Blantyre Boys and Brooches

On Monday 16th November, 1908 a crack on a large window pane of a Blantyre shop provided some temptation to a gang of 14 or 15 local lads. The drapers shop had a fine display of brooches in the window at the time and a small crack at the corner of the pane, had been extended by the passing gang, in what was first just some mischief. As the crack got wider, a small hole, enough for a small hand to get in, formed and this was the trigger for mischief to turn to theft.

Police were called and after a chase, four of the boys were apprehended. In court in December, the four lads aged 12 to 14 stood accused of stealing the brooches to the value of 21s.

The fiscal had initially not wanted to bring the boys to court, when he heard of a broken window and brooches in it, commenting that temptation was there for people of all ages. Incredibly beforehand, the option was given to the four sets of parents to pay for the damaged window and forget the charge. However, only one of the parents wished to do this, the others not willing at all to contribute to a large, expensive window which was damaged in the first place. The boys therefore ended up in court and perhaps the parents wanted to make them accountable?

One parent in defence said there had been a dispute between the tenant about who should fix it and it was a point of principal, that he would not be contributing towards the cost. Another parent was aggrieved that only 4 boys were in court when 15 had been around the window, and as it happened the police only caught up with 4 of them.

The boys were put up on probation for 2 months and were to be sentenced in January 1908. Gilmour’s Shop Window on Glasgow Road, is pictured a few years earlier around this time. Perhaps it was this very Drapers which was robbed?

1910s Child stands in the doorway of Gilmours Drapers. Shared by RDS

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