6 months hard labour

Time and time again I find the 1920’s an era of great unemployment for Blantyre and a time when hardships drove men (and women) to do things that would normally be grossly out of character.

One such story is that of Alexander Walker Hunter, whom, in 1925 was 31 years old, a married man who lived in High Blantyre. During that year he had been employed as a clerk in Glasgow but had been dismissed. He had found another job locally, but had been dismissed through lack of work there too.

Unemployed, he had not told his wife and despite having no money coming in, the masquerade continued when he continued to give her the £2 per week money for the upkeep of the house. So, it was a huge shock to her, when in October that year, she saw Alexander up in Glasgow Sheriff Court on 13 counts of fraud and theft!

The crime had been related to obtaining cameras and a wireless set worth £156, obtained by breaking into Blantyre homes. It was discovered he got £64 for selling on the goods and that the whole episode was very out of character. Alexander’s lawyer explained to the court that this was a unique case for which Alexander was truly sorry for and had arisen only due to fear of telling his wife. Efforts had been made to gain work in that difficult time.

The judge however, was not interested. People will NOT turn to crime even when they’re unemployed. 13 families had been robbed and Alexander was to be made an example of. He was sentenced to 6 months of hard labour in a Glasgow prison.

Pictured is Duke Street prison (demolished in the 1950’s). A far cry from the family life he left behind that half year.


Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Marian Maguire Oh the judge was not interested, I hope his maker showed him the same compassion. Nowadays there is help for the unemployed with families then there was not, no one wants to turn to crime and be classed a criminal but he had to feed his family.


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