I was born and brought up in the village of Stanley leaving there in 1964 at the age of 17 to join the Royal Navy where I spent the next 33 years.  This unofficial website is dedicated to the village and the folk from there, past and present.  Gordon Howie (Keel), an old school friend who also no longer lives in the village, recently mentioned in an email to me it was an idyllic place to grow up in and looking back I wholeheartedly agree with him - although we probably didn't appreciate it at the time!  The recent G8 conference in Gleneagles, apart from causing havoc in Auchterarder, exposed Perthshire to the world and a lot of people saw for themselves, perhaps for the first time, what we've known all's a beautiful place.  The following pages contain some of my memories of growing up in Stanley.  The bare bones of a project are here and it will take a while to flesh it out - hopefully with your help.  If you feel like adding your own memories or having some of your Stanley photos published here to share with others then please email me by clicking the link below.  It depends on you how far your website can go.

Happy browsing

Jim Donaldson

August 2005

Twelve months have flown by since your unofficial Stanley website was set up and it's been amazing the amount of quality photos that have been sent in to be published (there's too many contributors to mention here but you know who you are and thank you for allowing us to share your photos).  Initially all there was to work with were some photos left by my late father and historical details he'd jotted down about the Lodge and the Bowling Club.  It's a pity he's not around now to see (and most probably correct) some of the details now published! The other material we had to work with were the brilliant Stanley Poems penned by Exile which brought so many wonderful Stanley characters to life and he described them in a way all true Stanley folk could relate too.  On a personal note I feel it's important that our village heritage if you like is preserved for posterity and I hope your Stanley website will maybe do this through the poems, photos and stories contributed by you but we're always looking for more.

Keep these photos coming and if you visit the site make your mark in the Guest Book - it lets others see you're still around and doesn't cost you anything. Finally if you see any photos on the website with names/dates missing etc and you can fill in the blanks then please let us know.

Jim Donaldson

August 2006

Well, that's another twelve months gone and we've now had the 07.07.07 Reunion which some say was inspired by your Stanley website.  Again, I'd like to record my sincere thanks to the committee who organised the Reunion and the numbers attending far exceeded those expected (or registered to go!) People travelled thousands of miles to get there yet some who lived literally a few hundred yards from the school couldn't be bothered attending.  That's life, but well done to the many who made the effort and journeyed far to get there. Everyone seemed to have a good weekend judging by the feedback received (and no, there aren't any plans to repeat it all again for 08.08.08, 09.09.09 etc but watch this space..........because you never know).

Still on the lookout for more photos and Stanley stories and I've got to express some disappointment that after two years there's still blank names or years on lots of the photos, particularly the school ones.  As Daddy Hughes would say "Not trying hard enough!"  Come's easy enough.  Click on any of the email icons on the website and give the photo section and number at the top of the photo page for easy identification at this end as there's in excess of 1400 photos on the site now.

Jim Donaldson

August 2007


I'm writing this update on the 24th September 2009 and today would have been my father's 100th birthday.  This short note is in no way meant to sound maudlin because he had a long and fulfilled life but we shouldn't forget that his generation also had a hard time of it.  As he spent all of his 92 years in Stanley he was a mine of information on the village and had numerous anecdotes.  The Stanley website was set up 4 years after his death so a lot of his local knowledge has been lost and sadly we will never recover this. You will guess that the message I'm trying to get across is - if you have any Stanley stories/photographs etc get them in now so that they are captured for posterity.  Had I thought of building the website a few years earlier we would have been able to enjoy all of these Stanley tales so don't be like me and leave things until it is too late! 

Jim Donaldson

24th September 2009

WHERE ARE THEY NOW.........find out where your old friends are

A short history of Stanley

Stanley a Perthshire village is in Auchtergaven, Kinclaven and Redgorton parishes, on the right bank of the winding Tay.  Auchtergaven and Redgorton Parishes are divided by the burn at the bottom of the Airntully road that runs down the west side of Perth Road and is piped over the railway line at the end of James Street and flows underneath the village green to the Well Brae.  A small area of the Parish of Kinclaven is at the north end of the village.

Stanley owes its origin to extensive cotton mills erected in 1785 by Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1793). It is recorded in 1784 ground was feued at Stanley from the Duke of Atholl to build a mill for spinning cotton and soon after a village was erected upon a regular plan for accommodating the people to be employed in the Mill.  At that time only a few families dwelt near Stanley and excepting the land within the enclosures of Stanley House (Built by Lord Nairn) most of the area was almost in a state of nature.  The turnpike road from Perth to Dunkeld was just then completed, the cross-country roads or paths being excessively bad and in winter almost impassable.

MANUFACTURES  The first place is given to Stanley Cotton Mills consisting of spinning and weaving mills propelled by seven water wheels equal to 200 HP, the fall of water being 16 feet and the water supply being so abundant on occasions as to stop the Works.  Work at the Cotton Mills began at half past five in the mornings and ended at seven in the evenings with the intermission of an hour and a half for meals.  On Saturday work ended at three o'clock in the afternoons.  Children began work at quarter-to-ten in the mornings and ended at three o'clock in the afternoons that they may then attend school.

STANLEY CHAPEL  Soon after the erection of the Cotton Mills the Company employed a Preacher to do duty on Sundays in the School House.  In 1828 the Proprietors of the Mill petitioned for a Church built for more than 3000 standing within the verge of the parish of Redgorton;  an elegant building surmounted by a tower 85 feet high with sittings for 1150 persons.  The Company provided the Minister with a house and a garden in addition to a stipend of 150.  There is a Sabbath School attended by between three or four hundred of the young people. The Tower Church was raised to quoad sacra status in 1877.

EDUCATION  The Stanley Company maintains a large School at their own expense providing a Teacher with a house and garden and a salary of 20 per annum, besides furnishing a spacious School Room.

CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS  The Benevolent Society of Stanley was instituted in 1831 for the purpose of assisting poor people and is supported by voluntary contributions.  The total disbursement then was approximately 60 per annum averaging about one shilling per week.  Coal, clothes, food and medicines are given to the necessitous according to circumstances.

POLICE  The Police of Stanley are very efficient and ill-behaved persons when found out are forthwith discharged from the Mill.  By this means there is not a more orderly or a more respectable manufacturing population in the Empire than the inhabitants of Stanley.

THE QUEEN's VISIT AND OTHER POEMS  The Queen's visit refers to the era of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1842.  An Arch was erected for the occasion at the junction of the Stanley and Dunkeld roads by the Proprietors of Stanley Mills.  2000 of the villagers walked down in a Procession to the Arch and two Bands of Music belonging to the village accompanied them to view the Royal cortege.

The Thistle Brig, a short distance below Stanley consists of a trap dyke crossing the Tay and said to have at one time spanned the river with its gigantic basaltic columns providing suitable supports for a "brig of tree".  By this route the Danes were crossing the Tay before the Battle of Luncarty and one of their number is said to have trampled on a Scottish thistle, cried out and betrayed their approach to the bridge sentinels. This incident gave rise to the adoption of the thistle as the badge of Scotland.  The basaltic columns were removed in modern times (written mid 19th century) to enable rafts of wood to get down the river -  an unhappy end to the legend.

Stanley House* to the east of the village was an ancient mansion dating from the first half of the 15th century.  It was once a seat of the Lords Nairne and has memories of the Jacobite third lord who escaped from its dining room after the '45 rebellion.  (See the Stanley Steeple Poem for more information on the Poems page).

*  So named about the beginning of the 18th century after Lady Amelia Sophia Stanley, daughter of the Earl and the famous Countess of Derby, and herself Marchioness of Athole.  Her fourth son Lord William Murray in 1683 succeeded his father in law as the second Lord Nairne (note the difference in spelling in Athole and Nairne).

There is also a Stanley in Co Durham; Derby; West Yorkshire; Falkland Islands and Hong Kong.