William Potter Reddiex

I’m catching up on some of my ancestry requests for assistance. John Reddiex recently contacted me saying, “Greetings from Palmerston North New Zealand! Wonderful site! My father, William Potter Reddiex was born at Taylor’s Land, Auchentibber in 1908. His Father Robert Reddiex, Coal Miner. His Mother Helen Dawson Reddiex nee McDonald. My father’s grandmother was apparently married twice hence the “Potter” as dad’s second name. My father died, Woodville NZ, in 1960 when I was 10 so I only know what my mother told me and what was gleaned from member’s of the extended family in Australia & Glasgow. I believe my father worked on a farm in Auchentibber or Blantyre before emigrating to Australia. He opted to move from Australia to NZ about 1929. My enquiry please is: where or what was Taylor’s Land and is there an old map of Auchentibber available?”

I was able to answer with:

Hi John. It’s great to see people contact me from the other side of the world.

The Reddiex family in Blantyre seems to first date to 1898 when your grandparents married at the start of the Glasgow Fair holidays that year. I haven’t found them in any Blantyre census prior to that year and it would appear coming from Holytown and Cambuslang, they settled in Auchentibber right after marriage. To business! I’ve retrieved your father’s birth certificate and it does indeed confirm his birth at Taylor’s Land in Auchentibber in 1908, some 10 years after his parents marriage.

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This certificate shows William Potter Reddiex born 1st December 1908 at Taylor’s Land, Auchentibber to father Robert and mother Helen. We have the right family!  Let’s explore that for a moment. A baby of the Edwardian era, Henry Ford’s first ever model T car had rolled off the manufacturing line only 9 weeks earlier. Just 2 weeks before William’s birth, Albert Einstein had given the world his theory of quantum of light!

Little William Potter Reddiex was the sixth child, behind Maggie, Mary, Helen, James and Elizabeth. His birth at Taylor’s Land may have been simply a more hygienic place for a baby to be born, for even by 1911, a short time after, the whole family were living at Brownsland (a building which still partially exists today). They would have had impressive views over to the quoiting ground and used to the sounds of outdoor sports from their windows. Robert Reddiex was a coal hewer, likely employed locally and the children would not have far to walk to get to nearby Auchentibber School.

Auchentibber was an evolving hamlet in 1911. By that time a community was centred around coal and mineral mining and around several farms. A hub of the community was the renovated Auchentibber Inn and JBH Struthers was well underway with his nearby Italian Gardens and Quoiting Ground. It would have been a happy, quiet and rural place for children to grow up in, although perhaps made more difficult by lack of amenities and including sanitation and lighting. It was a time before any proper decline of Auchenitbber and the community would have been close to each other.

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1911 Census showing Reddiex family at Brownsland

Little William would only have been around 6 years old by the time War broke out. All the Reddiex men and boys, by fate of their ages, would mean they would escape the horrors of being sent off to war. Robert too old, James and William too young. Several young men from Auchentibber were killed during WW1, a community much affected by the loss of family members.

By 1925, Robert Reddiex had moved to 11 Broompark Road much more centrally located in Blantyre. This was a former tenement no longer there, and now the site of the carpark of Ally Bally Bees children’s nursery. William, by then would have been 17 and making his way in the world. If he left for New Zealand in 1929, he would only have been 21 on that voyage. The late 1920’s were years when many young men left for New Zealand and Canada seeking a life away from mines, better living and enhancements to employment.

Brownsland or Brown’s Land was a former 2 storey tenement, which exists today on only one level, the upper level removed. Its now derelict.

browns-land-and-peesweep-19101

This is a photo taken by myself in 2015. Although in a sorry state, it may give an idea of the type of home the family lived in.

2015 Browns Land by PV Aug

Brown’s Land Ruins, Auchentibber Aug 2015 (PV)

A better picture of an era when your family lived there is as follows. You can see the tenement on the left of the picture. Your family look to have lived upstairs in there. You can see what I mean about their “fancy view”.

Browns Land and Peesweep

Brown’s Land and Peasweep Row, Auchentibber 1920s

The name Reddiex seems to have lessened in appearance throughout the 20th Century in Blantyre from it’s abundance a hundred years ago, although members of the Reddiex family were still being born in Blantyre as late as 1974! Hope this helps.

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

Anne Lee My grandfather was James Reddiex, he and his mother and sisters emigrated to Queensland.

Agnes Collins This is a great read .my gran was Agnes Reddiex .my mum was Lizzie she had 3 brothers Jim Matt and John Jim and family went to Australia Matt John and gran moved to England with family .

Lisa Ashford-Potter Love reading posts of my grandfathers – James McDonald Potter- half siblings and family, and the places they lived. Great job Blantyre Project in reconnecting us through your site. I remember visiting our Reddiex relatives in QLD as a child and would love to connect with all my Reddiex relatives/descendants.

Blantyre Project Clearly this post has many connections abroad away from Scotland. Hope you all manage to makes sense of it!

One response to “William Potter Reddiex

  1. Hi, my husband James Reddiex Smith was born in 1948 and lived with his mother and older sister Catherine Smith at browns land place till he was 8 years old. His father James Reddiex Smith died in December 1948 when he was 8 months old. I was interested in this page as his sister Catherine passed away last Thursday and I was doing some research into their childhood. We know very little about the name Reddiex and it’s been a talking point this week.
    Mrs Jill Smith

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