Smallpox in Blantyre, 1901

Throughout the middle and end of February 1901, residents in Blantyre were alarmed to hear and read about cases of smallpox breaking out in the district.

A railwayman residing at Rosendale Place complained of illness and Dr Grant attended, concerned enough to call in the County Doctor for a second opinion. They concluded it must be smallpox and in the following days when the man developed more telling symptoms of the disease, he was taken to hospital.

Another man, in High Blantyre this time the same week was taken to hospital. A farmer of High Blantyre presumed to have caught smallpox whilst delivering milk to Parkhead. By the end of February, four confirmed cases were known, including a 22 year old woman at McAlpines Buildings on Glasgow Road.

The outbreak prompted stepping up and a rush for vaccination.

Photo illustration: Concerned Doctor after house visit. Courtesy Blantyre project AI Generated.

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  1. Michael Glangevlin McGovern

    Great but sad story. Do you know the name of the 22 year old woman, who lived in the McAlpines Buildings? My maternal granny Helen Girvin/Girvan lived there, she was about 16 years old then. Thank you.

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