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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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