This is an exclusive look at this photo, the first time it’s been online. Photographed during WW1 by early Blantyre photographer, David Ritchie, its from the collection of photos once shared to me by Alex Bowie. It was dark and not the best quality, but is brought a little to life by the added colour from Scotland Colourised.
Each photo is unmarked so it’s been a real task to slowly go through and try to identify the people and locations. After all, a Blantyre country lane over a hundred years ago is most difficult to locate now, believe me! However, I’ve now cracked this one!
I’ve identified this as Caldergrove Estate. The East Lodge house is in the background (a house now extended and still there today). The lane was the road down to Caldergrove Offices and led up to a T junction to the main road just beyond the lodge. To the right you can see the Priory Bridge, which was still used at this time and indeed had trams running over it. The old Bardykes Mill ruin is just the photo to the right, as is the River Calder.
The people are more difficult. However, there’s a good chance this is a mother or grandmother and related children, raising money for the Red Cross and war efforts. It looks like she’s made biscuits or cakes and selling them for donations, the children expertly demonstrating that. My best suggestion about this family, finely dressed on their excursion, is that they were living at Caldergrove House nearby, which was then about to become an Auxiliary Hospital for injured soldiers.