Although not at all politically correct these days, Blantyre folk were entertained on the evening of Friday 6th July 1928 by The Kentucky Minstrels. Documented here only for these events did take place, the Kentucky Minstrels were a local combination band, the creation of Mr. Thomas Simpson of Low Blantyre.
Minstrels were of course white people with painted or blackened faces. In those different times, it’s very likely no malice or ill intent was being perceived by the audience and although considered nowadays to be most racist, minstrels were commonplace in local theatres and later on TV right up until the late 1970s.
The venue was the Welfare Hall at Auchentibber and news reports of the time stated “The Kentucky Minstrels provided a most pleasing and happy entertainment to a crowd which was packed out to the door. In their repertoire they have a large variety of negro songs and dances, and their patter and witty sallies and jokes were quite refreshing and kept the audience in roars of laughter.”
With the performance of unnamed “artists”, Mr Simpson established himself and the Minstrels as popular entertainers of the time and they later appeared in Hamilton and Burnbank in other concerts. Not a part of Blantyre’s history that should be dwelled upon, but it is a good reminder how far we have all come since those times.
Pictured uniquely to this website, not far from the Welfare are the buildings at Peasweep at Muirfoot (bottom of Parkneuk Road) in a similar era. Perhaps these children were amongst the audience at such concerts?
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016
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