James Kirkwood McLellan.
Robina Wilson Brown with her school class. Robina and James. RHM: Robina holding me as a child, but I do not remember her. There are also some tape recordings, somewhere.
James was born in Haddington. Robina born in Jamestown May 23rd 1874 and died 12th Feb 1960. Both died in Wolverhampton.
James Kirkwood McLellan. Born 18Aug1864, died 4Jun1946.
My Father was the eldest of five sons (one daughter Catherine died in infancy). His Father, the Rev. William, was an ordained Minister of the Church of Scotland, who moved around so often that each child was born in a different place. James was born in Haddington.
His mother was a gentle lady, Margaret Kirkwood, the illegitimate daughter of John Hogg and Jane Kirkwood. She was brought up by Uncle Kirkwood, a jeweller in Edinburgh.
Most of my Father's education was at Stirling High School and was Excellent: never did my brother or myself ask him a question but he produced a satisfactory answer from his very extensive general knowledge.
I gather he was his mother's right hand assistant in the household, where money must have been very scarce, as ministers in these days were very poorly paid. She, poor lady, died at some sixty years. Her Reverend husband married again in 1899, a Miss Currie, who looked after him in his retirement, spent at 15, Manse Crescent, St. Ninians, Stirling. This place we visited as children every summer. A fascinating place it was, with a carpenter's shop at the foot of the garden, from which wonderful things emerged, including a wooden motorcar, a 4 seater, which we greatly enjoyed and a wheelbarrow, which lasted out to be used by my grandchildren. My Father's Father was, I think, a better carpenter than a minister.
My Father loved gardening and growing plants in his greenhouse. His employment was a dull one which produced not much satisfaction to him and a pittance of a salary to live on. He and my mother lived a very happy life together, although they may have seemed an ill-assorted pair. My Father was a quiet philosopher, while my mother was an energetic practical innovator. They gave my brother and me a wonderfully happy childhood. Both lived long enough to see us happily married and producing grandchildren, who were the joy of their old age, as I now in my aging widowhood find mine are to me.
My Father was an Elder of the United Free Church in Scotstoun, greatly respected by all who knew him. He and my Father-in-law, George Mackay, became great friends, enjoying each other's company and exchange of chat over a wee Whisky.
During the war my parents came to live near us in Wolverhampton, as Glasgow was the target of bombing raids.
MBM: My Mother. Robina Wilson Brown. Born 22May1874 at Jamestown School House, near Balloch. Died 12Feb1960 in Wolverhampton.
My Mother was named after her father, Robert, as two brothers, previous Roberts, had died in infancy. Her mother Margaret McAlister had 12 children, Robina being the ninth. The surviving family of six were divided into two parts, James, Jessie and John; and Robina, William and Gilmour, there being five infant deaths between and one daughter Margaret born 22Oct1872 died aged 20 years.
After being educated at her father's school in Jamestown, my mother was sent to Garnet Hill Girls High School, Glasgow, travelling daily by early workmen's train. She did well at the entrance examination, being well versed in Milton she succeeded in producing a good essay on his poems. After finishing schooling she insisted on following a career and qualified as a telegraphist at G.P.O. Glasgow. She remembered morse code all her life.
Her family insisted on her living at Y.M.C.A. in Bath Street, where the regime was so strict it induced the girls to resort to all sorts of deceptions. Dancing was prohibited, but my mother devised ways and means of attending dancing classes, carrying her shoes in the "puffs" of her coat sleeves, "leg-of-mutton" sleeves being fashionable at that time, about 1895. One night, as she was returning back from a class, the august Matron met her, patting her on the back, just missing her shoes, fortunately.
Residents had to be in by 10 p.m., when the front door was closed and late comers were locked out until after prayers. Many a time my mother returning from the theatre with her brother had to wait on the doorstep until prayers were over. The said brother John, who worked in a Savings Bank, wrote to the Glasgow Herald denouncing this practice. The Matron, much annoyed by this publication, questioned the residents as to who was responsible; fortunately my mother knew nothing of it.
At G.P.O. she met my father James McLellan, who was on the staff as an Overseer in the Accounts Department. After some opposition from the family, I gather, as he was very lame and 10 years older than she, they were married on 6June1899 and lived very happily together for 47 years. At first they lived on the 4th floor of a tenement building in Partick, from the windows of which flat my country born mother could see Ben Lomond. Here I was born on 21Aug1900 and nearly died from contaminated milk (before the days of T.B. testing).
After three years marriage they moved to a new suburb, Scotstoun, where my brother William and I were reared. He was born on 30Oct1903 in Partick. We went to the local school, a COMPREHENSIVE. We had a very happy childhood, with lots of friends. We played in the streets: Rounders, Ball Beds, Mochie (a game with marbles), Hunch Cuddy Hunch, and Press Gang the Weaver, etc, etc.
My brother on leaving school at 14 years became an apprentice at the Albion Motor Works. I enrolled as a Medical Student at Glasgow University in 1918.
My mother was advance in her views, belonging to the Womens Citizens Association, who supported "Votes for Women" and better working and living conditions. She was a very talented dress maker, creating all my clothes, as well as excelling in poker work, brass work and wood carving, embroidery and crochet. She was fond of going on expeditions in the country and many long walks were taken with me exploring the environs of Glasgow, museums, art galleries, etc.
She survived my father by 14 years. During the Second World War, after bombings in Glasgow, they came to live in Wolverhampton. I managed to get a place for them to live, in Woodfield Avenue, just round the corner from Springfield House - 226 Penn Road - so near to us that the children could visit them on their own. Murray was attending Woodfield Avenue School from 1943-48.