No Boots for Children

barefoot-on-a-limb-960x600What we take for granted these days! This little story tells of some hardships being endured in the 1930s in Blantyre, and how poverty affected some local families.

On 28th April 1933, newspapers reported, “Pleas of poverty were put forward eight Blantyre parents in Hamilton Sheriff Court on Monday, when they were charged with failing to comply with an attendance order issued by the Education Authority in respect of their children.

Their agent stated that they could not send their children to school without boots, and were unable to purchase these. They had all applied to the Education Committee for boots. An automatic scale operated by the Committee could not possibly meet all eventualities, and did not take into consideration the question of family. Mr Rhind, for the Education Committee, said the scale was considered to he very generous and had worked admirably. 

Sheriff McDonald said wished to give a warning to parents that children must be sent to school. “If I were the parent,” his Lordship continued. “I would carry the child to school and let the authorities see the circumstances of the child, so that I could not be blamed for not wishing it to be educated.” He continued the cases for one month to see if the children attend regularly. On his Lordship commenting that all the children were pupils of Joseph’s R.C. School, the respondents’ agent said that it was a Roman Catholic district and the people there were very poor. “

On social media:

Moyra Lindsay My granny took my mum and got her Parish boots, with a P stamped on the back of them. When mums granny saw them she took her and bought her lace up boots and took the Parish ones back. My mum said she was so proud of them. Bare feet in the summer though!

Marian Maguire Yes what a way to stigmatise children, the immigrant Irish population were mostly miners, who had nothing and big families, so would have felt ashamed to not be able to shoe their children, everyone has things so differently today thank god.

Patricia Hutcheson Docherty Note, the judge had no children ” if I had children” then goes on to call the child ” it ” . The auld ejjit

Anne Mikolay How sad that they couldn’t afford shoes for their little ones.

Elaine Starrs I remember my father telling me that in his family on an icy winter morning only one child in the family went to school as they only had one pair of boots – there were 8 children !

Elaine Hunter My mum was the last of 6. She and her sister (next oldest) had shoes for school but the older brothers regularly went barefoot.

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