On 4th November 2014, Nora Anderson emailed me asking, “Hi Paul ..I wonder if you have any old pics or articles on the house that my dad calls “Thornhill” family home of James Kelly who was a JP and Chairman of Celtic. ( My great grandfather) I am also trying to research his son Frank who died in 1919 – a freak accident in France ..sadly after War had ended. I would love to see a picture of him . I know that James Kelly had a beautiful altar erected in the Catholic Church in memory of his son . Any info or suggestions would be gratefully received.”
I have some information now researched, that I’m able to reply with this:
Francis or Frank Davis Kelly was born on 8th December 1892 and was the first born son of James Kelly, Nora’s great grandfather. His mother was Margaret McErlean. Born in Glasgow, he lived in Blantyre for much of his life and by 1913 had trialed for Celtic Football Club. His debut game was on 2nd February 1918 at the age of 26. However, his football career and indeed his young life was tragically cut short when he was killed in a train accident in or around Montagris, Loiret, France on 5 May 1919 after returning to the army for a time. He was buried in Montagris Communal Cemetery, Lorient, France (Plot 29, Row 8, Grave 23)
Some of this information has been obtained from James Kelly’s gravestone, but sadly I was unable to find any photos of this family.
James Kelly (father of Frank) was owner of Kelly’s Corner pub as well as Engineering company, Blantyre Engineering. The property Thornhill was his at the turn of the Century.
Thornhill became a Nunnery for the Poor Clare Nuns in 1952 when five nuns made the overnight sail from Cork in Ireland to found a new order at their new Blantyre property. They remained there for 21 years until 1973 when their flock grew so large, they had to move to a purpose built property in Bothwell. They left behind a small pet cemetery in their garden.
Selling the house, the Doonin family acquired the property that same year.
The house was originally one of three unusual and grand detached homes that sat on the Dandy path leading from Glasgow Road down to Blantyre Lodge at David Livingstone Centre. These properties would have been very fancy at the time of this 1859 map, and may have given rise to the name “Dandy” belonging to “fine and dandy people”. Built in 1857, Thornhill was owned by the adjacent owner of Boweshill, a large property owned by Assistant Blantyre Works Manager, J Downey Esquire. The first occupier of Thornhill was a Mr Shaw.