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Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society

27th. August 1886


Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, the working folks of Kingscavil, Bridgend, and the surrounding districts would descend upon Linlithgow for an evening of entertainment and merriment in the town's Victoria Hall. The annual benefit concert of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Worker's Friendly Society was the social highlight of the year for the workers and families of the Linlithgow Oil Company. The concert usually attracted a full house, with the aisle packed so that none would miss out. Full accounts of the big shows were published in the local press. Speeches before the concert, and during interval, usually outlined the brave efforts of the friendly society in providing a little security for working folk in an age before the welfare state. Accounts were given of the society's finances and membership. Newspapers also gave a detailed description of the acts and performances, providing a wonderful insight into what tickled the fancy of working folk in late Victorian times.

The Linlithgow Oil Company Ltd was promoted by a group of Fife coalmasters. Most of the workforce were also strangers recruited from outside the district, who were housed in new company villages set apart from established communities. A Friendly Society was set up in 1884 to serve this new workforce. A weekly deduction from wages would be paid into a fund that was dispensed to members when they were unable to work due to illness or injury. In those days few workers had the luxury of savings, and without a Friendly society, had to rely on the charity of family and neighbours once the larder was empty. Societies also provided a basic pension in an age before the state old age pension. The society operated as a workers cooperative with the full support of the works management, who in one speech described it as “the one form of socialism they all approve of”.

The Champfleurie and Ochiltree Worker's Friendly Society seems to have quickly encountered financial problems – with hints that mischief may have taken place. Salvation came in the form of a grand fundraising concert which was so successful that it became an annual event. This seems to have been the brainchild of James Beveridge, the company's mining manager, who was later promoted to works manager. The company had a workforce of about 700, of which about a half were members of the Friendly society at any one time. Subscriptions from members only amounted to about £80 a year, therefore the £50 or so profit from the annual concert made a big difference to the good work of the society.


The inaugural concert in 1887 was a grand show, with a stage bedecked with the oil company's brand and trademark, and banners displaying an engraving of the oil works. Linlithgow's great and good were invited and took their premium seats, while the oil works manager took to the stage to extend a welcome to all. The packed bill featured a succession of vocalists presenting popular, sentimental and novelty songs, interrupted by all manner of comic interludes in typical music hall style. Occasionally things got a little boisterous in the audience, and there was often dancing in the street until the early hours.

Most subsequent shows followed a similar format, although in 1888 the entire programme was sustained by the Original New Orleans Coloured Opera Troupe (most of whom had very Scottish names) . It seems that Linlithgow audiences had a soft spot for blacked-up performers who strummed minstrel ballads or clowned around creating laughter and merriment, as they appeared in most of the annual concerts. The terms used to describe this entertainment are shocking to modern politically-correct sensibilities, but seem never to have been used in a derogatory manner. It might be argued that fellow performers clad in tartan and reciting coothie Scots verse were similarly just a familiar stereotype.

Eventually this popular music-hall style bill was substituted by theatrical performances presented by touring companies, which perhaps was considered slightly more cultural. For the 1900 concert, the audience were treated to a sensational drama entitled “The Trail of the Serpent” presented by “Mr Alexander’s company of London artistes”. Before the curtain went up, the Managing Director of the Linlithgow Oil Co. Ltd addressed a packed house and reflected on the good work of the Friendly Society. He quoted the proverb “God helps those who help themselves”, advising all to save while times were good for “days of adversity which might come”.

This proved a prophetic statement, and the 1900 concert proved to be the last. While the Linlithgow Oil Company had an enlightened and progressive view towards it workforce, its judgement in other areas of business proved wanting. Early in 1902, the company went into liquidation, the works were soon dismantled, and the workforce moved away to seek new employment. The Friendly Society was wound-up and the funds dispersed among its members.

  • Newspaper references

      The first annual concert under the auspices of the above-named society was given in the Town Hall on Friday evening. There was a crowded audience, and the chair was occupied by Mr J. C. Hamilton, manager, Linlithgow Oilworks. On the wall to the back of the stage was a large placard bearing the inscription“ Success to the Linlithgow Oil Company (Ltd.),” while at other points was displayed the brand and trademark of the company. Mr Hamilton, in his opening remarks, explained the object of the concert, and referred to the good which such societies were calculated do, and the benefits to be derived therefrom. He also mentioned that the society had had one misfortune since its institution, which had to some extent affected its funds, and it had been arranged that the proceeds of that concert should be devoted to the funds of the society, which had thus been reduced by expenditure rendered necessary because of the misfortune referred to.

      The programme was then proceeded with, the first piece being quartet, “The Indian Maid,” by Misses Jockel, Masters M'Lauchlan and Scott, and Messrs Liddle and Thom. The piece was pretty fairly rendered, though there seemed to be something of a drag throughout. Mr George Davie was wonderfully successful in his songs, “The Guard Ship” and “Four Jolly Smiths,” but in the last song there was an obvious want weight. Miss Jockel, who is stranger to a Linlithgow audience, was very effective in her songs, “Up in the morning early,” and “Come Lads and Lasses.” Mr Robert Thom was in fine voice, and we have never heard him give a better rendering of “The Village Blacksmith.” “Take Back My Heart,” was sung by Miss C. Drummond with much feeling, while a pleasing rendering of Byron’s “Dark Lochnagar,” was given by Miss A. Drummond, for which she was encored. Miss C. Drummond was also deservedly applauded and encored for her binging “ Afton Water,” and the same two ladies appeared in a duet “Friendship,” which was well executed. Miss Wilkinson, who possesses a sweet, pleasing voice, appeared to much advantage in her various songs, which were“ Only Once More,” “Thaddy O’Flynn,”and Bonnie Charlie’s Noo Awa’,” the latter of which was sung with great taste and feeling. Messrs Swinburn, Fox, and Newlands, were hosts in themselves, and their negro interlude occasioned considerable laughter and merriment. In this they introduced such songs Norine Maurine,” “ White Wings,” “ Razors in the Air,” The “ Hen Convention,” and “Golden Stairs,” together with the usual negro witticisms. Mr J. C. Liddle gave a very creditable rendering of the song “Anchored,” which called forth a hearty round of applause. The trio —“Willie brewed a peck o’ maut,” received every justice at the hands of Messrs Liddle, Nirarao, and Thom. A second negro sketch by Messrs Swinburn, Fox, and Newlands was well received. Mr J. J. Finlay, organist, who is ever ready and willing to lend a helping hand in the carrying through such deserving entertainments, presided at the piano, and played the accompaniments in his usual faultless style. Altogether the concert was quite a success.

      At the close a hearty vote of thanks was accorded the singers on the motion of Mr Hamilton, who took occasion to remark that the ladies and gentlemen who had given their services had done so from no other motive than that of kindness, and that was their first annual concert he hoped they would keep the society in mind when the concert came round in another year. He also asked them to give a vote of thanks to Mr Campbell, who had been instrumental in getting the concert. On the call of Mr Elder, cashier, similar compliment was paid Mr Hamilton for his conduct in the chair. After the concert an assembly took place, at which there was a large attendance. Dancing was kept up with much spirit till an early hour in the morning, Mr Inglis acting M.C.

      Falkirk Herald. 26th March 1887



      The annual concert under the auspices of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society was held in the Town Hall on Friday, 2d inst. There was a fair attendance. Mr James C. Hamilton, the esteemed manager of Champfleurie Oil Works, presided. The platform was tastefully arranged in theatrical style, and in the centre part was displayed the trade mark of the Linlithgow Oil Company, while the top of the side wings and on the walls of the hall were hung show cards bearing illustrations of the works.

      The society this year were fortunate in securing the services of the Original New Orleans Coloured Opera Troupe, whom the entire programme was sustained. The various members the company performed their parts with great credit, and the solos by S. Fox, Mr H. Ashley, and Mr G. Sydney were much appreciated and warmly applauded, while the humorous sayings and doings of the corner men” (Frank Melford and L. B. Swinburn) were very amusing. The first part of the programme was brought to close with a medley chorus by the entire company. A feature the entertainment was the violin playing of Mr Arthur Rayment who proved himself an accomplished violinist. Mr Frank Melford’s song and dance was much appreciated. The entertainment was brought to an end with an amusing sketch entitled The Photographer which caused considerable merriment.

      Mr. A Osborne played the accompaniments on the pianoforte in masterly style. It may be mentioned that the entertainment was greatly interfered with the disorderly conduct of portion of the audience occupying seats at the back of the hall, whose unseemly interruptions and bad manners were source discomfort to the majority those present. An assembly followed the concert, and dancing was kept till an early hour next morning.

      Falkirk Herald, 10th March 1888



      A grand recital and concert, in connection with the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society, was given in the Kingscavil Church (Rev. Mr Short’s), Tuesday evening. C. Hamilton, manager, Linlithgow Oilworks, presided. There was a good attendance.

      The performers were - Miss Eva Adams (14 years of age), elocutionist; Miss Wilkinson, Miss Mary Hay, Mr Taylor Blake, Mr R. Thom, Mr W. Dickson, Mr D. W. Jackson, vocalists. The programme was inaugurated pianoforte solo; “Dancing Waves”, after which Mr Jackson gave capital rendering of The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.” The same gentleman was equally successful in his other songs, the entertainer, par excellence, however, was Miss Eva Adams. Considering that the young lady is only 14 years of age, her elocutionary powers were simply marvellous. In “Cuddle Doon” (Surfaceman) and “The Bridgekeeper’s Story,” Miss Adams, we venture to think, excelled anything we have heard in this district for long time. Her other pieces were “The death of Little Dombey” and “The Auld Farrant Wean,” both being given with effect, and with true histrionic ability. No doubt this young lady has a bright future before her an elocutionist. Miss Hay, a lady who has gained some popularity the Linlithgow district singer, gave a good account of herself in her various songs, as did also Miss Wilkinson, both of whom won the hearty appreciation of the audience. Mr Thom, our local baritone, was perhaps never in better voice, and his songs were all well rendered. Mr Dickson was a little unfortunate in his first song, “ The Lea Rig,” but he appeared to better advantage on being recalled, his second song being “ When the kye come hame.” Mr Jackson and Mr Blake acquitted themselves to the entire satisfaction of all present, and their efforts were much appreciated. Indeed, over all, the concert was much above the average, and seemed to leave a favourable impression on all and sundry.

      At the close votes of thanks were given the performers, Mr Hamilton for presiding, Mr Short for kindly giving the use of the church, and to Campbell for the amount of labour and trouble he had had in arranging such excellent concert. the call of Rev. Mr Shepherd, the audience were thanked for having turned out in such, numbers to assist the society.

      Falkirk Herald 28th April 1888



      What has probably been the most successful concert—financially at least—of the season was that given in the New Town Hall on Wednesday night, under the auspices of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society. The large edifice was filled in every part with appreciative audience.

      The chair was occupied by Mr James C. Hamilton, works manager, Champfleurie, who, in his opening remarks said he looked upon Friendly Societies as schemes of private enterprise to guard against what was to most of them a terror— the rainy day. (Applause.) It was the duty of everyone to provide for the future in the sunshine of the present, for no one could tell how soon adversity might be at the door. (Applause.) Illness accompanied by guarantee that the welfare of the family was provided for was bad enough, but how bad it could when the reverse was the case could not be told except by those who had gone through it. (Applause.)

      There was another side to the question on which he could appeal to most of them here. In the large works with which the society was connected, there must of course be some who were ill, and if they were not connected with any society this was what happened. If they were provident people and the bread-winner earning a good wage they were able to support themselves out of their store, which, however, might be sadly eaten into ere the trouble was past. But they were not, then when they were in destitution a subscription is got up. Now this was all very well and all very kind, but it was manifestly unfair to the thrifty man who had to pay both for his own needs and those of other people, and worse than all it placed them in a position they should never occupy those who receive such assistance. He concluded by recommending the society to his hearers.

      The concert was opened with an overture (piano) by Mr J. H. Carmichael, and this was followed by Miss O’Brien singing in pleasing style The Banks the Blue Moxelle.” Mr Paul Langtry (negro comedian) was a host in himself, and his song and dance Dandy Nig,” was provocative of great laughter, as was also his Darkey Policeman,” given as an encore. Mr William Sneddon, gave a very tasteful rendering of “Scotland Yet.” The comic songs—“ Is marriage a failure” and The Poorhouse,” by Mr Dunlop were well received. Mr James Burke, was very successful in his songs; “My daughter, Mary” for which encore was demanded, and “the Irish Speculator. Miss M. J. O’Brien sang “ Mary of Argyle” very sweetly. In his burlesque—“ Home Sweet Home, Mr Paul Langtry was enthusically received and was obliged to re-appear. The second part was opened with Scotch selections by Mr Carmichael, which were warmly applauded. “ Sandy Supplejaws” and “ the celebrated hornpipe”—“ When ye gang awa, Jamie, were most amusing contributions by Dunlop. Killarney,” by Miss O’Brien, and a duet The Harp that once thro’ Tara’s Hall were tastefully given by the Misses O’Brien, and the banjo eccentricities Mr Langtry were enthusiastically received. Mr Sneddon gave an excellent rendering of “ The Anchor’s Weighed,” and “ Gathering of the Shells from the Shore” was feelingly sung by Miss M. J. O’Brien. “Musical Imitations” by Mr Dunlop brought the programme to close. A vote of thanks concluded the proceedings.

      Falkirk Herald, 12th February 1890



      The annual benefit concert, under the auspices of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society, was held in the Victoria Hall, Linlithgow, on Monday night. The hall was crowded in every part with large and appreciative audience.

      The St Michael’s Catholic Dramatic Club having kindly granted the use of several portions of their scenery, these were fitted up over the archway on the platform with the view of improving the acoustics of the hall, which undoubtedly proved an advantage to the performers the audience alike. The arrangement had altogether a striking appearance.

      Mr James Snodgrass, works manager, occupied the chair, and expressed his pleasure at being present, and at seeing such a large audience prepared enjoy themselves. He then proceeded to explain the object of the concert, and said that any proceeds beyond the expense incurred went to the benefit of the society. A great many Prudential Companies, be went on to say, were flourishing at present in the country and are being well supported by the public and proving great advantage to many people. They were not, however, to be compared with small societies such as theirs. The benefits in their case were certainly small, but then the expense was almost nil.

      The chairman then submitted the society’s annual financial statement, which, however, he said would not be completed until the end of the year. The contributions for the eleven months amounted to £78. Of this sum there had been total expenditure of £77 6s, leaving a balance in favour of the society of 14s. That, he said, was very close running indeed.

      The programme, which was one of an excellent character, was opened with an overture by Mr Baptie, the accompanist. The introduction of number of Scotch airs was feature of the performance and was highly appreciated Miss Ellis Edwards, who possesses contralto voice of great range and mellowness, gave an excellent rendering of “The song that reached my heart.” She was vociferously encored, and gave the popular song, “Cam’ye tae Athole?” The contributions of Mr Leiper were deservedly appreciated, and he was particularly happy in the Irish Carman,” in character, and his quick-change entertainment, entitled “The Country Lad,” with American song and sand dance. Mr Leiper was warmly applauded and recalled.

      Probably one of the most successful entertainers of the evening was the child artiste, little Nina Macdonald. She appeared character in “Macgregor’s Gathering,” and by the manner in which she infused life and vigour into the song she was successful in evoking hearty applause. Her singing and acting were alike of a most praiseworthy character. The comic element was the efficient hands of Mr Sawers, and from first to last he kept the audience in the utmost good humour. This was particularly the case in his character song, “ The Determined Old Maid.” He was equally successful in his other song, “John Colquhoun,” and was called back on each occasion. Mr Forsyth, the tenor vocalist, has a well cultivated voice. Ho gave tasteful rendering of the “Pilgrim of Love,” but was probably seen to better advantage the Scotch song are ye Sleeping, Maggie The first part of the programme had an excellent finish in the introjection of Linlithgow's favourite, Mr. Paul Langtry. He had a hearty reception. His song, “The Beautiful Black,” with the accompanying patter, kept the audience for time in roars of laughter, and be was awarded an enthusiastic encore.

      The second part of the programme was opened with a duet, “ Home to Our Mountains,” Miss Edwards and Mr Forsyth. The singers were heartily applauded. Miss Macdonald was again successful her songs, “The Crook and Plaid,” and “Come, Birdie, Come,” as was also Miss Edwards in “Rory O’More.” The banjo eccentricities of Mr Paul Langtry were featured of the programme, and, judging from the enthusiasm displayed, was a fitting finish to what every respect had been an entertainment of very pleasing description.

      At the close of the concert the performers were thanked on the motion of Snodgrass, and on the call of the Rev. Father Easson a similar compliment was paid the chairman and the committee of management, alluding in particular to the disinterested efforts of Mr James Beveridge, mining manager.

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 12th December 1891



      On Thursday night, Mr James Beveridge, manager, Linlithgow Oilworks, was presented the members of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society and the employees connected with the works, with a beautiful silver tea service and marble timepiece, as a token of esteem, and in recognition of services rendered to the society during the four years he filled the office of president. The meeting at which the presentation was made was held in the Kingscavil School-room, and was largely attended the workmen connected with the mines and the oilworks. Mr Park, vice-president of the society, presided, and was supported by Mr Beveridge aud Mr James Elder, cashier. Among the foremen and officials present were:—Messrs R Haggle, A. Murray, Dean of Guild Fleming, W. Dickson, Geo. Davie, Thomas lnglis, W. B. Wilson, F. Gardner, and others.

      Mr Beveridge, who has been connected with the works ever since their establishment, first acted as mining manager, but was subsequently asked to take the supervision of the works both above and below grounds, and during the time has filled that office he has given the utmost satisfaction alike to employers and employed. When the Workmen's Society was instituted Mr Beveridge manifested much interest in its progress, and when in unfortunate moment difficulties threatened its existence, be came to its assistance, and by commendable diplomacy was successful in piloting the society through those troubles. This earned the well-merited gratitude of the members, and hence the acknowledgement of his services on the occasion of his retiring from the presidency.

      The CHAIRMAN, in a few introductory remarks, explained the object of the meeting. He believed if it had not been for the painstaking and energetic manner in which Mr Beveridge discharged the duties of president of the society in the interests of the society, it certainly would not have been in the satisfactory position was in to day. (Applause.) Financially, he believed the society never was in a more prosperous condition since its inauguration; and he was sure much ot that success had to be attributed to the disinterested labours of Mr Beveridge. (Applause.)

      Mr ELDER, who was called upon to make the presentation, before proceeding to do so made some interesting remarks on the work of the society, and strongly commended the institution to the favourable consideration of all present. Addressing Mr Beveridge, Mr. Elder then said—On your, retiral, Mr Beveridge, from the presidency of the society it was felt that an opportunity should be given the members to show their appreciation of your services by offering you a token of their esteem, and that movement, I pleased to say, has resulted in the presents now before me. (Applause.) Perhaps, I should state that very soon after the subscription was started it was found that the list required to be extended to those outside the jurisdiction of the society, because subscriptions were being constantly tendered by those who were not members of the society, hot who were connected with the works, and eventually it was decided to open the list to those both above and below ground. (Applause) Your interest, sir, in this society is well known. Not once, but repeatedly, when the funds showed tendency to decrease consequence of the prevalence of sickness and epidemics in our midst, you have come to the rescue, and by your untiring and unselfish efforts have succeeded in placing the society on a sound financial basis. (Applause) I do not intend to trouble you with any lengthened remarks, because I think the articles on the table speak far more eloquently than I can. I might be permitted to say, however, that you, Mr. Beveridge, are esteemed not only by the workmen and officials, but many others in the locality. (Applause.) I am only sorry to say are met to-night in one respect under rather gloomy circumstances. The effects of the terrible depression in the products have now been confirmed, and while it is needless for me to say much on that doleful subject, I think the Linlithgow Oil Coy. are fortunate in having at the head of its practical department one who has shown bold front and who has done good service in the past, and I do think it is a good augury for the future that the works are in the hands of such a man as Mr Beveridge (Applause.) I sincerely hope that the present depression will be of short duration. is said there is always darkness before the dawn, and I am sure it has seldom been darker than it is at the present time. And now, Mr Beveridge, have much pleasure, in name of the subscribers, in asking your acceptance of this gift, and to express the hope that you and Mrs Beveridge may be long spared to use this beautiful service and to enjoy long life and prosperity. (Applause)

      Before resuming his seat, Mr Elder read the following letter from Rev. Donald Easson, Linlithgow: “The Presbytery, 6th October, 1892.—Dear Sir,—l am in receipt of yours of yesterday’s date. I rejoice to hear that your committee has been so successful in their very worthy work. I regret exceedingly that a church service at the same hour prevents me from being with you tonight, but perhaps you will be good enough to read this letter of apology to the meeting. You have my best wishes for most successful gathering, and I also avail myself of this opportunity of testifying my deep regard for Mr Beveridge, who is a man whom honour is due, and therefore your society reflects credit on itself by this. presentation. (Applause)

      Mr BEVERIDGE, in accepting the presentation, said— Had any one told me a week ago that I should be in a position of haying to return thanks for a testimonial such as I see before me, I should have been inclined to doubt the truth of the prediction. I understand that the movement originated in the Workmen’s Friendly Society, and was afterwards extended so to include the works, miners, and friends. (Applause.) My services to the society were given willingly gentlemen, and without thought of recompense. (Applause.) It was, in fact, a pleasure to me, and I daresay I should still have occupied the position of your president, but that I thought it right that the workmen should occupy that position in turn. (Applause.) Although not working with you as president, need not say that I shall continue to take the liveliest interest in the affairs of the Champflenrie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society, and I hope it may long exist and be more and more prosperous every succeeding year of its life. (Applause.) I am deeply sensible of your kindness, gentlemen, which I may say I am unconscious of having done anything to deserveit. We have had a hard fight together since I took over the management of the Linlithgow Oilworks, and the credit of any little improvement which may have been effected belongs more to yon than to me. (Applause.) I take the opportunity ot saying how heartily and thoroughly my efforts to retrench expenditare and improve results have been assisted by all departments under and above ground. (Applause.) It is rather unfortunate that we meet on this occasion under the shadow of still another disaster to the Scottish oil trade, but as have survived many severe blows in the past, it is perhaps not too much to hope that all of us may be spared to renewed exertions, and be able to overcome this trouble as we have over- come others, and that a prosperous day may yet dawn for this company and for the Scottish oil trade generally. (Applause.) I am not perhaps as eloquent as I ought to be on an occasion of this kind, but we know each other pretty well by this time, and you will understand if I cannot express my feelings they are none the less deep and sincere. (Applause.) I can only say, in conclusion, that I shall prize this token of your regard so long as I live, and shall never forget your kindness. (Applause.) Allow me, then, on behalf of Mrs Beveridge and myself to return you all our heartfelt and sincere thanks. (Applause.) The silver salver, forming part of the service, bore the following inscription, as did also the timepiece Presented to Mr James Beveridge, by the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society and few friends, on his resigning the presidentship. Ist October, 1892.” At the conclusion of the ceremony those present were supplied with refreshments. The Chairman thereafter proposed a vote of thanks to all who had contributed to the enjoyment of the evening, and also to Mr Elder for having made the presentation in such suitable manner. On the motion of Dean of Guild, similar compliment was paid to Mr Park for presiding, and which that gentleman acknowledged in few brief sentences. In the course of the evening really enjoyable musical programme was sustained by Messrs Jos. Burke (whose humorous songs were highly appreciated), Thomas Inglis, B. Wilson, A. Fleming, Frank Gardner, D. Anderson, and William Sneddon. humorous reading was contributed by Mr. Beveridge, and an enjoyable meeting terminated with the sinning of “Auld Lang Syne.”

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 8th October 1892



      The annual benefit concert in connection with the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen's Friendly Society took place in the Victoria Hall, Linlithgow, on Friday evening last week. The building was crowded to its utmost capacity, the workmen, with their wives and families, coming into the town en masse from the neighbouring villages, in which the Society does most excellent work, and no doubt as regards finance the entertainment had an unparalleled success.

      The artistes engaged for the occasion consisted of the following :—Little Nina MacDonald, a girl of tender years, who charmed the audience with her sweet rendering (in character) and artistic dancing ; Miss Jane K. Ford, who has a wonderfully sweet voice, and got loudly encored for her various pieces ; Mr A. F. Lieper. a variety artiste of considerable merit; Mr H. T. M'Millan, a tenor vocalist of no mean merit ; Mr H. A. Clifton, whose comicalities in Scotch were highly appreciated ; and Mr J. W. Hodge, who contributed a number of wonderful items in the nigger line ; while the accompaniments were ably taken in hand by Mr C. R. Bantle.

      The platform was artistically "done up for the occasion, a portion of the scenic effects and draperies belonging to the local R.C. Dramatic Club having been brought into requisition for this purpose. Mr John Burke, who superintended this part of the work, deserves credit for the effective manner in which it was executed. At the close of the programme Mr Jas. Beveridge, manager, Linlithgow Oil Works, proposed a vote of thanks to the artistes and audience, and also to Father Easson for the untiring assistance rendered to the Society by him. These were heartily responded to. The proceedings terminated with the singing of " God save the Queen."

      West Lothian Courier, 19th November 1892



      The annual concert under the auspices of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society was held in the Victoria Hall on Monday evening. The hall was crowded in every part. Mr John Young, general manager, presided. The Chairman said be considered it a great honour to occupy the chair that evening. He was sure there could be no two opinions about the success of this concert, as far as audience was concerned. He was perfectly sure, from the programme issued in connection with the concert, that none would regret being present that evening.

      Regarding the society itself, be might remark that it was formed but two years ago, and at the end of the year there were 151 members on the roll. At present the number on the roll was 189. The funds of the society were in flourishing state, amounting to £136 16s. There were at the works at Champfleurie between 650 and 700 men, and 189 of these were members of the society. Now, that was not very large proportion of the workmen employed there. He would impress upon every one the desirability of joining the society, thing, be was sure, they would never have cause to regret.

      They heard a good deal these days about Socialism, but there was one form of Socialism they all approved of, and that was when it took the form of co-operation. Cooperation was a most desirable thing. It encouraged habits of thrift, and it did a great deal for the good of the working men themselves. He would be extremely delighted to hear of a great many more who were present that evening, and who were not members of the society, coming forward and giving their hearty support. He would only say in conclusion “Long may the Friendly Society connected with the Champfleurie and Ochiltree workmen flourish, and long may they have such able men at their head as Mr Beveridge as president and Mr Watson, secretary, along with the other capable office-bearers.” (Applause.)

      A delightful programme was inaugurated. The concert was under the direction of Mr Robert Macdonald, who brought together talented and well-know company artistes. These were Mr. J. M. Hamilton (tenor), J. C. Macdonald (comedian), T. Derrick (negro), and J. Lanty (Irish comedian). The female artistes were Miss F. F. Donaldson and Miss M. M. Hutchison. The latter—a contralto who had not been heard In Linlithgow before - won golden opinions for her singing. She has a rich deep voice, which she uses to good advantage, and her low notes were particularly telling and effective. Her first song, “The Guardship,” was greatly admired, and in response to unanimous call gave as an encore Rory o' More.” She also gave excellent renderings of Dear Little Shamrock” and “Hurrah for the Highlands” A feature the concert was undoubtedly the duet by Miss Donaldson and Mr Hamilton, What will they do. Love!” which won, and well merited, the hearty plaudits of the audience. The whole company without exception acquitted themselves admirably, and the concert may be said to have been great success.

      At the close the Chairman said they were indebted the Rev. Father Easson for the use of the piano, and he might take the opportunity of saying that Mr Easson a was gentleman who, he understood, had always done his best to maintain a harmonious relationship between employers and employed. (Applause.) He also proposed vote of thanks to Mr Macdonald and the other artistes for the most excellent entertainment they had provided them with. He was sure, from the hearty applause accorded one and all of the performers, the audience had certainly appreciated their efforts. He thought the concert, so far as the attendance was concerned, was record one for Linlithgow, and he was sure, when Mr Macdonald and hit friends came back again, they could promise him equally large audience. (Applause.)

      A vote of thanks to the chairman, and which was accorded on the motion of Mr Elder, brought the concert to a close. The concert realised the sum of £49 6s, which is a decided increase compared with previous years.

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 25th November 1893



      The annual concert under the auspices of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Society was given in the Victoria Hall on Wednesday evening. This is one of the local entertainments which is annually looked forward to with the liveliest interest and keen anticipation the officials and workmen employed in connection with the Linlithgow Oilworks.

      The committee this year were fortunate in securing as entertainers the Brescian family. The hall was crowded in every part representative and thoroughly appreciative audience. Of the society itself, it might be mentioned that it has now been in existence for some nine years, having been instituted some two years or so after the establishment of the works. At first the society had its vicissitudes, but on the whole has been attended with gratifying success, for which not little credit is due to the interest manifested in its welfare by the present works manager, Mr James Beveridge, as well as the other office bearers

      On Wednesday night, the chair was occupied by Mr John Young, the general manager of the Linlithgow Oil Company, and among the other officials and ladies and gentlemen present were Mr Beveridge, works manager; Mrs Beveridge and family; Mr James Elder, cashier; Mr Bishop, chemist Mr H. Murray, engineer, and Mrs Murray; Dean of Guild Fleming and Mrs Fleming Dr Mackenzie, medical officer for the works, and Mrs Mackenzie; Captain Johnston-Stewart, of Champfleurie; Mrs Stewart and party, Rev. Donald Easson and Miss Easson, Rev. Robt Wilson and Miss Wilson, Rev. J. C. Buchanan, Dr Maclaren, Rev. Robert Galbraith, Kingscavil; Mr M. Henderson, C.A ; Mr L. Henderson, Mr Jas. Forbes, Mr Andrew Wright, Mr Moir, and Mr Alexander Henderson, solicitor.

      Immediately before the concert commenced, the Chairman thanked the committee for having invited him for the third time to take the chair at the annual concert. He thought, however, that having served for three years, the committee should next year look out for another chairman, and suggested either Lord Rosebery or Mr Johnston-Stewart.

      He was glad to notice that there had been a very decided increase since last year. At the close of the year 1894 the membership was 241. At the present time 46 new members had been added, making total of 287, and there has not been single resignation. That implied progress and vitality, and be sincerely trusted that there was not man connected with the works who would not, if he had not already done so, become a member daring the course of the next year.

      A splendid musical programme, interspersed with readings and dances, was then gone through the artistes to the evident delight the large audience. Before the Chairman, moved that gave to the performers a hearty vote of thanks for he entertainment they had provided (Applause). He also moved a vote of thanks to thee committee of management. (Applause.)

      Rev. Father Easson said he had been asked by the chairman of committee to express to the chairman of the meeting how much they appreciated his presence and his conduct in the chair that evening (Applause). He could not help thinking that Mr. Young had himself felt pleased at preciding over such a large gathering. He hoped whoever might be the chariman next year, that he would have had good report to submit, and that every man connected with the works would by this time next year have joined the society. (Applause.)

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 14th December 1895



      The annual entertainment in connection with the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen's Friendly Society was held in the Victoria Hall, Linlithgow, on Thursday evening. The hall was crowded and Mr John Young, General Manager of the Linlithgow Oil Company, presided.

      The audience included Dr M'Kenzie and Mrs M'Kenzie, Mr Michael Henderson, Rev James C Buchanan, M.A. Rev Father Esson, Mr A H Crichton, J.P., and Mrs Crichton, Castle Park, Philpstoun, Rev Robert Galbraith. Rev. John Cameron, and Miss Fanny Cameron, Mr James Beveridge. Linlithgow Oil Works Manager, Mr James Elder, Mr Andrew Wright, School Master, Bridgend, &c.

      The entertainment which was in the form of a concert was from by the Breciesan Family's Yorkshire quartett Party. Unfortunately the artist named on the programme to supply the humorous element failed to put in an appearance, it being intimated that he had missed the train from Edinburgh, and the items set down on the programme against his name had to be dispensed with. However, the other members of the company performed their respective parts in a manner that gave satisfaction to the large audience

      The quartettes—" On the Banks of Allan Water," and "The old Folks at Home," were really splendid performances, as were also the humorous vocal quartettes—' Little Jack Horner," and " Good Evening." The vocal duet—" A Night in Venice," by Miss H. D. Bishop, soprano, and Mr Brearley, tenor, sung with much expression and sweetness. In her songs. The Promise of Life " and "The Better Land." Miss Heil proved to a be a soprano of high standing. Miss Edna Thornton is possessed of a beautiful alto voice, and her rendition of "Annie Laurie" was so accomplished. Her other song was "the Flight of Ages”. - A vocal duet—" Love and war " were sung by Mr Knowles and Mr Brearley, and the piece was skilfully performed. Miss Rita Grant, as a reciter we have heard before. Her selections were good, but some of them were rather old, they having been given by her on a former occasion in Linlithgow.

      In the course of the evening the Chairman addressed the gathering briefly. The comic man he said, had not turned up. He was very sorry that that gentleman had missed the train. It was rather unfortunate that a comic man should miss his train. They could put any meaning they liked upon that. (Laughter), He was also sorry that the members of the works society had not taken the hint he threw out to them at their last years entertainment, viz. the procuring of a certain gentleman to take the chair on that occasion too. He was certain that if they got him to take the chair at their next year's entertainment and announced his name on the bill, they would have had the house crowded more than it was that night.

      A year ago he took the liberty of expressing upon the workmen of Champfleurie to become members of the benefit society connected with the works; and it was very pleased to hear from the Honorary Treasurers report that during the past year the membership had been increased. Last year the number on the roll was 272, and this year 287 - an increase of 15. During the year there had been been a good deal of sickness among the members and that had reduced the Society's funds from £211 24s 11d last year to £184 9s 2d this year. However the object of the Society was to provide in times of sickness and they might take it that they had served its purpose. The results were so far satisfactory, but it was well to have a high ideal.

      The ideal was to have say workman at Champfleurie as a member of this Society by next year. They heard a good deal abut Old Age State Pensions, but any one who waited for the "golden age”, spoken of by the poets, they would wait a very long time indeed. Meanwhile he thought it infinitely better to make provision for their old age and for time of trouble in store for most of them.

      At the conclusion cf the concert, Mr James Elder proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Young for presiding. On behalf of Mr Hayward, manager of the concert company, the Chairman apologised for the absence of Mr Scott who was to have supplied the humorous element in the entertainment, and intimated that Mr Hayward had promised to give a substantial sum to the funds of the society for Mr Ross Scott's absence. He asked them to accord a hearty vote of thanks to the ladies and gentlemen who had entertained them so well that night.

      West Lothian Courier, 5th December 1896



      The annual entertainment in connection with this Society took place in the Victoria Hall, Linlithgow, on Thursday evening —Mr Nelson, cashier in the Company's Head Office, Glasgow, presiding in the absence of Mr John Young, the general manager. The entertainment consisted of a performance of the popular drama, "The Span of Life." which was staged by that well-home actor Mr Allen Thomson, supported by a splendid company. The interesting drama was produced by Mr Allen Thomson. early in the season and the fact of his having been engaged by the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Friendly Society to reproduce it at their annual entertainment speaks for the popularity of the drama and the company.

      The hall was packed with an appreciative audience, the performance being one that gave satisfaction. At the outset the chairman explained that Mr Young was unable to be there that night owing to illness. He knew that Mr Young, had been exceedingly sorry that he had been unable to attend, for nothing gave him greater pleasure than to be present at the Society's annual entertainment. Mr Young's heart was in the success of the works and in the welfare of the employees (applause)—and he was exceedingly sorry that he was unable to be with them that night.

      He had now to submit to them a statement concerning the state of the Society: —The Society was established on August 27th. in the year 1886, and registered under the Friendly Societies Act on 9th. Dec. of the that year. Up to December 31st. 1886, 333 members were enrolled but during that short period 113 members left, leaving 220 members on the roll at the end of that year. Since then 742 had been enrolled of which 701 had left leaving at 30th September 1898 261 on the roll (Applause.) From August 27th. 1886, to September 30th 1898, £1794 1s. 9d. had been received into the funds of the society of which £1120 5s 4d had been paid in sickness claims, £353 19s 0d for funeral claims, and £139 2s 11d for management expenses; these being a trifle less than 8 per cent (Applause.) The balance in hand at September last was £180 15s 1d, which was equal to a worth of 13s 10d per member. (Applause.) The average number of members on the sick list from the commencement of the Society had been 67, the number on it during the last three years being 92, 93, and 96 respectively.

      The Committee desired him to impress upon the members the desirability of a better attendance at the meetings of the Society. He hoped that the Committee would take that hint and not leave all the work to be done by a few. (Applause.) He would say no more. as he knew they were all anxious to have the entertainment commenced, and he simply wished that everyone of them would enjoy the performance. (Applause.) The drama was then proceeded wise.

      Before the last act was proceeded with the Rev. William Burnett, Kingscavil at the request of Mr James Beveridge, the works manager, proposed a heart vote of thanks to the committee for their work in making necessary arrangements for the performance. In the course of the performance Mr Alan Thomas met with an unfortunate accident when appearing in the lighthouse scene. He had evidently mistaken the width of the platform he slipped off it and sustaining a nasty cut to the head.

      West Lothian Courier, 10th December 1898


      One of the most enterprising of our local benevolent institutions is the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society. The objects of this society are most praiseworthy, and it caters to very large body of the working classes. It is satisfactory to know that the society continues to prosper. Arrangements have again been made for the annual entertainment on 4th December, when the patronage is sure to be on a large scale. As the object of the society is to help those who may not able help themselves, the public are entitled to help it when occasion demands and opportunity presents itself.

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 18th November 1899




      The annual entertainment under the auspices of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society, and which has for it a primary object the augmentation the funds of the society, was held in the Victoria Hall on Monday evening.

      In keeping with the traditions of the works society, and the entertainments given under its auspices, and for its behoof, there was a large audience, the hall being filled to its utmost capacity, so much so that many had to make standing room in the passages. The audience, though chiefly composed those engaged with the Linlithgow Oil Works, embraced also some from Philpstoun, Linlithgow, and Linlithgowbridge.

      The chair was occupied by Mr Young, general manager of the Linlithgow Oil Company, who was accompanied by Mrs Young, and among the other officials present were Mr James Beveridge, Woodside, works manager, and hon. president the society, with Mrs Beveridge and family; Mr Neilson, head cashier, .Glasgow; Mr Renwick Cowan, mining manager; Mr Wm. Flemington, works cashier, and Miss Flemington and Miss Allan; Mr W. Wilson, Secretary of the society, and other officers. Mr John Anderson, foreman engineer, and Mrs Anderson; as also the foremen the various departments, and contractors connected with the works, above and below ground. Among those occupying seats in the front portion of the hall were A. H. Crichton. Castlepark, and Mrs Crichton; M. W. Henderson, Nether parkley; Treasurer Jamieson; Dr. Mackenzie, works surgeon, and Mrs Mackenzie; Mr Buchanan; Mr Alexander Henderson, solicitor, Mr James Mann, treasurer, and others.

      The arrangements for the entertainment were, as heretofore carried out by Mr Beveridge, and members of committee, and it may here mentioned that it is to the interest and energy displayed its by Mr Beveridge that the society owes its success, and not a little the prosperity that has attended it during its existence.

      For the past two or three years the executive of the society have seen fit to change the character of the entertainment, and in place of the annual concert have substituted a theatrical performance. In this they have been eminently successful, and judging from the demand for tickets, the efforts the management have been generally appreciated.

      This year the committee again secured the services of one Mr Alexander’s companies in the drama, in five acts, entitled "The Grip of Iron.” Mr Arthur Shirley—a drama which was well staged and efficiently superintended. Prior to the rise of the curtain, Mr Young (chairman), in the course of a few introductory remarks, expressed the pleasure he had being asked take the chair that evening, and at seeing such a large audience before him. It was not, however, his intention to take up their time, because he considered it would be at a meeting such that for a chairman to make a speech any particular subject. They had come there not hear speeches, but to listen to the performance on the stage, and would therefore not come between them and that enjoyment. The entertainment, they knew, had been promoted by the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society, and he was happy to that society was present in a very prosperous condition. (Applause.) There was only one thing he would like to see, and that was that more of the workmen would see fit to join the society, because with such large body of men he thought they should have a larger membership. (Applause.) In view of the fact that trade was good, there was no reason why, in his opinion, many more should not be added to the roll of membership. (Applause.) He was sure they would never regret it. He would not say more, but merely express the hope that they would have a pleasant evening, and that the entertainment would be for the whole of them. (Applause.) The entertainment was thereafter proceeded with.

      Taken as a whole, the performance was in capable hands, but the drama itself - or rather one of the scenes enacted are not such as to one with sense realistic. We refer, for example, to the first scene in the fourth act. wherein is depicted life on board convict transport. The familiar free-and-easy go-as-you-please attitude adopted by the “convicts” is not exactly what one is accustomed to hear or 1 road of as giving idea the regulations ' attaching to convict life. The “convicts,” in fact, were quite happy family, popping in and out their cages,” in that manner which one would expect to see in such game as hide-and-seek. In other respects, however, the drama presented many redeeming features, and certainly the elements of sensation which, it would seem, are now almost indispensable an up-to-date drama, were not wanting. In the last act the drawing room scene was specially good, and indeed, taken whole, the staging and scenery were nil that could have been desired. Of the acting, little need said, as the performers are well known, alike to city and provincial audiences, while the drama had been performed in Linlithgow on a previous occasion. The character of “Jagon” a man with a double life, was capably interpreted by Mr Tempest, and proof of this, allusion need only made to outbursts of indignation which greeted the “villain,” as he appeared before the curtain. Other than this no greater praise could be bestowed on actor or actress. Mr George Hunter, as Lorenz do Ribas, performed the part with characteristic ability, and as an old favourite had a cordial reception. In the role of detectives, Mr Albert Somber and Mr Fred. Richards proved excellent exponents of the respective parts. In the course of the performance they had much to do, and did it in such way could not fail to be appreciated. Chief among other characters were Paul Blanchard, Mr Alfred Edison; “Robert de Belfort, Mr H A. Templeton: Beauden, Mr J. Alexander, jun.; "Captain Guerin” Mr Peter Bonnet. The part of “Cora, the daughter of "Jagon,” was portrayed Miss Vida Lascelles with conspicuous intelligence, while the acting of the other ladies—Miss Fanny Wallace, Miss Eve Squier Renfield, Miss Nana Gilbert - is deserving of a large meed of praise, and in their case, as in that of the leading performers, appreciation was not stinted.

      At interval in the programme. Mr A. H. Crichton called for a hearty vote thanks to the committee of the society who had organised the entertainment, and doing that asked them to couple it with a vote of thanks to Mr Young for his kindness in preceding that evening. The request was cordially responded to.

      The following report and financial statement of the affairs of the society will no doubt be interesting to many of our readers: The society was established on 27th August, 1886. Since that date 1133 members had been enrolled, and of these 850 had left from various causes, leaving 283 on the roll at 30th September, 1899. During the months of October and November, 114 new members had been enrolled, which brought the membership up to 397 to date. Since the institution of the society, £1256 83 has been disbursed as sick aliment, and £390 as funeral allowances, making grand total of £1646 12s for the period of 13 years and one month. An average yearly payment for sickness has been £96, and for funeral allowances, £29 17p. The total funds of the society 30lh September was £194 3s 5d, or an average of 13s 8.66 d per member. The statement for nine months ending 30th September, 1899, is follows: - Income: Contributions of members and bank interest, £131, 17s 8d; balance at 31st December, 1898. £205 4s 3d; loss for nine months, £11 0s l0d; grand total—£l42 18s 6d. On the expenditure side, other than defraying sick and funeral claims and management expenses, there was a balance at 30th September, 1899, of £194 3s 5d.

      It will thus be seen that the society is in a healthy condition, and the hope is that it may long continue to prosper, and fulfil the laudable objects of its constitution.

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 9th December 1899



      The annual entertainment under the auspices the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen's Friendly Society was held in the Victoria Hall Tuesday evening. The hall was crowded to its utmost capacity. The committee were successful in securing the services of Alexander's company of London artistes. Alexander on this occasion presented to the audience a most sensational drama, entitled “The Trail the Serpent.” The play was most interesting throughout, and the respective characters were all that could be desired. The scenery was also most attractive, and wonderful.

      Before the curtain rose, Mr. Young, the managing director the oil work, appeared in the front the platform, and said, this was his first appearance the dramatic stage. he hoped they would give him a fair share of their attention. It was the custom in the theatres long ago for a prologue introduced before the curtain was raised. He was there in the position of that prologue, but he was afraid he could not tell them what the prologue used say, it usually gave some idea of what was to follow. Therefore, he could not perform the part of the prologue very satisfactorily, know more about the play than themselves. What he did want to do was this, that the entertainment that night had been originated by the Workmen's Friendly Society of Champfleurie and Ochiltree. That society had done a great deal since its institution some years ago. and during the period that it had been in existence.

      He (Mr Young) found from the statement submitted to him that the society had distributed nearly £2,000 in money to the members when they were in sickness and to their friends after their death. He thought that was a very good record. He was sorry to observe that all the workmen were not members. He thought it was most desirable that every man connected with the works should, if he possibly could, become a member of the society Of course, knew some of the workmen were members of other societies, and they thought it was not necessary to become members of more than one. He (Mr Young) could assure them that the society was very good one, and it was just at the time when money was wanted that the society come forward and gave to those who required it. It was an old proverb that “God helps them who themselves.” Another proverb was “If you want a thing done, do it yourselves. (Mr Young) saw a great deal in the paper about the Government and old-age pensions.

      He was afraid, workmen waited for the Government give them old-age pensions, they would wait till they were not required by them. He did not refer to any particular government. Government was so slow in action that he thought it was infinitely better for workmen to do something to provide for own old and to provide for trouble and distress. He hoped that every workman who possibly could would become a member of the society. He believed they had been passing for years through a period of prosperity. Work had been plentiful and wages good. There was time coming, he sadly feared, when wages were not be so good and work not so plentiful. It was the duty of every man to provide in times of prosperity for the days of adversity which might come. If he could impress upon every worker to become a member of the society, he would feel what had said had not been said in vain. (applause)

      At the interval between the second and third acts, Rev. Roy John Ferguson said that he really felt such excitement that he was scarcely able to discharge the duty that had been laid upon him. He thought he might utilise the few moments they had before the curtain rose in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr Young for coming from Glasgow to preside over the meeting that night also for his very excellent address, and also to the committee of management for their part in getting up the entertainment and carrying on the work of the society. The proposal was heartily responded to.

      West Lothian Courier, 30th November 1900



      The annual balance sheet of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen’s Friendly Society for the year ending 1901 has just been issued, and shows that the society still continues to in good financial condition. The amount paid for sick and funeral purposes was £2l0 17s 9d, and the balance that fund band at December, 1901, was £125 16s 4d. The management fund at the end of the year amounted to £62 16s 2d, and the concert reserve fund to £25, making total balance in baud of £213 12s 6d. The members on the roll 31st December, 1901, were 218, while at the end the previous year they numbered 355, decrease of 107.

      Linlithgowshire Gazette 11th April 1902



      The effect of the stoppage of the oil works continues to be felt in divers ways. A speciallv-convened meeting of the members of the Champfleurie and Ochiltree Workmen's Society was held in the Schoolroom on Saturday last when the resolution adopted at a previous meeting to dissolve the society was confirmed. This step has been rendered inevitable by the removal of most of the members from the district as a consequence of the stoppage of the works Meantime the usual procedure will be adopted in terms the Friendly Societies Act before the resolution takes final effect. A number of workmen are still engaged at the works are the despatching of stocks still on hand.

      West Lothian Courier, 24th May 1902



      (Letter's to the Editor.)

      Sir. - With reference to “A Member’s” letter in the Gazette of 1st November, anent to the above society, I would ask your attention for moment. I am quite in sympathy with his views, and I think something should be done to find out whether they intend to carry the above or not, as it was resolved to wind it up in the month May. I know for a fact the proposal was carried, and it was intimated to the Registrar of Friendly Societies, who furnished the secretary with forms to be filled up, showing how to proceed. I am, indeed, sorry to say that I, as member, have never been informed whether it was wound up or not. Surely it is time something was done so that the members may know how they stand. Are the Management Committee all off to Cape Colony, or are they rusticating? If so. it is high time they were up and doing.

      I am, etc., An Anxious Member

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 21st November 1902