The Trotters Club

  William Drummond Young  -  Skipper of the Trotters ©

The club was founded around 1888
 and still meets regularly at the
Sheep Heid Inn, Duddingston.


The Trotters Club

1880s and 1890s

The Beginnings

The Trotters Club originated around 1888 by

-  William Drummond Young, artist and photographer

-  James Nicol Dunn, journalist

-  John Geddie, journalist

'Comrades Three'

Photograph entitled 'Comrades Three' published in Volume 1 of the Trotters Book, 1901

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to descendants
 of William and Edward Drummond Young.

The photograph above appeared in Volume 1 of 'The Book of the Trotters Club', published in 1901. 

These are the 3 gentleman  the three founding members of the club:  James Nicol Dunn,  William Drummond Young and John Geddie.  They were known as the “comrades three” who went each Saturday evening during the eighteen eighties to the Sheep Heid Inn at Duddingston.

[Mr Andrew Hunter,  secretary of the Trotters Club, 1982

The verse below (a challenge to my PC spell check!) also appeared Volume 1 of 'The Book of the Trotters Club'.

Skipper Drummond Young

Tune - 'Duke Street'

Skittlers! raise a ringing 'Skol!'

To your king o' board and bowl;

Trotters! in harmonious quire,

Hail your Shepherd and your Sire;

For as arm'd Minerva sped

Forth frae Jupiter's ain head,

So the Jovial Trotters sprung

Frae the head o' Drummond Young.

See him tirr'd o' sark and breeks,

Blobs o' sweat hap down his cheeks;

The mightiest bowl behold him wale,

And, swythe! like stooks afore the gale.

The air is thick wi' wizzin' pins,

The markers claw their barkit shins,

When the thunderbolt is flung

Frae the hand o' Drummond Young

William Drummond Young  -  Skipper of the Trotters ©

By day or nicht, in calm or storm,

At Trotters' Tryst, on hie Cairngorm;

For sang or story, splore or walk;

Wi beer or skittles, brush or kalk

In Hieland kilt, or Lawland trews,

He bears the bell - he leads the broose,

For force o' arm, or strength o' lung,

Nane can tackle Drummond Young

Painter, Mason, Skipper, Chief - 

Leal, big-hearted man, in brief.

Lang, lang may thy portly wyme

'Scape the shot o' Skittler Time.

Greater girth bring greater pith,

Hale an' soun' be limb an' lith.

Yark his hurdies wi a rung

That wad wrang oor Drummond Young.


©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to descendants
 of William and Edward Drummond Young.

The sketch above is by W G Stevenson RSA

The composer, 'JG',  was John Geddie, one of the three founding members of the Club in 1888.  He composed the Club's Psalm of Order, and several of the songs published in 'The Book of the Trotters Club'

He was a journalist living in Ann Street,  who joined the staff of The Scotsman in 1870.  He retired in 1929 and died on 20 January 1937.

['The Trotters Roll 1888-1914' ]

Rambling and Discussions

The Trotters Club was originally a rambling club and discussion group 'with a literary flavour.  It soon became a skittles club.

Several photographers and journalists became members of the club.  It went on to have close connections with the editorial staff at The Scotsman newspaper.


A "psalm of the order" was composed and sung at every meeting.  Like many of the songs of the Trotters' Club, it was composed by ohn Geddie, one of the three founding members of the Club.

First two verses of

The Psalm of Order

Tune - 'The Whale''

Let Gowfers heeze the 'lies' and 'tees

O' a sport that never straws;

Their batteries frail shoot sparrowhail,

While ours fling cannon-ba's,

Brave boys!

Oh! a stirrin soun' 'neath a winter moon

Is the Curler's roarin play;

But we can roar through the seasons four,

And roar as loud as they,

Brave boys!

The Club's Officers included

-  Captain (who seems to have also been referred to as the 'Skipper')

-  Lieutenants

-  Bard

-  Chaplain.

William Drummond Young

William Drummond Young  -  1901 ©

William Drummond Young, one of the three founders of the Club was elected Captain of the Club 1897 (and probably for many years after until 1914) .  He was Captain when the two Books of the Trotters Club were published, in 1901 and 1909. 

W Drummond Young also drew some portrait sketches to accompany one of the songs published in the Book of the Trotters Club.

He won the Colonel's Plate in 1907 and t he Alloway Trophy in 1909-10

The Club presented him with an inscribed silver mounted Pastoral Staff on the occasion of his silver wedding on 30 December 1899.

William presented to the Club with a glass decanter with silver ram's head stopper in 1902.

Dismissal Hymn

William Drummond Young appears again in the Dismissal Hymn of the Club.  The hymn has several verses and different short chorus at the end of each verse. 

The hymn, together with music is published in Volume 2 of  'The Book of the Trotters Club'  in 1909.  Below are the first two verses:

First two verses of

Dismissal Hymn

Tune - 'Lang Jonnie More'

Forfarshire Variant


Neath the Clerk and Purser's guidin' han'

We've wiped oot caulk and care;

And ahint the Shepherd's leadin' crook

We've toddled up the stair.


Ah, riddle-ay, oor John McArthur!
Ah, riddle-ay, oor Drummond Young!


And we've joined by ancient rule and rite

In the Skittler's Psalm of Praise

And we've heard frae Davies' Sacred Buiks,

O' the deeds o' ither days


Ah, riddle-ay, oor Trotters' Bible!
Ah, riddle-ay, oor Skipper's Psalm!



The Trotters Roll 1888-1914 was compiled by Robert William Munro from volumes 1 and 2 of 'The Book of the Trotters Club' , Trotters Club Minutes and other sources.

This roll lists 243 members of the club during this period, with brief bibliographical details.  Members included:

-  advocate

-  architects

-  artists

-  photographers

-  bandmaster

-  banker

-  barrister

-  bootmaker-  brewers

-  brewer

-  builder

-  chemist-  cigar merchant

-  chocolate manufacturer-  engraver

-  cycle and motor dealer

-  farmer

-  gunmaker

-  jeweller

-  journalists

-  JP

-  ministers

-  organ builder

-  physician

-  plumber

-  quarry master

-  sculptors

-  teacher


- Volume 1 of  'The Book of the Trotters Club' was published in 1901.

- Volume 2 of  'The Book of the Trotters Club' was published in 1909.

These books include poems, songs, photographs and drawings of the Club's activities.  Titles of the songs include the following:

- ' Address to the Bard'

- 'Gowf, Life and Skittles'

-  'Hi!  Knock 'em over Boys'

-  'Let Me like a Trotter Play'

-  'Skittles'

-  'The Deil amang the Skittles'

-  'The Trotters Saturday Night'

-  'The Rantin' Skittlin' Trotters'

They also include notes and photographs of Club members and Club outings, together with a longer account of travels by  Capt. J D Young, titled:

-  'A Trotter in the Himalayas'

This account includes a photograph of a painting by W Drummond Young of Capt J D Young,

The Edinburgh Room at Edinburgh Central Library has copies of the two volumes of
The Book of the Trotters Club
and a copy of 'The Trotters Roll 1888-1914'   
  Ref: yGV 1017s


The Trotters Club



The 1909 book of the The Trotters Club lists amongst its members:

William Drummond Young

Edward Drummond Young


A W Sinclair


The club competed for several skittles trophies

The Allaway Trophy - presented by William Allaway, 1904.

The Colonel's Plate - presented by John Drummond Young (brother of founder, William Drummond Young) in 1907.

The Mark Sanderson Badge - an old membership badge presented in 1944.


The Edinburgh Room at Edinburgh Central Library has a copy of the menu for the Trotters Club 13th Annual Dinner at the Royal Hotel, Edinburgh. 

This includes a photograph of skittles taken at the 7th annual outing by coach to Dunfermline and Culross, Fife, on 25 June 1904.

William and Edward

William Drummond Young, the Edinburgh photographer and founding member appeared to be Skipper of the Club about twenty years after its founding.

The Minutes of the Club on 2 October 1909 reported:

" The marriage of the Skipper's son and former member of the club, Mr  E D Young, now a photographer in America."


The Trotters Club

1940s onwards


The Trotters Club was revived in 1943.  It had monthly meetings with light suppers, song and story entertainment, and games of skittles.

The meeting place was the skittle alley at the Sheepheid Public House close to Holyrood Park at Duddingston.


Is the Trotters Club still in existence? 

I'll try to discover.


Thank you to:

-   Mary Powell from Dorset, England, granddaughter of William Drummond Young who emailed  [Oct 2004] to tell me that she believes that the Trotters' Club is still active and meeting at Duddingston.

-  Jimmy Macdonald, Grand Secretary, The Trotters Club, who emailed  me [Jan 2005] with the following message:

"I  am delighted to inform you that The Trotters Club continues to meet on the first Saturday of each month during the skittles season, September to June at The Sheep Heid Inn, The Causeway, Duddingston Village, Edinburgh at 7.15 p.m.

Detailed below is the syllabus for the remainder of this season:

- 5 February, ex-Captain's Night  - night of the Club recruitment drive.
-  March, Trotters v Burns Club for Sharp Trophy
- 2 April, Lieutenant's Night
- 7 May, Trotters v Alcoholics
 - Murrayfield League team
- 4 June, Colonel's Plate Competition



Acknowledgement:  Most of the  details on this page are based on a page written by Robert William Munro for the Edinburgh volume of the "Third Statistical Account"



Drummond Young Pages



Duncan and John

Drummond Young Limited

Photos and Drawings

Trotters Club

Edward in

Drummond Young and Watson