McAleenans from John Street

Betty McGauley writes, “I’m trying to find out about the McAleenans from John Street. My great gran and grandad came from Ireland. Thank you.”

I was able to reply with:
“Hi Betty. The name McAleenan or MacAleenan first arrived in Blantyre between 1890 and 1895 when Labourer Bernard McAleenan took up residence at Broompark Place at Larkfield. He was still there in 1905, when by that time, an Edward McAleenan had also come to Blantyre, living at Victoria Street.

However, I think you will be interested in Patrick McAleenan for it was him who later went on to have some success with home ownership in John Street. I do hope he is a relation of yours for this article focuses on him.

Born in Ireland in 1868 to parents Matthew McAleenan (b1837) and Margaret McAloy (b1840), Patrick McAleenan married Mary O Hare or Hara on 2nd November 1890 at Barrowmeen, Ireland. Moving to Scotland in 1891 or 1892, work was first sought in the Coatbridge area, where the couple welcomed the birth of a first son, James in 1893.

Coming to Blantyre

Patrick arrived in Blantyre sometime between in 1894 or 1895 finding work as a stonemason. He rented a former house for £7 a year at Annsfield Place on Stonefield Road (not to be confused with Annfield Terrace on Glasgow Road). He lived in one of 8 homes which were situated right on Stonefield Road between Hall Street and Park Street. The houses built by Robert Aitkenhead, a builder of High Blantyre are no longer there. The house he rented looks likely to have been one of the largest in the block, as rents in the other houses were less. Annsfield once sat where now the flats are at Camelon Crescent, directly across from Wolcott Drive.

The small family grew in 1895 when daughter Rose Ann arrived and Patrick Jnr followed in 1897, then Bernard in 1899. These three children were born in Blantyre. By 1901, the couple had 4 children and had been in Blantyre for 6 years and Patrick had by then secured regular employment as a labourer working for the County Council.

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As a Catholic family, they would likely have welcomed the construction of St Joseph’s Church at the turn of the Century.

During WW1, Patrick ceased labouring and in his late 40’s became Blantyre’s ‘Inspector of Sewage’, a regular job working for the County Council. Think of this as a “drain inspector”. As such, his job was helping to make the environment cleaner and improving the quality of lives of ordinary Blantyre folk. His place of employment was at Blantyre Braes, beyond the railway line at the end of John Street. He was renting and occupying land there, land which belonged to the Blantyre Engineering Company.

WW1 and Beyond

Following the end of war, Patrick appears to have bought this small plot of land outright, and despite its proximity to the refuse destructor and adjacent slaughterhouse, he proceeded to build 3 houses at the end of John Street. Sunbeam Cottage, Carrick Cottage and another house (unnamed). It is unknown how he funded their construction but may have been through inheritance after the death of his own father. These 3 homes were all occupied by April 1920. (Be careful if researching these homes, for the postal addresses changed in the 1920s and then again in the 1930s as John Street expanded). They would have been used to the sound of locomotives from the nearby railway.

Patrick and Mary lived at Sunbeam Cottage and eldest son James lived next door at Carrick Cottage renting from his parents. It must have been pleasant for them to have immediate family as neighbours.

Patrick McAleenan died on 10th August 1920 at 8 John Street, Low Blantyre, sadly just 4 months before his son Patrick Jnr, married. He was only 53. His three houses passed directly to his wife Mary, now a widow. Mary would have seen some considerable change in the area as the Public Park opposite her houses was laid out and behind her, a large foundry opened, exposing John Street to much industry, something that continues to this day.

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Mary McAleenan died 20th January 1938 at 54 John Street, never living to see the Second World War. Unusually, her daughter Rose Ann directly inherited the McAleenan properties and eldest son James continued to rent from his younger sister beyond the War.

From the forthcoming book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2020.

Would YOU like me to freely investigate YOUR ancestry? You can log a request here:
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Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly reserved for Blantyre Project Books and not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Margaret Duncan My grandmother was Margaret McAleenan and the John Street McAleenans are my family – we also lived in John Street although not in the cottages mentioned – I remember Pat McAleenan’s family. My grandmother had a sister (possibly Rose) who went to Canada, sister Mary and brother George neither of them married and they lived in High Blantyre – brother Bernard who lived in Craigneuk. My grandmother married John Donohoe from Cavan and they had Betty, Margaret, John, Kathleen and Brian and they lived first in Larkfield then 71 Parkville Drive Springwells. Mama (that’s what we called her) died in 1972, and Betty, Margaret, John and Kathleen are all gone too – Just Brian left. I have more info but I don’t want this to end up taking up loads of space.
Blantyre Project thanks Margaret – i like when research spans across different families and connects. The McAleenans certainly owned several properties on John Street by WW2.
Christine Beyer-Mcfarlane Margaret Duncan wonderful to have all that family history
Margaret Duncan another wee snippet – the McAleenans were from Warren Point, Newry, Co. Antrim – my mum Betty and her sisters used to go there every summer and stay with auntie Annie and the local boys loved it when they arrived. They were called the McAleenan girls even tho’ they were Donohoes. My mum told me that when they came home they sneaked in loads of bras by wearing them all at the same time Bras must have been cheaper in Ireland at the time.
Margaret Duncan I’ve been looking at more of the family history – Matthew McAleenan born in Warrenpoint was also known as Lynas and he married Margaret McEvoy also Warrenpoint – they both died in 1920. Their son Bernard a.k.a. Lynas was born in 1866 in Carrickmacstay. He married Bridget McConville born 1868 in Ireland and she died in Blantyre 1934 (my grandmother’s parents). My grandmother Margaret McAleenan was born in Blantyre in 1894 and died in Cleland Hospital in 1972. I have no idea why they sometimes used Lynas but that seems to have stopped with Bernard (great grandfather).
Christine Beyer-Mcfarlane Margaret DuncanI was told the English changed it to Lynas as McAleenan meant Gill of Finean? Not sure if r mum or Betty told me.
Brian Whitters My gran was Margaret McAleenan. Her father was Thomas Edward McAleenan. He wis surname was Lynas when he left Warrenpoint Co Down. His wife was Margaret McAvoy and his brother was Matthew McAleenan. My gran married James Cain. My mother married William Whitters

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