This wonderful poem about the building and beauty of Kirkton Park dates from the 1930’s. Reference is made to Captain Barr who was obviously integral in making it come to be. A kind thanks goes to Robert Stewart who took time to hand deliver this poem to me at High Blantyre. Robert later wrote, “In 1984 my father moved into 1 Broompark Avenue and he found a page from an old newspaper with an advert from the thirties for his father’s company, Peter Stewart & Sons of Barnhill, the poem was on the same page. I may be wrong, but I’m sure it was from the Blantyre Gazette. T. A. Hughes was the author. As far as I know Captain Barr was a local councillor at the time.” The original poem was a tad politically incorrect, so i’ve substituted just one word, but the rest is printed here in it’s entirety with Robert’s permission.
The old photo was taken in the early 1970s from the School Lane entrance. The accompanying modern photo of the park entrance at Broompark Road is credited to Jim Brown.
Present & Correct Sir!
by TA Hughes (1930s), 93 Station Road, Blantyre
The job that i’ve been working on has come to a close,And where the next one’s coming from – well, heaven only knows.
For thirteen weeks we’ve grafted hard (believe me, it was no lark)
We wrought like blinking navvies, in High Blantyre Public Park.
To make a recreation field, where children they might romp,
We’ve changed into a beauty spot, a filthy, smelling swamp.
We toiled, we drained and dried it, we made rockeries and roads,
And the grafters name was Paddy, we soon banished all the toads,
But everything must finish, now our job is all napoo,
and we’ve got no choice whatever but get back upon the broo.
But we’re glad we’ve made you happy, and you’ve got a place to play,
and we hope that you’ll enjoy it for many and many a day.
I would pass a word of warning to all girls and boys
You may play and shout and scamper, and make all kind of noise,You can swing, or play a football, but this one thing bear in mind,
When you’re going home at bedtime, leave the little flowers behind,
Next morning they will greet you, make you happy all the day,
Where they’d all be dead and silent, had you taken them away.
Now i wonder if you realise, each little girl and boy
The man who was responsible for all your mirth and joy.
He fought for you in Flanders, he fights for you at home,
The odds are great against him here, he fights for you alone,
The rest don’t care a jot for you, so thank your lucky star,
You’ve got a champion at your back, your hero , Captain Barr.
When he proposed a park for you, they hooted and they sneered,
A park in such a place as that, twould cost too much they feared.
They tried to tie him every way, but he wriggled through the hoop,
he made your park a credit, and he’s left them in the soup.
So wherever you may see him, in a bus or in a car,
You can lift your head with pride and say,
Thats our Captain Barr!
When we’re pushing up the daisies in the field “across the wall”,
From the one in which you’re playing with your bat or with your ball,Shout across, i know we’ll hear you, for your voice will make us glad,
Then we’ll know we’ve given sunshine to wee hearts that might be sad,
Shout again, out this time louder, Let your voice ring afar,
Lift your caps and let it thunder, “Hurrah for Captain Barr!”