The Life’s Belongings of Elizabeth Gamble

This blog post is about the life’s belongings of my Irish 2 x great grandmother, Elizabeth Gamble, which were in her tenement flat in Glasgow on her death.

Elizabeth Gamble with my maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Cadden.

(Often when family history research discovers probate records for an ancestor all that is discovered is the total monetary sum of the belongings that an ancestor has left behind.  We are blessed in my family that the detailed inventory of Elizabeth Gamble’s belongings has survived).

Elizabeth was born on 20 January 1867 at Polintamney near Ballymoney, County Antrim, Northern Ireland to James Gamble, a farmer, and Martha Adams.

The family farm at Polintamney.

On 24 July 1895 Elizabeth married John Stevens, a Scottish salesman, at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney.

1st Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney.

In the 1901 census Elizabeth was living at 8 Rathcool Street, Belfast with her husband, their 2 children and Elizabeth’s sister Jane.

8 Rathcool Street, Belfast.

In the 1911 census Elizabeth was living at Enagh near Ballymoney with her 3 children.

In the mid 1920s Elizabeth emigrated to Glasgow, Scotland with her family – John Stevens had died in Hartwood Asylum in Scotland in 1905 (I’ve blogged previously on John’s final illness).

Elizabeth died at 74 Shakespeare Street, Maryhill, Glasgow on 10 August 1951 from senility and cardiovascular degeneration and is buried in Tollcross cemetery.

74 Shakespeare Street

Elizabeth had a four room tenement flat at 74 Shakespeare Street and I’ve always found it fascinating that we know about her belongings in such detail.  As you will see below, I’ve also been blessed enough to inherit a piece of Elizabeth’s furniture!

Contents of parlour:

Carved oak enclosed sideboard with mirror back
Mahogany inlaid 2-door bureau bookcase
Oak flower pot pedestal
Inlaid walnut oblong table on pillar and claw
Painted wood stool
Spring mattress
Hair mattress
Bed valance
Old bolster
4 oak dining room chairs with loose seats in rexine
[Rexine is an artificial leather fabric: ]
Easy chair in rexine with loose cushion
Mahogany hand chair in American cloth
{American cloth is a glazed or waterproofed cotton cloth: }
Kitchen chair
Bordered Axminster carpet
Linoleum surround
Axminster rug
Copper cased kerb [the kerb would have been used to edge the fireplace hearth]
Copper companion stand
Copper fire screen
Oak overmantel
Blue glass floating bowl
Glass piano castor
Allerton decorated stoneware jug [Charles Allerton & Sons made earthenware and china from 1859 to 1942 at Longton, Lancashire]
Stoneware dish and cover with fruit decoration
Decorated stoneware flower pot
4 tumblers
Antique wineglass
Antique wineglass with white twist stem
Glass cruet
Glass wine bottle
Glass flower tube with metal base
Glass water jug
Glass sugar and cream
Tinted glass wine bottle and 6 small glasses
Blue glass flower vase
8 pieces fruit condiments
Glass biscuit barrel with odd lid
3 small glass bowls
Glass butter
Shell shaped pyrex dish
EP [electro-plated] 4-bottle cruet
2 decorated stoneware teapots
1 decorated stoneware sugar basin and cover
Decorated stoneware sugar and cream
2 small jugs
Decorated stoneware fruit bowl, small
Small decorated china sugar bowl
Invalid’s cup
Allerton stoneware mug
Decorated stoneware teapot stand
Antimony circular box
Decorated stoneware 2-handled trinket tray
Glove box
Small bottle on wood stand
Small green stoneware fern pot
Blue and gilt egg shaped vase centre piece decorated with flowers
Red and gilt Vienna china ewer with figure band
Pair gold cotton and silk window curtains and valance
40 piece yellow, white and gilt china tea set with floral bases
Glass goblet
Antique wine glass
Glass tankard
Glass decanter
4 glass fruit bowls
Glass vase
Glass cake comport [a comport being a small, rimmed plate on a pedestal]
Glass plate
Glass flower tube
Wine glass
3 tumblers
Glass flower bowl
Blue and white stoneware jug
Decorated china plate with pierced rim
Antique lustre jug
Imari fluted bowl [Imari being a type of Japanese porcelain]
21 pieces decorated stoneware dinner ware
8 pieces odd dinner ware and bread plates
Decorated stone ware cake comport
Decorated china cream jug
Old gramophone
Lot old pictures
Axminster rug
Quilted bed mat
Table cover
Wool tea cosy
Huck towel [Huck fabric is a thick, loose, soft cotton or linen toweling woven in a birdseye or honeycomb pattern]
Pillow case
Old blanket
Wicker work basket
2 leather hand bags
Art silk bedspread [Art silk probably means artificial silk]
Pair blue cotton curtains and valance
Pair green cotton curtains and valance
3 window screens

The inlaid walnut oblong table which was in Elizabeth’s parlour and which is also my desk.

Contents of bathroom:

Ewbank carpet sweeper
Wicker corner soiled clothes basket
Enamel basin
Wood wringer board
Wash board
2 GI [galvanised iron] pails
Wicker basket
Linoleum to cover
Old piece runner
Oblong wall mirror in painted frame

Contents of hall:

Oak wardrobe with mirror, door and 3 drawers
Oak hall stand with mirror back
Coal shovel
Lot books
Old Axminster rug
Old GI pail
Enamel basin
Small coal shovel
Sweeping brush
Set steps
9 stainless tea knives
Dessert spoon
Butter fork
Wool blanket
2 small water colours
2 small oil paintings
Turkish towel
Red chenille table cover
Plastic door screen

Contents of kitchen:

Oak utility chest 2 drawers with 2-door undercupboard
Mahogany Pembroke table [A Pembroke table is a drop-leaf table with fine tapering legs ]
Bamboo table
Oak oblong occasional table on 4 turned supports
Decca Electric Wireless Receiver in Walnut case
2 kitchen chairs
Base rocking chair and 2 cushions
Old easy chair in rexine with 2 cushions
Saratoga trunk [a large travelling trunk usually with a rounded top ]
Axminster rug
Linoleum to cover
Metal kerb
Enamel hearth
Fibre trunk
Electric radiator
Chiming clock in inlaid oak case
Stained wood wall rack
Glass flower
Enamel bread tin and cover
2 basin
Bread board
2 trays
2 lacquered trays
Aluminium kettle
Aluminium tea pot
Stoneware toby jug
Bevelled frameless oval mirror
2 wall mirrors in painted frames
White wool blanket
2 Turkish towels
White linen bedspread
Huck towel
Rubber Holland window blind [A Holland blind is perhaps better known as a roller blind nowadays]
Small piece blanketing
Pillow case
Tray cloth
Crochet supper cloth
Pair lace curtains
5 sheets, various
Rubber ring
Quilted bed mat
Paid cotton curtains
Pair screens

My great, great grandmother’s clothes are simply listed as ‘Deceased’s wearing apparel and personal effects and a dark musquash fur coat.’

My mum remembers going to 74 Shakespeare Street a couple of times and we have 2 letters written by Elizabeth Gamble plus letters written by my grandmother from Shakespeare Street as she stayed over with her grandmother.  The above list of belongings helps to add much colour to memories and letters.

A colourised photo of (left to right) Elizabeth Gamble, Elizabeth Cadden (my maternal grandmother) and Sarah Gamble (Elizabeth’s sister).

I also wonder where all these items might have come from – in addition to living in Ballymoney, Belfast and Glasgow, Elizabeth Gamble also rented a house in Rothesay before World War 2.

Elizabeth Gamble probably with one of her grandsons.

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