Published 01 July 2022

Dumbarton is gearing up to celebrate its 800th year as a Royal Burgh with a programme of special events and celebrations.

A number of celebratory activities will take place over the coming year to highlight Dumbarton’s rich history and heritage.

The programme, which will start next month and continue for a full year following the 800th anniversary on July 8, will include a mix of online and in-person activities.

Young people from West Dunbartonshire schools and Early Learning Centres will be invited to participate in workshops and creative activities that explore the area’s proud history. Dumbarton’s Town Centre, and its Rock and medieval castle will feature as particular themes. As well as opportunities to share their creative works, a video exploring the story of Dumbarton through the eyes of its young people will be produced.

Citizens of Dumbarton will be asked to contribute photographs of their favourite Dumbarton places to the Council’s local history collection, accompanied by captions that give context in the form of an anecdote or memory that connects people and place. It is hoped that this collecting initiative will promote the intergenerational opportunities of the programme, with young people and older residents sharing their experiences of Dumbarton to promote learning and build new relationships.

A selection of these donated photographs, and their accompanying narratives, will form an exhibition in Dumbarton Heritage Centre that celebrates today’s Sons and Daughters of the Rock and their ties to the town of Dumbarton.

Over the course of the coming year, residents will also be offered the opportunity to attend drop in sessions to see up-close some of the most important objects held in the Council’s museum collection which help tell the town’s stories. 

In addition, the anniversary will be incorporated into Doors Open Day in Dumbarton, walking tours will be delivered in and around the town to promote its heritage and the anniversary will feature as part of next year’s Booked! Festival in the area’s libraries.

The foundation charter for the Royal Burgh of Dumbarton was sealed by Alexander II on 8th July 1222 in Jedburgh.

Chair of Cultural committee, Councillor Martin Rooney said: “I'm very pleased the plans to celebrate Dumbarton are moving forward. It's a fantastic line-up of events that will truly honour Dumbarton's legacy and educate our pupils about Dumbarton's history through the links with our senior citizens. 

“I encourage all of our residents to get involved by sharing their own memories and letting the Arts and Heritage team know what Dumbarton means to them.”

Vice-Chair of Cultural committee, Councillor June McKay said, “This is a really exciting celebration for West Dunbartonshire and an opportunity for people in and outside of Dumbarton to learn about our heritage and history.

“This programme of events will engage residents of all ages and all walks of life, and really demonstrate the importance of place and culture in our communities.”