George & Williamson Bowie

George Bowie 1856-1906

George Bowie 1856-1906

   George Bowie, the constructor of ‘Campsie View’ villa on Glasgow Road, was born on 10th February 1856 the 6th child of ten by parents James Bowie and Margaret Moffat of Wanlockhead. His elder brother John Bowie, born 22nd May 1846 was one of the rescuers in the Blantyre mine disaster of 1877 and indeed is the great, great grandfather of the author of this book.

   This large family was not without tragedy, especially referring to his siblings. Elder brother William (b1844) died aged 25. Elder sister Agnes (b1848) died aged 24. Elder brother James died only aged 8 and even when the family had another son, naming him James too in 1860, he also died aged 8. His elder sister Mary Bowie (b1853) married William Little, whose son James (b1878) would go on in life to be a major Blantyre property owner including the Crossbasket Estate in the 1930s.

   George was a leadwasher at Wanlockhead marrying Williamson Watson (b1855) on 20th July 1877. The couple lived with George’s father in Wanlockhead and sadly their two infant daughters died less than a year old. The couple came to Blantyre between 1886 and 1889 to start their own family. One of the first things he did whilst living at 5 Hall Street in Dixon’s Rows, being a miner, was to buy a lair in the Blantyre Cemetery.

   By 1891, George was a coalminer living at Larkfield at Maxwell’s Land and by 1901 he had moved to Broompark Cottages. By 1903, he was working at Spittal Colliery, aged 47 and it is in that year along with son James, they built ‘Campsie View’.

Williamson Bowie 1855-1931

Williamson Bowie 1855-1931

   George died on 15th June 1906, aged 50. George’s death certificate showed he died of dislocation of shoulder and heart failure but an inquest changed this to “Injuries received in the month of September 1905, by falling from an engine house at Spittal Colliery, Cambuslang, when stripping the slates from the roof.

   His wife, Williamson, who then became the matriarch of the growing fruit and vegetable empire, outlived George until her death on 13th June 1931.

   It was the children of George and Williamson, and indeed their grandchildren who opted out of a mining life and would establish the market garden, florists, fruit and vegetable business that prospered so well in the early 20th Century.

   As will be seen next, Williamson also became the owner of further adjacent properties built for her large family, following the death of her husband

Fro the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road South – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017


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