The Douglas Arms, Milngavie.
Bailie Bissland. 1893.
It is not a far cry to “Mulguy,” a rising burgh in our northern suburbs, and there are few nicer drives than to that same place from Glasgow. To those who cannot afford a conveyance of their own, the Glasgow Tramway Co. runs buses every half hour in summer time, and these buses stop at the well-known “Douglas Arms,” the proprietor of which was Ex-Bailie Bissland. The home comforts of the old hostelry and the civility, attention and gentlemanly bearing of the proprietor made this a very popular hostelry in its day.
Charles Bissland was a gentleman who reflected honour on the trade and would do the same to any other branch of business to which he might apply himself. He had a capital and varied commercial training, after leaving school he was for six years in the counting-house of Messrs. John Black & Co., calico printers, Milngavie. He was then two years in the office of the general goods manager of the North British Railway. Then he sent several years with Messrs. A. G. Kidston & Co., iron merchants, as traveller. At this time he was proprietor of a licensed house in Glasgow.
Milngavie, however, had attractions for him which were irresistible, and so in 1887 he took over the wine and spirit business so long and so successfully carried on by the late Mr Matthew Weir, sen., a gentleman well-known to many of the older school as a man of the strictest integrity and honour, combined with the best of social characteristics.
The traditions of the old business are faithfully carried out by Mr Bissland and his worthy helpmate, a daughter of Mr Weir. To show the esteem in which Bailie Bissland is held by his townsmen, we may be permitted to state that only a week or two age he was elected to the School Board of the Parish of New Kilpatrick, and was at the head of the poll with 1294 votes, being more than 300 above the next successful candidate. In Municipal elections, too, he has several times been at the top of the poll. He was a man who spared not himself in the public services. In the Commission Board he had been for ten years convener of the finance committee, and for five years treasurer of the burgh. He has been secretary to the Mechanics Institute for twenty-five years. As secretary and president he has been connected with the Horticultural Society for twenty years. In the infancy of the Co-operative Society he acted as secretary. In Masonic lore, Mr Bissland was a past master and the establishment of Lodge “Ellangowan” is largely due to his fostering care. For seven years he had been honorary president of the Burns Club and he has always shown the warmest love and enthusiasm in the Burns Cult.
Charles Bissland was a staunch conservative, being a vice-president of the association. He has all along taken a leading part in the burgh, being one of its most prominent townsmen. Through his long connection with the trade Mr Bissland’s services were much in demand in the matters of stock-taking and valuations and also in connection with trust estates. Anyone requiring such services could not do better than place their case in Mr Bissland’s hands, and they can rest secure that they will receive all the benefits of a large experience, combined with strict integrity and justice.