A Notorious Gang Member

On 4 June 1870, The Manchester Times summarised a court case that had reached a verdict on the previous Monday. The detail of the article is here. It details the chequered criminal history of my 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Butterworth, and his half brother, Edward Lavery!

That was to be my blog post – a description of this one point in Thomas and Edward’s history which had landed them in gaol. A few clicks later and I’m yelling across the room (to uninterested family members), “I’ve found another convict!!”

I thought that the major crime in Thomas’s life was in 1870, the year the article was written. The year he was sent to Portland Gaol. Not so. Thomas’s life of crime was so prolific I can’t imagine how he ever found the time to paint.

Thomas, the son of Robert Butterworth and Ellen Lavery, a painter by trade, was born in c1837. According to the newspaper article, he began his life of crime in 1854 and was arrested almost annually up to 1860 when he was convicted, along with his brother, at Preston for 6 years. This led me to comment to my husband, “Lucky they had ended transportation, otherwise I wouldn’t exist!” But they hadn’t – they were still sending England’s finest to Western Australia and that’s where we find Thomas in 1862. Bound for the Swan River aboard the convict ship, The Norwood.


1862, The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 – 1901), 25 June, p.4

The records state his name is Thomas Lavery, alias Butterworth. He is 22 years old; can read but not write; he is married with one child; he is a painter; his behaviour since conviction is described as “V Good”, “Good” and “Indifferent” on the voyage.

There is a record stating that he was discharged on the 7 August 1863 and he was sent to Perth. He received his ticket of leave 24 Aug 1863 from Fremantle. In 1864, he was transferred from Perth to the Swan River Settlement. He received his conditional pardon on 28 April 1865. He was employed as a labourer, woodcutter, shoemaker and general servant. A list of his masters is below (as best I can make out):

  • E Perusa w 3/- 07.04.64 Left 29.04.64
  • Entered service of A Taylor at 20/- Left 28.06.64
  • Entered service of W Liddelow 29.06.64 at 20/- ?? (sick?) 28.07.64
  • Entered service of C Pereina 03.08.64
  • Discharged 07.09.64 and sent out (with?) depot
  • There is a note stating that he was sent to York in 1865

How Thomas returned to the UK, I don’t know. With a conditional pardon, I doubt he was allowed. In any case, what I do know is that he is appearing in front of a magistrate again in 1870 (having hooked up with his brother and mates) and is sent to Portland Gaol where he is listed in the 1871 census.

What happened after Thomas was sent to Portland Gaol? I used to think that he had died in prison however, a discharge document for a man named “John Jones” grabbed my attention. John Jones is being released from Parkhurst Gaol in 1889 (he had been sentenced in 1880) and hailed from Birmingham. The side note states that his alias is Thomas Butterworth and sometimes Lavery. His occupation is a painter.

I still need to work out the rest of his chequered life – I doubt that it will be an easy task. He was a man who spent the majority of his life in gaol.

A man who unlikely knew his son nor saw his wife again.

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Letters to “Gentlemen”


On my deck …

I have been busy trying to find details of an illusive ancestor George Brown in Durham when I randomly began searching for Reuben Miles at the British Newspapers webpage. Voilà! Reuben was a writer!! Better still, so was his wife, Elizabeth.

I know very little about Elizabeth Groves, the wife of Reuben Miles. Now I know she was obsessed with mushrooms and was an avid commentator on the local market scene.

Elizabeth Groves was the daughter of John Groves, a possible chair maker, and was born in c1830 in Bristol. In the 1851 census, Elizabeth is living in Clifton Road with her two sisters, Mary & Anne, or employed as Stay Makers. In 1851 she married Reuben Miles, a gardener who later became a potato dealer. The couple had four (known) children: Reuben, Elizabeth, Thomas and William Henry.

In the newspaper archives of 1866 and 1867, I have found several letters written by Elizabeth Miles that all begin, “Gentlemen, ..”. She has several letters describing mushrooms and how to cultivate them; she discusses the plight of the potato dealer and developing standards similar to those used by corn and flour dealers. She calls for the implementation of a sack engine for the weighing of potatoes. And then there is the mushroom so large it raised a paver.

There are still many questions in the life of Elizabeth however some are answered in one other letter she wrote to the Western Daily Press July 1867 where she describes the narrow escape a lady and her two children had as a bull charged them in the middle of Castle Green. The lady and her children managed to find shelter in a potato store in Narrow Wine Street – I presume the store was owned by Mr Reuben Miles and his wife, Elizabeth.


Elizabeth died in 1867 at the age of 34.

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Don’t You Know Who I Am !!

I saw the above cartoon this morning. “Do you know who I am?” It made me wonder who my great great great grandparents are and how I could casually throw them into conversation. So, below is a list of my illustrious 3x great grandparents. Enjoy!

Thomas James Lane – born in London in 1818. Emigrated to Australia in 1853. Died in NSW in 1895. He was a member of the Church of England and his occupation is listed as a wheelwright.

Maria Moss – born in London in 1823. Emigrated to Australia in 1853. Died in NSW in 1906. She was Jewish.

Thomas Dawson – born in Bedfordshire in 1825. Emigrated to Australia in 1848. Died in NSW in 1914. He was a Baptist and his occupation is listed as labourer.

Mary Ann Garner – born in Bedfordshire in 1826. Emigrated to Australia in 1848. Died in NSW in 1894. She was a member of the Church of England.

Thomas Butterworth – born in 1837 in Manchester. Convicted several times and did stints in Chatham and Portland Gaols in the UK (his brother was his partner in crime). Death date unknown. Alias Thomas Lavery.

Betsy Monks – born c1838 in Lancashire. Little else is known about her.

John West – born in 1819 in Northamptonshire. Emigrated to Australia in 1849. He died in 1889 in South Australia. He was a member of the Church of England and his occupation is listed as sawyer.

Hannah Allsop – born in 1823 in Northamptonshire. Emigrated to Australia in 1849. She died in South Australia in 1910. She was a member of the Church of England.

William Scarlett – born in c 1828 in either Not Known (1851), Lancashire (1861), or Oxfordshire (1871). He was a coal miner in Durham from 1850 (at least). I am unsure of his death date.

Isabella Brown – born in c1831 in Durham. She was a coal miner’s wife who died in 1870.

Thomas Henry Fuller – born in 1817 in Suffolk. He was convicted in 1836, spent time on a convict hulk before arriving in NSW in 1837. He died in NSW in 1907.

Phebe Hutchby – born in 1828 in London. She emigrated to Australis in 1849. She died in NSW in 1921. She was a member of the Church of England and her occupation is listed as housemaid.

John Snedden – born in 1835 in Glasgow. He emigrated to Australia in 1883. He died in 1886 in NSW.

Janet Snedden – born c1827 in Lanarkshire. She died in 1883 in Lanarkshire.

Charles Johnston – born c1833 in Antrim, Ireland. He emigrated to Scotland by 1856 and then later to Australia by 1891. He died in 1907 in NSW. His occupation is listed as coal miner.

Mary Ann Brown – born c 1831 in Antrim, Ireland. She emigrated to Scotland by 1856 and then later to Australia by 1891. She died in NSW in 1902.

Robert Lemon – born c1838 in Lisburn, Ireland. He emigrated to Australia c1860. He died in NSW in 1909. His occupation is listed as a gaol warden and a presbyterian (fairly certain).

Margaret Oliver – born c1838 in Lisburn, Ireland. She emigrated to Australia c1860. She died in NSW in 1916 in Goulburn. She was a presbyterian.

Joseph Thomas Faulder – born in 1808 in Northumberland. He emigrated to Australia in 1841. He died in 1886 in NSW. He was a protestant and his occupation is listed as station manager.

Mary Norton – born in 1829 in Tipperary, Ireland. She emigrated to Australia in 1840. She died in 1864 in NSW.

William J Aldington – born in c1816 in London. He died in 1882 in London. His occupation is listed as Porter (1871) and Collector in the Tobacco Trade (1881).

Rebecca Innalls – born c 1816 in London. She died in 1891 in London.

James Brand – born 1823 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He died in 1905 in Fife, Scotland. His occupation is listed as a Brick Manufacturer.

Anne Brown – born in 1825 in Bo’Ness, Scotland. She died in 1894 in Fife, Scotland.

Friedrich Aeschbacher – born in 1826 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland. He died in 1872 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland. His occupation is listed as a baler.

Anna Haldimann – born in 1828 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland. She died in 1907 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland.

Jakob Jörg – born in 1836 in Bern, Switzerland. He died in 1922 in Bern, Switzerland.

Anna Barbara Wirth – born in 1836 in Switzerland.

Reuben Miles – born in 1824 in Somerset. He died in 1896 in Bristol. He was a member of the Church of England and his occupation is listed as gardener.

Elisabeth Groves – born in c1830 in Bristol. She died in 1864 in Bristol.

Matthew Ryan – born in c1816 in Tipperary, Ireland. He emigrated to Australia in 1852. He died in 1871 in NSW. His religion was Roman Catholic and his occupation is listed as agricultural labourer.

Sarah Heffernan – born in c1822 in Tipperary, Ireland. She emigrated to Australia in 1852. She died in 1881 in NSW. Her religion was Roman Catholic and her occupation is listed as dairywoman.


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Writing Home

Christmas Card 1941


Dear Bro Gordon
I am sending you this birthday card, wishing you a happy birthday. I forget how old you are – I think it is about 15 or 16. Anyway, it don’t matter. I suppose you are some boy now, poking out the chest and earning 30/- a week. That isn’t bad money for your age. How are the girls treating you? I bet you are a girl killer by now. If you ever meet that girl I went with from Greta, take her out. Why you could ask mum to invite her up for a weekend. You will find her a nice girl and she might learn you to dance.
Your affectionate bro, George

The card pictured and the text above are from two separate cards by grandfather, George, sent home while he was overseas during World War II. The birthday card (which isn’t nearly as exciting as the Christmas card) was sent in either 1941 or 1942 (depending on whether Uncle Gordon was actually 15 or 16).

What I have always loved about this brief message from one brother to another, is the mention of “that girl I went with in Greta”. That girl is my grandmother and is the only record I have of actual “wooing” among my ancestors.

I have tried writing about my grandfather before but with little success. I become lost in the few years of his life that were WWII. It is also far easier to write about someone you never met than a close relative – that’s my experience at any rate.

Pa, as I knew him, was born in 1921 in Heidelberg, Victoria. From what I can gather, his father picked up work where it was available and as a consequence the family moved frequently.

When Pa enlisted in May 1940, he was 19 years old (although he bumped his age by one year when signing up) and living in Marylands, NSW. He joined 2/1st Pioneer Battalion which was based at the army camp in Greta.

If not for WWII and whatever reasons Pa had for enlisting, I may never have come into being. In Greta, he met Pauline Scarlett – possibly at a dance. They obviously hit it off as the battalion was in Dubbo and then sailing away to Palestine at the end of September 1940. About three months of wooing, give or take.

In May 1942, more than eighteen months later, Pa had two weeks home leave and then another three in November that year. In January 1943, he was granted compassionate leave for five days. This is where I become frustrated with the documents – George and Pauline were married (according to my notes) on 14 February 1943 in Gosford.

Pa spent another two years in the army and was discharged on 1 August 1945. He went back to the Hunter Valley to establish a home with his wife and daughter.

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Mary Jane Faulder


Mary Jane Faulder (I’m fairly certain)

Mary Jane Faulder is my maternal great great grandmother. Of her line, she is the first to be born in Australia.

Mary Jane was the second daughter and the sixth of eight children born to Joseph Faulder and Mary Norton (there was a 21 year age gap between her parents). She was born in 1859 in Yass, NSW.

When Mary Jane was 7 years old, her brother Lambert died. He was 10. I have been unable to find details as to the cause of his death so am assuming it was an illness.

When Mary was 17, her eldest brother, Firmin died at the age of 27.  Firmin left behind a young wife and two sons.

When Mary was 27, her father, Joseph, died at the age of 78. He died at the family station, Preesgwene. Joseph had farmed the property for over 25 years. It is likely that Mary Jane had been born here.

In 1889, at the age of 30, Mary Jane married James Thomas (JT) Lemon of Goulburn (he was 23). The ceremony and reception took place at her home, Preesgwene.

My great grandfather, Fred, was born the following year and his sister, Ethel, followed along the year after. The family continued to grow with twins, Robert and Dorothea, arriving in 1894.

Harry arrived in 1897, Lesley in 1899 and Sydney in 1901. It was during the 1890’s that JT Lemons was established. According to his obituary, JT was a man of ‘boundless energy’ and by 1907 the company had had three addresses in Goulburn as JT took advantage of opportunities to move the business to a prime location. In all ways, the family prospered.

(I hope for Mary Jane’s sake that she had some assistance with the brood at home during this period.)

In 1904, death struck the family when 7 year old, Harry drowned in the Mulwaree River while paddling with mates after school. The details of the Coroner’s hearing state that Harry couldn’t swim and had fallen into the river when trying to wash mud off his feet before putting them into his shoes. The boys he was with did not tell anyone that Harry was drowning, even when asked by Mary Jane, as they were afraid that they would be in trouble for swimming where they had been told not to. It wasn’t till several hours after that anything was said. The man who pulled Harry’s body from the river felt that had the boys been truthful upfront, then Harry’s life may have been saved.

Between 1913 and 1919, Mary Jane lost several family members. The first was her mother, Mary who died in 1913 from a heart attack. Her brother Frederick died after an operation in 1917 and her husband, JT died in 1919 from neuritis (according to his obituary he had been ill for some time).

While these deaths would have been difficult to bare, the death of her son, Leslie while fighting in France would have been unbearable. 

Leslie had enlisted on 9 July 1917 at the age of 19. He was involved in flighting on the German front in France (I believe) in April 1918. It was here that he received gas wounds which he died. He was buried in Rouen, France.

Within his war records are letters from Mary Jane stating that she did not receive his Victory medal and the Memorial Badge that was given to ‘mothers of the deceased’ was thrown into the fire by her maid (so could she please have a new one) as well as a letter stating that his personal affects have been lost at sea (his and 4999 others). The personal effects forever lost consisted of: letters, photos, a pipe, note book, three religious books, a fountain pen, wrist watch, utensils, english & french book, 2 wallets and one coin.

Mary Jane moved to Manly around 1924 where she lived in Stuart St with her son, Sydney – just around the corner from Little Manly where we used to swim as kids.

She died on 24 Aug 1931 and is buried in Goulburn.

Owing to her genial personality and loving disposition, the late Mrs Lemon had a wide circle of friends, and became endeared to all with whom she came in contact.” – Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 24 August 1931

Mrs Lemon was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church and presented a beautiful christening font  at St Andrew’s Church in memory of her son, Leslie.” – newspaper clipping from Ethel’s scrapbook.


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George Hutchby & Caterham Asylum

I’ve decided to give up the illusion that I am trying to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. After two years and this being my 15th post, who am I kidding?

As it is a holiday, I have some space in the mush I keep in my head to do some research. Being the highly disciplined person that I am (no choking while you read), I stumbled across Mr George Hutchby in the records of the London’s Workhouses along with his father, Alexander.

George was born in 1847 to, I believe, Alexander Hutchby and his wife, Eliza Appleby. As far as I can tell, the couple had four boys with George being the second eldest.

Alexander was employed as a french polisher and the family were living in the parish of St Pancras until the 1861 census when they are found in Bedford. George and his elder brother, Alexander are also french polishers by this date. The third son, John, is not included in this census and I can only imagine that he has passed away (Oct 1859?).

In 1871 the family are back in London, living in Soho. By 1879, it appears that George’s mother is dead.

In February 1879 he is admitted to the Westminster Union Workhouse with his father. I surmise from the dietclassifications that his father was not well (class 2) and George is dependent on his father. By March they have both been dismissed from the workhouse – Alexander in a coffin and George to Caterham Asylum.

The Caterham Asylum was located in Surrey and was later known as the Caterham Lunatic Asylum for Safe Lunatics and Imbeciles. In the census records, George is described as a lunatic.

(I did a quick bit of googling and determined that lunatic was the term used to describe someone with a mental illness. It is interesting to note that George was never identified as an imbecile in any census records before entering the asylum. It is my assumption (based on thirty minutes of intensive research on the internet) that George may have suffered from the inhalation of the products he used as a french polisher.)

From what I can gather, Caterham was different in regards to other asylums of the time. For one, the people residing there were listed by name not by their initials. For what it’s worth, below is a paragraph describing what George may have experienced while at Caterham:

On the male side the same order and regularity prevailed as on the female. In the workshops I noticed several persons employed on labour which, at first sight, it seemed hardly possible that the idiot’s mind could be brought to understand, or his hands to perform. Shoemaking and tailoring employed a great number. Noticing in the workshops of the shoemakers some very dangerous looking knives, I inquired whether it was not imprudent to leave such weapons in the hands of those who might use them offensively. I was told, however, that no accident had ever occurred among the workmen, and that the knives and awls had never been used as weapons of offence. Besides those at work in the shoemaker’s shop, I found that no fewer than 79 were employed in the cleansing and general economy of the wards, 17 in the upholsterer’s shop, 121 in the grounds, besides several others in the gas-house, the engine-house, the engineer’s office, and the mess room, amounting altogether to 300 of the male patients. These, added to 452 of the female idiots and lunatics, make a grand total of 752 patients employed in what may be termed skilled and profitable labour. The remaining portion of the inmates are either too old, too infirm, or too young to be made useful, though the labour of many of these is occasionally utilised to the fullest degree consistent with their well-being and health.” – 1872, William Gilbert, Good Words Magazine.

George spent the rest of his days in Caterham Asylum, dying in 1904.



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52 Ancestors – #14 Charles Johnston

I have been attempting to tidy up my hard drive and came across this piece on Charles Johnston. Why recreate what has already been written. 🙂 It is a mixture of details – those of my family and those of the times. Bare with any inaccuracies as this is a period I am still trying to wrap my head around.

Charles Johnston was born abt 1833 in Ireland. In 1850, he married Mary Ann Brown in Ballymena, County Antrim. She was born abt 1831 in Ireland.

Charles and Mary Ann were married during the famine and in the years following they emigrated to Lanarkshire in Scotland.

Charles and Mary Ann had 9 children: Alexander (born abt 1856), Charles (born abt 1858), Thomas (born 1860), Hugh (born 1862), Robert (born 1864), William (born abt 1867), Mary Ann (born 1868), Elizabeth (born 1870), John (born 1872).


I believe that the Johnstonʼs were Ulster Scots. In 1610, after the Nine Years War, the counties of Antrim and Down were left devastated. It was depopulated and the land was barren. The English Crown began a process of resettling the Province of Ulster, specifically the counties of Antrim and Down, with English, Scots and Welsh settlers. This resettling continued into the 1700ʼs.

In 1641, a catholic rebellion was launched against protestant resettlers. Thousands of protestants were killed by catholics who had been dispossessed of their land. This led to a period of war from 1641 through to 1653 with much of the fighting in the province of Ulster. Atrocities were committed by all and poisoned the relationships between religious groups and communities for many generations.

In the period 1688 – 1691, the Williamite War was fought in Ireland. The Catholics were backing James II who had been deposed by William of Orange during the Glorious Revolution. The Jacobites (Irish catholics) controlled most of Ireland but by 1689, the Ulster Protestants had gained control of Ulster. In the next two years, they captured the rest of Ireland.

With these victories, the protestants held power. Both the Roman Catholics and the Presbyterians (mainly Scots Irish) were discriminated against under the Penal Laws and were unable to gain full political rights enjoyed by their english counterparts.

In the 1690ʼs, a famine in Ireland sent tens of thousands of Scots to Ireland causing them to be the largest group in Ulster.

In the 1790ʼs the Catholics and Presbyterians united to form the United Irishman movement and it had a strong following in Counties Antrim and Down. At the same time there was still violence between the Catholics and Protestants, although mainly Anglicans. The Battle of the Diamond in 1795 resulted in the deaths of 100 or more and the foundation of the Orange Order. Tensions increased as the Penal Laws were relaxed allowing Catholics to purchase land and many began to do business in the linen trade. The Catholics were harassed by the Protestant and the Presbyterian groups – it is estimated that up to 7000 Catholics were expelled from Ulster during this time.

In 1798 the United Irishmen (mainly Presbyterian) rebelled in Ulster against the British Authorities. The British Authorities contained the rebellion and employed severe repression. This with the gradual abolition of religious discrimination after the Act of Union in 1800, led to the Presbyterians identifying more with their Anglican neighbours than their Catholic ones.

In the 1800ʼs, Ulster was the most prosperous province in Ireland. The potato blight was first reported in some european countries in June 1845. By August, the disease appeared in England and a month later in County Antrim. The majority of this crop survived and the last healthy crop until 1850.

“The House of Commons introduced ther Rate-in-Aid Bill in 1849 which set about increasing the levels of financial assistance and support that Poor Law Unions were obliged to provide to the needy and transferring the bill for famine relief from the British to the Irish taxpayer.”

Reference – Wikipedia, Ulster, http://www.wikipedia.com

“The trauma generated by the potato blight was manipulated to present a scenario of north-east versus the rest of Ireland in which ʻAntrim, Armagh and Downʼ (the three richest and most Protestant counties in Ireland) ʻwere to be made the preserves of the paupers of Connaught to graze on.ʼ [Kinealy, This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-1852, p.260]. The result was that, in 1851, Ulster had the highest arrears of the four provinces. However, in terms of mortality during the tragedy, the town of Belfast suffered as much as the rest of Ireland and indeed, more than the others.” – Sean Stitt, “The Roles & Attitudes of Irish Protestants During the Potato Famine”, Irquas Insight No 2.

It was during this time that Charles and Mary Ann emigrated to Scotland. I suspect that they were greatly affected by the famine, whether directly or through the increased taxation and found that they would be better off looking for opportunities elsewhere.


“The census of 1841 listed 125,000 Irish-born individuals in Scotland, and in the famine of 1848 there were up to 1000 new arrivals a week from Ireland into Glasgow: such a volume of immigration seemed menacing in itself, but there were other reasons to worry. The vast majority of migrants arrived from the province of Ulster, already accustomed to sectarian bitterness. There is little doubt that the Ulster Protestant immigrant, very often already bearing a Scottish surname, found it easier to integrate than the Catholic, and aggressively asserted his Orange and anti-papist sentiments as a way of allying himself o the native Scots and disassociating himself from his fellow Irishmen.” – T C Smout, ʻA Century of the Scottish People, 1830 – 1950ʼ, Fontana Press, 1987.

The family arrived in Scotland after 1851 (as they do not appear in the census) and before March 1856 when Alexander was born. It seems Alexander was born in Airdrie (20 Mill Mynd?). They were living in the village of Greenhill, Shotts in 1861 at house no 28. Strangely, Charles is listed at house no 27. In 1871, they are still in Greenhill although at house no 20. Charles worked in the Iron Mines as in 1856 his occupation was Ironstone Miner, in 1861, Ironstone Drawer and 1871, Ironstone MIner.


Shotts – A Village Built on Coal and Iron
SHOTTS HISTORY GROUP – http://www.monklands.co.uk/shotts/

Shotts is situated half way between Glasgow and Edinburgh and was reputedly called after the legendary giant “BERTRAM de SHOTTS”. Although adjacent to many of the traditional coach roads of bye-gone days it originally consisted of five villages – Dykehead,Calderside, Stane, Springhill and Torbothie with the main interest then around the works area of Calderside. Allanton, Hartwood and Eastfield are now regarded as being “Shotts”.

Shotts really “took off” when the Iron Works started in 1802, ironstone having been mined on Muldron moor near Shotts. Pig iron was made and distributed world-wide. This encouraged an influx of workers into the community, some indeed originating from the Cornwall mines and arriving in Shotts via the Leadhills mines. Coal was subsequently discovered and the “lid was off” so to speak. In the late 19th century there was a large intake of Irish workers, demonstrated by the census returns for 1881 and 1891.

The coal industry at its inception was a series of mines dotted over the area. This later led to the sinking of deep mines as these little seams ran out or were no longer economically viable. These pits were very wet pits and were owned by various factions, some were owned by the Shotts Ironworks Company. Housing was mainly in minersʼ rows.

Around the mid eighteen hundreds the railways came to Shotts and there was a large network of railways around the mines and pits.
Main workshops existed within the Shotts Ironworks employing all classes of craftsmen.

Of interest is the slogan SHOTTS LIGHTS THE WORLD – this because gas lamp standards were made in abundance here and exported worldwide. Relics of the iron works still remain at the ‘Works Corner’ – the water tower, part of the retaining wall and pipes for the power condensers. In this area today we have the Health Centre (on the site of the actual furnaces) the Library, the Leisure Centre and the War Memorial.

In the hard time of the pits, “truck” shops were the rule of the day when men were obliged to buy inferior goods at superior prices in the stores provided by the management. This in turn led to the setting up of the Co-operative movement with the Shotts and Dykehead Co-operative Society Ltd. There were branches all over the town – Dykehead, Calderside, Torbothie, Stane , Springhill and Allanton.

Religion originally centred in St. Catherineʼs at Shottskirk, the Parish church for the area. Shotts itself, as it grew, had a United Free Church (Erskine), Calderhead Church, Congregational Church, Baptist Church, Mission Hall, Gospel Hall, Salvation Army, Episcopal Church and St Patrickʼs Roman Catholic Church – this latter was originally based at Stane but moved centrally around 100 years ago. Amalgamation of churches has taken place recently.

The church was responsible for schooling until the Education Act came into being in 1872. The first school was at Calderhead and as the needs arose schools were opened at Dykehead, Stane, St Patrickʼs and Allanton.

Hartwood Hospital opened in 1894 but an “asylum” was in existence prior to this at Liquo. This was subsequently extended to take in the Hartwoodhill Estate (at one time the home of Lord Deas known as “the hanging judge”). In its heyday there were 1910 beds and it was the largest mental hospital in Scotland. It was self-sufficient in every way and provided employment for many people from the Shotts itself had its own Infectious Diseases Hospital in the Shotts Sanatorium – mainly for tuberculosis, the scourge of the early nineteen hundreds. This latterly became a geriatric unit before its closure. It is now Benhar Cemetery.
In 1867 until 1910 a Curling Club existed. Demonstrating the fact that winters were colder was the fact that not many games were abandoned or cancelled.

The playing of quoits – indeed a Quoiting Club was a mining recreation and men played for a Plaque.
The Minersʼ Welfare Institute was built in 1924 and housed billiards, swimming baths (water polo teams participating country-wide), tennis, bowls and a large hall for dancing and concerts and social occasions. A library was housed here.

The Ironworks had tennis courts and a bowling green; indeed the “Shotts Ironworks Bowling Club” remains today and has been in existence for more than 100 years.


Between 1881 and 1891, Charles arrived in Australia. I have not been able to determine which ship he arrived on. Nor do I know for certain which family members emigrated. I know that his daughter, Eliza emigrated and believe five of his sons also emigrated (Alexander, Thomas, Hugh, William, and John).

In 1887, Charles and Mary Annʼs youngest daughter, Elizabeth (Eliza) married Robert Snedden in West Maitland, NSW. These are my great grandparents and there story is begins here.

Charles died late June 1907 as he was buried on 26 June 1907. The funeral was held at his daughter, Eliza’s in Maitland St, Kurri Kurri. He was buried in Sandgate Cemetery in the Presbyterian Section (Section 18NE, Lot 44).

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