Being off work today on holiday, and knowing there was an archaeology dig on this week in Blantyre, I couldn’t help myself but get down there to see for myself, and glad i did! The National Trust has been digging this week in the park fields at David Livingstone Memorial Centre, namely around the area where Blantyre Lodge used to be. Today, it is a modern children’s playpark in the Centre, but there once stood a beautiful lodge house throughout the 1800’s. Pictured here with the kind permission of Historic Scotland is Blantyre Lodge around 1900.
Whilst this wonderful picture was in their possession, not much about the people was known, so i was able to come back home and find out a little more from my own research. First mention i found of ownership was Mssrs Monteith, the mill owners owning the building. In 1859 it was occupied by J Reid. However, wanting to track down the people in the picture, i jumped to the 1891 and 1901 census information. In 1901, William Jolly, a retired schools inspector age 62 and his wife Mary Anne also 62 lived in the house with their daughter Carolina. Their grandsons lived there too. Also in the house was 2 siblings of Carolina employed as a gardener and insurance clerk. I believe therefore the people in this photo are William, Mary and Carolina Jolly , along with
William and Marys grandsons. The timing fits well to the photograph. I’d never seen the photos of the Lodge before and was surprised to see how different in style it was from most other buildings in Blantyre of the era. It appeared very colonial, and very fitting for other parts of the Victorian empire.
After 1903, the mills fell into decline. There was no great need for a lodge house or managerial home and the lodge fell into disrepair. Even in this old photo, some window panes look broken!
By the 1910s and 1920s, it would appear the house was not lived in. This other photo certainly would suggest so and by 1928, the house was demolished to make way for the David Livingstone Centre renovations and landscaping.
I have to admit been overly keen to seeing the archeology at first hand, and i was kindly permitted a look at the trench and the finds coming up this week (9-13th June 2014). Amongst some of the wonderful old finds were coins, a key, a small horseshoe or boot heel and a writing implement made of slate. However, the star find was an amazing brooch, shaped like a little axe with the letters WEG engraved on it. I am unsure if it was made of silver but certainly looked so. The weather stayed fine and had some memorable conversations with some of the team.
Thank you today to Dr Daniel Rhodes and his archaeologists team from Historic Scotland and to Learning officer Martha Burns Findlay for the time, kindness shown to me and informative conversation. It was a pleasure to meet you all.
You can find out more about Blantyre Lodge here http://blantyreproject.com/2014/03/07/blantyre-lodge/