Skip to main content


Robin McSkimming, who has died aged 73, was inextricably linked to Bearsden by both its politics - he was a local councillor and former provost - and the area's history. McSkimming delighted in chronicling its illustrious past while campaigning to protect and promote its heritage.

He was born in Knightswood on May 8 1937. Evacuated to Millport from 1940 to 1943, his family settled in Bearsden in 1950. Educated at Hillhead High and Glasgow University, from which he graduated with an MA, McSkimming settled upon teaching as a career after two years' National Service with the Education Corps in Wales.

As a geography teacher, he found work at the High School of Glasgow before moving to Allan Glen's School on Cathedral Street as principal teacher. When the school closed in 1987, McSkimming embarked upon several projects before his interest in local politics (he was a founder member of the local Liberals) saw him elected to Bearsden and Milngavie District Council, representing Thorn ward, in 1992. Having also won a seat on Strathclyde Regional Council (for Bearsden), he continued his political career on the newly-created East Dunbartonshire Council and in 1999 was elected provost, serving a four-year term.

But with McSkimming, it was a case of once a teacher, always a teacher. Council colleagues regularly found themselves upbraided for not using the Queen's English during council meetings. A stickler when it came to grammar, punctuation and spelling, council staff learned to keep standards high. His impeccable spoken English also made him a valued contributor to the Cue and Review recording service for the blind.

On retirement from the council in 2003, McSkimming indulged his enthusiasm for local history, giving talks to local groups and supporting the Milngavie Local History Study Group. The past was, however, a long- standing passion. In 1978 he had scripted and produced a short film called Bishop's Mill, a visual record of one of Glasgow's oldest industrial sites, then under threat of demolition.

McSkimming was thrilled when UNESCO designated the Antonine Wall a World Heritage site. As he commented at the time: "Bearsden now has even more to attract visitors, a World Heritage site, a category-A church (New Kilpatrick), Art Deco houses in Kilmardinny, and in Westerton a fine example of a garden suburb. Not bad, eh?"

In the 1970s, he updated New Kilpatrick's official history, while serving as an elder for more than 40 years, forging lifelong friendships in the church's youth fellowship and becoming a popular leader of the senior Sunday school. He also had a keen interest in fine art, particularly pottery and paintings.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you