ON SATURDAY April 8, 1865, the foundation stone of the Alva Co-operative was laid among great pomp and ceremony.

Hundreds of people turned out with banners and met at the public park, gifted by James Johnstone in 1863, before the procession left at 4 o'clock and wound its way round the streets.

At the head of the procession was the Tillicoultry and Whins of Milton brass bands as it worked its way along Dalmore Street, Green Square, and the Toll Road before heading towards Alva House and Porter's Lodge, where it was joined by Johnstone.

He had been asked by the Alva Co-operative Bazaar Society to lay the foundation stone.

The procession then made its way back to the village headed up by Johnstone and the Co-op's secretary Mr J Millar.

A special platform had been erected at the site where the new building was to be constructed for the guest speakers and Johnstone was joined by other family members.

A blessing was given by the local parish minister Rev Andrew Brown.

The President of the Society Thomas Hunter addressed his guests and the crowd. He said it was a building much longed for by the older residents in Alva and was grateful that Johnstone had agreed to perform the ceremony.

In his hand he held a bottle that contained numerous items including local and national newspapers, magazines, and an almanac.

Also included was the Constitution of Alva's Public Park, the Alva Building Society's rules, and an Alva's Baking Society balance sheet.

A copy of the Bazaar's rules and the names of members, numerous specimens of woollen cloth manufactured in the village, and a few coins made up the rest of the bottle.

It was handed to Johnstone and during his speech said that if one day it was found, it would contain 'relics of Alvaites of this generation.'

The bottle was placed in the cavity of the stone and Johnstone duly carried out the task of laying it.

A vote of thanks was given to him, the minister, speakers, and the ladies on the platform, then a poem about the Co-operative by local poet known as Bauldy was read out.

Following the ceremony, the procession re-formed and escorted Johnstone back to the Porter's Lodge and wound its way back to the park.

The new building was to have two storeys with the ground floor used as the shop, and the first floor to house a library and reading room, and a committee room.