Johnstone in old picture postcards

Johnstone in old picture postcards

Auteur
:   John F. Anderson
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Strathclyde
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-5332-4
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Johnstone in old picture postcards'

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INTRODUCTION

Johnstone is situated on the right bank of the Black Cart Water. It is eleven miles south-west of Glasgow and four miles from Paisley. In 1975 Johnstone ceased to be a burgh as a result of local government reorganisation and is now within the area which is administered by Renfrew District Council. The population of the town was estimated to be 19,000 in 1989.

The town of Johnstone was planned in 1781 by George Houstoun, the fourth Laird of Johnstone. However, the estate and lands on which it was built have long historical associations. No c1ear explanation can be given for the origin of the name of the town. The name of Johnstone first appeared on a map of the county of Renfrew in Blaeu's Atlas, which was published in Amsterdam in 1654. This map shows Johnstone (written as Ihonstoun) as a mansion-house and estate on the left bank of the Black Cart. There is na sign of any habitation on the right bank where the town is now located, but a bridge is shown crossing the Black Cart at this point. This is significant because the town or hamiet was originally known as the Brig 0' Johnstone. Even by 1796 it is shown as the Bridge of Johnstone in Ainslie's map of Renfrewshire.

The design of the town of Johnstone followed the layout which was used by the Romans for the camps and towns which they established in territories conquered by them. The principal features of the standardised Roman plan were two main streets crossing at right angles, and other subsidiary streets parallel to the main streets, dividing the town into rectangles. However, there were deviations from the Roman plan with regard to Johnstone, as all the streets were built of si mil ar width. A further point was that two sm all squares were laid out instead of one large one.

In the Second Statistical Account, Johnstone is described in the following terms: 'The rapid increase of this place is not exceeded if equalled, in the annals of Scottish history.' This is

evident when one considers that it only had a population of ten persons in 1781. Towards the end of October 1782, nine houses of the new town of Johnstone had been built, two others were being erected, and ground had been feued on which forty-two more houses were to be built. By 1792 the population was 1,434, rising to 3,647 in 1811 and 5,617 in 1831. It was the introduetion of the manufacture of cotton yam which resulted in the founding of Johnstone. Similarly, it was the extension of this manufacture which resulted in its great expansion. As early as 1837 the entry for Johnstone in the Second Statistical Account records the following statement: 'Within the boundary of th is place are situated not less than eleven cotton rnills.'

Prior to the increase in industrial development, the High Parish Church in the early nineteenth century was situated in the outskirts of the town, on the north-west side, beyond which there was open country. Also at that period cows were brought in from nearby fields to their byres in some of the back streets and every house had a long, well-cultivated garden. A pump weil was located in the middle of Houston Square and there was a horse trough in the High Street opposite the Cross Keys Inn.

At a later period engineering became the main industry of the town when the cotton industry declined in the 1850s. Johnstone was formerly referred to as the 'Engineering Burgh'. J. Fyfe Donaid and Company, iron and brass founders, established in 1815, elaimed th at it was the first machine taal work of its kind in Britain. This firm has ceased to operate in common with many other engineering works in the town which inelude John Lang and Sans, the Scottish Machine Taal Corporation Ltd., John McDowall and Sans, Thomas Shanks and Sans, Clifton and Baird Ltd., Neilson and Barclay Ltd., and Davie and Horne.

Johnstone became a burgh in 1857. Burgh status enabled the

town to achieve many improvements, the greatest of which was the introduetion of a municipal water supply. A gas works was later established in the town as a result of the Burgh Gas Supply (Scotland) Act of 1897. This service continued to operate unti11948, when gas was nationalised.

The population of Johnstone continued to increase throughout the nineteenth century rising to 6,404 in 1861 and 9,627 in 1881. However, the consistent rise in population has been affected by both emigration and immigration. Many natives of Johnstone have emigrated, while there was immigration to the town from Ireland. In the present century the town's populationrose from 11,331 in 1901 to 16,866in 1959.

In 1914 the impact of the First World War was experienced in Johnstone as elsewhere in the country. Many reservists from workshops and factories were called up for active service in the armed forces and the local company of the Territorial Army was formed at the Dril! Hall in Dimity Street. The various engineering works were soon involved in producing for the war effort with women workers replacing men at the machines.

In the Second World War troops were billeted in the town from the outset. A battalion of French troops, the 49th 'Chasseurs Alpins' arrived in Johnstone in 1940. A Polish regiment was similarly bil!eted a short time thereafter. A company of the Home Guard was also formed in Johnstone to safeguard against invasion. lts headquarters were first situated at the local police station and later in the Territorial Hall in Dimity Street.

In 1951 Johnstone took part in the Festival of Britain. For one week in July of that year an extensive programme of sports and entertainments was arranged and an industrial exhibition was held in the Town Hall. A few years later, in 1957, Johnstone celebrated its centenary as a burgh. In the following year, H.M. the Queen visited Johnstone, th is being the

first occasion that a reigning monarch had been in the town. Apart from its engineers and industrialists, there have been some notabie poets who have been associated with Johnstone. Alexander McLachlan, who was born in Johnstone in 1817, was later known as the 'National Song Writer of Canada', in addition to being a poet. Another poet was Donaid Craig McCallum, born in the town in 1815, later emigrating to the U.S.A. where he was appointed as general manager of military railroads at the beginning of the American Civil War. He was later promoted to the rank of General by President Abraham Lincoln. Other poets from Johnstone were Colonel David Wylie, who was 'Father of the Canadian Press', Dr. John Harper, and Thomas SmalI, who was a prominent figure in the Co-operative movement in the town.

One of the most remarkable engineers in Johnstone was John Weems, who founded the firm of J. and W. Weems. At the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the Crystal Palace, London, he won a gold medal award. He also invented systems of lighting and heating which were adopted by many public institutions. Another notabie Johnstonian was Sir William Biggart Lang, who was a former chairman of John Lang and Sons Ltd. He was also Chairman of the Machine Tool Committee of the Ministry of Munitions from 1915-1918 and Provost of Johnstone from 1914-1923.

Johnstone is now a greatly altered place from its beginnings in the 1780s. It has witnessed the advance and decline of both the cotton and engineering industries. Nevertheless, these industries have touched upon the lives of the many thousands of people who have worked in them throughout the last two centuries. They occupy a proud place not only in the history of Johnstone , but also in the nation.

1. View from Ludovic Square. This scene gives an impression of the size of Johnstone and its industrial importance in past decades with the various factory chimneys which are in evidence. The former Town Hall can he seen in the foreground. The new Town Hall occupies the site to the right of the old Town Hall. The site of the old Town Hall is now a car park. The original intention of the laying out of Ludovic Square was that it was to he used as a rnarket-place. In this view Chureh Street is in the foreground and leads up to Collier Street in the distance. The Kilpatriek Hills ean he seen on the horizon.

2. The Cross. The Black Bull Inn is the building on the extreme left of this view. It was formerly located at 72 High Streel, and was one of the oldest buildings in the town, but was demolished in 1985. In the 1830s Mr. Hodgert's coaches left from the Black Bull Inn for Paisleyat 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. At that time the Post Office was also located at 53 High Street and was open from 8 a.m. till9 p.m. There was also a subscription library at the same address. It was founded in 1819. Johnstone Coffee and News Room was also located at 53 High Streel. In the late 1830s the directors of the latter establishment included Ludovic Houstoun of Johnstone, W. Houstoun of Johnstone Castie and Sir William Milliken Napier, Bart., of Milliken and Napier. In former times many business deals were finalised within the pre mises of the Black Bull Inn. Johnstone Cross was originally described as being 3 miles, five furlongs and 34 poles from Paisley Cross.

3. McDowall Street. A small group, including a barefooted boy, gather round a donkey in this scene from the 1900s. The pole of the barber's shop contrasts with the symbol of the pawnbroker's on the opposite side. In 1853 the Johnstone Grand Industrial Exhibition was held in a cotton mill in McDowall Street. This building was later converted into houses and for a considerable period was known as the 'Exhibition Land'. It was demolished in 1931 when tenements were built on the site, these being 15 and 17 McDowall Street. This exhibition was promoted by the Johnstone Mechanics' Institute and resulted in much interest beyond the confines of the town. There was also extensive press coverage in the 'Glasgow Citizen' of 15 January 1853. The exhibition was arranged in the four main categories of machinery, manufactured goods, the fine arts and curiosities. The catalogue for the Exhibition consisted of thirty pages.

4. Kilbarchan Road. A solitary vehicle travels along Kilbarchan Road in this scene from the 1920s. A squad of men are doing some form of repair work on the road. The horse and waggon obscures a large part of the site of operations, The two warning flags appear rather inadequate for approaehing drivers. A single tramline runs along the centre of the road. Two prams of the period are just visible on the right ofthe picture.

TROMSON A VENUE_ lOHNSTONE.

5. Thomson Avenue. The total absence oftraffic is evident in this view of Thomson Avenue in the early years ofthis century. There is an interesting contrast in building styles with the tenements on the right, while there is terraeed housing on the opposite side. In 1957 new three-storeyed flats were built at 3, 5, 13, 17 and 19 Thomson Avenue. The gap-site on the right of this view has ceased to exist. The factory chimneys shown here are those of Finlayson Bousfield and Company. However, both of these chimneys have been demolished.

6. Peockland Place. After the First World War, the approach to the town at the foot of Thorn Brae was radically altered by the demolition of old buildings on both sides of the road. Tenements were then erected in Peockland Place and High Street. The gardens in Peockland Place were considered to be a great success in landscape design. In this view a man walks purposefully up Thorn Brae, while a group of young girls can be seen in Peockland Place. The level of traffie is relatively light, with only two doubledecker buses to be seen in the immediate foreground.

7. Ulundi Raad. This scene from the 1930s has not greatly altered with the exception that, at present, a horse and cart is not such a cornmon sight. Ulundi Raad is divided into two sectioris. The road to the left and the right is Hagg Raad. A totalof 188 houses in the Kilbarchan Raad area were built by Johnstone Town Council as a consequence of an Act of 1919. During the Second World War bombs were dropped on Hagg Raad and near Ulundi Raad. This air-raid occurred at 4 a.m, on 24 October 1940. As a result several houses were destroyed, but na one was killed or seriously in j ured.

DJMITY STRECT JOHNSTON"

8. Dimity Streel. A lone cyclist pedals up Dimity Street in this scene from the 1930s. In 1925 a part of Dimity Street, known locally for over fifty years as 'Bug's Brae', was demolished and replaced by a municipal housing scheme which was of good quality. In 1925 new houses were also built in Woodbank Crescent, High Street and Ladeside Drive. A total of 273 houses were built in that year. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the local company of the Territorial Army assembied at their hall in Dimity Street. During the Second World War the Home Guard had its headquarters in this street. This company of the Home Guard prepared defence positions in and around Johnstone, and also provided an armed guard which undertook night duty from 1939-1945. It is thought that Dimity Street is named after dimity cloth, which was once manufactured in a factory which was situated there.

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