A Heritage Walk of Janefield Cemetery
by Thomas McCann
In 1758 Robert McNair bought the lands of Little Hill of Tollcross from Patrick Tod for £100, reputedly paying the transaction in cash, with notes kept in an old satchel. McNair was a successful grocer in 18th century Glasgow. He married Jean Holms, who took an active part in the business which became known as ‘Robert McNair and Jean Holms in Company’.
The couple built a dwelling-house on the lands, and enjoyed a nursery garden with pear trees. McNair was noted for his meanness and declined to appoint an architect to oversee the building of his house. It was a two storey structure and upon completion became known as ‘Jeanfield’ to honour his spouse. It was an odd looking structure and caught the attention of travellers passing along Gallowgate en route by coach to Edinburgh.
McNair died in his seventy sixth year at Jeanfield on 7th June 1779. The property remained within the family until 1797 when printer John Mennons purchased the estate.
Mennons edited and printed the Glasgow Advertiser, which was the forerunner to the Glasgow Herald. Within a short time of acquiring Jeanfield, John Mennons sold it on to John Finlayson, who was married to one of the daughters of McNair and Jean Holms.
Finlayson bought a further seven acres of land attached to Jeanfield, and started to sink coal pits. This venture was far from successful with flooding proving a constant problem. In 1846 Jeanfield was purchased by the Eastern Cemetery Joint-stock Company with the aim of laying out a necropolis to serve the east end of the city. By 1847 the original dwelling of Robert McNair was demolished and work began on laying out the burial ground.
Advert for the opening of Jeanfield, 1848.
Glasgow Herald, Friday 30 April, 1847.
The first person you would have met as you entered Janefield would have been Elizabeth McKay, flower seller.
This photo was taken around 1938-40.
The complete Cemetery, 1892.
Janefield in Sections.
Janefield War Dead.
The Cross Of Sacrifice is the first monument you will see as you walk through the gates of Janefield Cemetery. The Cross was designed by Reginald Blomfield and represents the faith of the majority. The Cross Of Sacrifice is found in cemeteries with over 40 war graves.
Hugh McFarlane was born in Dennistoun and entered the employment of the Singer Manufacturing Co. in 1872. At that time their factory was in James Street Bridgeton. Hugh McFarlane was the Works Manager and later worked to became a director of Singer’s sewing machine factory. Singers moved from Bridgeton to Clydebank in 1884. The total number of workers employed by Singers reached a record figure of over 14,000 in 1914. When the war broke out a great part of the factory was devoted to the production of munitions, including shells, aeroplane parts and fuses. Hugh McFarlane was awarded the OBE for his contribution in producing weapons during the Great War. Hugh McFarlane OBE died on the 6th Nov 1928.
Bruce R Crawford
On the 5 April 1902, during the 1902 British Home Championship match between Scotland and England, the back of the newly built West Tribune Stand Ibrox Park collapsed due to heavy rainfall the previous night. Hundreds of supporters fell up to 40 feet to the ground below resulting in the death of 25 people. The tragedy occurred after 51 minutes of the match, which was allowed to finish, to avoid supporters exiting en masse crowding the area obstructing rescue work. Bruce Crawford died of a fracture of the base of the skull, and his place of death is given as Ibrox Park itself, rather than a hospital.
In the early days of weaving in Bridgeton and Calton, much of the work was carried out in cottages and dwellings with looms set up within the households. As mass production arrived with the Industrial Revolution, Glasgow became a major centre for powered spinning factories. An early example of this was the Mile End Thread Works founded around 1818 by John Clark Junior. Over the years the site was much developed, to be eventually replaced by the engineering works of Mavor & Coulson. Alexander Smart who was a son of Rev. William Smart of Paisley, at that time he was carrying out an engineering business at Barrhead, but in the following year he was included by his mothers brother, John Clark, the founder of the firm John Clark Jnr and Co., to join the important business carried on at Mile End Thread Works Glasgow. He became manager of this, and was for many years before his retirement in 1879 senior partner in the firm.
John Wallace & Sons
John Wallace & Sons’ agricultural tractor produced between 1919 and 1924, was Scotland’s only indigenous tractor. John Wallace and Sons, agricultural engineers and implement makers, Glasgow, established in 1826, became the largest agricultural implement manufacturer in Scotland. John Wallace, the founder, began his working life as a blacksmith at Fenwick Ayrshire. In 1896 John Wallace and Sons Limited, was formed. During and after the First World War, a so-called boom period existed and expansion into engines and tractors became the focus for John Wallace. This tractor which Wallace developed, was an attempt to compete with the Fordson tractor in the UK market. The Wallace vehicle was an unusual form of three wheeled tractor with drive to all wheels.
George Laird and Sons Ltd, 10 Ann Street, Bridgeton were upholsterer, joiner and cabinet makers and most of the family lived in the Bridgeton area. Ann Street was later named Laird Place after the family. 2/Lt Arthur Donald Laird 17th Bn. HLI was killed on 1 July 1916 in France, aged 26. He was the nephew of Dr Laird of Cambuslang. A prominent athlete in the West of Scotland, he had an excellent record in rugby and also played cricket for Glasgow Accies and West of Scotland. His parents were George H. and Mary Jane Laird, of 7 Park Drive, Glasgow. He was captain of Glasgow Academy in 1908. According to his C.O. he died a gallant gentleman heading his platoon into battle in the most cool and capable manner. In civil life he was a director of the family firm of George Laird and Sons Ltd, 10 Ann St., Bridgeton. At the outbreak of war he enlisted as a Private in the Commercial Bn (17th. HLI) and was commissioned in Dec 1914. He is buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery, Authuile Wood on the Somme.
John Thomson owned the Annfield Pottery on Gallowgate, and it operated from around 1816 until 1887. Some examples of the Annfield pottery can be viewed in the the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow. Thomson Street of Duke Street was named after John Thomson.
In 1869 John Tullis & Son founded the St Ann’s Leather Works at John Street in Bridgeton. The firm manufactured leather driving belts for machinery, and the factory was named after Ann Tullis, the family matriarch. The manufacture of driving belts was a very important component in the workings of the looms and machines in the surrounding weaving and carpets factories. In the mid 1920s it was decided that John Street in Bridgeton was to be renamed, as Glasgow already had a street of that name, and the thoroughfare became Tullis Street, acknowledging the importance of the Tullis family to Bridgeton. The naming of streets after local firms has occurred elsewhere in the East End, notably Templeton Street and Arrol Street.
In 1869 the Eagle Pottery was built in Bridgeton for Frederick Grosvenor, an earthenware manufacturer. Pottery manufacture in the East End was more commonplace than we may think today. Besides the Eagle Pottery other local sites include the Wellington Pottery at Wesleyan Street (later the site of Milanda Bakery), Bagnal’s Pottery at Tureen Street and Govancroft at Auchenshuggle. Frederick Grosvenors widow Mary Anne Astle died 13 August 1917. His Daughter, Anne Boden, died 23 April 1919.
William Bowie. The firm of W & J Bowie established the Clyde Dye Works at Strathclyde Street, Dalmarnock in 1870. The works were further extended between 1882 and 1905. His early education at Glasgow Academy and Warriston was followed by the Sedbergh School in Cumbria, where he proved himself an all-round sportsman, and at Glasgow University, where he gained a degree in philosophy. Entering the family laundry business, he was soon supporting his elder brother, John, as they jointly took the business forward. Post-war, traditional domestic laundry began to falter and the introduction of garment rental to industry, and the pioneering of launderettes, were critical to the firm’s continuing success. William Bowie, MBE, MC, had been appointed to the executive committee of Erskine Hospital in 1952 and remained a lifelong supporter. His commitment to Erskine, and other ex-service organisations, had been forged during distinguished war service with the First Battalion HLI. His tactical awareness and personal courage were marked by his award of the Military Cross in February 1945.
Andrew Fraser was born c1854 to David Fraser and Isabella Bennie. He died on 6th May 1916 at 133 Onslow Drive, Dennistoun, from cerebral degeneration syncope aged 62 years. Andrew was married to Georgina Rintoul. The informant of his death was John Fraser, his son of 12 Greenlodge Terrace. Andrew ran his own business of Safe and Iron Door Manufacturing. His advert stated he was the successor to Bash & Company. Bash & Company were formed around 1866-67 and had premises at 53 Cavendish Street and 28 Glassford Street. The company moved to various addresses throughout the years including 3 Canning Street, Calton (1880-81) and 38 Oswald Street (1884-85).
A cemetery was opened by Glasgow Hebrew Congregation at the Eastern Necropolis (Janefield) in Parkhead (1264 Gallowgate) in 1855. Dublin-born Maria Barnett, wife of Levy Metzenburg (Metginburg), who died of ‘inflammation of the brain’ in September 1855 was the first to be buried there, and there were over 540 Jewish burials in Janefield up to 1935. The cemetery has not been in regular use by the Jewish community since 1900 .This section is now very overgrown and delapidated.
William Livingston (Uilleam Mhic Dhunleibhi), THE ISLAY GAELIC BARD. The inscriptions on the stone are written in Gaelic and English but sadly the the side with the English has suffered weathering damage and part of the inscription has delaminated making part of it illegible. William Livingston wrote poetry in Gaelic under the name of Uilleam Mhic Dhunleibhi (various spellings) and was known as the Islay Gaelic Bard. His poems are contained in a book entitled ‘Duain Agus Orain’ and the book contains a brief sketch of his life. He was born on the remote Gartmain Farm near Bowmore on the Island of Islay in September 1808 to James Livingston, a joiner and Christina Mac Fadyen. When he died very suddenly in July 1870, and was laid to rest in Janefield alongside his wife, Christina.
James McKechnie VC
He was born to Colin and Jane McKechnie (née McGregor) and was married to Elizabeth McLean. McKechnie was 28 years old and a Sergeant in the Scots Fusilier Guards, Brit. It was during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. On 20 September 1854 at the Battle of the Alma, Crimea, when the shot and fire from the batteries just in front of the battalion threw it into momentary disorder, it was forced out of its formation, becoming something of a huge triangle, with one corner pointing towards the enemy. A captain was carrying the Queen’s Colours which had the pole smashed and 20 bullet holes through the silk. Sergeant McKechnie held up his revolver and dashed forward, rallying the men round the Colours. He was wounded in the action.
Alexander Cruikshanks is the late Strathclyde goalkeeper who died as the result of injuries accidentally sustained while playing against Rutherglen Glencairn at Barrowfield Park. There was a great congregation, representative of the whole football world present in St Thomas’s Parish Church, Campbellfield Street, with which the tragic victim had been closely associated, and where he began his football career. The Reverend Andrew Bryson, minister of St Thomas’s, also took part in the service. Mr David Meiklejohn and Mr George Brown (Rangers FC) read the lessons; Mr W G Holburn the well known referee was the soloist, and Mr Purcell J Mansfield, F.R.C.O., A.R.C.M., the noted organist was at the console. Alexander Cruikshanks died 12 June 1932 aged 24.
Dr. Andrew Watson of Parkhead Glasgow. After graduating at Glasgow University in 1892, he was resident physician in the Royal Infirmary and also worked in Belvidere Fever Hospital. He was a popular with his colleagues. He had started a practice in his native part of Glasgow which was progressing well when he was suddenly struck down by pneumonia. After a few days illness he died on November 23rd. The Watson family owned a significant amount of property in and around the Parkhead area. They lived at Muiryfauld Drive.
The Auchterarder Weaver Boy. It was in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, when Tom Stewart, an Auchterarder weaver, decided to commit to writing his memories of seventy years. These memories are preserved in autobiographical form, in newspaper cuttings, in letters and poems composed by himself. They tell of events that belong to the history books – the First Reform Act, the Disruption and the European revolutions of 1848 – as well as personal and local matters. His records have somehow survived a number of family removals with their usual clear-outs, and are contained in several notebooks, including the Auchterarder Poetic Album, an anthology of verses penned by a number of local poets including Stewart himself. It was his wish, expressed in the anthology, that his work might one day be published. His great-granddaughter, Moira Cherrie, shared that wish and has collected and edited his material for Fact and Fancies.
Dr. James Paterson
Dr. James Paterson died at the Bridge of Allan, the 21st June 1881, aged 72 years. He had been laid aside from active duties of his large practice for the previous nine months, the phase which his illness assumed being that of an obscure cerebral affection. To the last, his intellect was perfectly unimpaired, though he suffered from a particular variety of hemiplegia. The son of a medic, Dr. Paterson entered the medical profession in the year 1834. He began a practice in the east end of the city in a completely humble way. He there very soon acquired a large connection becoming well known as a successful obstetrician. In the year 1841 he became a Fellow of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, under the old regulations, and in the same year accepted the position of lecturer on midwifery at Anderson’s College, then called the Andersonian University.
Late superintendent of fire engines in the Glasgow Fire Brigade. In token of their respect for his upright conduct as a man and as a testimony of their gratitude for the fatherly regard he at all times evinced for the lives and and interest of his servants in the corps, during a period of 13 years. The headstone was sculpted by James Wood, whose cemetery monuments were often large-scale and elaborately carved. His finest work in Glasgow is the monument to the Glasgow Fire Master, William Robertson, in the Eastern Necropolis which features a carved relief of a contemporary fire engine 1845.
Henry was listed as a mineral borer as was his father William before him. Then there were two brothers – William and James – who were also mineral borers. They travelled a lot, and spent some time in Russia. The Carntyne Rope and Twine Works were established by Henry Winning at Caroline Street in 1890, the firm having been established ten years earlier. The present concern remains family run, with twines manufactured at Parkhead being widely used in the upholstery and butchery trades. Winning Row in Parkhead is named after the Winning family.
(Provanmill Distillery) Mile End and probably also Milltown. Founded 1815, operated by William Kirkland from 1825 and John Morrison from 1849, then R Simpson & Co. until 1860 when it was acquired by Moses Risk & Sons Ltd. and stayed in the family until it wound up in 1922 and never distilled again. The assets were bought by Provanmill Bonding Co. Ltd., which went into liquidation 1929. It was located north west of Glasgow near the motorway to Stirling and between Blackhill House and Riddrie. The distillery was demolished in 1953 and Littlehill primary School was erected on the site 1960. With its 3 Pot stills and eight 3,000-12,000 gallon washbacks it had an annual production of 130,000 gallons. Water for process was drawn from Hogganfield Loch.
Bailie David Willox
David Willox was born on the 3rd June, 1845, in what was then the rural village of Parkhead, but now included within the boundaries of Glasgow. His father was a handloom weaver. David Willox, went to work in Miller’s print works, Springfield Road, where he received three shillings a week. He later worked as a foreman at Beardmore’s Parkhead Forge, before going on to establish his own chemical works. Mr. Willox enjoyed reading books and was known to borrow books wherever he could get them. He went on to occupy a seat at the Council Board, Mr. Willox sat for the Whitevale or 4th Ward, which included Parkhead. As an author, but still more as a poet, Mr. Willox has attained a considerable literary position. He was the author of Reminiscences Of Parkhead Its People And Pastimes, which provides a valuable insight into the history of Parkhead. David Willox was part of the British bowling team that played against the Ontario Bowling Association in 1905. And was a member of Belvidere Bowling Club. He died on the 17th December 1927 aged 82 years old.
Maggie Shields was a power loom weaver at Templetons Greenhead Factory Calton, who went to her work on the 1st November 1889 and became one of the 29 young girls to lose their lives when the ornate wall that was being built collapsed during a storm and demolished the weaving shed where Maggie and her co-workers were working. Maggie was 22 years old and lived at 10 Gibson Street, Calton. The Glasgow Herald on the 2nd November reported that Maggie was missing at that time. The factory was designed by architect William Leiper. His design was inspired by the Doge’s palace in Venice. There was a memorial garden built at the corner of London rd and Tobago st that is believed to have been built to comemerate the death of these 29 girls and on the wall was a plaque with the poem:
As time gently flows on its way.
Whilst doing research into Janefield Cemetery, we came across many of the show people’s final resting place. The people of Vinegarhill were a major part of Camlachie’s history. Vinegarhill became the prime site in Glasgow for the annual carnival, and the show people were to have a long association with Camlachie. The carnival or ‘shows’ were located on the north side of Gallowgate, on both the east and west sides of Vinegarhill Street. The 1896 map of Camlachie shows a switchback railway on the ground to the east side of Vinegarhill Street, but by 1912 two switchback railways existed within the walled carnival to the west of Vinegarhill.
Location of Vinegarhill Street from Heritage Paths.
The Nelson family owned the Olympic Stadium in Porter Street, Camlachie. This was a well known Trotting and Greyhound track (flapping track). The venue was also a speedway track and the events staged there were organised by the Glasgow Nelson Motor Cycle Dirt Track Club, the first such club to be established in Britain.
Whilst doing research into Janefield Cemetery, we came across many of the show people’s final resting place. The people of Vinegarhill were a major part of Camlachie’s history . There is a roundabout not far from the enterance to Janefield, this was seen as a prime spot in the cemetery and is the resting place of many Showpeople from Vinegar Hill.
Commonwealth War Commission Graves
These graves are tended by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
James Fyfe was the son of James Fyfe, a Handloom Weaver and Marion McNair. He was a Wine & Spirit merchant and had a long established business at 45 Dale Street, Bridgeton. It appears the business started around 1879-1880 at 45 Dale Street and James lived at 30 Harvie Street then. In 1880-1881 he lived at 80 Reid Street and the business was still at the same address. The business continued right up to his death in 1896 at 45 Dale Street with James living at 29 Main Street, Bridgeton. After his death the business was continued by the family and in 1902 a Robert Fyfe of 29 Main Street, on 7th February, 1902, ceased to have any interest in the business. It was then carried on at 45 Dale Street, Bridgeton by Agnes Morton Fyfe, Wine & Spirit Merchant. It is not known what happened to the business after 1902-1903. He died, 9th January, 1896, aged 57 years.
Thomson Black, Soot Merchant and Chimney Sweep died 6th October, 1872, aged 58 years and lived at 59 Saltmarket Street. Thomson Black gets a mention in a book called Glasgow Past and Present in the Reminiscences and Communications of Senex 1884. Senex is talking about the changes that have happened in the Saltmarket when he says,
“There are some queer things to be seen in the Saltmarket yet, however, and we cannot help giving the following verbatim et literatim transcript of a chimney sweep’s sign which we copied the other day when inspecting the locality. ‘Thomson Black chimney sweep, he does live here, he’ll sweep your vent and not be dear, if your vents take on fire he’ll put it out at your desire. Soot Merchant in this close.’ ”
James M. Sinclair
1st Engineer of the S.S. ARCHIBALD FINNIE. The “Archibald Finnie”, official number 97,567, was a screw steamship built of steel by Messrs. Fleming & Ferguson at Paisley, Renfrewshire, in the year 1893. She was owned by Mary Ann Finnie and others. At 7 p.m. of the 25th July she left Ardrossan with a crew of thirteen, all told, under the command of Mr. William Hamilton. At 2.12 a.m. on the 26th July he was awoken by a blast from the steam whistle and immediately ran on deck and from there to the starboard side of the bridge, where he found the first mate, who remarked to him as he crossed over to the port side, “That beggar is going to be into us.” On looking over the port side he observed the hull, masthead, and green lights of a steamer the S.S. PEARL coming straight for them, and in about half a minute the “Archibald Finnie” was struck about 15 ft. before the bridge, at about an angle of 45°, cutting nearly into the main hatch.
35 thoughts on “Glasgow’s Eastern Necropolis”
Great. Great. Great Grandfather buried in the Eastern Nelropolis. Mitchell Library records shows no lair or grave location. Are there a paupers grave section within this cemetery?
I’ll pass on your request for information to Tam, our contributor, and I’ll see what I can find out for you. I know that at times of pestilence & plague, the populace often found themselves in combined public graves that were layered over others. I’ll see what else I can find, though.
Hi FlikeNoir I message this site a few months ago. I noticed that you were going to pass my message on to Tam. As I was requesting if the Eastern Neropolis had a paupers graves section. Thanks in advance.
I’m afraid I’ve not received a response, as yet. I tried to reach out again and it appears he’s no longer contactable. I’m now hoping he’s alright. I’ll certainly let you know when I do.
My great great grandmother annie devlin is buried in the eastern necropolis glasgow.
If anyone know any information about her please contact me
I’ll pass on your request to Tam, our contributor, to see what he can find out for you. I’ll let you know.
Good to see that my Great Grandparents James Fyfe and his wife Agnes Watson are buried in Janefield cemetery
Hi Jenny – I think your website is marvellous! I wrote a small book about Bridgeton & Dalmarnock some years back and it was fascinating to read about many of the people in the cemetery who worked there. Keep it up!
I’m trying to find my Grandmother’s burial plot, her grave is unmarked, does anyone know where to find records of where her lair might be?
“Hi Elizabeth. Glasgow City Councils’ Registry of Deaths, Births, and Marriages, should be able to help. The Mitchell Librarys’ Glasgow Room also has records but these are on microfiche and are difficult to read… Or search Moir. Momento Janefield they might have information on the lair site.” – Tam Mccann.
I’ll give that a try
Cemetery records for Eastern Necropolis Cemetery, Glasgow, 1861-1995 were filmed at the Cemeteries and Crematoria Department, Glasgow in 2005. Images of these films are available to view on-line for free at FamilySearch.
My family have a lair in The Eastern Necropolis and I question the naming of the road running along the Northern side of it.
In the included map of 1892 someone has superimposed the name “Gallogate” but this part of the road was actually called the “Great Eastern Road” until 1925 when it was renamed the Gallogate. The original Gallogate ran from Glasgow Cross to Crown point Street (Fieden St.) Where it became Great Eastern Road to Parkhead Cross. My family lived on this section of road and I can confirm the change in 1925 by birth certificates of some family members.
It was definitely the Great Eastern Road. In the Heritage Paths map for 1843-1882, it’s clearly marked as that. The Gallowgate seemed to terminate about 2 blocks prior to the Eastern Necropolis, near the old Crownpoint St, as you say.
Sorry about the spelling, it should of course be “Gallowgate” and “Fielden St.”
My ancestors have three plots in Janefield. Irish, English and Scots. All from the Industrial Revolution!
LOVED IT. Death so captures life. Here, an integrated education of sweeping and itty bitty detail. Our old treadle Singer, and Clark thread – this context renewing sweet memories. Chimney sweeps and power loom weavers. Accidents and war dead. Most interesting way to appreciate history
Agreed love! Very well said x
Very interesting! I’ve wandered round many Glasgow cemeteries, but not this one – now I’m inspired to go. I see according to The Glasgow Story it changed from Jeanfield to Janefield in the 19C, I wonder why? The memorial to the Templeton’s weavers is still there on London Road and now augmented by the names of all the women who died, inscribed on the pavement outside Calton Community Centre. I’m especially interested in seeing that grave (I was wondering when we’d come to any women!)