At a festive night out, my friend Tommy Leggate asked if I could help him with some ancestry. Tommy gave me the name of his grandfather Thomas Leggate and grandmother Elizabeth Izatt and confirmed they definitely had Blantyre connections. That’s usually all I need to delve into detail. It was time for me to go to work!
Elizabeth Izatt was born on 10th July 1901 at 38 Westmuir Place, Rutherglen. Her parents were John Izatt (b1854-1933), a coal miner and Mary Wood (b1866-d1951), who were married on 13th July 1888 at 118 Abercromby Street, Glasgow. Little Elizabeth’s father signed the birth certificate, meaning he could read and write, an educated man. The family were living in Rutherglen. Elizabeth was the 6th child of the family, the youngest at that time. Her older siblings in order of eldest age first were Andrew (b1889), Susanna (b1891), John (b1893), Catherine (b1896), and Margaret (b1898). John and Mary would go on to have another two children, Jeannie (b1906) and Robert (b1911).
When the 1901 census was taken on the evening of 31st March 1901, it confirms the family were living with the family at 38 Westmuir Place, Rutherglen, which was likely a modest home, perhaps miner’s row given John Izatt’s profession. It should be noted the census names them as Izat, but the birth certificates and death records have the correct family name as Izatt, with a double “t”.
Elizabeth married Thomas Leggate on 30th December 1921 at the Manse, Rutherglen.
Thomas Leggate was born in Low Blantyre Cottage, Blantyre on 27th November 1897. When Thomas Leggate was born his father, John Leggat (then in the census as Leggat), was 35 and is noted as being a master mason. To have this title would have meant he was a skilled craftsman and likely supervisor of others. These were boom times for building in Blantyre and it is likely John worked on many of Blantyre’s tenements. Thomas’s mother, Elizabeth Cavanagh who was from Coatbridge, was 31 and had married John Leggat on December 31st 1884 in Blantyre. During the 1890’s the family lived at former Blantyre building, Allison Place, but by 1901, they had moved to Central Buildings on Glasgow Road.
Thomas would have certainly gone to Ness’s School for his education, the Primary school in Glasgow Road not far from their home. He married Elizabeth Izat in 1921, with the couple choosing to settle down in Blantyre, most likely due to Thomas’s employment location. This was a large family and the name looks to have changed in the early 20th Century to Leggate (with an e at the end) to distinguish this particular line. There is no written reference in the 19th Century to the family having “E” at the end of the name. What is certain is that by 1925, according to the valuation roll, Thomas was spelling his name with an e and was living with his new bride at 17 Glasgow Road, which was on the southern side of Glasgow Road at Springwells, near the boundary with Burnbank. Today, it would be where the First Direct bus depot is.
Thomas was in the 1920s employed as a miner and lived at 17 Glasgow Road with 5 other families at that address. Conditions in the houses would likely have been cramped and the proximity to Bairds Colliery at Craighead would have been ideal for a nearby workplace. In the mid 1920s he was renting the house from retired butcher Alexander Smellie who lived at 55 Craig Street. Thomas gave Alexander £6 and 19 shillings per year in rent (which is about £300 in today’s money.) There may have been an interesting aroma nearby, for next door was Robert McDougall’s Springwells Piggery.
Things were better in the 1930’s. By 1930, Thomas and Elizabeth had moved to the miner’s homes at 45 Craig Street, still renting from the Smellie family. His rent was £8 , still small by comparison to some of the other mining families living at that address. Their son, Peter Leggate was born on 19th April 1939.
Thomas died on 15th December 1961 at Blantyre, aged 64. Elizabeth greatly outlived him until 1991, 30 years later. Thomas and his wife Elizabeth are buried together in High Blantyre Cemetery, their gravestone pictured below.
(c) Blantyre Project
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