Some further photos with a Blantyre connection, from reader Penny Robertson who lives in Australia. Penny’s grandmother Margaret McQuater is pictured aged 22 and then later in life with her husband Daniel Sprott (also of Blantyre) but by that time pictured after they emigrated to Australia.
Daniel Sprott, Penny’s grandfather pictured lost his brother William Sprott in the 1930 Auchinraith Pit Disaster in Blantyre.
Penny writes, “This photo was taken on my grandmother’s 22nd birthday. The other is a photo taken of them here in Sydney. When I looked at the newspaper photo you posted of my grandfather’s brother, William Sprott, who died in the Auchinraith Coal Mine disaster, I can see a definite family resemblance. My father was 12 at the time (in 1930) and said he well remembered the day the news reached them here in Sydney and how distraught his parents were.”
“The story we were told was that William didn’t work regularly in the mine, but had gone down there to earn extra money on that day. I know that his wife, Elizabeth, was already terminally ill from TB and I think the eldest daughter, Greta, had to look after her brothers when she was still a teenager. If I remember rightly, one of them died from lung disease aged only 18. We met Greta in 1964 when my father took our family back to the UK for a holiday. She was industrious and cheerful – ran a B&B in Eastbourne. We also met my grandfather’s sister, Agnes, who lived to be 100, along with her family, who lived in Ayr.”
“I know that my grandfather, Daniel’s, father (William Sprott) had been a coal miner and had found the life very hard. There was a story of him having had a broken leg and being sent home in the back of a horse drawn cart – pretty agonising. So he had been determined that his own sons wouldn’t go down the pit. My grandfather had been good at Maths, so had been kept on at school until he was 13,I think. Can this really be true, it seems so young! I know he told me he had learned some Latin. This schooling was enough to get him a job in an office. He was always intuitively good at Maths and was able to do complicated arithmetic without writing it down. Interestingly, my brother and sister’s boys have all done Maths at the highest level for their matriculation exams.”
“Their lives and opportunities have been so different to that of Daniel and Margaret Sprott. It seems amazing to my sister and me that we still remember our grandparents so well, but in that short time, life and opportunity have changed significantly. My sister’s son has a Master of Laws from Cambridge University and is now a barrister in the Supreme Court here in Sydney and my brother’s eldest son, William is a financial advisor in London. What would my grandparents have made of that!!”