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The recent death of Dundee folk singer, Jim Reid, raised in the Stobswell area of the city, brought out a few references to his song " The Stobbie Parliament Picnic".
The Stobbie Parliament were the old men who sat on a long bench just above Ogilvie church in the early years of the 20th century. They sat and blethered and, as the name suggests, set the world to right.
The picnic in the song is about an outing with horse and brake for a picnic to Kinclaven Brig near Coupar Angus. Jim Reid's grandfather who had the stables, later garage, on Mains Loan took them out for the day.
My dad, also Willie Coupar, gave me a tape in 1988 where he had copied Jim Reid's " Wild Geese" album . The "Stobbie Parliament picnic" is on the album .
He gave a commentary for every song. This is what he said about it.
"I can well remember the parliament, the old men who sat around the bench at Stobswell in the 20s and 30s...But the picnics `ust have been before then. I've asked some of the old timers in the Balmore Bar but no one remembered these picnics.
The horse brake came from Reid's stables at the bottom of Mains Loan. I can well recall them. By my time it was more of a motor garage but you could have your car parked over winter in the stables at the back. You paid so much a week and my father kept his car there before the War.
There were the Reid's and the Gloag's there. It was at the bottom of Mains Loan on the left hand side. The Gloag's had a fruiterer in Dura Street.
The Reid's had two sons (one possibly Jim Reid's father). They were both good footballers, one played for the Clepington and one played for the Stobbie juniors.
Recorded in 1988 from Willie Coupar 1919 - 1991.
Willie Coupar snr. was born in Albert St. but spent most of his childhood in Baldovan Terrace. Finally the family moved to Cardean Street.
Jim Reid also worked at G&P Barrie's lemonade works which was on the north side of Cardean Street and between Albert St and Morgan St. Barrie's were, with Robertsons in Corso Street the leading lemonade bottlers.
Barrie's site was in what probably remained of the old poorhouse which had stood there before the new Poorhouse, which became the Rowans was built.
There is a photograph of the "Stobbie Parliament" in one of the late Jack Herd's books about Old Dundee.