The Blantyre Project is also about telling the uplifting stories from the town’s residents. Elizabeth Cardoo (nee Anderson) and Hamilton Advertiser gave us permission to use this story and images. Whilst Golden Anniversaries are more common these days, this snapshot from 1951 is certainly worth retelling especially as the complete history is available. I’m sure the Anderson family will be deeply proud of this and it’s permanent record.
Mr and Mrs William Anderson of 48 Hardie Street, Blantyre reached an important milestone in their lives during 1951 when they had the pleasure of celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary at a social function at the Miner’s Welfare Institute. Members of the family and relatives gathered together for the occasion and took the opportunity of paying tribute to the worthy couple who, had entered into matrimony some 50 years earlier.
Mrs. Anderson, whose maiden name was Jessie Campbell, was originally from East Kilbride, but had lived in Blantyre since she was a few years old, just like her husband of a year younger. Her name on her 1876 birth certificate and her 1901 marriage certificate is Janet Fleming Campbell and on the 1911 census form she is recorded as Janet Anderson. The census form paints a picture of how tough her life was as a miner’s wife in 1911. They lived in a two room house in a building on main street High Blantyre with, at that time, 6 children under the age of eight with the youngest four aged 1,2,3 and 4. Her 66 year old father and 24 year old brother also lodged with them in the same two room house. So she had to wash and cook for herself, three miners and 6 children whilst being pregnant most of the time.
Mr. Anderson was a well known person throughout the community. In early 1950, Mr Anderson was the recipient of one of the National Coal Board certificates for long and meritorious service to the mining industry and the country. At that time he had completed 62 years in the pits and was in everyday employment at Priory Colliery until it had to cease production in April 1951 due to flooding.
The couple were married in the High Blantyre masonic hall on the 29th November 1901 by Rev C.S Turnbull who was then minister of the Parish Church. After their marriage they took up residence in the Barnhill district of High Blantyre but spent a large portion of their married life in Hardie Street.
In 1951, the family consisted of 4 sons and 4 daughters, all of whom were married. The youngest son was Mr. James Anderson J.P who was known for being Chairman of the 5th District Council. At the time of the photo on the next page, the old couple had no less than 25 grandchildren!
Mr. Anderson started work in Quarter Colliery when he was eleven. Each day, he would walk four miles to get to work, and the same distance back at the end of the shift. From Quarter he transferred to Barwood pit in Kilsyth and was two or three years there before the pit closed down. When Mr. Anderson came to Blantyre in 1893, he took up residence with an Aunt in Cemetery Walk, Auchinraith, High Blantyre, the particular house long since demolished. He began work in nearby Dixon’s colliery.
In 1900 he began to work in Priory Colliery, some 6 years after it opened. He didn’t confine his activities solely to working in the pits. Greatly interested in morale and music, he acted as conductor to a few bands within the District.
He was a founding member of the Auchinraith Band in 1901 with 16 learners and although the band became defunct during War years, Mr. Anderson when peace was restored, later called for it to be reformed in 1920.
For a period of 3 years, Mr. Anderson was also the conductor in Dumbarton Burgh Band and toured the Highlands with them for a period of 2 years in succession. He later gave valuable service to both St Joseph’s and Blantyre’s Silver band.
The Band attended the opening of Auchinraith School on 31st August 1900. When Andra McAnulty joined the band, he became extensively involved in fundraising, helping to secure enough funds to build the Blantyre Miner’s Welfare building, still standing today. It is wonderful that the family is able to retell so much history of this much-loved couple.