Calderside Row, 1944

1944 Blantyre Family 1 Calderside RowNorma Marr in Canada has shared this excellent WW2 photo of Calderside Row, taken around 1944. She told me, “This is May MacFarlane, my mother Margaret Downie Patrick Lawrence, and her/their Aunt Fanny and Uncle Frank, according to mom’s writing on the back.

My father was English and in the RAF and came to Calgary to train in WW11. They were married here and then he was posted back to England. Mom was a reverse war bride, she travelled across the Atlantic during the war and lived in England during the Blitz with my dad’s parents just outside of London. Until I saw the photo, I was unaware that she had also gone to Scotland to visit family during that time. So that photo is probably 1944, 1945ish and is the Calderside row housing.

We have a letter from May MacFarlane dated 1987. In it she talks about who lived where in Calderside Row. I transcribed the letter and here is the part on Calderside (Bob and Jamie are Robert Downie, James Downie, my great uncles — and my grandmother Margaret (Maggie) Downie Patrick). Here’s part of a letter from May to my mother — It was difficult to read and transcribe but have since been able to fill in some of the blanks.

‘The Downies stayed at No. 1 Calderside. Your mother, Jamie & Bob. Your mother worked down at Calderwood Castle in the gardens, fruit picking and in the greenhouses, such as tomato growing, hours 7 a.m. till 5 p.m., hard work for very little pay. Bob was a joiner, and Jamie a gamekeeper in the glen but before that Jamie worked at Udston colliery, above ground, not down the pit and after the explosion at the pit, some men were killed and the pit was closed. Jamie turned to gamekeeper. Our Aunt Agnes’s first husband was killed in . . . they were not long married, later on she married Dale (??) McDougal. Jamie moved around a bit, he worked in the Stirling area, and also up north of Scotland, a place called Glen XXXX (looks like danuel — we have documentation that he worked at Glen Orchard) the place near Stirling was Balfron. 

Now Uncle John (your father) stayed at No. 3 Calderside with his mother (Grannie Patrick) and worked in Auchentibber Inn, a small pub as a bar man. J.B. Struthers, owner of the inn, trusted your father and always left him in charge. I don’t know where the Downies lived before they came here, it might have been Auchentibber.’

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

Janet Cochrane I would date the photo about 1945 as Ian looks about 2
Elizabeth Weaver Brilliantly clear photo. How immaculate the steps and edging stones are – everything looks so well kept. A great snapshot of the times, clothing and all.
Jiae Jiae Elizabeth Weaver Aye Whitening your front step high on grannie’s priorities in Auchinraith Road and matching curtains and blinds 😊
Elizabeth Weaver Jiae Jiae I know what you mean. There was always an unspoken clean-step/shiny-window competition going on in Victoria St too 😉
Blantyre Project and in Stonefield Crescent! lol
Norma Lawrence Marr My mom would have been around 25 years old in this photo. She died in 1988 at the age of 67. I so wish that there was more time to ask questions and hear more stories of the past.
Janet Cochrane Norma Lawrence Marr that is something we all regret

Norma Lawrence Marr You are so right, Janet!

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