Family lore or fact? The final part of the story of my family in Maryhill.

My grandfather

Following on from A Maryhill Highlander, John Priestley's widow Jeannie remarried in 1920 and started a new family with her second husband.  This was a common occurance in the years after the First World War with so much loss of life. The close family unit of Jeannie and her children Isabella, James and Joseph was greatly impacted by the turmoil of the First World War and Jeannie's second husband did not want my grandfather as part of his family.  My grandfather's story now enters that familiar territory of family lore.

Family lore states that my grandfather was banished from the home his mother shared with her new husband and was sent to Dublin to live with an aunt.  There is definitely an aunt of of my grandfather, John Priestley's younger sister Helen, living in Dubin in the 1930s, until her death in the 1980s, but whether my grandfather was looked after by her is uncertain.  What is certain is that my grandfather broke his wrist as a youngster and it was said this happend in Dublin.  In the days before any National Health Service, his broken wrist was "treated" by someone who badly reset the wrist which resulted in his hand being damaged for the rest of his life.  He also caught rheumatic fever as a child and that would also lead to physical pain and discomfort for the remainder of his life.

Helen had a large family of her own and family lore continues with the story of my grandfather having to leave his aunt's home in Dublin and making his way back to Glasgow by stowing away on a ship.  He made it back to Glasgow, but having no knowledge of where his elder sister Isabella lived, spent his days roaming the streets of Glasgow.  

He went back to his old neighbourhood in Maryhill and was spotted by his sister Isabella who was travelling on a tram car.  They met and she took Joseph in and looked after him.  What is factual is that Joseph lived with his sister in Steven St, close to New City Rd, until he married my grandmother in 1942.

Before his marriage Joseph worked at the Grand Hotel in Glasgow where he met my grandmother who also worked there.  Like most of that area of Glasgow mentioned in my previous blog A Walk on the Woodside, the Grand Hotel closed in 1968 and was demolished to make way for the M8 motorway.  The photograph below was taken at the Grand Hotel and contains various members of hotel staff.

My grandfather at the head of the table and my grandmother sitting on his right. Grand Hotel, Glasgow

Grand Hotel, Glasgow.  Virtual Mitchell Record # C8518

From here, my grandfather's family story changes for the better. After marrying my grandmother, they initially lived in his old neighbourhood on Doncaster St, before moving to Cromwell St with his wife and two children to remain happy there for the remainder of his life.  

My grandparents

Although physically impaired as mentioned earlier, Joseph worked his adult life in various jobs such as a boilerman and, when at home, was a great cook and handyman.  After his death at the age of 51 years, his remaining family moved to Canada and other parts of Glasgow and the family connection to Maryhill and its surrounding neighbourhood, lasting close to 100 years, was lost forever.


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