1878 Earliest Blantyre School Photo

Pictures being sent in just seem to be getting better! Until recently, I thought the earliest Blantyre School photo was from 1886, but this one is a whole load earlier!

1878 High Blantyre School Matthew Campbell

Seen exclusively online here, it was shared by John Campbell, a direct descendent of the boy marked in the circle. This photo is from 1878 and is High Blantyre School. To the best of my knowledge, this is the very first Blantyre School photo known to exist. Whilst High Blantyre School opened in 1875, it apparently took until the third year in 1878 for photos to be considered, the emergence of early photography for such purposes.

The person ringed is Matthew Campbell Junior who was born at Mauldslie in 1868. The Campbell family came to Blantyre in 1870 when Matthew Campbell Senior gave up his job as gardener at Mauldslie and came to Blantyre, setting up home and a gardening business at the corner of Auchinraith Road and Main Street (where Kirkton Care home is now). Matthew is 10 in the photo, dating it to 1878. I’m unsure who the headmaster is, but if this is the first headmaster, pictured is most likely Mr David Dunlop. (Mr Dunlop is in Naismith’s Directory 1879 as headmaster).

Putting this in perspective, this photo is an incredible 142 years old, taken only 6 or 7 months just after the 1877 Pit Disaster!! I have to wonder if any of the boys were grieving for the loss of fathers, brothers and uncles at that time.

You may remember seeing Matthew Campbell jnr in the Carsebeck Curling photo of 1891, where he and his father appears. Here he is in 1891 later in life. It means Matthew jnr was 23 in that Curling team photo. I have much more coming about this family in due course.

Screenshot 2020-06-07 at 11.17.12

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