The discovery was made in early July 1916 that a considerable quantity of goods had disappeared from the coachhouse at Craighead Estate, Blantyre.
Though the boxes and other receptacles in which the articles had been stored were found roped as they bad been left by the caretaker, examination showed that they had been entered, some them being practically emptied of all material.
The missing goods comprised a clock, silver teapot, sugar basin and cream jug. 12 silver tea spoons and sugar tongs, a dozen silver dinner spoons, silver jelly spoons. 12 knives and forks, a dozen teacups and saucers. 12 plates, 2 bed covers, a bed quilt, 3 pairs of blankets, 2 bed sheets, 2 table covers, 12 towels. 2 pairs of curtains, 2 pieces cretonne, a piece of print cloth, piece bed ticking, and an umbrella.
In connection with the affair, Thomas Wales, miner, and Rebecca Daisley or Wales, his wife, both residing at 297 Glasgow Road, were charged at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Saturday 8th July with breaking into the coachhouse and stealing the large number the aforesaid missing articles. Thomas Wales admitted the charge and the complaint against his wife was withdrawn. The Fiscal stated that the bulk of the articles had been found in the Wales’ possession. The Sheriff sentenced him to thirty days’ imprisonment.
There has to be something said about the security of the Craighead property, for on the same week, another couple entirely were up for similar theft. Archibald McCulloch miner, and Jane Turnbill his wife of 22 Glasgow Road, Springwell. were also charged with having on various occasions, between 28th November 1915 and 6th July 1916, broken into the same coachhouse and stolen the articles in question. This time, a fork and bed sheet, identified part of the stolen property was found by police in the McCulloch’s house, together with a pawn ticket for goods which were also tagged to belong the Craighead coachhouse.
The accused denied the charge, and were defended by J. B. Ritchie, writer, Hamilton. It appeared from the evidence that the McCullochs and the Wales occupied a house adjoining the coachhouse, from which they had since left from, and the prosecution sought to prove that the McCullochs had been accomplices in the crime.
The defence was that the fork discovered by the police in McCulloch house had been brought in by their boy, who “found it in the shrubbery”. The bed sheet, taken by the police off the bed in McCulloch’s house, however still bore the laundry mark of the gentleman who owned the goods stored in the coachhouse!
The police asserted that when they found the fork in the McCulloch’s house, Mrs McCulloch had said it was a present from her mother. Her answer to that in Court was that that remark applied to old bowl on the shelf and the police must have “made a mistake thinking it was the fork she was talking about”.
The court concluded there was not sufficient evidence to convict them though Hon. Sheriff Stoddart said despite the acquittal, he had considerable doubts to the innocence of the couple. It all sounds very much like the McCullochs got away with any involvement!
Pictured is the map of the era. I noticed Craighead has three lodge houses at that time, 2 of which were on Whistleberry Road.