Sad, School Board Prosecution

Tuesday 23rd February 1915 saw Blantyre woman Mary Borden (or Duffy) up in Hamilton Sheriff Court upon the insistence of Blantyre School Board.

Mary, of 37 Hall Street, Blantyre was facing an attendance order for her 4 children not attending school. It was stated that as her husband was currently serving in the army, she did not have the means to buy boots or clothing for her children. The court had to listen to her defence of not having money and a situation which forced her eldest child (still very much a child) to go out to work for around 9s per week just to provide food.

The court heard a defence case of how Blantyre School Board should consider such cases as exceptional and should go out their way to provide boots and clothing in such instances.

The prosecution however maintained the case had no ‘redeeming features’ and further efforts could have been made by Mary to provide clothes and footwear for her children in order to get to school. The prosecution went on to suggest a blatant disregard for the law, for sending children to school and parents had to be accountable for that.

The judge in this instance, would not say what the position of the Board was but did recognise that Mary had the right to appeal his decision, that decision being to delay sentence of Mary until June, to first see if the children had a better attendance at school, if boots were provided.

The story is a good reminder that where miners went off to do their duty on the battlefields of WW1, that family life back home in Blantyre was altogether very much stressed, especially with regular wages suddenly stopping.

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