Frank Cornfield has shared this amazing photo and told me, “I would like to estimate the date of this image and also the purpose of the group. My grandfather Finnigan is sitting at the extreme left side of the coach and he looks to be around twenty years old. This would mean the photo is from around 1905. It was probably taken in Halfway or Cambuslang. On the back, the address of 26 Glasgow road Cambuslang is confirmed as the family home.”
What a fascinating photo that is! Looking at the men, i’d say they’re all working class and most probably miners. They’re all proudly wearing sporting or club medals, perhaps quoiting or bowling. I’ve scanned through their faces and don’t recognise them as Blantyre men from any known photos, though thats not to say they’re not from Blantyre!
Its a great photo. There is something very telling here. The tramlanes. Whilst the Blantyre lanes were laid in 1903, it took until 1907 for the new tramlanes to be laid to connect Cambuslang. I think this is Halfway, the topography lending itself very well to points between Blantyre and Halfway looking north. I strongly believe this to be the tram stop directly opposite Spittal, looking southwards to higher elevations.
Looking at how new the cobbles are my best estimate would be 1907 or 1908.
I can’t help but notice the Union Jack flag being waved close to Frank’s grandfather, so I’m finding that difficult to connect the flag to an Irish surname of Finnigan! A man stands with a solitary horn, which i think would have been as lookout for the Charabanc (the horse drawn vehicle).
This was likely an excursion, perhaps heading back from Lanark or a day in the country back into Cambuslang? I don’t think we’ll know where the group had been. Looks like they were enjoying some musical entertainment on their day out courtesy of the accordion player sitting “up front”. One man isn’t trusting the weather and has brought along his overcoat.
I’ve looked back at other photos i have of local Charabancs and the drivers are different men, as are the vehicles. Great photo!