scotland were hoping to build a sumptuous new headquarters at Gogar, and the ice rink was in the way. Repercussions of investing in ABM Amro and Sub-prime mortgages, were all in the future). Dominies played in the KGIV, beating Sweepers in the final, and getting a turn of the rather nice solid silver salver for the year.) Gogar Park ice rink closed at the end of season 2004-5, leaving all the curlers from 2 ice rinks in Edinburgh to compete for the available ice at Murrayfield. Lon Oulton retired from curling, and treasurer Roger Smith retired to rural Fife.

(2006-8) Dominies CC managed to get themselves shoehorned back into the schedules at Murrayfield, although numbers of players reduced, with two 3-team competitions, then 3 teams in the Quaich, and only 2 in the Thirds the season after.

Over the next few years, the club recruited more members, by providing coaching for new players, and by recruiting players from other clubs who were interested in more curling, many of them from Peebles or from Corstorphine Ladies. As well as the usual club competitions, we tried to get involved in the District Medal, played another Indoor Grand match, and friendlies against Peebles and Merchiston, although our fixtures against the Fife (now ex-) teachers had lapsed. Teams were entered into the "Swing & Sweep" golfing and curling competition. A new player called Michael Clark joins, and is quickly persuaded to apply his mathematical skills as treasurer. (2014) New club colours (purple fleeces instead of Jambo maroon) look good on the ice.

(2015-6) Dominies CC continued to offer good curling; as well as the usual club competitions we played a friendly against Merchiston, beat Dalkeith in the Midlothian Province Bonspiel, played another Indoor Grand match against Falkirk Ladies, and lost the semi-final of the KGIV to the Royal Bank of Scotland (not the first time that curlers have lost out to this organisation), having beaten Musselburgh, Edinburgh Rotary and the 37 Club to get there. President JC presents the "Cannon Cup" as a trophy to be played for in the friendlies between his two clubs.

(2017) As well as the usual club competitions, Dominies CC went one better in the KGIV this year, beating the 37 Club in the final for another year of holding the silver salver, with our name engraved thereon.

(2019) Dominies play their opening Bonspiel in the newly refurbished ice hall, with its bigger swings allowing a better drawing game. Tom Hardie's expanded pairs draw guarantees more games for each team, and the 4-team Thirds competition and 5-team Quaich are not decided till the final games. We have 20 full members and 6 reserves to play in club games as well as the KGIV, Province Bonspiel and against Merchiston.

(2020) Something from China affected the rest of the world. Although the new ice was much appreciated, and the Thirds competition, which was played earlier in the season was completed, the Quaich was locked down, with a memorable last game where 4 out of 8 players made it to an empty ice hall, just before the whole country locked down. The AGM and dinner were postponed several times, and eventually did not happen. A zoom meeting was finally held in July.

(2021) With the rink closed along with most of the world, no curling happened, except in "bubbles" at elite level. The AGM was held on "Zoom". Two years before most people thought this was a 1970's ice lolly, and who knew about "Teams"?

(2021-2) The season started with restrictions still in place, so distancing, one-way systems, hand sanitiser, sterilised stones, masks off-the-ice and one-sweeper-only were the order of the day. Given how quickly the virus had ripped through refrigerated meat plants in the US, that was probably prudent, but it did feel like Scottish Country Dancing, where if you can't count, or got in the wrong place, you were out. As restrictions and infections eased, the world became more normal again, including eventually a real in-a-restaurant AGM, even if a couple of members had to miss out due to the virus. In addition to our usual curling activities, some members were able to add summer croquet to their CV's.

(2022-3) This season has been thankfully much more normal, although we end the season with only 17 full members and 5 reserves. A normal AGM is scheduled for April in Howie's.


Jim Aitken Jim was one of our founder members, and was an English teacher at Leith Academy. His main claim to fame was his unique sweeping style. If you can imagine someone using a cocktail shaker, but then substitute it for the top of a curling brush, that was his sweeping technique. He went on to play for the Veterans.

Roy Beavis Roy was one of our many assistant heads in the club. He used to use a white hanky with red spots to clean the stone before delivery. In tribute, his rink equipped themselves with the same. It took him a little while to notice, as might be expected from an assistant head.

Jim Cannon Along with his late wife Ann, Jim was always a stalwart of the Dominies CC, as well as his mother club, Merchiston. Although I remember him as a serious player when I first started playing at Haymarket, his curling pedigree goes back far longer than that. As a youngster he played for Kirkcowan Curling Club (est 1804) when he would be called into the family rink to play with his father and brothers, possibly with the prospect of time off school for the day trip to Ayr. Relatives of his continue to win competitions in that part of the world, much as Jim has himself in this, and (another) Jim, Gregor and Christine have won national and international competitions. He has had two spells as President of both Merchiston (including for their Bi-Centenary) and Dominies, and is Honorary President of both clubs. He was awarded a medal for 50 years of service by the RCCC. His temperament on the ice is unparalleled, and even when he is clearly upset by events on the ice, he never lets it show outwardly. His name came up in a discussion in the changing room one night. Trevor Dodds, who knows Presidential status himself, as well as curling skill (but is probably now more famous as being the father of Olympic medal-winner Jennifer) overheard, and said "Ah. Gentleman Jim." That says it all really.

Geoff Dawe Geoff joined us and rose rapidly through the ranks, being part of the Gogar Super League team, as well as times as President and Secretary, keeping meticulous records, and the club ticking over.

Tom Harrison Tom was another player who used the Dominies as a stepping stone to greater things, showing the kind of calmness required for competitive curling, and serving as President and Secretary for a time.

June Henderson Another player of long experience, June (not forgetting Norman) was always a reliable supporter of the club as a competition player, and was prepared to do some of the administrative heavy lifting, serving as the second female President, stepping in as Secretary for what must be a record third spell, and still serving on the committee. June has the talent of giving a sensible opinion without circumlocution.

James Kay James was a big man, who served as both Secretary and Treasurer, and enjoyed his curling. In the early days of the club, when "product backup" was provided by our sponsors, an extra bottle of whisky was provided to charge the quaich, and in those pre-Covid days, was passed round the assembled company, as was traditional for a quaich. James is remembered for misjudging the volumes involved, and having to be poured into a taxi home, and poured out at the other end after a convivial evening. He left us to change careers from schoolmaster to postmaster, so hopefully had better experiences with Post Office computer management systems.

Cath Lambert Cath was a close relative of the famous E Lothian golfer, and also long-standing head of PE at James Gillespie's. She was a formidable lady who didn't take any nonsense from anyone. In those days, the rank below headteacher was assistant (rather than depute) head, and she had the charming quirk of abbreviating this to "Ass-heads." She also loved her curling. On more than one occasion, she was seen to be taking a little time to get organised on the hack. A player nearby asked if she was OK. "Yes," she said "I just dislocated my shoulder, but I've popped it back in again. It happens sometimes." Later, she did have quite a bad fall on the ice. It may be my imagination, but my distant memory is as soon as she was fit, she was back on the ice, equipped with a lightweight crash-helmet, to allow her to keep playing.

Stuart Meldrum Stuart was a Primary head in West Lothian, who provide one of the wise heads in the early days of the club. Along with his wife Jean, they had a successful family rink which played in competitions locally, often winning.

Lon Oulton Lon was an English teacher at Leith Academy, so part of that Leith mafia which had so much to do with the early years of the club. As well as a competitive curler, part of the 1st KGIV-winning rink with his late wife Maureen, he played a role in the early overtures to Cockburn's, served as club President, and in his 2 terms as Secretary, did much to encourage competition with other clubs, including the Glenfarclas League and maintaining the link with the Fife teachers we played against.

Maureen Oulton Like husband Lon, Maureen was a keen competitor, playing for the club in many of the early competitive games, and was twice Treasurer. It is easy to dismiss this role as just a matter of accurate adding and subtracting; getting money from people while still keeping a smile on their face isn't quite so easy.

David Phillips Dave had the unenviable task of following on from JC as our second president, but did a good job of balancing the formal role of chairperson with that of competitive curler, being involved in many of the early competitive games, winning Quaich and points competitions, and playing his part in games against other clubs and in the Super League.

Liz Rennie Our first Treasurer was already an experienced curler before joining Dominies CC, but paved the way for others to follow. Quiet and efficient.

W Kerr Scrimgeour One of the first skips in the club, a depute head from Musselburgh, Kerr exuded an air of calm on the head, possibly from his professional experience. He was the only one I knew who called Lon by his Sunday name (maybe his mother did?), but since he signed himself "Lon," it was a bit of a shock to hear "Lionel, just draw in here" being shouted down the ice. Being aware of the value of a cup to play for, Kerr gifted the fine President's Pairs "Tappit Hen" trophy to the club.

Pat Smith (nee Reoch) Pat was one of the original club members, and became the first Lady President, also the only person apart from Jim Cannon to have been President twice, albeit with a different name on the second occasion. A keen competitive curler, she played in many of the early games against other clubs. At one of the first dinners away from Gogar, a cabal of the lady members found out how much the Clarendon were charging the club for the floral table centrepieces. The flowers disappeared out of the door at the end of the evening.

Roger Smith Roger was a Physics teacher at Beeslack. It seemed appropriate that someone with his skillset (vectors, momentum, collisions) should appreciate the finer points of curling, then apply maths to the job of Treasurer. Like so many in that role, he seemed to be able to balance the books while obtaining good value in the deals he struck for catering etc. Roger eventually left us when he retired to Auchtermuchty, although we did meet again at Kinross on occasion.

Paul & Glenda Wilson Joined us for what should have been a year's teacher exchange, but liked it so much, they managed to extend it to two. Like many Canadians, they had an affinity to Scotland, and along with learning the bagpipes and kilt-wearing, curling became part of the package. They seemed to greatly enjoy their time here, and the curling, and presented us with a points trophy as a memento.

Bill Wood Bill had firm views about Scottish identity, and was what some people call a "true Blue;" supporters of other football clubs have other names for them. Like Jim Aitken, he was another Leith ex-staffer, and like Jim he had a sweeping eccentricity, which involved much under-the-breath swearing as the stone slowed, and he swept harder. Frankly, I have never been convinced this works in keeping the stone going, any more than banging the ice with a brush beside it will slow it down. Having learnt his skills with the Dominies, Bill moved on to the Veterans, and survived well into his 90's.


As very much a family sport, and as a mixed club, it has often been the case that both members of a couple have been members of Dominies CC, often with one or both as office bearers. As far as I can see from the records, the following couples have played for the Dominies Curling Club over the years.

John & Lorna Baird, May & Norman Banks, Roy & Irene Beavis, Jim & Anne Cannon, Geoff & Sheena Dawe, John & Muriel Hamilton, Callum & Pauline MacLean, Anne & Gordon McKay, Jean & Stuart Meldrum, Lon & Maureen Oulton, Pat & Pete Smith, Glenda & Paul Wilson,

Not forgetting current members Cassie & Alex, Mike & Malcolm, June & Norman

Members of Dominies Curling Club 1982-2023

Over the years, over 100 individuals have played with the Dominies Curling Club. The list includes people who have appeared on team lists, or are mentioned in minutes. There will almost certainly be omissions of people who played briefly, or of players from curling families who were occasionally drafted in to complete teams, but did not appear in the records. Some players registered as substitutes only, but would still find their services in some demand. Additions and corrections would be welcome.

Kathleen Adamson, Jim Aitken, John Baird, Lorna Baird, May Banks, Norman Banks, Irene Beavis, Roy Beavis, Christine Bilsland, Cassie Black, Gillian Black, Katie Brackenridge, Douglas Bringhurst, Jane Browitt, Martin Bryden, Gillian Burnett, Ian Cameron, Kenny Campbell, Anne Cannon, Jim Cannon, Liz Cargill, Steve Chambers, Mike Clark, Muriel Clifton, Jacqui Colville, Iain Copeland, Joyce Coull, Graeme Coulthard, Irene Cowe, Margaret Craig, Kim Dalland, Geoff Dawe, Sheena Dawe, Alasdair Dawson, Billy Dickson, Margaret Doran, Billy Emerson, John Fraser, Grace Gilhooley, Marshall Green, Iain Grimmer, Audrey Gristwood, James Hamilton, Jan Hamilton, Jane Hamilton, John Hamilton, Muriel Hamilton, Tom Hardie, Tom Harrison, Dorothy Henderson, June Henderson, Norman Henderson, Adam Hirst, Susan Hogg, Malcolm Jack, James Kay, Ann Kennedy, June Kidston, David Lane, Cath Lambert, Alex Logie, Diane Lowe, Derek Mackintosh, Callum MacLean, Pauline MacLean, Gordon McAllister, Marion McCormack, Wynne McDonald, Anne McKay, Gordon McKay, Ainslie McLaughlan, Margaret McLellan, Iain McLeod, Janette McLeod, Audrey Mair, Peter May, Helen Maxwell, Jean Meldrum, Stuart Meldrum, Jane Milliken, Ewan Morrison, Liz Murray, Winnie Ogg, Lon Oulton, Maureen Oulton, Heather Peacock, David Phillips, Sheena Philp, Sheila Rae, Elizabeth Rennie, Pat Reoch, Barbara Rhodes, Elaine Ritchie, Lesley Roberts, Kerr Scrimgeour, Fiona Smith, Moira Smith, Pat Smith (nee Reoch), Pete Smith, Roger Smith, Brian Stannage, Gary Sweeny, Steve Thomas, Len Timson, Andrea Todd, Fiona Wallace, Catriona Weir, Allan Whyte, Myriam Wilkie, Jean Williams, Glenda Wilson, Paul Wilson, John Wood, Margaret Wood, William Wood. (114)

Office Bearers of Dominies Curling Club 1982-2023

President                        Secretary

Jim Cannon                    Iain Copeland

David Phillips                  Pat Reoch

Pat Reoch                       June Henderson

June Henderson              Lon Oulton

Lon Oulton                      James Kay

Tom Harrison                   Geoff Dawe

Geoff Dawe                      Tom Harrison

Pat Smith (nee Reoch)    June Henderson

Jane Milliken                    Jane Hamilton

Jim Cannon                      June Henderson

Steve Chambers               Lon Oulton

Tom Hardie                       Tom Hardie

Janette McLeod


Liz Rennie

Marion McCormack

Callum MacLean

James Kay

Peter May

Maureen Oulton

Jane Milliken

Roger Smith

Maureen Oulton

Janette McLeod

Michael Clark

AGM and Dinner Venues

Between 1982 and 1988, the club had AGMs at Murrayfield, with a dinner using the excellent facilities at Gogar Park Curling Rink. (a sample menu from the time asks for a ticket price of £7.50 per person, to include wine)

Subsequent venues for the combined AGM, dinner and prizegiving have been the Clarendon Hotel (1989-91), King's Manor (1992-4), Jarvis Ellersley (1995-2001),

Braid Hills Hotel, where John Dignan, who was a keen and very skilled curler was manager (2002-13), Holiday Inn at the Zoo (2014-5), Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor (2016-7), and Howie's (2018-9 and 2022-3). With Covid Restrictions in place, AGMs were held virtually over Zoom in July 2020 and April 2021.

Sources: Written records of Dominies CC; and with thanks to members of Merchiston CC for their assistance.

SRC March 2023  (Steve Chambers)