Kenneth Derrick, pictured here, was the last Stirling Council Officer, 1974-1996, to wear the traditional uniform, which he has donated recently to the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum.
With this uniform, he was part of a long tradition, beginning in July 1607 when the Burgh of Stirling decided that their officers should be clothed in ‘rid inglische kaisar’ (red English cashmere). The red coat, waistcoat, knee breeches and tricorn hats were worn in the 1950’s, but by the 1970s the outfit had been modernised.
The earlier Council Officers or Halberdiers were employed to protect the Provost, Baillies and Councillors. As the Provost wore fur-trimmed robes and his gold chain of office when representing the Royal Burgh, a security element was necessary, and each Council Officer carried a halberd for the Provost’s protection. The Guildry Officers, who wore similar green uniforms, did this duty for the Dean of Guild. These uniforms were important in denoting and maintaining civic presence and importance.
Kenneth Derrick’s uniform was tailor-made for him in 1974 by George Shearer, 34 Barnton Street and was so well fitting that colleagues remarked that ‘it looks as if it was painted on!’
With the establishment of a new local authority structure in 1975, most of the former Scottish Royal Burghs decided to dispose with robes and uniforms, ending a colourful era in local government.