On 17th January 15, Rosemary Harper contacted me with the following message and photo, “Hi Paul, My Husband’s grandfather, Samuel Alexander Brown (1878 – 1921) was born in Glasgow, Scotland.
In his later years he ran a shop. I was never able to pin down exactly where the shop was but, have recently established that this was likely to be 159 Glasgow Road, Blantyre (on the corner of Logan Street). I attach a scan of the photo we hold that is in a cardboard frame. The name of the photographer is shown as Premier Studio, 277 Paisley Road, Glasgow 55. The man at the centre of the photo is Samuel Alexander Brown. The lady on the right is likely be his wife (although we have no photos of a contemporary date to confirm this). We do not know the identity of the lady on the right, but she was most likely a shop worker. The name of Logan Street can be seen on the photo. I do not know when Samuel Brown took the shop over, although he was still running it at the time of his death in March 1921.”
Samuel Brown died young at 43 years old on 7 March 1921. The address on his death record was 49 Aitken Street, Glasgow. This was his home address indicating he may not have lived in Blantyre, despite owning the shop. After his death, Samuel’s widow, Elsie Blair Meek (who was originally from Forfar), took over the running of the shop but she was soft on the local families who would send barefoot children along to obtain goods without the means to pay for the items. The business later ‘went under’.
Three of the surviving children of Samuel and Elsie were admitted to Quarriers Orphanage at Bridge-of Weir in 1923. The only child to escape the orphanage was Rosemary’s mother-in-law, Elizabeth Agnes Alexander Brown (1918 – 1997) who was only two years old at the time of their father’s death. A fifth child, known as ‘baby Sam’ died as an infant.
The Torrance Grocery was at the corner of Logan Street in the 1880s and with the help from Gordon Cook, John.M. Torrance was still the grocer as late as 1903. In the shop picture, scrubbed out on the wall near the Logan Street sign is “The Torrance Grocery”, obviously blanked out when the grocers became Browns. The building was known as Turners building and when it was demolished, it became the site of Blantyre’s Post Office, until the 1970’s when that too was demolished. It is now a green piece of land next to Asda petrol station. In the window reflection of the Browns shop photo across the road in Glasgow Road is McAlpine’s building. Here is 1910 map showing the corner of Logan Street. The shop would have looked across to the Priory Public House at the other side of Logan Street.