Samuel Jenkins (b1845-d1908)

In September 1908, the death of a well known and respected High Blantyre tailor took place, leaving the community saddened and shocked.

Samuel Jenkins, the son of clothier William Jenkins and Mary Knox, was born in 1845 at Stranraer in the borders region of Scotland.

In 1871, at the age of 26, he married Jessie Kerr, a local woman at Glenluce near Stranraer. At the age of 32, he came to Blantyre in 1877, the year of the Blantyre Pit Disaster. This was likely prompted by the death of his father that same year. By then he had followed in the family footsteps of being a tailor and clothier and he opened up first at Auchinraith. This was in the tenement Kirkland Place at the corner of Cemetery Road. Naismith’s Directory of 1879 confirms this. By 1881, he had a growing family, living there with his wife and their children William (8), Alfred (2) and little Agnes (10 months). Further babies followed that year.

The following year in 1882 would be most tragic for this family. Daughters Robina and Mary both died aged only 1 year old. Then later in the year, son William aged 10 died too. Three children had died in 12 months.

In 1888, another son Willie was born, but he too died a year later in 1889.

By 1891, they had moved across the road to the former tenement Gardiner Place and had a further 2 daughters, little Jessie and Dora. In due course, this family had 10 children, though several died in childhood.

Samuel’s general manner and availability speedily made him a favourite and brought him much custom.

With a successful business, opportunity arose when by 1901 he had built his own house on Main Street at Loch Ryan, acquiring a small portion of land from the Jackson family of nearby ‘Croftfoot’.

Samuel was most interested in public affairs and the improvement of Blantyre, but his business interests prevented him taking part in those type of meetings, though he followed them with great enthusiasm. His hobby was playing draughts and he was incredibly accomplished, indeed on some occasions defeating known champions.

On Sunday 20th September 1908, Samuel had been attending the Anderson Church service on Stonefield Road, (where he was a member of the congregation) and after the service had been seized by an illness and pain, which he was not to recover from.

Samuel died on Thursday 24th September 1908 at 11am at his home at Lochryan Cottage on High Blantyre Main Street. He was 63. Dr Cowan Wilson determined Samuel had died from a stroke and had blocked arteries, the term “atherosclerosis” on his death certificate. A deep regret and mourning was felt in the district as the news spread. His wife outlived him. He also left behind a family.

Following his death, son Alfred Jenkins took over the business in High Blantyre. His shop and house ‘Lochryan’ is pictured in the following decade. This building still stands. Where the woman is standing is now the entrance to McLeans Newsagents. The beautiful arched doorway, now is unfortunately bricked over and on the left the three windows knocked in to form one large plate glass window and door for the ‘Cut n Shave’ barbers. In modern decades, the building was extended in similar sized proportions on either side to form a further 2 shops on each side. To the right is the Tanning Salon and Ginos Chip Shop, to the left is Deli Delights and Flowers to Go.

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  1. Once again Mr Veverka, you have surpassed yourself. A very interesting article on a former Blantyre resident, Samuel Jenkins, his tragedies and his eventual business success.

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