Jane Mann b1870 – d1911

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Jane Mann b1870 – d911

This is Jane Mann, the Blantyre school teacher who lived a relatively short life. Despite the age of this story, it can thankfully be accompanied by some very early, excellent photography. Hope you find this as fascinating as I did.

Jane Mann was born on April 12th 1870 at 255 London Road in the Bridgeton area of Glasgow. Her parents were Andrew Mann (1832-1910), described variously as a Power Loom Tenter, a Grocer and a Proprietor of Houses, and Bethia Renwick (1834-1891). Her parents story was recently explored on Blantyre Project.

Early Life

Remarkably, there are a couple of early photographs of Jane taken in the 1870s. Around 1874, the family moved between these dates from Glasgow to Blantyre. It was a family move back to Blantyre when her father constructed tenements on Main Street, High Blantyre known as Mann’s Laun (Land). Despite owning the houses, the family lived elsewhere in Forrest Street, where in 1881 Jane, at the age of 10 is recorded as being a scholar. It is highly likely she went to Stonefield Parish School nearby on Glasgow Road which had opened just 6 years earlier.

This would have been a wondrous time for Jane watching the arrival of so many businesses along Glasgow Road and the rapid expansion and construction of so many shops, houses and public buildings. I’m positive too she would have played happily along the nearby Clyde Braes.

Jane clearly was a clever child and followed her studies well. She went on to become a pupil-teacher which she must have done at quite a young age (possibly from the age of 13) as can be seen from the Stonefield Parish School 1883 photo below (Jane is on the far right). This would have been like an apprenticeship, headmasters and mistresses singling out such children of potential academic skill and such ‘on the job training’ was quite common at that time.

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1883 Stonefield Parish School Photo (Jane Mann on far right)

When her mother Bethia died in 1891, Jane was only 20 and was according to the census that year, living with her parents and siblings by now at Mann’s Land, on Main Street. She was employed as a School Teaching Assistant, showing she had stuck to the profession she had apprenticed in. Her move to High Blantyre may have meant she became a teacher at the High Blantyre School, which was of exact design as the Low Blantyre school.

Certainly, by the 1890’s, there are several School Photographs with Jane pictured alongside many Blantyre children.

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Marriage and Family

Through the 1890’s Jane caught the eye of an immediate neighbour, Matthew Campbell, who lived directly across the road from her tenement home at the Nursery at High Blantyre (at the junction of Auchinraith Road). Today this would be on the site of the Kirkton Care Home. In 1897 Jane Mann married Matthew Campbell at Auchinraith, Blantyre.

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Jane and Matthew Campbell had three children – Bethia (known as Thia) born in 1899, Mary (also known as May) born in 1904 and Matthew born in 1907. Bethia was born at Milton Cottage and Mary and Matthew were born at Renwick Cottage on Auchinraith Road, a house owned by the Campbell family, both close to Auchinraith Nursery.

Matthew, a keen curling player and Jane are pictured here in 1900 along with baby Thia.

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Jane Mann and husband Matthew Campbell with baby Thia in 1900

This wonderful Edwardian Beach Scene was taken in 1908. It shows Jane Mann with her children on holiday at Millport at a sandcastle competition. I’m assured, the mothers and children would be there on their own during the week with the fathers coming down at the weekends in summer. James Campbell, a descendent has annotated the photo.

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Running the Household

It is clear that the Campbell family had to be very careful about their budget and Jane kept detailed accounts of all their spending. Two pairs of pages from her cashbook have been reproduced below for the year 1906.

Picture 1

Cashbook from 1906

Also from 1906 there is postcard that Jane Mann wrote to her sister-in-law Christina Campbell who was a fruit saleswoman with Wilson the fruiterer. On the front of the postcard is Renwick Cottage, in Auchinraith Road. This would have been a special card, as the cottage was relatively new at the time, something they would have been proud of.

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Renwick Cottage, Auchinraith Road, Blantyre, 1906

As the cashbook illustrated above indicates, Jane Mann clearly prided herself on her budget keeping. Following the death of her father in 1910, in 1911 she wrote an article for the ‘People’s Friend’ magazine (dated May 29th) showing first an annual budget for her family. It gives a wonderful insight into domestic finance, how her household was run and included budgeting for a family fortnight holiday.

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The budget is followed by advice to the reader which also gives quite a bit of insight into Jane Mann’s character. She comes across as someone who would probably have been quite ambitious for her children and I’m sure that she would have been very proud of all that they achieved. She was obviously very thrifty and well organised and confident in her own abilities. A disciplined mindset. She was clearly also very caring and the little section about the children is quite touching to read. Reprinted here:

“Having received much valuable instruction from the “Friend” I would like to contribute my own experience regarding the above all important subject. I state plain facts, and only what I have practised. Firstly I will give a few general remarks. Our family consists of five members – husband, self and three children, three, six and eleven years respectively. Husband and wife must have some definite object in view; you may want to educate your children for some worthy profession, you may desire to possess a nice cottage of your own, or you may want to rise in your own profession. This means you must have money on hand. Put out of your reach the sum you agree to save. Make your reserve fund cover all extras. Pay cash always and get well served by reliable tradesmen.

Secondly, regarding food, the chief concern is to supply nourishment in a form that can be easily digested. I have found the following to work admirably:- Very little butcher-meat, no greasy foods, plenty of milk, cocoa, soups, preserves, fish and fruit. Give the fruit with the meals. Four meals a day is sufficient, and nothing between but a drink of water. Once a week is often enough for baking, to keep up a supply of cakes, scones, biscuits, tea and fancy cakes. Use always, even in baking, the best butter and eggs. The sweetie tin is a great pleasure. A sweet comes in handy to heal a hurt, or when a child is wearying, and what a pleasure to the little ones to hand round the”tin” to visitors. With such a diet, they do not long to spend pennies, therefore they can be put in their bankbooks. I divide my discount from all sources between them, to give them a habit of thrift. I accept 1d or 2d from each one when a birthday comes round. I put something to it and what a joy over that present. I do most of my laundry work, and I have also a mangle at home. Having a garden, we do not want for fresh air and recreation.

Thirdly, the sum put aside for clothing is more than adequate. I only pay for my husband’s clothing, my boy’s best suit and occasionally a dress for myself. I do millinery, also the knitting, darning and mending. I attribute my success in regulating the weekly income to my habit of keeping my house-keeper’s book, showing income, expenditure and balance on hand.”


Sadly, Jane Mann died of Pneumonia at home in Renwick Cottage, High Blantyre on July 2nd 1911 soon after that article was written. She never lived to know about WW1. Perhaps the outdoor life assisting her husband in the nursery, or one cold trip down the coast too many affected her health and not even the opening of Blantyre Cottage Hospital several months earlier could help.  The pneumonia in Summer months is a mystery. Summer 1911 was particularly warm, dry and sunny for many weeks.

She was just forty one years old and her son was only aged four at the time. Matthew’s sister Mary helped her brother to raise the children but would never make up for the loss of their mother.

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With thanks to John Campbell for most of this information. John, who lives in Chester is the grandson of Jane Mann. I have added a little further context to ensure it resonates with Blantyre readers.

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  1. What a wonderful read, could be a very good lesson for today.

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