Blantyre News in New York

34 Birdsfield Drive as it is today

34 Birdsfield Drive as it is today

The Blantyre Gazette liked reporting on stories of former Blantyre people revisiting their hometown and especially describing what was out there, “Beyond Blantyre”. Another example of such a story follows here.

In mid July 1948, on his fourth visit home from America, since he went there in 1928, Mr Charles Donnelly, former Blantyre man enjoyed a Blantyre holiday. Staying with his sister Mrs Berry of 34 Birdsfield Drive, High Blantyre, he told Blantyre Gazette reporters that he could never dream of making a home again in Blantyre, which he considered as having nothing to offer in comparison with the United States.

Mr Donnelly, unmarried at the time of the report (1948) went to the USA in 1928. Prior to going there, he was employed as a dairyman with Mr William Tait of Burnbank. In the USA, he found a job as a butler and was doing well. The Blantyre Gazette report continues, “Despite the fact that he has been so long away from Blantyre, Mr Donnelly does not forget his many friends around the District. Relatives in Blantyre and elsewhere have received numerous food parcels from time to time and he has also helped many times to assist people who are, perhaps less fortunate than himself. Mr Donnelly just does these good deeds for the love of helping others as he feels that if more people thought along the same lines as himself, that it would be a better world to live in.”

Mr Donnelly moved to 1449, 2nd Avenue, New York and kept in close contact with Blantyre through subscribing and being sent the Blantyre Gazette every week. “This wee paper”, he assured the reporter, “gets aroon plenty!”. When he is finished with it, it gets passed in New York to other Blantyre and Burnbank friends and family. Finally, once it has done those rounds, it finds its way into a hospital for disabled soldiers and sailors. A Mrs Clark, who was originally from Kilmarnock, and is a captain of an association known as “The Gold Star Mothers” was the person responsible for providing the disabled men with their reading material.

According to Mr Donnelly, there were no food shortages in America, a significantly different situation from a decade or two earlier. Foodstuffs and clothing are plentiful and people don’t require to worry about ration coupons and personal points. Asked about his employment situation, he said that there were jobs for everyone who wanted to work and contended that people who weren’t in employment either didn’t want to or were physically unfit. Mr Donnelly stayed in Blantyre that 1948 Summer for a couple of months. Knowing fine well that food in post WW2 Blantyre wasn’t so plentiful, he didn’t take any chances and had travelled from America with some of his favourite food, sufficient for his stay in Scotland!

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Moyra Lindsay My grannies next door neighbour.

Maisie Whittaker My mum and dads neighbour .

Irene Berry Milligan I think the Mrs Berry mentioned might be my great grandmother.

Jiae Jiae Knew the Berrys and the Donnellys…timbertown girl myself…

Elizabeth Kennedy I loved when we lived here, great big houses but sooooo cold in the winter through, ice on the inside of the windows! And this was in the late 80s! We lived at number 7.

David Lanaghan Best wee scheme in Blantyre. Love the TIMBER TOON💕

Sharon Berry The Mrs Berry was my gran, her sons where John, Jim and Chick (my dad), loved hearing all the stories about my uncle Charlie that lived in New York. Love this wee story and so would my dad xx thank you xx


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  1. Also Mrs Clark was a great knitter and done a lot for the service men Made me many beautiful outfits

  2. Charles Donnely was my uncle, we were all well dressed because of the parcels he sent. Beauriful cloths shoes u name it we had it . Neighbors would come to the house 295 Main Street does anyone remember ?? to buy the cloths. I own the resting place where uncle Charlie is buried in Farmingdale Long Island New York and this also will be my resting place. Have a Great Day


    Thank you – a very interesting post. BTW – Being a “Gold Star Mother” meant that you lost a son (or daughter) in the war. I presume this is why Mrs. Clark volunteered in the hospital for disabled soldiers and sailors.

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