The Italian’s Barrow, 1898

During the late 1890’s, many Italians arrived in Blantyre. Numerous individuals had enterprising spirit keen on creating their own businesses and a name for themselves.

On Friday 22nd July 1898, a little Blantyre girl named McGuire, the daughter of Patrick McGuire was queuing up with a number of friends at an Italian barrow or stall for ice cream.

The Italian was lighting his pipe and in the habit of throwing the match to his right, accidentally threw it on to the child, immediately igniting her clothing. The Italian man, paused momentarily and then in fright, ran off leaving behind the horrific scene and his barrow! Thankfully others nearby quickly put out the fire on the girls clothing, but not before her face and hair were slightly burnt.

As the girl was led off home, the other children at once set about the abandoned barrow relieving it of all the ice cream within it. Seeing what was unfolding, a passer by went in search of the Italian but it took a great deal of persuasion for him to return to the now empty barrow, for fear of what he had done.

Not the best start for somebody arriving in Scotland!

Illustration: Generated by AI for this story.

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