Mains Family, Blantyre

Reader, Rhona Johnsen shared this great photo and provided some narrative in relation to the MAINS family of Blantyre. The photo I think dates from around 1907 or 1908.

John Mains (the tall boy at the back) was born on 29th March 1895 at Auchinraith, Blantyre. He was the eldest child of Robert Maxwell Mains and Helen Sorbie who lived in Blantyre. John was among many boys born in that era who would be old enough to fight in the First World War. However, he was lucky to survive.

Jean Robertson Mains (pictured on the far left) was born on 16th May 1897 in Blantyre. She looked after the large family after her mother died about age 50. Jean never married but took care of her father, her brothers and her little sister Grace who was only 12 when her Mum died.

Rhona told me, “My great grandfather Robert Maxwell Mains was born in Rutherglen on 22nd November 1867 and died in Blantyre on 15th September 1951. He was the father of John and Jean and of my grandfather Andrew Sorbie Mains, born in Blantyre on 23rd October 1904 (the tiny boy at front of photo holding some kind of stick). Robert Maxwell Mains was injured in one of the mining accidents and my Mum spoke of the terrible scars on his back.”

The Mains family lived at 2 Cemetery Road, in the lower house of a tenement called Kirkland Place. This was the border of Auchinraith and Causeystanes. They were renting there for £10 and 5 shillings in 1915, the rent being slightly more than neighbours in the same building, a good indication that they had a larger apartment.

Kirkland Place is pictured, the Main family lived on Cemetery Road, their home immediately out the picture to the left. This would have been a very familiar scene for them. With the photo taken around the same time as the family photo, I have to wonder if any of the boys are in this street scene too?!


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  1. Thanks so much Paul for the really interesting details that you have added to my Mains family history. It’s fantastic to see the photo of where the family lived.

    1. Thankyou so much for this Jeanie Mains was our grandmother married to Adam Stein they came to nz in 1912. Would love to know more. thankyou again.

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