Continuing our look at Blantyre market gardener and florist, Archibald Brown’s amazing diary from 1874 and 1875. It’s transcribed exactly as it was written and shared here courtesy of his great granddaughter, Jenny Day.
Pictured in 1908, is one of Archie’s fellow workers at Boathouse, standing proudly at the doorway along with their fruit pickings of the day.
In June and July 1874, Archie wrote in his diary about being caught out by late frosts, about a 2 or 3 day holiday before fruit picking pulled him back to the farms. He talks about collecting in hundreds of fruits per day, indicating these orchards were plentiful and a means for him and their owners to make their living.
Mon 1. Fine morning, watered the greenhouse then loaded hay, took in a little to the house. Ridging for turnips in the orchard, potted a few chrysanthemums at night, wind south west.
Tues 2. Fine day, ridging in the Fairhaugh for turnips all day, fine day for growth, wind south. Potted a few chrysanthemums at night. Bob went in for stinkie.
Wed 3. Fine morning, finished the turnips in the Fairhaugh in the forenoon, dutch hoeing in the Cullough in the afternoon. Went over to Steels at night. Wind south, horrid warm day.
Thur 4. Fine morning, very warm day, dutch hoeing in the forenoon, sowed the last of the turnips in the Fairhaugh in the afternoon and had a little wind south. Smoked the greenhouse at night.
Fri 5. Fine morning, dutch hoeing in the Cullough all day, went up to Orchard at night. Visited H.H. at night, fine day, wind west.
Sat 6. Fine dull morning, came down from Orchard with the first train. Hoeing all day in the Cullough, went over to the church at night, more wind today from the west.
Sund 7. Fine morning, went to church, it was communion Sabbath and we had a minister from Hamilton preaching at night, fine night, wind south west.
Mon 8. Good morning. Dutch hoeing in the Cullough all day. Went over to the village in the morning for a dutch hoe, watered the vine border in front at night, also tried an experiment with carbolic acid for the green fly on the plums. Fine night, wind west.
Tues 9. Good morning, dutch hoeing, finished the Cullough today, wet at night, cleaned the barn. Bob went in for stinkie, dull night, wind west.
Wed 10. Fine morning, sowed a few peas, transplanted lettuces, wed onions and dutch hoed turnips. Planted mint and a good few odds and ends. Showery but a good day, wind west.
Thur 11. Wet morning, dug the corner of the old strawberry’s in the forenoon, skuffing the new ones in the afternoon, fine night, wind west. The grapes in the vinery colouring.
Fri 12. Severe frost this morning, the potatoes blackened. Got the end rigs finished at the young strawberry’s, skuffed a little, got the cow to the bull. Fine day wind n.east.
Sat 13. Good morning, dutch hoed the plot behind the greenhouse up till 4 o’clock then commenced in the Glenton plot behind the dung hill. Very warm day, potted a few chrysanthemums at night, fine night, wind nor’east.
Sun 14. Fine morning, went to church and heard an excellent lecture in the forenoon concerning Christ sending out his apostles to preach the gospel, and in the afternoon a good sermon from, Christ in us the hope of glory, by Mr McLuckie. Very warm day, fine night, wind nor’east
Mon 15. Good morning. Finished the dutch hoeing of the gooseberry’s and commenced to a few of the strawberry’s out by the railway. Very warm day, good night, wind east.
Tues 16. Fine morning dutch hoeing and went in for stinkie in the forenoon. Skuffing the young strawberry’s in the afternoon. Good night, wind east.
Wed 17. Good morning, skuffing the young strawberry’s all day, very warm in the forenoon, colder at night. Wind north.
Thur 18. Good morning, very warm day. Was skuffing amongst the young strawberry’s, wind, south east.
Fri 19. Good morning, skuffing amongst the young strawberry’s along with W.W. Finished a four pint basket at night. Scarcely so warm today, wind nearly west.
Sat 20. Good morning, got the sheep shorn this morning, spading the young strawberry’s in the forenoon. Went to Falkirk with the midday train, then to Linlithgow, explored the palace and was greatly delighted. Visited Callander Gardens at night, fine night, wind west.
Sund 21. Good morning. Went to Stirling and visited the Bridge of Allan, then the Abbey Craig, then went to Camlen Bennett Abbey and from thence to Stirling by the ferry, then visited the Castle and returned to Larbert about six. Walked by Carron to Falkirk. Fine night. Saw a fine Ericeria at Carron, wind direct west.
Mon 22. Good morning, returned with the first train, got to Boathouse a little after nine. Finished the skuffing of the young strawberry’s, good day wind south.
Tues 23. Commenced to pull the strawberry’s this morning, 151/2 pints. Was potting Roses and potting out Carnations worked in the greenhouse all day. Smoked the chrysanthemums tonight, showery day, wind south.
Wed 24. Pulling strawberry’s in the morning, 16, and in the greenhouse afterwards. Had a very severe thunderstorm that lasted for a few hours, wind south.
Thurs 25. Pulled a few strawberry’s, this morning, had them to waste. Finished the greenhouse today, and planted cauliflower, savoy, brussels and broccoli, very heavy rain in the afternoon, wind.
Fri 26. Good morning, pulled 24 of Princes. Doing odds and ends. Went up to Orchard at night, visited H.H. and had a pleasant walk, beautiful moonlight, south west.
Sat 27. Good morning, got the mare at Orchard and rode 9 1/2 down to Boathouse in the forenoon. In the afternoon went to the station and hiled some hay. Pulled six pecks of hard gooseberry’s. Fine night, wind S. West.
Sund 28. Was not at church in the forenoon, went in the afternoon, fine night, wind south.
Mon 29. Good morning, started at four this morning, pulled 71. Went into town, got up the hay. Thunder and severe hail storm at night, wind west.
Tues 30. Good morning, started at four, commenced the Keans and Viscountess today, pulled 9 pecks of Whitesmiths and 14 pints of strawberry’s for Kidson in the afternoon. Very wet about five and lasted till after six. Wind south.
Wed 1. Good morning, started at four this morning, got eighty-four pints and had the most of them to work. Made a celery trench and planted a few celery, the girls thinning turnips. Came on wet about five, wind west.
Thur 2. Dull morning, started at four, had a frightful pull, ripe berrys scarce, got seventy- four and a half. Doing a few odds and ends in the forenoon, pulled five pecks of gooseberry’s in the afternoon, went up to Willie Thomson’s at night, wet afternoon, wind west.
Fri 3. Dull morning, commenced at five this morning and got poor stuff, pulled in all seventy-five pints. Filling up wants in the Wizard plot and dutch hoeing, then pulled three pecks of gooseberry’s, wind west.
Sat 4. Dull morning, started at four, pulled seventy of the Prince, got in all eighty-two and a half. Pulled five pecks of gooseberry’s and did a few of the Wizards. Bob went in for stinkie, showery day, strong west wind.
Sun 5. Good morning, showery day, went to church. Heard a very good sermon in the forenoon by McLuckie, had a stranger in the afternoon, he had an excellent discourse. Good night, fully as settled like, wind west.
Mon 6. Wet morning, started at four and had two thirds of them to work, pulled in all fifty- seven and a half (one no ripened). Weeding in the Eltons and preparing the ground for the plants, wind west.
Tues 7. Good morning, the Carluke girls started this morning, commenced at four, there was none wanted this morning. The days pulling amounted to two hundred and twenty one and a half, pulling in the forenoon for Filshel. Bob went for stinkie. Weeding and singling turnips. Pulled four pecks of gooseberry’s, good day, wind south.
Wed 8. Good morning, started at four and got a fairish quantity. Pulled in all today one hundred and sixty one. Started the ripe Sulphers, pulled two pecks and two hard. An excellent day, very warm, wind south east.
Thur 9. Good morning, started at four and got along pleasantly. Pulled in all one hundred and eighty seven and seven pecks of gooseberry’s. Fine day, planted the remainder of the celery and got the carrots thinned, wind south.
Fri 10. Good morning, started at four, pulled for the first van, one hundred and seventy nine and a half. For the second, sixty and presented twenty. In all two hundred and sixty two. Pulled twelve pecks of gooseberry’s. Fine day, wind south west.
Sat 11. Goodmorning, started at four, got a good quantity, pulled in all, two hundred and sixty pints also fourteen pecks of gooseberry’s. Choice day, had a shower at night, wind west.
Sun 12. Good morning, did not go to church, herding the crows off the strawberry’s, fine day, very warm, wind east in the morning.
Mon 13. Good morning, started at the usual time. Started the Eltons and the Wizards, pulled in all two hundred and two. Good day, wind somewhere.
Tues 14. Good morning, started at four, got a good haul, pulled in all two hundred and eighty seven, pulled for Filshel today besides gooseberry’s. Very warm and rather firey, good day, wind…
Wed 15. Good morning, started at the old time and got a good pull, two hundred and seventy and a half. Bob went in for stinkie, fine day very warm, wind west.
Thur 16. Good morning, started at the old time but did not get them easily. Pulled sixty- three for Filshel today, besides twenty-two gooseberry’s, pulled in all…..Three vans in today, wind east.
Fri 17. Good morning, started at five this morning, had a miserable pull, got in all one hundred and seventy one and twenty-four gooseberry’s. Horrid warm, almost melted, wind south.
Sat 18. Goon morning, started at four, ready pull of the young Eltons, pulled in all two hundred and eleven, good day but prodigious warm.
Sun 19. Good morning, was not at the church, herding crows off the strawberry’s, very warm day, wind south.
Mon 20. Good day, started at the usual time, was in at Glasgow. Pulled in all one hundred and sixty four and a half. Very warm day, had thunder and a heavy rain early in the morning, good night, wind south.
Tues 21. Good morning, started at four, pulled in all two hundred and thirty four and twenty for Filshel, was in with the van. Very wet day with a good deal of thunder, fair at night.
Wed 22. Good morning, started at the usual time, pulled in all two hundred and twenty four and a half. Went in with the van, rather a better day, pulled fifty for Filshel, fine night.
Thur 23. Good morning, started at the usual time, pulled in all three hundred ten and a half, was in with the van. Severe shower when we started, good day, wind…
Fri 24. Good morning when we started but came on very wet, got a drenching. Pulled in all one hundred and eighty three. Went to Orchard and came back on the last train. A few peals of thunder and rain in the afternoon, wind…
Sat 25. Good morning started at the usual time. pulled in all two hundred and twenty one, good day, wind…
Sun 26. Good morning, has been a good deal of rain. Went to church both forenoon and afternoon, McLuckie gave two good discourses. Very warm, like rain. Wind pretty nearly south.
Mon 27. Good morning, started at half past four, pulled in all two hundred and one. Good day, wind south. Two vans in, got the mare shod in the hind feet.
Tues 28. Wet morning, got a good few, but it was long before we got started. Bob in for stinkie, thunder and rain. Pulled in all two hundred and….
Wed 29. Good morning, started at four, had to work the most of them. Pulled in all two hundred and thirty six, good day, wind west.
Thur 30. Good morning, started at half past four, had an excellent pull. Got in all three hundred and two, fine day, wind west.
Fri 31. Started at the old time and got a good pull. Got in all two hundred and fifty one and a half. Good day, pulled for Filsh. in the afternoon.
Courtesy: Jenny Day