Mr John. L Clifford


1935 J. Clifford wmMr. John. L Clifford was born in 1896, proprietor and printer of the former 20th Century Blantyre ‘Gazette’ newspaper. Not to be confused like others have done, with his father and son of the same name.

He was the son of John Clifford (b1867), who started the family owned printing business. The business was based at 230-236 Glasgow Road although the family lived at 40 Station Road in a house named ‘Gertha Mains’ or Gretha Mains.

On Saturday 9th July 1932, the Clifford family suffered a terrible tragedy when their two and a half year old daughter Kathleen, died in a motor accident in Bellshill. The motor accident occurred at the west end of Bellshill about seven o’clock on Saturday night and as well as the death the child, there were injuries to other five people. A sad feature of the affair is that the whole of the Blantyre family were involved. Tho dead girl was Kathleen Clifford, aged 2 and a half of 40 Station Road. The injured were her father, John L Clifford (36) , of the same address, who sustained severe head injuries ; his wife, Mrs Clifford (36 , head and shoulder injuries; their son , John (9 months), head injuries, John Kennedy (25), 6 Eockburn Crescent , North Road , Bellshill, injuries to leg and back; and Kathleen Kennedy (2) , of the same address, head injuries .

The accident occurred at Gas Works Road. The Clifford family had been on a visit to a business friend at Mossend, and had just left the station, and were proceeding in the Mossend direction, when the car, which had been going the same way, struck them. Mrs Clifford was dragged under the car, and her husband was carried for some distance. Tho car in its career knocked down the two Kennedys. The cries of the injured quickly attracted attention, and it was evident that the little girl Clifford and her father were the most seriously injured. They were carried into nearby houses, and a doctor who was quickly on the scene gave medical attention and found that the dead girl was suffering from a fractured skull. The four Cliffords were taken to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary where Kathleen died shortly after admission. The Kennedys, after being attended to, were allowed to go home. The driver of the car was taken to Bellshill Police Station and detained.

Kathleen’s brother, Mr John Clifford III lived at Station Road in the 1960’s. His own daughter, named Kathleen after her deceased aunt, was a local teacher.

John Clifford’s 4-page broadsheet newspaper came out every Friday and in the 1950’s was priced at just 2p.

According to the 1930 Valuation roll, John Clifford’s printing office was at 236 Glasgow Road. He also owned houses at 230, 232 and 234.

Earlier in 1915, his father had owned 4 houses also at 238 Glasgow Road, an address, which had gone by 1930. See also Miss Kathleen Clifford and Mrs Kathleen McCartney. In 1938, he stood unsuccessfully for Councillor. He wound up his Gazette newspaper in 1964.

Throughout the 39-year period, that he was in co ownership or outright charge of the Gazette, John Clifford also served as a member of the Education Board and Parish Council. John Jnr’s son (let’s call him John III) died of kidney failure when he was a young man and it is thought that John L Clifford never really got over that. It was always the intention that John III would take over the printing business and the Gazette, and when he died, John’s heart went out of it. John died in 1974, leaving behind a daughter Kathleen.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

On social media:

John Mcnulty Miss Crawford was my teacher at St.Blaine’s about 1958
Maggie Tonner McVeigh Evoking memories of my youth,Miss Clifford at St.Blanes and the ghostly printing office on Glasgow Road.It`s wonderful to stop and read these stories and go on a wee journey.Thank you,

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