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.

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Originally published 22 December 2017:

Today I think it particularly apt to explain why I started my family history obsession as it’s the 100th anniversary today of the death of my great-grandmother Euphemia Barr.

When my grandfather died in 1990 the whole family were quite shocked that his mother, Euphemia Barr, was not buried in the family plot in St Kentigern’s cemetery, Glasgow.

I then made it my goal to find out where Euphemia was buried.

So, the lady herself ….. Euphemia was born in 1882 in Glasgow to George Barr from Pollokshaws and Margaret McIntosh from Dull, Perthshire.

Euphemia went to Oatlands School (photo attached of Euphemia dated I believe in her late teens) and then worked in the Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) factory in Shieldhall where she met and fell in love with my great-grandfather William Armour.

I believe this is Euphemia in her teens:

Euphemia (teenager)

 

 

However he is still remembered as a ‘lady’s man’ to this day. In 1903 a SCWS colleague Louisa Milne got pregnant by him but died giving birth to his son, James.

In 1914 Euphemia and William married and Euphemia had 3 children in quick succession, William (my grandfather), Frances and Elizabeth. This is my great-grandparents:

Euphemia and William

However Euphemia was not strong at the best of times and died 8 days after giving birth to Elizabeth (Actually Elizabeth was far stronger than her mother and only died 2 years ago). Euphemia died in Rottenrow Maternity Hospital and I’ve attached a photo of what remains.

My great-grandfather remarried in 1919 to his housekeeper, Elizabeth Welsh. Apparently the social pressure was such in Kelvinbridge that they were practically forced to marry!

Anyway, by the time I got this far with my family tree research, an Australian descendant of Euphemia’s brother Jack contacted me and confirmed that Euphemia was buried in the Eastern Necropolis cemetery with many Barr babies who had died tragically young. We now take Euphemia flowers twice a year and we’ve placed a small monument to the Barr family as no headstone exists:

Barr memorial

Euphemia might have died a century ago today but I’ve inherited a remarkable collection of her possessions.

I have school-books, laundry lists, favourite poems copied out in her best handwriting, 2 boxes of her postcards and letters including letters from her brother Jack pleading with her to emigrate and her brother George’s CV, newspaper clippings re medication, the last surviving piece of china hand-painted by Euphemia and finally and, most poignantly, the last letters Euphemia wrote to my grandfather during her final days of life at Rottenrow Hospital.

This is Euphemia’s hand-painted china:

Euphemia's china

Euphemia might not have survived on this earth for very long but she was a wonderful lady who inspired me to do, so far, 27 years of family history research …..