Knoxland Square was presented to the town of Dumbarton by Dr Peter Denny of Helenslee, on Saturday the 10th of May, 1890 (on Peter Denny, see NS3975 : Statue of Peter Denny
and NS4075 : The Helenslee Family Memorial
A great deal of ceremony accompanied the presentation: various groups converged first on Levengrove Park (see Link
for details of the park, which had likewise been gifted to the town in 1885). There, they were organised into a procession that crossed NS3975 : Dumbarton Bridge
, and which then followed the town's High Street, Castle Street, and Glasgow Road, before arriving here.
At that time, there was a bandstand in Knoxland Square; from there, Peter Denny delivered his speech. Provost Babtie accepted the Square on behalf of the town; Peter Denny was, in turn, presented with a decorated casket.
The only condition that Mr Denny had attached to the presentation of Knoxland Square to the town was that no political meetings or "discussions of a controversial character" should take place there.
[For a detailed account of the groups making up the procession, of the speeches delivered, and of the other events of the day, see Donald MacLeod's "Dumbarton: Its Recent Men and Events" (1898). Knoxland Square was also the subject of a "Dumbarton Remembered" feature, written by Mike Taylor, in the Lennox Herald issue of January 8, 2010; that item also describes some of the subsequent changes to the square.]
The name Knoxland (see NS3975 : Gravestone in ruins of St Serf's church
for a possible origin) was associated with this area before the Square was built. The area is in Dumbarton's so-called New Town, as opposed to the older part of the town, which is further to the west (where the town centre is located on what had been the heart of the medieval burgh).
The first-edition OS map (c.1860) shows the Knoxland area as it was before the New Town was developed. The grid of streets that is now located in this area did not then exist; instead, there was a group of buildings, named Knoxland on the map. From the 1820s onwards, there are several mentions of Knoxland and its occupant in contemporary writings; it had been the residence of a Dr Robert Buchanan (d. Sep 1871), who served as a general practitioner for about fifty years: NS4076 : Memorial to Robert Buchanan
(a description of the long-vanished Knoxland House can also be found at that item).
For a view of the opposite corner of the Square, see NS4075 : Knoxland Square, Dumbarton
, which was taken a few weeks later. That part of it lies in the adjacent OS grid square to the north.
Other views: NS4075 : Knoxland Square
/ NS4074 : Knoxland Square