WASH DAYS in the ROWS
The Barrhill Rows had outside communal wash houses that were shared by the residents. Although the wash houses had piped water, it was cold, and had to be heated by coal fires lit beneath a boiler. Doing a weekly wash was therefore time-consuming, so women did their washing on set-days; once the clothing was done, the women put their children into the tub for their weekly bath!
According to our research, the window cleaner in the photo (above) is Otto Holst, a Norwegian, who came to Twechar after being a rigger on a ship that put into the River Clyde for repairs at the end of WWI. Otto married a Twechar girl and stayed in the village for the rest of his days. Mrs Holst is in the photo – back row, fourth from the right.
The seated lady holding the baby, second from the right, is Mrs Hodge. The baby is Jimmy, her first child; he joined the RAF during WWII and married a Dutch girl named Anna. They later settled in Twechar and Jimmy took a job as an engineer in the brickworks.
“My Grandma Kelly lived in the Rows and she was a character. The history was, she was born and brought up in Northern Ireland and she married a David Truesdale; sadly, he was killed as the result of an accident. By that time, they had two of a family, my Dad (William Stern Truesdale), and Louise Truesdale who later went to Canada. Grandma re-married - Joe Kelly, but I don't think she had Joe long until he died. She always said she was never, ever lucky with men. Grandma kept hens, they were down where all the doocots were at the old railway bridge, and she had her hens for many, many years until (I think) the foxes started getting in. She used to take us up into the woods - she never burned coal, she always burned what she could get and used to trail big trunks of trees and branches home – it was an adventure, nobody else seemed to be doing it except her.”
"My Mother's name was Greta Leishman and her parents were Archie (Baldy) Leishman and Jean Dubourdieu. My other Grandmother (Dad's Mum) was a widow at that time, her name was Lizzie Kelly. My Mother had a book written about her family - Baby on her Back, written by the Rev. John Dubourdieu, an American who went to France and traced the family tree right back as far as he could, to the first generation of the Dubourdieu family. My Mum later traced all the Dubourdieu family tree for Scotland and it turns out I am the 13th generation of the Governor of Bergerac. At that time, all the connections were ministers, surgeons, lawyers and farmers in France, and the blood line that came to Scotland was actually the farmer, and that's how the book got its name, Baby on her Back, because the woman who was leaving France had a baby strapped to her back. At that time, the French Revolution was going on and people were getting their heads chopped off and the Dubourdieus were some of them. So they ended up in Ayrshire and started a farm there and that's where my Grandmother, Jean Dubourdieu, came from. How my Grandfather met her, I have no idea because he came from Condorrat. His full name was Archiebauld Barton Leishman. They had a family and lived in Twechar - there was my Mum, Greta, who was the oldest, and her sister Grace (she later went to America), then they had twins: John and Wee Netta, who later died as the result of an accident when they lived in Kilsyth for a short time."
"At the top of that road there was a row of cottages, where, amongst others, the Laidlaw family lived. At the bottom of the hill, our Lenzie school bus picked up a girl called Etta Williams. her father may have worked on the railway. Our bus also picked up Hettie Douglas and one of the Chalmer girls at the entrance to the Whitelaw Estate."
“My Dad later become a RAF military policeman and was sent to Palestine. It was very violent there and when my grandma (Lizzie Kelly) heard he was out there, she burnt all his clothes because she believed that he wasn't going to come back home. When he came home he had nothing to wear but his demob suit. My dad was there when the King David Hotel was blown up, he was right next to that. I have something he cherished quite a bit. When he was on patrol, they came across this flag - it was up on the telegraph wires. He drove an armoured car which had a large aerial, so he unscrewed the aerial and put it on top of the car and unhitched this flag. I've got this flag to this day. One side of it has got crossed rifles and says, ‘the British Army go home, get out of our country.’ The other side of it is all in Arabic. I also have his police baton, lanyard, belt and everything that went with it.”
“I left school on the Friday and started work on the Monday. It was an office girl's job, working for Kays Catalogues. I was only there three weeks, I was coming home as if I had been out at the potatoes, I was black. I was on my knees filing. I travelled to work with a girl and she told me that her company was looking for an office girl at her work - Fergusson’s, a high-class food shop. I went to see them and got the job. I couldn't wait to leave my old job. My first wage in Ferguson’s was £2.60. I gave that to my mum, we all did in those days, there was no ‘digs’. We gave her our wages and I got 50p back, which was a lot off £2.00 odds. I had to buy my bus ticket and stockings for work off that. If I needed new shoes or a new top to go out, I had to give my mum notice and she would say, “leave it with me and I'll see what I can do,” and she would juggle money about to buy me a top. I think most people at that time, like myself and my two brothers, always gave our mothers our wages and they gave us back whatever they could. When the boys got older and going with girls, she would tell them not to bother but they always gave her something. There were a lot of hard jobs that women did then and only got ‘women’s' pay’ but then a man doing the same thing would get paid more. My mother would put on a boiler suit and went out and picked potatoes. Jim went out along with her and Jim got more wages than my mother got; she got a wee tiny bag, ‘a boiling of potatoes’ every day, enough to feed the family. She would come home with that at lunchtime and peel them for dinner that night. I remember Bethel McPherson was out picking potatoes the day before she had one of her children, then a week later back picking potatoes again. They don't make them like that now.”
“I wouldn't like to live anywhere else but Twechar. I've been here since I was born and I can say I've never had a notion to live anywhere else. I met my husband John at the dancing and after we got married we lived with his mother for eight months, that's the only time, then we came back to Twechar and waited four years for a house.”
“I stayed at Fergusson’s until I got married. I was only married 11 months when Johnnie was born. I left my job then, that was in 1966. It didn't suit me to go into Glasgow to work, then, within a year, I had another baby. I worked in the Miners Club, then in the post office with Miss McFarlane, and then with the Co-op. We had to have a wee extra job to subsidise Jim's wage. You had to do that then as there wasn't benefits like now, you had to make the effort.”