The first meeting of the reconstituted committee of the Hamilton Combination Poorhouse took place on 22nd December 1916 at the former poorhouse on Bothwell Road. With representatives from each town, Mr Alexander Millar was there on behalf of Blantyre interests.
After voting on a tender for repainting the building, the committee got to business of discussing the occupants. On the agenda was the discussion about children in the poorhouse. A motion was put forward to remove 2 of the children taking them to institutions on account of them being, and I use their words, “mentally defective“. One from Hamilton, one from Blantyre.
It’s unknown what state of mind these children were in, or indeed if they had behavioural issues, or even disability. Or even if they had family there! It’s clear though that officials felt they were in the wrong place.
A statistical report submitted by the Governor showed that during that previous month there had been admitted to the house, 27 children; 13 discharged; and 4 had died (in that month alone!) leaving in the house, a total of 161 inmates, as against 151 the previous month.
As many of us count our own blessings this festive season, giving thanks for what comforts we have, we think back on these poor wee mites and the hardships they saw or endured, this exact week, 113 years ago.
From the forthcoming book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2019