Douglas Hay sent me a message saying, “I am trying to do some research into where my family are from and I have found out that some of my family on my mums side came from Blantyre. My mums father was Charles Brookens Forrest who was born in Blantyre around 1894 and I think her Grandfather – Maxwell Forrest was born in Blantyre as well around 1854. I would be very grateful for some information on the above.”
I know of three Maxwell Forrests who were born in Blantyre. Two were born in 1901 and 1929 respectively and the unusual name would indicate a connection to the mid 19th Century Maxwell.
Maxwell Forrest was born on 21st August 1853 in Blantyre Parish. This was just before 1855 birth records started and therefore one has to refer to the old Church Baptism Church registers. He was the son of William Forrest and Helen Brownlee. Forrest and Brownlee being two very strong, prominent names of the Barnhill area of Blantyre.
This is a Blantyre family with solid, old foundations in the area. William Forrest was born in 1801 and was a carter and was still conducting that profession at the age of 60 from his home at Larkfield in 1861. Sons Thomas, Robert and Charles assisted and that year, Maxwell Forrest was a scholar, aged 7. He likely attended the school at School Lane for Blantyre School had not yet been built at Hunthill Road and a small schoolroom at Barnhill had closed in 1855. The whole family were born in Blantyre and it is known from the census that there was only 1 room in their house which had a window!
Their neighbours including the Main family, Struthers and Morrisons, who were also carters. (A carter was the driver of horse-drawn carts for transporting goods. A Carter typically drove a light two wheeled cart made of wood)
Sometime before 1871, Maxwell ended up at Cambuslang for a time, but was back in Blantyre by 1881, aged 28., employed in the family business, you guessed it….as a carter!
Sometime in the 1880’s following the death of his father, Maxwell moved to the Village and was employed by his brother on the family farm at Blantyre Mill Farm (which later gave its name to Farm Road). They were farmers, rather than carters. Maxwell was 36, unmarried and lived with his elder brother Charles and his family. He was on the payroll of his brother.
In 1892, Maxwell decided to marry and at the age of 37, settled with Marion, his new bride 17 years his junior, then aged only 20. Marion had been the dairymaid at the Forrest’s Farm in the Village and I’m in no doubt that’s where they met! Their marriage meant setting up home for themselves. Moving to the new tenements at the bottom of Stonefield Road (next to the Valerio family) gave them opportunity for a new home and to set up a new business in the thriving area of Stonefield. Maxwell set up his own metalwork business, perhaps buying it from another family member. In this immediate area in previous decades had been a metalwork business “Mitchell and Forrest” as early as the 1860s.
His brother Charles Forrest, operated under the trading name of C&A Forrest continuing to farm at Blantyre Mill (or sometimes Blantyre Works) Farm into the 19th Century. They are listed as the farmers of Blantyre Works Farm in 1915 and certainly for quite some time after that. It is the Forrests who are pictured in this photo from 1936 outside Blantyre Mill Farm. Today, it’s no longer there, instead modern homes on Farm Road. The Farm used to sit at the junction of Kerr Street and Farm Road.
Maxwell and Marion were known to have had 5 children at Stonefield Road by 1911. Charles Brookens Forrest was the second oldest son, indeed born in 1894 at Stonefield, Blantyre.
Maxwell died in 1920, aged 67.