Document of the Month - November
Armistice Day - 11 November 1918
The armistice was signed at 5 o’clock on the morning of the 11th November 1918 and it was agreed that hostilities should cease at 11 o’clock the same morning. The news was quick to reach the authorities in Britain and preparations were swiftly made for celebrations to be held that day.
It is likely that the announcement was expected as the possibility of peace negotiations had already been discussed in the press.
Given how quickly the events were arranged, it would seem that plans had been made as to how the town would celebrate prior to the announcement. Stirling was ready for a celebration. A very full account of the events of Armistice Day in Stirling is given in the Stirling Observer of 12th November 1918.
The news reached Stirling at 12.40 in the afternoon of the 11th November. Immediately, the Council arranged for the bells in the Steeple building on King Street where they held their meetings to be rung to mark the news. The ringing of bells had been forbidden throughout the war because they were to be used only to warn of an emergency so the sound of the bells in the centre of Stirling must have grabbed everyone’s attention. The news spread fast and soon all the church bells in the town were pealing.
The noise brought people out onto the streets with flags and hand-held fireworks. Bunting and larger flags were hung from houses and shops. The military band of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders stationed at Stirling Castle marched down into the town playing popular tunes and soon an impromptu parade formed composed of soldiers and local people singing and shouting at the good news.
Schools and most businesses declared a half day holiday. A service of thanksgiving was held at the East Church of the Kirk of the Holy Rude and another in the Albert Halls where the Dunblane Organist, Mr Herd, played the National Anthem and various songs and hymns for the people attending.
A public meeting organised by the Provost and Council was held in the evening at North Parish Church, then situated in Murray Place. A full account of the meeting and the motions proposed and passed is given in the Council minutes.
The Burgh Band assembled and paraded the streets in the early evening, finishing their concert at the newly opened Municipal Buildings.
Unfortunately, we have no photographs of the celebration and none were published in the paper.
People stayed out celebrating on the streets until late in the evening. Streetlights, outlawed for 4 years were switched on again and shops lit their windows. Restaurants and hotels stayed open late to feed the revellers and the pubs were full although licensing laws were not relaxed and stocks of drink were not that high so there may not have been that much drunkenness. Certainly, there are no reports in the paper of anyone being arrested for disorderly conduct.