Savage Brutality at the Village, 1910

Saturday 12th February 1910 saw a savage domestic incident at the Village spill out into the street, then later relived in Court. A warning this story, some 111 years old does contain upsetting content.

John Irvine, a miner living at Waterloo Row had been paid that weekend and had spent the day drinking in Blantyre pubs. On that Saturday night, Irvine had returned home worse for wear due to the liquor. He arrived home at the former houses at the Village Works between 10pm and 11pm and in his stupor, headed for bed.

He awoke at 2am, and still drunk, demanded his supper from his wife. His daughter trying to calm things down, got up and put on a dinner in the middle of the night. Irvine’s wife got up to clear up dishes and it was then things became ‘heated’ when he found himself having to explain how he had spent his Saturday. As his wife went back to bed, he followed and still quarrelling fiercely, he grabbed her hair and attempted to drag her out the bed to her alarm and fright.

The daughter and two young men (who were lodging at the house) stepped into the argument in vain efforts to protect Mrs Irvine. Seeing now three people trying to protect his wife and taking “her side”, his fury grew and he reached for a razor and still holding his wife’s head, threatened to cut it off!

The men bravely grabbed the razor and in the commotion, Mrs Irvine managed to wriggle free , escaping out into the street near Station Road in her nightclothes. With patrolling police out and about in those days, it wasn’t long before she found two beat policemen, whom concerned about her welfare followed her back to the house, where an arrest was made.

John Irvine spent the next 4 nights in the cells until he found himself in Hamilton J.P Court on the Thursday where, after all the brutality was explained to the judge, and taking into account his custody already, he was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment.

As with several of these crime related stories, I couldn’t help wondering what happened next in this unhappy household and felt it unlikely that things improved. After a little digging around, I found that the following year in 1911, the Irvine family were no longer living in Blantyre and John Irvine was living alone in Hamilton. Probably says it all. Waterloo Row, the scene of this story is pictured that decade.

c1900 Waterloo Row and Village Gardens (GC)

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