An ill wind doth blow

A terrible storm blew into Blantyre on the night of Thursday 20th December 1900. As residents battened down the hatches and prepared for the first Christmas of the New Century, the wind howled around the town damaging many of Blantyre’s old buildings. This included a plate glass window in the grocers shop at Burnbank, which blew inwards shattering, in the dead of night. Mr Francis McKee, a brusher from High Blantyre Road, evidently considered this a fine opportunity to do his “big windowChristmas food shopping” and to stock up for the big day. Acting alone, he stepped into the shop in the early hours and helped himself to 5lbs of Bacon, 3lbs of Pudding and an impressive 16lb ham!

Struggling to get home with this haul, he was stopped by a patrolling police offer who questioned the motives of a darkened brusher with such quantities of food and putting 2 and 2 together charged the Francis. The Fiscal handed sentence the morning after of Francis’s own choice, either 40 shillings or 30 days imprisonment remarking “it would have been near impossible for an alternative story to be provided. It’s an ill wind that doth blows nobody good“.

It’s highly unlikely that the McKee family would have enjoyed that ham on Christmas day.

Source: Edinburgh Evening News: Friday 21st December 1900

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