1916 Salvation Army Outing

This photo shared by Warwick Brunton shows a Salvation Army Home League outing, around 1916.  There are no names, but Warwick’s grandmother, Jane Galloway Brunton (1879-1939) is standing third from the left in the second to back row.  Her fourth son, Walter (1912-1970) is standing next to her.

I was trying to identify the cottage and noticed at the back left what looks like a river. As a suggestion only, if this was on the Blantyre side of the Clyde, it could perhaps be the former Blantyre Ferme Cottage, once located near Blantyreferme?

Speaking of his own father, Warwick told me “27 Main Street, High Blantyre is the address given in my Dad’s birth certificate of 30 October 1918.”

“After he was liberated as a POW in Germany in May 1945, Dad was given a month’s leave in the UK and was curious to visit his birthplace.   At some stage, he and his NZ Army buddy went straight to the home of Mrs Mary Murdoch and her husband (name unknown) at 153 Main Street, High Blantyre. 

An undated newspaper cutting from a local (Blantyre / Hamilton / Glasgow)  newspaper of May 1945 in the back of his NZ Army pay book reports the unannounced visit. The reporter also said that this was “a door away from the house in which he was born.”  Dad would have had no memory of the house as the Bruntons emigrated in 1920, and he was too young to remember.  His oldest brother, John, who was 18 when he left Scotland distinctly remembered it as a but and ben.

Family lore has it that the Murdochs were the next occupants.  They ran a shop for many years.  (As a child I remembered her sending a tin of Mackintoshes toffees every Christmas.  My sister and I complained about the dearth of chocolate-coated toffees, not realising that sweets were still rationed in Britain.) 

Anyway, for many years Mary Murdoch corresponded with my grandmother and my own parents from time to time and always at Christmas. When my wife and I went on our “OE” (Overseas Experience) in 1976-77, we found the address and took photos of the shop which, by then, was run by other folk.   From the sign above the entrance, our photo shows that it was a VG Foodstore. 

Facing the ‘but and ben’, the photos show two apartments, each with a window and doorway at the left side, and the shop (plus dormer window) on the right.  There were various lean-tos out the back with the two houses (not the shop portion) sharing the same lean-to (laundry ?).  I am pretty sure the same block was standing when we visited Blantyre with our children in 1991, but street photographs on Google Maps indicate that the block has been demolished and replaced by modern housing since we were there.  “

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