The 5th January 1921 saw one of the most controversial meetings ever seen in Blantyre.
Blantyre Parish Council had discussed a motion to provide boots and socks for the children of the unemployed but it was found that this had not been done, despite it being a priority the month before and still in the midst of winter! The motion had been passed after it was discovered that there was a high degree of absenteeism of pupils at school, a reason being that their parents did not want to send them barefoot to school and could not afford boots. The Parish Council had decided to intervene but were slow to arrange anything. Much temper was shown in the discussion, one member threatening to “wipe the floor” with another.
Mr Andrew McAnulty left the chair in protest with the business unfinished.
According to Councillors interviewed shortly after the meeting, chaos reigned. They said, “there is no Parish Council in Blantyre now,” and the situation will need to be reported to the Local Government Board. The meeting was the liveliest in the history of the Council. Following meetings were more calm once the boots and indeed some food, were distributed.
Pictured around this era in Auchentibber in this excellent photo, exclusive to Blantyre Project are a whole group of children standing on Parkneuk Road (near where the War Memorial is now). You’ll notice many of them are barefoot and they would all likely have benefited from the 1921/1922 discussions about correcting that situation.
From the book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2019
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Janice Finlayson Poor wee souls and they say the good old days
Elaine Speirs My Grandfather, John Wildman was born in 1908, and I remember him telling me that he had to walk to school barefoot in the snow. We still have poverty but not to this extent. I am glad there were people helping then, and feeling so passionate about it.
Ann Hartman glad they had people looking out for them even back then .Thank god our community council meeting are a bit quieter and hopefully less aggressive than that one seemed to be although we do have our moments Paul as yuo well know
Eleanor Clark Our dad was born 1907 and he could not wait till the winter was over so he could go to school in his bare feet
Moyra Lindsay My mum got parish boots when she was about eight around 1926. They had a large P on them so everyone knew what they were. Also uncomfortable. She went to her granny with them on and she used every last penny she had to buy her proper boots. She was so ashamed in those parish boots but understood why her mother had taken them. Thank god we never had to do that!
Joy McLennan Painful poverty of ages past, the basics never taken for granted. HAPPY ROBERT BURNS DAY! from British Columbia, Canada.