Continuing our look at Archibald Brown’s amazing diary from 1874. As you may be aware by now, between 1874 and 1912, Archie was a market gardener and florist at Boathouse (Boat Jocks), Blantyre. He initially travelled between several farms at the time with his services. It is transcribed exactly as it was written.
Pictured at his former home at Boathouse on the North of Blantyre Priory at the side of the River Clyde is Archie Brown working with baskets of fruit around 1908. To put this all into context, Archie didn’t live even to see the start of WW1!
In April 1874, Archie wrote in his diary:
Wed 1. Very stormy morning, digging all day, amongst the year old gooseberry’s in the nursery bed in the afternoon. Very severe showers in the forenoon, not so bad latterly, stormy wet night. Sowed Primulas tonight.
Thur 2. Digging and transporting young gooseberry’s in the forenoon. Made part of a basket in the afternoon. Very wet day. Wet night, Wind SouthWest. The vines in the vinery in flower.
Fri 3. Digging in the forenoon, amongst the young gooseberry’s in the afternoon. Stormy day heavy hail showers, wind west. Was at the meeting at the farm at night Mr Stuart Wright gave a very instructive address.
Sat 4. Digging the young gooseberry’s. Showery day, very cold, a deal of hail, strong west winds.
Sun 5. Good morning, went to church both forenoon and afternoon, had a young servant preaching both times. Fine day, a few showers, rather milder tonight, wind west.
Mon 6. Digging amongst the young gooseberry’s. Very fine day frost at night, wind northwest.
Tues 7. Grafted a few Plums and three apples (2 of them King of Tomkins County 1 Spitzbergian) on Paradise stocks. Dibbed both Quince and Paradise, also a few 100 of Gooseberry’s & Currants (6 Defiance Currants between the Quince and the Blackcurrants) wet afternoon, fine forenoon. Wind West part this morning. Went over to Clyde Nuck and got eleven Chrysanthemums.
Wed 8. Went in for stinkie in the forenoon, planted cabbage & grafted an apple tree in the afternoon. Lifted a few Roses at night, fine morning, showery day, choice night. Wind southwest.
Thur 9. Digging between the rows of strawberry’s along with Willie White, very fine mild day. The Plums in full blow. Severe showers at night Wind SW A good few visitors owing to this being Glasgow fast day.
Fri 10. Digging in the forenoon and planting early cabbage in the afternoon, very fine day wind south west.
Sat 11. Digging and planting potatoes, fine day a little thunder. Wind East but went into the west at night, smoked the greenhouse tonight.
Sun 12. Very fine morning, went to church Mr McLuckie in the forenoon Mr Doac in the afternoon, fine day, wind west. Observed Broom in flower today below the cottage.
Mon 13. Very cold morning digging in the forenoon covering potatoes in the afternoon. Confounded cold day with showers, wind east.
Tues 14. Fine morning, commenced the ground for the strawberry’s, forked a cart of hay, planted a few beans, sowed onions, lettuce, cress and radish. Remarkable fine day very warm wind south west.
Wed 15. Fine morning, preparing ground & sowing carrots, turnips, beet, peas & parsley, then dug a little. Fine forenoon, a little rain in the afternoon, fine clear night, wind N West.
Thur 16. Good morning, was planting potatoes in the forenoon, spreading dung for the strawberry’s in the afternoon, rather showery afternoon and very cold high wind from the west.
Fri 17. Fine morning, was carting dung for the strawberry ground in the forenoon, commenced to clean the old strawberry’s in the Cullough Brae. Went over to the cottage in the afternoon fine day but fine, cold fine night wind west.
Sat 18. Fine morning, was digging amongst the old strawberry’s all day, rather wet in the afternoon. Cold night, went to Orchard, wind west.
Sun 19. Fine morning, was not at church, had a walk to the top of the Swinstie, beautiful sight, the plums in full flower, fine day.
Mond 20. Fine morning, left Orchard for the first train. Commenced digging amongst the strawberry’s in the Cullough in the forenoon. Commenced to plant strawberry’s today in the field below Munroe Cottage. Planted Vicomtess. Went over to Coles for plants of Browns Wonder and Wellingtons. The first bunch of grapes thinned the Muscat in the vinery. The gooseberry’s in full flower fine day wind south.
Tues 21. Watered the greenhouse and swept the parlour vent in the morning. Planted strawberry’s (4rows of Browns Wonder in the top plot next the hedge, also a few Vicomtess down below) in the forenoon, digging the old strawberry’s in the afternoon
along with Willie White. Saw a few Swallows today. Potted a few of the Chrysanthemums tonight. Fine day, very warm, wind south.
Wed 22. Fine morning, digging amongst the old Sir Harry’s in the Cullough, a horrible job. Very warm day wind west. Fair Maggies in full blow.
Thur 23. Fine morning, digging amongst the Sir Harry’s, finished them and commenced the Prince, very warm day, two or three light showers in the afternoon, potted the last of the chrysanthemums tonight, fine night, wind west.
Fri 24. Fine morning, digging all day amongst the old strawberry’s, very warm day with occasional showers, wind went from the east to the west via the south. Bedded down a few roses opposite meadowbay.
Sat 25. Fine morning, went to Carluke in the morning and then to Haywood. Visited a pit and saw a monster engine, a fine piece of machinery. Left Haywood at 5 o’clock and got safe home about 8. Fine night wind west.
Sun 26. Very fine morning, went to church Macklukie both fore and afternoon. Very warm day, went down the length of Broomhouse with Robert, got a sweet coming home, extra warm night, wind nobody knows where.
Mon 27. Fine morning, went in for stinkie in the forenoon, grafted a few apples and spread dung for potatoes in the afternoon, dug the border in front of the kitchen window at night, fine day, a little colder, wind east.
Tues 28. Fine morning, digging amongst the strawberry’s in the Cullough (along with Willie White) all day. Dug the border before the parlour window at night, fine day very draughty all day, wind N East.
Wed 29. A little frost this morning, commenced to dutch hoe the gooseberry’s in the plot behind the house, very warm all day, very little wind from west.
Thur 30. Fine morning dutch hoeing amongst the gooseberry’s, very hard. Extra warm day the apples in full flower, observed the excelsior strawberry in flower, colder tonight, wind east, budded three roses at the foot of Cullough beside Clyde.
Courtesy: Jenny Day