Breaking up at Dixon’s Rows

It’s never nice to hear about divorce or the break up of a family home. This next story took place EXACTLY a hundred years ago today and seems appropriate to tell it here now.

Let’s go to 19th March 1919. James Kelly Junior, miner lived with his parents at former Dixon’s Rows, just off Stonefield Road. James had been married to a young Blantyre woman and the pair had moved into the parental home. However, the marriage quickly fell apart when the couple did not get on together and the recently married bride moved out.

Before they completely parted ways though, the young woman wanted her furniture back and fearing confrontation from the entire Kelly family, she approached police first, asking if they could be there, when she called to their door. The police replied that they couldn’t supervise the divide of belongings but they would try to “be in the area” at the time to ensure no breach of the peace was committed.

The young bride chose 19th March 1919 as the day she would bravely attempt to get her furniture back, choosing her time when she knew Young James was off shift at home with his mother, but his father was out to work.

James Kelly Junior had already told his bride that if she ever called back, she would find her furniture smashed. This was very much in her mind when she knocked the door and made the request for her belongings.

In a rage to see her, Kelly true to his word, pitched her entire belongings out into the street, with no regard for their condition. Furniture, chairs, vases, shelves, teapots and china were hurled on to the street with such force, that nothing remained, all smashed into atoms. Blantyre Police were nowhere to be seen.

As the young woman tearfully picked up remnants of her things from the pavement, James appeared at the door again, this time with a framed picture in glass. She pleaded with him not to destroy it.

“Please smash everything, but not that, the picture of my dear brother who died in the war!” He disregarded her wishes and Kelly smashed the frame, going further to rip up the photograph in front of her face. All this time Kelly’s mother looked on and did nothing.

The young woman took some fragments of her belongings to the station and the police called on Kelly. In court later, he was fined 40 shillings to replace some of the items or 20 days imprisonment. I have a sneaky feeling he opted for jail, rather than giving his ex-wife any money!

[Source: Sunday Post 13 April 1919]

From “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:

Marian Maguire She was better off without him, don’t know who’s fault it was but no need to rip up precious photos.
Elizabeth Grieve What a scumbag
Betty McLean So sad to destroy belongings
Sadie Dolan Not a very nice person was he!!
Maureen Obrien What a horrible thing to do and probably the poor woman hadn’t much what about his mother standing there doing nothing I could never had stood there and let my boy do that no matter who’s fault it was

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