Pictured in this previously unseen photo sometime between 1903 and 1910 is the Covenanter’s Memorial at Bothwell Bridge. It opened to the public in 1903 and of course commemorates the Battle of Bothwell Bridge back in 1679.
The photographer is Blantyre man David Ritchie and you can see how new the memorial looks. Dwelling on this subject, I have a little piece of interesting news relating to this subject. On 22nd June 1907, the annual “friendly societies” parade in Blantyre had a noticeable downturn in attendance. Whilst the parade was usually popular, it now coincided with the same day (and time) of the gathering at Bothwell Bridge to commemorate the Battle. Since 1903 when the memorial went up, an annual gathering of some large crowds took place in Bothwell and was being well attended by people in Blantyre.
Posters advertising the Bothwell Bridge event had been scattered all over the county, but bizarrely not on Blantyre billboards, yet word had spread. Many thousands of local people made their way to the Brig. Onlookers commented that Whistleberry Road and the Suspension Bridge were completely blocked by people. Blantyre’s Rev John Burleigh was on the speakers platform that day.