Blantyre Cemetery Common Ground

common groundWithin Blantyre Cemetery on Cemetery Road, High Blantyre is an area referred to as “Common Ground”

To understand this better, I visited fellow history enthusiast’s Robert Stewart’s website, RDS Memorials (http://rdsasmemorials.herobo.com) which best described the cemetery and common ground, as follows, “The cemetery opened in 1875, with the first interment taking place on the 5th. of May. Section A of the cemetery was classed as common ground, a place where the poorer members of the community, who could not afford the cost of a lair, were interred. The list of names on the site are of the men, women and children interred in the common ground, all in unmarked graves. There are as many as 18 bodies in a single lair. According to records, lair 773 has 38 bodies interred in it. From the middle of 1895 onwards the age of the deceased was also recorded.”

It was with great shock and some sadness that I received an email from Robert at the end of June, to explain that in total, there are 2,781 Blantyre babies and toddlers buried in the common ground, in unmarked graves,  between the years 1875 and 1915. The statistics for that 40 year period are appalling, with on average, 6 babies buried every month! Blantyre was significantly smaller in those days and of course living conditions much tougher.

It got Robert and I talking and thinking some more and we have decided to embark on a project to remember these little souls. We have decided to place a permanent marker, stone, or monument for them. More on that another time. For now, here is a list of just some of the children (to give you a sense of scale of this), with the excel spreadsheet attached for reference. There are many well known Blantyre names in there.

Index No Date First Name Surname
1 17/71875 Baby Wilson
2 17/8/1875 Baby Pettigrew
3 4/12/1875 Baby Aitken
4 10/12/1875 Baby White
5 1/1/1876 Baby Caldwell
6 3/1/1876 Baby Thomson
7 10/1/1876 Baby Campbell
8 10/1/1876 Baby Campbell
9 24/1/1876 Baby Anderson
10 1876 Baby De-forges
11 1876 Baby McMonegal
12 1876 Baby Ferns
13 2/6/1876 Baby Lyon
14 10/7/1876 Baby McLachlan
15 14/7/1876 Baby McDade
16 3/9/1876 Baby Hendry
17 9/11/1876 Baby Paton
18 14/11/1876 Baby Thomson
19 9/12/1876 Baby Butler
20 19/12/1876 Baby Shaw
21 3/1/1877 Baby Murphy
22 6/1/1877 Baby McDonald
23 19/2/1877 Baby Love
24 31/3/1877 Baby Gardiner
25 6/6/1877 Baby Mathieson
26 30/7/1877 Baby Waugh
27 10/81877 Baby Muir
28 11/9/1877 Baby Sneddon
29 20/9/1877 Baby Waugh
30 26/1/1878 Baby Waugh
31 4/12/1878 Baby McAvoy
32 25/12/1878 Baby Kirkland
33 3/1/1879 Baby Russell
34 7/2/1879 Baby Cochrane
35 7/2/1879 Baby McColl
36 20/3/1879 Baby O’Donnell
37 2/5/1879 Baby Gilmour
38 29/5/1879 Baby Campbell
39 31/5/1879 Baby Nicol
40 1/9/`879 Baby Bell
41 25/10/1879 Baby Carrs
42 29/10/1879 Baby Kennedy
43 17/11/1879 Baby Allan
44 22/11/1879 Baby Trayner
45 9/3/1880 Baby McMurray
46 19/4/1880 Baby Kallahan
47 20/4/1880 Baby Andrew
48 17/5/1880 Baby Nelson
49 21/5/1880 Baby Simpson
50 24/5/1880 Baby Savage
51 12/6/1880 Baby Boyd
52 12/7/1880 Baby McGinley
53 9/8/1880 Baby McGashan
54 2/10/1880 Baby Higgans
55 12/11/1880 Baby McCaully
56 20/11/1880 Baby Somerville
57 6/12/1880 Baby Cowans
58 26/2/1881 Baby Donaldson
59 10/3/1881 Baby Smith
60 18/3/1881 Baby Inglis
61 18/3/1881 Baby McCulloch
62 22/6/1881 Baby Delaney
63 6/7/1881 Baby McDonald
64 16/8/1881 Baby Wallace
65 24/8/1881 Baby Connelly
66 30/9/1881 Baby McGuire
67 11/11/1881 Baby Currie
68 12/12/1881 Baby McKay
69 4/1/1882 Baby Law
70 5/1/1880 Baby McGinnes
71 7/2/1882 Baby Fannin
72 27/3/1882 Baby McDade
73 27/4/1882 Baby Keith
74 6/5/1882 Baby Murdoch
75 9/5/1882 Baby Cameron
76 14/6/1882 Baby Pendergrass
77 19/6/1882 Baby Collins
78 27/6/1882 Baby Friock
79 31/7/1882 Baby Symington
80 2/10/1882 Baby Graham
81 11/10/1882 Baby Marley
82 4/11/1882 Baby Dunlop
83 20/11/1882 Baby McKay
84 21/11/1882 Baby Alexander
85 12/2/1883 Baby Leyden
86 7/5/1883 Baby Law
87 14/5/1883 Baby Redmond
88 8/6/1883 Baby Robertson
89 12/7/1883 Baby Waugh
90 18/8/1883 Baby Baird
91 24/9/1883 Baby Farquhar
92 8/10/1883 Baby Knox
93 27/10/1883 Baby McQuarrie
94 26/11/1883 Baby Gainer
95 3/12/1883 Baby Thomson
96 19/1/1884 Baby Rooney
97 8/2/1884 Baby Tweed
98 11/3/1881 Baby Dobbie
99 15/3/1884 Baby McFarlane
100 15/5/1884 Baby McCabe
101 2/6/1884 Baby Hazels
102 10/6/1884 Baby Carr
103 16/6/1884 Baby Russell
104 8/7/1884 Baby Lyons
105 8/7/1884 Baby Giles
106 4/8/1884 Baby Malin
107 27/8/1884 Baby Kelly
108 24/10/1884 Baby Rooney
109 12/12/1884 Baby Thomson
110 6/2/1885 Baby Baillie
111 21/3/1885 Baby Monaghan
112 23/4/1885 Baby McNair
113 15/5/1885 Baby Houston
114 26/5/1885 Baby Stevenson
115 8/6/1885 Baby Reid
116 11/7/1885 Baby McCrorie
117 8/8/1885 Baby Riley
118 10/9/1885 Baby McNab
119 11/11/1885 Baby Pritchard
120 5/1/1886 Baby Scott
121 9/1/1886 Baby McVeat
122 26/4/1886 Baby McCafferty
123 27/4/1886 Baby O’Donnell
124 17/5/1886 Baby Chalmers
125 24/5/1886 Baby Welsh
126 2/10/1886 Baby Monaghan
127 2/10/1886 Baby Cairney
128 8/12/1886 Baby Colville
129 13/12/1886 Baby Kelly
130 24/12/1886 Baby Morgan
131 3/1/1887 Baby McVick
132 14/4/1887 Baby Paterson
133 21/6/1887 Baby Rooney
134 30/7/1887 Baby — Dobbie
135 10/8/1887 Baby —Nelson
136 17/8/1887 Baby —Watson
137 20/8/1887 Baby —Conachan
138 17/10/1887 Baby —Murray
139 20/10/1887 Baby Waugh
140 6/12/1887 Baby McKechnie
141 30/12/1887 Baby Jamieson
142 3/1/1888 Baby Leggate
143 11/1/1888 Baby Christie
144 14/1/1888 Baby Gillon
145 16/1/1888 Baby Curran
146 22/3/1888 Baby O’Brien
147 31/3/1888 Baby Prentice
148 11/4/1888 Baby McCabe
149 30/4/1888 Baby Rooney
150 11/5/1888 Baby Symington
151 3/7/1888 Baby Ferguson
152 26?/7/1888 Baby Nelson
153 27/8/1888 Baby McCall
154 8/9/1888 Baby Cowie
155 19/11/1888 Baby Hood
156 10/12/1888 Baby Ward
157 15/2/1889 Baby McKeown
158 18/2/1889 Baby Ferguson
159 21/3/1889 Baby Beveridge
160 20/5/1889 Baby Neilson
161 5/6/1889 Baby Traynor
162 19/6/1889 Baby Ferguson
163 3/7/1889 Baby Brodie
164 20/7/1889 Baby McFarlane
165 4/10/1889 Baby Baird
166 25/10/1889 Baby Motherwell
167 29/11/1889 Baby Wood
168 3/12/1889 Baby Smellie?
169 12/12/1889 Baby Connachan
170 23/12/1889 Baby O’Donnell
171 30/12/1889 Baby Taggart
172 13/1/1890 Baby Carling
173 16/1/1890 Baby Anderson
174 25/1/1890 Baby McGuigan
175 28/1/1890 Baby Irvine
176 6/2/1890 Baby McEwan
177 15/2/1890 Baby Mackay
178 25/2/1890 Baby Marshall
179 6/3/1890 Baby Latta
180 8/3/1890 Baby Gallagher
181 24/3/1890 Baby Reilly
182 26/3/1890 Baby McKinlay
183 22/1/1891 Baby Dawson
184 30/1/1891 Baby Best
185 26/3/1891 Baby Harrison
186 27/3/1891 Baby Barrie
187 31/3/1891 Baby McKay
188 18/4/1891 Baby Paterson
189 30/4/1891 Baby Robb
190 2/5/1891 Baby Bishop
191 9/5/1891 Baby Orr
192 12/5/1891 Baby Kay
193 3/6/1891 Baby Kennedy
194 3/6/1891 Baby Campbell
195 6/6/1891 Baby Reilly
196 6/6/1891 Baby Houldsworth
197 4/7/1891 Baby Clarkson
198 20/7/1891 Baby Dawson
199 31/7/1891 Baby English
200 20/8/1891 Baby Gilchrist
201 25/8/1891 Baby Thomson
202 9/9/1891 Baby Mitchell
203 11/9/1891 Baby Robb
204 22/9/1891 Baby Mackie
205 26/9/1891 Baby Duddy
206 17/10/1891 Baby Cornfield
207 18/11/1891 Baby Smith
208 30/11/1891 Baby Sprott
209 3/12/1891 Baby Lindsay
210 26/12/1891 Baby Fulton
211 28/12/1891 Baby Welsh
212 20/2/1892 Baby Watson
213 7/3/1892 Baby Gillon
214 7/3/1892 Baby Goodfellow
215 12/3/1892 Baby Muir
216 29/3/1892 Baby Pettigrew
217 2/4/1892 Baby Brown
218 16/4/1892 Baby Shields
219 20/4/1892 Baby Stewart
220 3/6/1892 Baby Dunn
221 20/6/1892 Baby McBeth
222 25/6/1892 Baby Harrison
223 12/7/1892 Baby Todd
224 13/7/1892 Baby Smith
225 14/7/1892 Baby Rinn
226 23/7/1892 Baby Hamilton
227 28/7/1892 Baby Dougan
228 22/8/1892 Baby Daily
229 23/8/1892 Baby McRory
230 1/9/1892 Baby Reid
231 10/10/1892 Baby Steven
232 11/10/1892 Baby Gallacher
233 20/10/1892 Baby Sharp
234 22/10/1892 Baby Morrow
235 31/10/1892 Baby Pate
236 1/11/1892 Baby ?
237 21/11/1892 Baby Smith
238 23/11/1892 Baby Cairney
239 26/12/1892 Baby ?
240 27/12/1892 Baby McFarlane
241 16/1/1893 Baby McLinden
242 21/2/1893 Baby Brown
243 21/2/1893 Baby Dunn
244 1/3/1893 Baby Griffin
245 10/3/1893 Baby Lockhart
246 15/3/1893 Baby Watson
247 16/3/1893 Baby Babes
248 21/3/1893 Baby Boyd
249 27/3/1893 Baby McGlenning
250 18/4/1892 Baby Patterson
251 16/5/1893 Baby Mackie
252 1/6/1893 Baby Smith
253 20/7/1893 Baby Gallagher
254 26/7/1893 Baby Cunningham
255 17/08/1987 Baby Clarkin
256 19/08/1987 Baby Latta
257 29/08/1987 Baby Smith
258 5/10/1893 Baby Wright
259 17/11/1893 Baby Hamilton
260 23/11/1893 Baby Smith
261 21/12/1893 Baby Thomson
262 24/1/1894 Baby Docherty
263 2/3/1894 Baby Rooney
264 5/4/1894 Baby Bankier
265 6/4/1894 Baby Watson
266 11/4/1894 Baby O’Donnell
267 16/4/1894 Baby Reid
268 19/4/1894 Baby Devine
269 25/5/1894 Baby Kelly
270 2/6/1894 Baby Mccabe
271 16/7/1894 Baby McMillan
272 15/8/1894 Baby Henderson
273 21/8/1894 Baby Smith
274 13/9/1894 Baby Gallagher
275 28/9/1894 Baby Hutchison
276 1/10/1894 Baby Neilson
277 11/10/1894 Baby Todd
278 27/10/1894 Baby Johnston
279 3/11/1894 Baby Fulton
280 3/11/1894 Baby McLachlan
281 5/11/1894 Baby Griffiths
282 15/11/1894 Baby Foy
283 7/1/1895 Baby Traynor
284 10/1/1895 Baby Murray
285 16/1/1895 Baby Thomson
286 20/2/1895 Baby Barr
287 23/3/1895 Baby Courtney
288 30/3/1895 Baby Kennedy
289 2/4/1895 Baby Conner
290 5/4/1895 Baby Thomson
291 22/4/1895 Baby Fraser
292 8/5/1895 Baby Elliot

Source Data: Robert Stewart’s spreadsheet summary of babies and children in the Common Ground 1875 – 1915

CGChildren

On social media:

  • Mary Crowe Was up there last week and noticed someone had put a small plaque on the wall dedicated I suppose to a deceased family member. Also noticed when passing, you can hardly make out the Monument to to men killed in The Blantyre Explosion it seems very overgrown to me. Think those trees should be removed and some other smaller plants put in their place.
    • The Blantyre Project I was thinking the same thing only 2 weeks ago Mary. The monument had almost vanished in the undergrowth.
  • Jean Boyd Yeah I think the Monument to the men killed in the Blantyre Explosion should be tidied up. What a lovely thought to put a wee marker or stone to remember these wee lost babies, our sister was buried there too but in October 1950 as she was born asleep, she was taken away from my parents who had no say in what happened to her, only recently when I researched about her my sister and I were shown to her grave, she too is buried in an unmarked grave with four other babies two of which in section A lair 1383 High Blantyre Cemetery, Though my sister and I have remembered her on our parents grave at Priestfield Cemetery.
  • Marian Maguire It’s a lovely idea to remember those and the babies and their families who sadly could afford no better, a nice memorial from the people of blantyre would be lovely. The trees should be trimmed not removed as it takes years for trees to establish and too many have been removed from blantyre, shrubs take more maintenance keeping them in shape and weed and rubbish free.
  • The Blantyre Project I’ve heard this piece of ground being referred to as “the spare plot of ground” in the cemetery. Little do people know just how many burials are actually there. Over this wall to the right, was once the hospital.
  • Elizabeth Dobson Grieve I have relatives buried in the common ground in section A. They were babies in 1902 but were named. David and Elizabeth Dobson. It was thanks to Robert that I discovered they were there. Their mother, my gt gt grandmother, died a month after their birth.

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  1. The shockingly high number of infant graves reflects very well the mortality of that era. In the 1890s, Scotland’s infant (less than 1 year old) mortality rate was as high as 129/1000 live births. That figure would have been higher in the overcrowded miners’ quarters. Infectious diseases were the main cause, with TB predominant. Never underestimate the importance of public health.

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