After their marriage my parents found a ground floor single end tenement flat to rent in Broompark Road, High Blantyre. It is the furthest tenement on the left and grandfather lived in the tenement on the right in the photo opposite.


They had three children and we were all born at home on one of the 'hole in the wall' beds. My sister Isabel was the eldest, then I was born three years later in 1938, 18 months before the outbreak of World War II. My younger brother John was born four years after me.


The streets were lit by gas, and a gas lamp post is seen framed between the tenement and trees in the photo.

Rosehill banner Broompark Rd High Blantyre red 2 PRIMARY SCHOOL DAYS

Home & Family

Whem my father converted to Christianity he went round the local churches in search of a spiritual home. When visiting High Blantyre Baptist Church, also known as 'The Wee Tin Kirk,' he met my mother and romance flourished.


They were later married in the manse by the minister, Pastor Walter Wilson, affectionately known as Wattie Wilson.

Wattie's Tin Kirk001 Walter andTina Wilson001 red Pastor Wislon's Manse High Blantyre 3 red

Former Manse - Parents were married here

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3D sketch of our single end tenement flat

set in bed colour Aladdin Lamp

3D sketch of set in (hole in the wall) beds

Aladdin lamp which stood on the high mantle shelf. It was the sole source of light after dark.

Bethany Hall Blantyre border

Former Bethany Hall - now a children's nursery

As chidren we went to Sunday school in the Wee Tin Kirk in High Blantyre because it was near home. We moved to Bethany Hall when old enough to walk the longer distance.

Orange banana red

My father's favourite meal was orange and banana. They were not readily available during the war years but as soon as they became available again after the war, this became his regular breakfast, except Sunday morning when he had fried bacon and eggs. Indeed he would have had orange and banana for every meal if he got away with it.

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My father preaching in the street with some reluctant looking friends.

He never missed a day, summer and winter, and when on holiday. Only serious illnes would prevent him. Most of his preaching was done alone but he did occasionally manage to twist some arms to get support.

He composed a poem for my younger brother, John, to recite at a Sunday School social. It was written in the local dialect and I had forgotten some of it, but have reconstructed it using his language and mindset. I have also produced a version in standard English.

                  The Trap


Ma mither bocht a brand new trap

Tae trap that rascal moose.

It's sic a wee impudent brat

Ye'd think it owned the hoose.


A wee bit cheese just frizzled broon,

Temptation on a spring,

A rael wee tasty treat laid doon

Tae trap the sleekit thing.


Goin' tae bed wee set aboot,

And soon were fast asleep,

Then through a hole the moose cam oot,

And carefully did creep.


Towards the trap it turned its heid,

And moved near tae the cheese,

Then 'SNAP,' we heard, the moose was deid,

Allured tae death wae ease.


O' Satan's plan I noo mon tell,

He sets his traps for us,

Tae try tae lure us doon tae Hell,

Wae pleasures numerous.


Attractions o' the world we find

In dancin' and fitba',

And cinema tae fill the mind,

So I mon tell ye a'.


'Love not the world,' the Bible says,

Repent, Christ will forgive,

For by his blood our souls he saves,

Now trust in him and live.

                     The Trap


My mother bought a brand new trap

To catch that rascal mouse.

It's such a cheeky little chap

You'd think it owned the house.


A piece of cheese just toasted brown,

Temptation on a spring,

A tasty little snack laid down

To catch the crafty thing.


Going to bed we set about,

And soon were fast asleep,

Then through a hole the mouse came out,

And carefully did creep.


Towards the trap it turned its head.

And moved near to the cheese.

Then 'SNAP,' we heard, the mouse was dead,

Allured to death with ease.


Of Satan's plan I now must tell,

He sets his traps for us,

To try to lure us down to Hell,

With pleasures numerous.


Attractions of the world we find

In dancing and football,

And cinema to fill the mind,

So I must tell you all,


'Love not the world,' the Bible says,

Repent, Christ will forgive,

For by his blood our souls he saves,

Now trust in him and live.

He often quoted Robert Burns in his preaching and one favourite when pointing out the fleeting nature of 'wordly' pleasures was from the epic poem Tam O'Shanter. Tam had been drinking all evening with his pals, enjoying the stories, the jokes and the singing. He is drunk but the time is approaching when he must leave the pleasures and face the dark, stormy night for the lonely journey home on his horse Meg. His angry wife is waiting at home for him because he has hardly been sober for days.

But pleasures are like poppies spread,

You sieze the flower, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow falls in the river,

A moment white - then melts for ever;

Or like the borealis race,

That flit ere you can point there place;

Or like the rainbow's lovely form

Evanishing amid the storm.

The Blantyre Saint


This poem is dedicated to a Christian called John Graham,

Who put his trust in Jesus Christ, our Saviour, bless his name,


A sinner like the rest of us, was destined for to burn,

But he gave his heart to Jesus, and from his sins did turn.


At first he did not have the truth, and thought life couldn't be finer,

Then looking at nature's beauty thought, a design must have a designer.


The lost souls on the streets today, it saddened John to see,

So many on the sinful path to a lost eternity.


So John vowed unto our Lord, that all who'd gone astray,

He'd lead them t'wards the glorious path, and speak to one each day.


So John's been on the Blantyre streets, how long? He can't remember,

Big Georgie says two hundred years and four months come December.


Forgive me John for my wee joke, believe me this is true,

For all the people you have helped, I really envy you.


Because all the angels up in heaven are of one accord,

For all the souls that you have led to Jesus Christ our Lord.

                                                                      Gerry McLaughlan  1987

Blantyre's Evangelist.

(John Graham.1899-1993.)


John Graham was a man and Christian Evangelist, who walked the streets of Blantyre, preaching the word of God to anyone who would listen to him. He preached in all kinds of weather, come rain, hail or shine, starting with a hymn, followed by a sermon from the Bible. He must have had a rota system for going round the many streets, because he could be found at certain times, on certain days, in certain streets and in this way he covered the entire parish of Blantyre.


John was in my estimation a true Christian and to my knowledge not a regular member of any of the local religions or churches during the many decades he preached his version of Christianity. In later days he joined the Brethren of the Bethany hall, but always retained his independence by returning to his mission and lone vigil in life ,of spreading his version of the word of God to the people of Blantyre.


He died on the 1st December 1993, aged 94 years and is buried in Priestfield Cemetery, a fitting resting place for this apostle of Christ. I hope John found all the happiness and peace in his Heaven that he promised to everyone who would repent and turn to God. I'm sure he did, because ‘if we are to be judged by our life on earth’ he surely earned his place there by his faith and way of life

“Requiescat in pace, John.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                               James Cornfield  1998

The Bible in Galatians 5:22-23 gives a list of the attributes a true Christian should possess:


'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.'


Jesus also spoke of His followers that, 'Streams of living water would flow from within them.' John 7:38


My mother had those in abundance as I have tried to show in my poem written after her death,


My Christian Mother

A sincere Christian was my mother,

As shown in her life ev’ry day.

Teaching us to love one another,

By loving she showed us the way.


Though her life was oft’ filled with sadness,

And the road sometimes long and hard,

She displayed a God given calmness,

Joy and peace through trust in her Lord.


To others she was really kind

With gentleness and self-control.

Compassionate thoughts filled her mind,

Like Jesus, to help and console.


Her faithfulness to God above

Displayed the beauty of our Lord.

Her many selfless acts of love

Have surely brought her His reward.


Throughout her life my mother showed

The fruit of the Spirit of God.

From her the Living Water flowed,

Spreading the love of Christ abroad.

Maggie (Granma) Graham 2 John G preaching border

Tribute to my father during his lifetime

Tribute to him after his death

My mother lived her life quietly and practised her Christian faith mainly within her home.

My mother - best known as Maggie


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