Miss Aggie Bain – was born Agnes Lloyd Bain in Hamilton on 5th November 1867 to parents David Bain, an accomplished plasterer and Jane Brownlie, who had married in June 1860 in Hamilton. She was the 4th child, behind older siblings Mary, Andrew and John.
In 1871, when she was 3, she was living with the whole family at 17 Hope Street, Hamilton, and with them was also younger brother Thomas who was then only 1. Twin brothers William and James were born in 1877.
During her young life between 1871 and 1881, for an unknown reason she was sent to live with her Aunt Marion Marshall Brownlie in Blantyre. Marion was single and Aggie may have simply provided some company for her. The situation was strange, as Aggie’s parents and all her siblings (both older and younger) continued to live in Hamilton for several more decades.
In 1881 census, Marion is 59 and a dressmaker at Bardykes. Aggie is just 13 years old and still a scholar. With them was a lodger 29-year-old William Anderson. By 1891, Marion was 69 years old, and Aggie is now also a dressmaker aged 23, clearly being taught by her aunt. They are both living at Brownlie Cottage at Barnhill, reputedly Blantyre’s oldest inhabited house. They are alone, no menfolk in the cottage.
The 1901 census has 33-year-old Aggie living with Marion, now 79. With them is Aggie’s younger brother Thomas, aged 29.
In 1915 Aggie owned 2 houses at Glasgow Road, namely 292 a house called Strathyre and also number 294 next door. Ownership of these 2 homes was short lived as she had sold them both by 1920. There was a very good reason for this.
In 1919, Aggie’s Aunt Marion passed away and Aggie was to inherit the house she had spent most of her adult life in. Marion was 97 when she died and it is clear her niece Aggie being in the same house, likely tended to the elderly lady.
Aggie’s outright ownership of Brownlie Cottage commenced in 1919 when she was 51 years old. This was to be a sad year for her, for mother Jane also passed away that year.
Throughout the 1920’s Aggie lived alone at Brownlie Cottage, directly across from the Barnhill Tavern. In the late 1920’s, her cottage was subjected to being reduced in size to make the nearby Bardykes Road safer and wider for vehicles.
By 1930 Brownlie Cottage was given the address 7 Bardykes Road and that year Agnes still owned it and is noted in the valuation roll as being a spinster. Indeed she never married in her life.
She had some sort of “connection” with the nearby Jackson family of Bardykes, most likely a friendship with Mrs Jackson. Aggie Bain was fairly “well to do”, perhaps through inheritance, a successful dressmaker or the previous sale of her two homes on Glasgow Road. The Jackson family have stories of “going shopping” to Edinburgh with Aggie who was very “broad Lanarkshire” in dielect and the good shopkeepers of Edinburgh had difficulty understanding her. But she and her female friend, another “worthy” about her age seemed to have a bit of money and were not afraid to venture as far as London together.
Aggie passed away on 9th August 1952, aged 84 at Brownlie Cottage, Barnhill. Long life was certainly in the genes of this family. Her will was read in London on 7th January 1953, which required the attendance of John Brownlie Bain, her elder brother.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017