Mr. John Roberts 1849 – 1932


east lothian

1860s East Lothian Rifle Volunteers

Mr John Roberts was born in Paisley in 3rd December 1849 and had rather an interesting life worth sharing here.

He was baptised on 30th December 1849 at Middle Church, in Paisley. In the early 1860’s his family moved to Blantyre. Father William, a police officer and mother Mary, John and his 5 brothers and sisters. He was a middle child and grew up to become a plumber with a Bothwell company. When he was only 16 (about 1865) he joined the Blantyre Rifle Volunteers. He was allegedly one of the best shots and represented the Battalion on more than one occasion at Wimbledon (the biggest event in the calendar). He was also at the famous ‘Wet Review’ that Major Ness was so proud to be a part of in Edinburgh before the Queen. In 1871, the census records them as living at “number 6” in Blantyre, but doesn’t say where.

He went on to become member of the old School Board, and may be featured in some old Blantyre photos of curlers and the bowlers as he was keen on both. In his latter part of life, he had been for a while, the proprietor of the Priory Bar on Logan Street, before he died aged 83 in 1932, in a nursing home in Glasgow.

Pictured in the 1860s is East Lothian Volunteer rifles. Not a Blantyre picture, but it gives a good indication as to what uniforms looked like and the length and type of the rifles being used in that era.

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