Woodlands Parish Church, c.1935.
Archive Ref: P714
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Woodlands Parish Church, c.1935.
Archive Ref: P714
Great images of Keppochhill Rd, 1925-1926, from the Office of Public Works photographic collection. Archive Ref: D-OPW 76/20/1-4
Thanks so much to everyone for their questions and comments for this week's #AskTheArchivist on poor relief applications! Here's a selection we've answered for you. Hope you enjoy them, look out for next week’s topic being announced on Monday!
Q1: How do I start researching the applications?
If your ancestor was born or died in a poorhouse or they lived there during a census year, they would have made an application for relief. People could also apply for a small grant of money to cover rent, food, clothing and medicine and would remain in their own home. These applications have been electronically indexed by name for Glasgow (up to the early 1930s) and for certain parishes in Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire (up to 1900). To request a search, all you need is the person’s full name, birthplace and approximate year of birth.
Q2: Can the databases and poor relief applications be accessed online?
Not yet but we do have access to the databases at the moment. Request a search by contacting us on our social media channels and we’ll reply to you with the reference details of the application if one is found. The next step would normally be either to arrange a visit to our public searchroom or to request a copy from us for a small fee. At the moment, we’re not able to offer these options but you can email us at [email protected] with the details when we re-open.
Q3: What did applying for poor relief involve?
To be eligible, a person needed settlement in a parish. There were three major parishes in Glasgow: City, Barony and Govan. A person could gain settlement by being born there, through marriage or through residency for a set period of time. To apply, the person visited their parish office where an inspector of the poor noted key details: name, age, birthplace, religion, dependents and their details, marital history, details of the applicant’s parents and parents-in-law and previous addresses. On the same day (or the following one), the inspector visited them in their home to confirm their address. He also checked other records to confirm previous addresses and the exact dates of marriage and births within the family. Once he came to a decision, the outcome was recorded in the application itself.
Q4: Could people make several applications?
There should only be one application per person but this isn’t always the case! A person may have applied under a slightly different name or applied to a different parish which resulted in multiple applications. If you do find more than one for the same person, it’s worth checking them all as you never know what extra details an inspector may have included.
Q5: Did families sometimes change their names in the applications e.g. Ellen Magill instead of Helen McGill?
Yes, the inspector recorded the name as he heard it which resulted in variant surname spellings and in some Helens becoming Ellens! It’s worthwhile searching for variations of particular names in case this happened to your own ancestor.
Q6: What’s the largest number of children you’ve ever seen on an application?
Jessie Robertson Cleghorn (whom we featured at the start of the week) and her husband had 13 children including a set of twins. Has anyone come across a larger family in the applications?
Q7: Have you ever seen an application where the people mentioned went on to be famous or infamous?
Yes, a few! For example, we have one made in 1921 on behalf of the socialist John Maclean who was in prison at the time for sedition. The application relates to his transfer to hospital for refusing food (ref: D-HEW16/13/513, 77011). There’s more information about it on The Mitchell’s Family History website at https://bit.ly/3bvejGw. We also have a few applicants with famous connections including Gilbert Begg whose uncle was Robert Burns (ref: D-HEW10/6/19, 85).
Q8: What are your favourite applications and why?
We’ve had fun thinking about our answers for this one! Between us, here are some of our favourites:
There’s Elizabeth Adams Cruickshanks who left her husband to elope with her lover. Her husband found out when he returned to their house to discover her note: “you need not be vexed about the child for many’s the lie I told you about it. The child is not yours but William Pinkerton’s.”
Another is the application of Neil McCallum who scored Celtic’s first ever goal in 1888. When he finished playing, he became a general labourer and applied for relief in 1906 after suffering blood poisoning in his hands.
The City and Govan parishes were notable for adding in extra detail about the applicants. One application includes an exchange of letters between a husband and wife who separated (one willingly and one unwillingly). Many of the phrases in the letters are familiar to us today including the comment that there are plenty of other fish in the sea!
General views of Anniesland Rd, 1925.
On this St George’s Day, we’re posting an image of a shop from Glasgow’s St George’s Cross. This is the closing of Milletts Stores, 16-20 Great Western Road, in April 1931.
Archive ref: D-CA8/1372
Short video telling the story of the Declaration of Arbroath on its 700th birthday
On the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath - Scotland's most iconic historic document and a key treasure in the NRS archives - Dr Alan Borthwick…
Before and after images of work on West George St from the collection of the Office of Public Works, 1925.
28 Riverford Road during the redevelopment of Pollokshaws, Jan 1958.
Archive ref: D-AP9/7/28/48
The Conservator in the National Records of Scotland is responsible for preserving the Declaration of Arbroath for future generations. She explains how this world-famous document has been a constant in her life.
On 6 April, National Records of Scotland is celebrating the 700th anniversary of the most famous and iconic document in their collections – the Declaration of Arbroath. Linda Ramsay is responsible …
This month we mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. This week we will be sharing 3 blogs about Scotland's most iconic document. In this one, archivist Dr Alan Borthwick from the National Records of Scotland explains what the Declaration is and why it was created and the significance of the 19 seals attached to the document.
2020 marks the 700th anniversary of this iconic document
Today we highlight the Master of Works. There by 1574, originally a councillor, in 1814 it became a salaried role. The officer became City Engineer, City Surveyor and City Architect over time, responsible for the city's infrastructure and public buildings. Today the images show the bridge at Shawbridge St, Pollokshaws, #Archivesathome #Glasgowlifegoeson
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Dovehill Primary School, Bell Street, in the early 1970s.
James Thomson designed the original building for the School Board of Glasgow and it opened in August 1877. Honeyman and Keppie designed an extension to the school in the 1880s.
Archive ref: D-ED5/29/1(15A)
Think the pillows on these tables are for sleeping on? Think again! It’s one of the #Misconceptions about archives we’ve encountered along the way and are highlighting as part of #Archive30.
These cushions are here to cradle volumes with fragile spines rather than weary heads. We also use a number of other preservation aids to protect the archives while they’re being viewed in the searchroom. These include long, thin, cotton-covered lead weights called snake weights (because of their shape) as well as cotton gloves and acid-free slips of paper.
Though we’re sure people wouldn’t object if we did provide real pillows 😉
Picture ref: Archives searchroom, The Mitchell Library, 30 Sep 2019
As part of #Archive30, we’d like to show you this #UnusualItem from our collections! It’s a wooden and painted school badge from Braeside Primary School in Castlemilk and forms part of the records we hold for the school. We usually only collect school log books and admission registers so it’s unusual for us to have something like this for a particular school.
Archive ref: SR10/3/566/8/1
#AskTheArchivist… Poor relief applications
This week, we’re kicking things off by inviting questions on an old favourite and one which has helped many of our searchers with their family history research over the years.
We hold over a million poor relief applications for Glasgow parishes as well as thousands for certain parishes within Bute, West Dunbartonshire, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. Since they highlight an individual applicant and their family, they’re a treasure trove for family historians. Check out our guide for more: https://bit.ly/2OdvjIs.
For inspiration, we’re sharing extracts from the application of Jessie Robertson Cleghorn who applied for help for herself and her seven children in 1896. The family lived in two rooms and a kitchen which can be seen in the sketch.
Maybe you’d like to know how she qualified for relief, who recorded her information and drew the sketch or whether people needed to complete an application for admission into the poorhouse. Or maybe you’d like to ask us what we’ve discovered over the years of caring for and providing access to these applications. We could tell you about the longest poor relief application we’ve uncovered or which applications have stood out to us for their poignancy or revelations about daily life in the past.
Go on, #AskTheArchivist! Direct message us your questions by 10am this Thursday and check back with us this Friday at 12 noon to see our answers to a selection of your questions.
Ref: D-HEW10/6/76 (No. 162)
Ever wanted to know more about our collections?
#AskTheArchivist is our new campaign giving you the chance to ask us some questions! Every Monday, we’ll introduce a new topic which highlights a particular record type or collection we hold. Maybe you’d like to know when those records begin, what geographical areas they cover or what content you might find in them.
Direct message us with your questions by 10am on Thursday and we’ll publish a selection of them with our answers every Friday at 12 noon. We’ll do our best to answer as fully as we can but please bear in mind that we don’t currently have access to our collections and our answers may not be as full as we’d like. If you have specific questions about your own family history, please note that these won’t be included as part of the public answers but you can still message us separately about them.
Look out for our first topic being announced at 12 noon today!
The foundation stone of St Enoch's Church, named after the mother of St Mungo, was laid on 1780. It was built on supposed site of an earlier church on/near her burial place. Rebuilt in 1827, but retaining old spire, it was demolished in 1925. #Archivesathome #Glasgowlifegoeson
Glasgow’s Water and Loch Katrine
In 1859 a new municipal water supply was inaugurated by the Town Council, with fresh water piped from Loch Katrine. Before that private companies supplied the City with water. Water pollution, the 1848 cholera outbreak, and the urgent need for a larger supply of water for the city's growing population and industry led to Glasgow Corporation commissioning civil engineer John Frederick Bateman to find a solution. His recommendation was the large scale Loch Katrine scheme. For its time it was a very ambitious scheme, aiming to provide 50 million gallons of water in any one day and including an aqueduct 26 miles long, dams across Lochs Vennachar, Loch Drunkie and Loch Katrine, a reservoir at Mugdock, construction of some 20 miles of trunk mains from the reservoir, and 46 miles of new pipes to distribute the water through Glasgow and its suburbs.
Glasgow Stock Exchange (founded 1844) on corner of St George's Pl and Buchanan St, c 1914. John Burnet designed the building in the Venetian Gothic style. It was erected 1875-1877. Archive Ref: P1874
Archives of the Chinese Community in America saved after fire.
After a fire tore through the building containing the Museum of Chinese in America's 85,000-item archive, the New York institution went back to its roots and inspired a community campaign to recover and restore its collection.
Boys playing in sewage on the Molendinar, Townhead, c,1910. Archive Ref: P671
Amazing image of Townhead, c.1990s, by photographer Andrew McDonald, showing many of the area's iconic buildings. How many can you identify? Archive Ref: TD1575/3/8.
Trams at Great Western Road, near the entrance to the Botanic Gardens and the Botanic Garden Station, circa 1907.
The National Trust for Scotland has shared the original audio recordings of a series of Gaelic songs collected by archivist John Lorne Campbell from Canna:
The National Trust for Scotland has found a way of virtually commemorating the Battle of Culloden during the coronavirus lockdown
The Salvation Army Men's Home in Charlotte St, 1916. It was formerly the house of David Dale, cotton merchant, and co-founder of the New Lanark cotton mills. Dale's mansion was built to an Adam design in 1783, at a cost of more than £6,000. His family sold the house in 1827 and it became the Glasgow Eye Infirmary in the 1850s. The Infirmary was relocated to the west end in 1874. The house was demolished in 1953 to make way for an extension to Our Lady and St Francis Secondary School. (Archive Ref: P652)
Daily street scene looking west down Bath Street from the Pitt Street intersection, with St Matthew’s Blythswood church (later Renfield St Stephen’s) on the right, around 1964.
Glasgow's Baths and Wash-houses
A public wash-house was established in Glasgow Green in 1732 and there were various drying greens in the City including one on the Green itself. Other washing greens emerged including the North Parish Green which was founded in 1792. In 1866 the police authority in Glasgow obtained powers to establish public baths and wash-house. The first of these, Greenhead Baths, replaced the public wash-house on Glasgow Green (demolished 1876), and opened in 1878. Most of the baths also had facilities for washing clothes (steamies). By 1975 it was responsible for 26 public baths.
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The City Archives, housed in the Mitchell Library, include the official records of Glasgow and other local authorities as well as a large number of private collections.