What a fantastic photograph this is. It was taken in Dunblane Hydro Hotel in 1974, the event being Peter and Margaret Wilkie’s Silver Anniversary. A treasured photograph shared by their son, Sandy. Now, this photo reads like a real “whos who in Blantyre” of that year and as well as being a happy occasion first and foremost, it is interesting to see so many familiar faces.
Sandy has provided an excellent insight into the people in this photo. He said, “It was the first big event I was ever involved in organising and actually speaking at! Apart from me and my sisters, I believe there might only be 5 or 6 of this crowd still alive!
Many Blantyre faces amongst them :
- Andrew & Mrs Smith (Graham’s grandparents) from A&J Smith (Broompark Rd garage and formerly undertakers and local caretakers of High Blantyre’s ambulance service,
- Isaac & Cathy Smith who owned Chantinghall Hotel,
- Stuart Kennedy (Peter & Rab Stewart’s nephew and brother of Alan who breeds and exhibits champion Highland Cattle whose family were in Springfield Crescent ,
- my dad’s cousin Peter Craig the butcher and his wife Phyllis,
- Geordie & Mrs Bowie of the market garden where the Shearer houses were built,
- Jimmy Mayes who lived and worked st Bardykes till he had a serious accident when he was mugged and moved into Flemington House retirement Home (cousin of David Steel former leader of the Liberal Party),
- Raymond & Barbara Johnstone (he was a manager in Blantyre Engineering Works till he retired and came to work at Bardykes and she was a district nurse) who were one of the very first purchasers of a Wimpey house in Blantyre at no. 7 Dalcraig Crescent,
- Jean & Willie Cameron (Cameron’s Butchers – moved to Poolewe where he died but she still works in the famous Inverewe Gardens),
- Jean Steven (who latterly lived in Spruce Terrace and was daughter of Jock Stein & wife who had the piggery marching with Bardykes where Dr Maureen & Mr Cassidy lived in the new house they built till they died,
- the Rev George Dale and wife Elsie from Blantyre Old Parish Church in High Blantyre,
- Ian & Faye Robb (moved to Cupar in Fife where he was County Assessor till he retired – he was my dad’s best man and his parents were John & Greta Robb who owned and farmed along the Cambuslang Rd from us at the Spittal Farm till they lost all their cash in the Financial Crash of the 30’s and eventually Peter Stewart moved in with his lorries,
- John & Liz Fox (he collected milk money for me and she looked after the ponies but lived in Stonehouse where he still builds Show Jumps for the BSJA),
- Martin & Mary Munro (he was manager of the BoS and had a holiday home in Inveraray called Cromault and were the first people I ever knew who holidayed in that exciting new foreign destination of the late 50’s called Majorca) – they had two sons, Martin & Duncan, the former became a Bank manager in Thornhill and the other a GP in Milngavie and acted as Doctor to the Queen when she was in Scotland,
- Will & Mrs Steele from Crookedstone Muir Farm where he milked cows with their 3 son’s – he was the first Cattle Dealer I ever knew and who taught me what NOT to do with Luck’s’pennies (better known in farming circles as “luck” and was actually a wee back hander the seller gave to the purchaser of a beast to wish him “luck” with it – he built a new house on the farm with cash from his many years of “lucks” which he saved under the bed but then nearly did time when the tax man asked him to explain where it came from!),
- Guy & Susan Hamilton (he was an auctioneer with LSSmellie who collapsed and died during a curling match in Hamilton), my girlfriend of the time Carol Wotherspoon, a nursing friend of my sister Margo’s called Helen Fairservice from Newhouse hospital,
- Anne Chapman who was my mothers housekeeper when she was a District Nurse in Kelso,
- Alan & Elsie Walker (he owned and ran the Mill down at David Livingstone Memorial and she was a Girl Guide Leader – their son Graeme still sits on the DLM Trust). I have several uncles and aunts shown including Robert (Bob) McCracken and Ina of Forresville on the Burnbank Rd (he was Chief Engineer with Central SMT in Traction House Airbles Rd), Hamilton & Jane Sloan from Avonbridge (National Secretary of the Pigeon Fanciers Society, in other words, he flew and raced doos), James & Mgt McCracken (he was our mechanic at Bardykes), Alex & Annie McCracken from California (he was a shilling a week man with GUS) and finally, my Uncle Tom & aunt Frances McCracken from Shieldhill where he was a preacher in the Church of God (all my relations on my mothers side were in the Brethern, or the “Meetings” as they referred to them). And of course, my two sisters, Margo & Agnes in the front row – Margo is married to Stuart one of our valued tanker drivers at Müller Wiseman with two grown up daughters. My biggest”wee” sister still lives locally, in one of Blantyre’s oldest properties in the wee cottage next to the Hoolets Nest. Agnes is married to Brian – she’s spent her life as a journalist for the Sunday Post, Scottish Farmer and several others but mostly as a senior producer with STV then latterly as Depute Director of the contemporary art Gallery centre in Gateshead, and he, an accountant, in various senior positions with the NHS from Glasgow Royal to the Penine Trust. They lived at Burnwynd Farm on the Hamilton Strathaven Rd but are now retired having built a lovely new home in Argyll, near to Kilberry, whereas our wee farm/holiday bolthole, is nearer Campbeltown. Right at this moment, they are sailing across the Atlantic as part of the ARC in BRAG, their 47ft Island Packet yacht – that kind of adventure is NOT for me! Having said that, I enjoy seeking out DIFFERENT places to visit and last week I was in Rwanda, Uganda & Tanzania and next week, I’m flying out to meet BRAG when it hits land at the other side of the pond, in St Lucia, in December!!
And most important to sum up, my mum & dad, Peter Buchan Wilkie JP and Margaret Elliot McCracken Wilkie, he born at Bellsfield Farm, High Blantyre and she in California, Falkirk, during and just after the First World War.
Hope that’s all of some help – been meaning to record it all for some time so glad to have got round to it, at last!”
Paul adds: Phew! I think i learned more from this article, than i have in the last 10. With thanks to Sandy for sharing.
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