My Great Grandmother’s School Prize

Dear blog reader, my maternal great grandmother, Euphemia Brotherston Barr, has been the subject of my blog posts a few times already but I thought I would share some new discoveries with you.

Firstly, back to the basics. Euphemia was born in Rutherglen Road, Glasgow in August 1882 to George Barr and Margaret McIntosh. In the 1891 census George and Margaret were still living in Rutherglen Road with 3 of their children, Agnes, Euphemia and George, and George’s mother, Agnes. Euphemia was recorded as attending school in 1891.

In 1901 the family were living in Govan Street, Glasgow, George with his mother and his second wife Elizabeth and 5 of George’s children, Agnes, Euphemia, George, Jessie and William. Euphemia was recorded as making picture frames in 1901. In 1911 Euphemia was a clerkess and living in Kildonan Street, Coatbridge with her brother George, George’s wife Elizabeth and his son George and George’s in-laws.

In 1914 Euphemia married my great grandfather, William James Armour, in St Charles Chapel, Glasgow and they then had 3 children in quick succession. Euphemia died in Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital in December 1917 a few days after giving birth to her only daughter.

When we cleared out my great aunt’s house in 2015 after her death, I discovered she had found and kept her mother’s school prize, awarded to Euphemia for cookery by Oatlands Public School in 1895:

Euphemia’s school prize.
The reason for the school prize.

I’ve only just got round to reading this book and I’m so glad I did, it’s a wonderful book. 60 short chapters designed to teach a girl how to run a house. All the chapters were fascinating, covering choosing a house, cleaning a house, furnishing a house, nourishment, cooking, washing, choosing clothes, health and disease. I was impressed by how forward thinking the science in the book was.

I was particularly thrilled to notice fingerprints on some of the pages, either my great grandmother’s or my great aunt’s. Though some of the chapters had clearly never been read before……..

I then decided to do the obvious and see what records survive for Euphemia’s education at Oatlands Public School. I approached the wonderful Glasgow City Archives and they forwarded a copy of Euphemia’s school admission record within a few days of my request.

They confirmed Euphemia was admitted to Oatlands Public School on 7 January 1889 and left on 26 June 1896 to start work. Euphemia had previously attended Wolsley Street School but records haven’t survived for that school.

Left hand side headings of the admission record.
Right hand side headings of the admission record.
Left hand side of Euphemia’s admission record.
Right hand side of Euphemia’s admission record.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the education of my precious great grandmother Euphemia:

Euphemia Barr

Sources: birth, marriage and death certificates and census entries from Scotland’s People website, Euphemia Barr’s school prize book in personal possession of Jacqueline Hunter and Oatlands Public School records from Glasgow City Archives.

The disappearance of the Lady Combe

This blog post is about my maternal great, great-uncle who was from Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland and latterly lived in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland and Jamestown, Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

My great, great-uncle George Barr was born in Rutherglen Road, Glasgow in 1885, married Elizabeth Little in 1910 in Jamestown, Dunbartonshire and died at sea in 1927. The censuses have George living in Rutherglen Road, Glasgow in 1891, Govan Street, Glasgow in 1901 and Kildonan Street, Coatbridge in 1911. At the time of his death George was living in Levenbank Terrace, Jamestown.

I had been searching for George’s death for many, many years (I’ve been researching my family history since 1990) and a few years ago I found a likely death record for George Barr in the Scottish Marine Death returns. My genealogy tip in this blog post is therefore to include searching the marine returns when you are looking for your ancestors. This blog post explores the story of the final voyage of the Lady Combe which disappeared in December 1927 resulting in a crew of 18 supposed drowned.

This is George:

George Barr

The Lady Combe was a 500 ton, 350 feet long Clyde-built dredger launched on 30 June 1927 and was built for service at Lagos Harbour in Nigeria.

The dredger sailed from the Lobnitz shipyard at Renfrew on 9 December 1927 for Lagos. The Lady Combe carried enough coal to last for 3 weeks and was meant to take on more coal at Dakar, Senegal so panic started when there was no sign of the Lady Combe after those 3 weeks.

The Lady Combe had departed a few days after a sand suction dredger, Lady Thomson, and a barge. and all 3 had been expected to arrive in Lagos at approximately the same time. The Lady Thomson and the barge safely arrived at Lagos after a very stormy passage but neither spotted the Lady Combe nor did any other vessel.

The crew were: Master Joseph Flett of Stobcross Street, Glasgow, mate J Martin of Mosspark Boulevard, Glasgow, W Butler of Dawsholm Road, Glasgow, John Beadley of Reid Street, Bridgeton, W O’Donnell of Brown Street, Glasgow, J Quinn of Clark Street, Kinning Park, Robert Thomson of Marquis Street, Bidgeton, John McGovern of Newton Terrace, Renfrew, William Carson of Newton Street, Renfrew, D Murray of Muir Street, Renfrew, W Mitchell of London Street, Glasgow, John Veitch of Fulbar Street, Renfrew, Andrew Savage of Castlebank Street, Partick, Andrew Cochrane of Fulbar Street, Renfrew, S Sutherland of Newton Street, Renfrew, Joseph Fleming of Eglinton Lane, Glasgow, George Barr of Levenbank Terrace, Jamestown and Hugh Gillongley of Broomlands, Greenock. My great, great-uncle George Barr was cook and steward on the Lady Combe.

The initial reports in January in the newspapers note that, when the Lady Combe was due to sail from Renfrew, 2 of the crew failed to turn up and 2 unemployed men on the quay were given their jobs, that Captain Flett, originally a Pittenweem man, was one of the best-known sailors on Clydeside and that there had been a mysterious disappearance 25 years before of a dredger on the way from Renfrew to Russia.

In August 1928 there was a further clue reported. Red trousers were washed up on the beach at Rothesay which were identified by the wife of the 3rd engineer, John Veitch. It was therefore believed that the Lady Combe, which at that time was thought to have last been spotted passing Greenock, had foundered in the Firth of Clyde and not on the high seas as previously assumed. The newspapers did admit though that there was a possibility that the trousers had been hung up to to dry after washing and were swept overboard.

In December 1928 the Board of Trade held an enquiry at Glasgow into the disappearance of the Lady Combe at which 3 points of evidence were given, one of which was Mrs Veitch’s evidence of her husband’s trousers. The other evidence was from a director of the ship-builders and from a lighthouse keeper on the Isle of Man.

It was suggested to the ship builders that perhaps the Lady Combe was not stable enough to sail in bad winter weather and that, if the Lady Combe had sailed with her dredger buckets pointing downwards and was fitted with a wireless, both of these alterations may have helped.

A lighthouse keeper at Hickens Rock, Isle of Man stated that he saw the Lady Combe sheltering for 24 hours at the Calf of Man before she headed off in a south-easterly direction and that the gales resumed that night.

The conclusion appears to be that my great, great-uncle George Barr drowned along with his 17 crew mates south of the Isle of Man.

I also have in my possession a job application of George Barr’s dated 1911 detailing his skills and employment history (typed up I believe by either George or my great-grandmother who died in 1917) which I shall share in a future blog post.

Sources used: personal and family knowledge, Scotland’s People website (birth,marriage and death certificates and census records), Fnd My Past website (merchant seaman records), British Newspaper Archive website (Sunday Post 8 January 1928, Westminster Gazette 10 January 1928, The Scotsman 10 January 1928, Port Glasgow Express 11 January 1928, Westminster Gazette 13 January 1928, Leven Advertiser & Wemyss Gazette 14 January 1928, Sheffield Daily Telegraph 5 December 1928 and Dundee Courier 6 December 1928).