Ann Allan sent me a message saying, “My Maiden name was Ann Pearson , now Allan, and I was brought up in Pitlochry, Perthshire., now live in Edinburgh. My mum, before she married my dad, was Agnes Lennon and she was born in Blantyre, Scotland. Her mum, my granny, was Agnes Lennon nee Stokes M.S. Feechan. They lived at 77 Auchinraith Road, Blantyre. I know my granny is buried in Blantyre beside her son Colin. I would love to know more about my gran’s background. Also, my grandad was Bernard Lennon and would be lovely to know more about him also.”
Bernard Lennon was born in Blantyre in 1901 and lived here throughout his life.
Bernard was a small man at only 5 foot 5, with black hair and grey eyes. When WW1 arrived he was too young too join, but as the war became prolonged, by 1918, Bernard found himself eligible for the draft. He joined the 52 TR Battalion and one can only imagine what he felt going off to fight when he knew clearly what had happened in the previous 4 years. Thankfully, his time in the army was short lived and his discharge paper suggest he was “well behaved” and his military conduct was “good”.
Following his return from the war, it was time to make his mark on the world and like many young men, he set his sights on being a miner. By 1921, he had moved out his parents home at Melbourne Place (the Buggy Buildings) and was renting a tenement at 238 Glasgow Road, Low Blantyre. Aged 20 that year, he took up employment as a miner.
The son of John Lennon, a steelwork labourer and Bridget McGurk, the young man had an eye for an older lady who lived on a street nearby. Agnes Feechan was 11 years older and that year was a widow when her husband by surname Stokes had passed. Agnes lived at 63 Auchinraith Road at Radnor Place, an address not so far away. She was a home housekeeper and clearly the couple fell in love.
On 31st January 1922, Bernard and Agnes married at St Joseph’s Church on Glasgow Road. He was 21, she was 32. Bernard moved in with Agnes following the marriage and together they rented tenement accommodation at Radnor Place on Auchinraith Road. In 1925, their accommodation was likely larger than the others in the block, paying a rent of £12 11 shillings, around £1 more than the other tenants. Bernard was a miner and the proximity to Auchinraith Pit was a good indicator that he may have worked there, employed by Messrs Merry & Cunningham Coalmasters.
Times were difficult in the 1920’s in Blantyre. Shortages of good quality homes combined with frequent miners strikes were symptoms of the great economic depression which manifested in many countries. It was a time when lots of miners tried their luck at emigrating to try to find better job prospects. Many unsuccessfully.
Bernard’s neighbours were all miners and his view out the back windows would have looked directly out toward the Auchinraith Pit Bing. Several children followed amongst them Colin in 1928 and Frances in 1931. The larger accommodation would have been handy! In 1929, his father John died. In August 1930, a terrible pit disaster happened at Auchinraith where several men were killed. It marked a point close to the end of the pit itself, closing shortly after.
There is no question that Bernard would have had to switch employer in 1931.
By 1940, Bernard was still at 77 Auchinraith Road. The buildings may have been in a more tired state, or perhaps due to war, for it is noted that his rent in 1940 was actually a £1 less than it was in 1925! Sadly, Bernard’s life was a short one and he died in 1945 in Blantyre, aged only 44. Agnes died in 1956, aged 66.
The family is mapped out here: