Martin Lennon 1899 – 1966

Sarah T Adams from Palm Beach, America contacted me in July 2016 saying, “Hello Paul ,I am looking for information about my grandfather, he lived in Logan Street ,his name was Martin Lennon , he died in the 1960s. The information I am looking for is about him playing football for third Lanark ,and any other group he played for, I know he won some medals. he was in the papers when he died .They said people walked for miles to pay thier respects. I live in Palm Beach County now in America and would dearly love to pass this information to my children .when I’m in Scotland and tell people my grandfather’s name they tell me they used to watch him play In Cathkin park.any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated”

I was able to reply with “Thanks for your email. I’m sorry to say I have very little on Martin…., but interestingly I do have a little information on a James Lennon, who also initially lived in Springwells and was a very accomplished football player who played for Blantyre Victoria. The request is made a little more difficult for me as Third Lanark was not a Blantyre team, and not one I’ve researched. I have a feeling though that this James Lennon, was the brother of your grandfather Martin. i.e both brothers were really into their football.  Here is what I found.

Martin Lennon was born in 1899 at McAlpines Land, Glasgow Road, Blantyre. When he was born his father James Lennon was 27 years old, and mother Ann was 29. In the 1901 census, the family are still at McAlpines Land. Martin’s older brothers were Patrick (14), Hugh (6) and James (4). He also had an older sister Catherine, who that year was 12.
The family had come to Blantyre in the 1890’s seeking employment in the mines. I believe they came from Selkirk. Martin’s father James was a stone miner and indeed his older brother despite only being 14 years old, was a coal miner in 1901!
As you probably know Martin married Mary Tonner and they settled at McAlpine’s Land.
In 1930 James Lennon (Martin’s brother) lived at 67 Auchinraith Road. It is noted that Lennon was a rare and unusual name in Blantyre that decade, according to Valuation rolls. Martin is living at 12 Alpine Street, not far from the previous family home. His employment in the valuation roll is noted as being a ‘footballer’. He was renting the house for an annual rent of £6 and 10 shillings. Around this time the following team photo was taken. This is Third Lanark. perhaps you can pick out your grandfather? (Sarah later confirmed Martin was at the top left)
1929 Third Lanark wm
Third Lanark Football club ceased to exist just 1 year after Martin’s passing in 1966.

To be a professional footballer in the 1930’s would have been a dream come true. i.e to do that as your employment. These men were heroes to many local boys who would aspire to do the same and avoid a life in the pits. Your grandfather managed to turn his talent to break away from a family tradition of working in the dark, dangerous coal mining pits of Blantyre and that’s certainly something to be commended.  I hope this is of some interest.



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  1. i worked beside a man whose name was jim binning who saide at one time he played for queen of the south and was capped for scotland in 1954. he casme from blantyre and lived above the horse shoe bar.. is this true or false

  2. Hi There

    Martin Lennon was my great grandad. His daughter was Annie Lennon (my gran). I am currently researching the family free also. It would be great to get in contact with Sarah T Adams to share stories.

    Kind regards


    1. Sheli Law Balfour

      So if correct he would also have been my great grand father

      Sheli Law Balfour

    2. He was your G grandad. Aunt Annie moved to Kirkcaldy with Uncle DOT Donnelly and family. As kids we were regular visitors at holiday times. Loved visiting Aunt Annie she was so kind and always happy x

      1. I live in Kirkcaldy, Dot was my Grandad. James Donnelly is my dad 🙂 My dad’s sister is Mary and He has 2 brothers Martin (Marty) and Edward (Eddie). It’s lovely to hear your memories of Annie and that you enjoyed visiting my nana (Annie) – unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to meet her as she passed away the year before I was born.

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