Mr John Hastie of High Blantyre was born in 1846 and is noted in the 1879 Naismith’s Directory as an ironmonger at Gardiner’s Place, High Blantyre. It is thought he was there prior to 1871. He ran a business in Blantyre and later in Burnbank also. You could even buy sticks of Gelatine Dynamite from his store.
Through his perseverance and hard work, he was incredibly successful, his business known to be one of the largest in the district. He had many friends and was highly respected. He was a member of the Blantyre Parish Council from the beginning of the Parish Council Act. He was an accomplished poet even producing a charitable book in 1903, which although published, he never took any money for.
In 1905 he was managing Turner’s Buildings (Central Buildings) as a factor. In late 1906, he had to step back from work and community duties due to a heart ailment which concerned his friends and family. He was an active member of the congregation of the U.F. Anderson Church on Stonefield Road where he had been an elder for many years. He was also President of the Young Men’s Sunday Morning meetings. John never saw WW1 arriving. He passed away at his High Blantyre home “Meadowview” on the morning of Wednesday 14th November 1906, leaving behind a widow and a grown-up family. He was 60 years old.
One of his poems is remembered here titled “Wet 1903” , a reference to the very poor rainy weather which had troubled Britain that year. This, therefore is a poem by a High Blantyre man, remembered here 120 years later.
‘Wet 1903’ by J Hastie
We welcomed you with running cheers,
With hope and spirits high;
But few will have their tears to wipe,
When wishing you goodbye.
Oh, little sunshine thou hast brought,
To husbandmarr or mart;
Thy blessings have been scattered thin,
That cheer the toiler’s heart.
The golden seed we sowed in hope,
You soured and steeped in rain,
And brought us nigh despair to see;
The fields of wasting grain.
Those battling to get ends to meet;
You’ve made their lot severer;
And all will likely learn too soon,
The staff of life is dearer.
Forgive, Forgive, our last adieu,
If in it Ian may be;
We fair would curse thee to thy face,
Wet Nineteen nothing three!