Back in August, Jean Boyd contacted me saying, “I came across this photo, amongst family photos that was taken in Broompark Road of a man. I do not know who he is but there is some info on the photo it had been sent to my aunt and uncle. It is dated 25-12-1947 on the back and it says it was from a Mr & Mrs Walter King 65 Broompark Road, High Blantyre. I know you are so knowledgeable in the people and history of Blantyre. I just wondered if you knew anything of this man or his family. Is this not near where your family lived? I think this photo was sent at Christmas, as I think this man may have died in Oct 47 as there are also two dates on the front of the photo 6th July 1929 and 4th Oct 1947”
Thanks for this Jean. The photo is definitely confirmed as Broompark Road. I recognise my own families shop, the Danskins drapers at the back of the photo. To the left of that is a tenement just creeping into view on the top left, which would have been the Larkfield Bar building, where the Dooninn is now. The cottage with dormer windows was called Greenburn Cottage, and again, even in this era, which I agree is the 1920’s, some of my family would have lived there. I’m sure they would have known Walter King. I’m also sure Walter would have known the Graham family, the preacher John Graham and his growing family lived in the tenement directly across the road from this location.
I like the gas street lights. A bit more about the location. I looked back to a map of 1936 but had to go further back as the Homes for Heroes houses had been built by that time. The man is standing in the very corner of Springfield House, which existed until relatively modern times. Between the hedgerows behind him was the entrance to Warnocks Laun at Springfield Place, its large tenement that would have been just out the picture, had the camera turned left very slightly. I would therefore suggest the King family had some association with Springfield House, although i don’t know of them directly. Springfield House was built in 1810, so it would have had many owners throughout the years. Around WW2 years, the Quinn family were lodging at Springfield House in the attic. The house was owned outright by Robert Bell, just prior to WW2, so I see no mention of Mr King. Nearby was Warnocks Laun, but census information does not show King’s living there. Of course it may be simply that Walter King was simply visiting.
There is one mention of a Walter King living in Blantyre on census information. He was born in 1891 and at the time of that census was only 5 months old living at 4 Calder Street. The King family were sharing the house with the Cameron family and a mystery opens up further, as little Walter is noted as having father, Robert Cameron, not Thomas King (a miner) who was living there also! For the life of me, i could not unravel that mystery but there were many children living there and both parents in the King and Cameron families were alive at the time. If this is the Walter in the photo, it would make him 38 in this photo, which does seem to sit well with me. Walter however, died on 27th May 1956, aged 65 and is buried in High Blantyre Cemetery. With no other census returns for a Walter King, i think this is our man, but leaves a little mystery as to what the scribbled 1947 date may mean. Hope this is all interesting and like you, knowing nothing of the photo, of course I make no hiding of any presumption in this particular case. I like mysterious like these. It will have me coming back to it sometime, i’m positive.
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