Kilbirnie / North Ayrshire, photos/images/video, Uncategorized

Meet Malcolm McTaggart and Janet Smith

Malcolm McTaggart and Janet Smith (my Great Great Great Grandparents) lived in Montgomery Street as well as the Paddockholm area of Kilbirnie and then Glengarnock and were in many ways the parents of most McTaggart families who live in Kilbirne and Dalry today. The others came from his siblings, aunts and uncles.

He died in the late 1890s and she lived until 1919. His first wife was Jane Leitch, with whom he had one child and he is pictured here with his second wife Janet Smith. Together they had a lot of children.

Their parents came from Islay, the island off the west coast and they could only speak Gaelic when they first arrived here in the 1840s. Malcolm was born in Kilbirnie. His father was also married to a Janet Smith, Father and son married mother and niece. Everybody worked in the steel works.

Malcolm and Janet are buried with their son John and they are one of the first graves as you enter the old cemetery across from the old old cemetery gate.

Kilbirnie / North Ayrshire, Poems, Uncategorized

Poem: The Bing, Kilbirnie

The bing was a huge mound of cement and gravel where kids climbed on the corner of Place View and Newhouse Drive. It was converted into a playpark in the mid 80s.

Oh the years upon the bing 
with cousin Margaret children played
climbing up with all our power
by Newhouse drive where people stayed

Amid the thorns and grey cement 
there seemed a moment, time well spent
and sliding down the gravel slope 
I skinned my knees without a hope

My grannie waiting at the door
with borax, plasters by the score

O the hills we thought were steep
when now in older lives we keep

Mountains slopes upon our minds
perhaps a bing of different kind
climbing o’er our darker thoughts 
just like the thistles we did trod

Lessons from the bing well learnt
of my granny’s soothing balm
o how that Love returns to me
nd brings with it a sense of calm

And behind the trees sat Warrior’s bing 
perhaps a sign of future years
with bigger slope and hills to climb
amid the darker fading years
Kilbirnie / North Ayrshire, photos/images/video, Uncategorized

ِDennyholm Street, Kilbirnie

I have attached 3 photos.

On one you can see a map showing that the Dennyholm (street) ran parallel to Newton Street but was on a level at the back and beneath the street. (next to number 836 on the map). The mill was a bit further back.

The other two photos show the entrance to what was “Dennyholm Street” with a very long row of houses. We can only see the first house on Dennyholm Street on the colour photo which is sitting down from of what appears to be the back of a block of flats which are built upwards to Newton Street. The older photo shows a concrete shed in front of the same first house a little bit closer.

I initially thought that Dennyholm street would have been the blocks of tenaments built up to Newton Street but one of the North Ayrshire Directories of that time describes them as “a long row of houses prone to flooding.” The census of 1921 shows them as having only 2 rooms each.

The area has been completely replaced with the Dennyholm Wynd Housing Estate although on Google Earth you can still see the same street, which is more like a lane now with those yellowish grey flats beneath the ground level of Newton Street.

In the 1900s the street had shops and a school. Dennyholm Street no longer exists and is simply the river walk at the back of Newton Street now.

Kilbirnie / North Ayrshire, photos/images/video, Uncategorized

#Kilbirnie First Parish Priest 1864 Death Certificate #northayrshire

Death Certificate of Father Thomas Patrick Lee, (at the bottom)  the first Parish Priest of Kilbirnie. He apparently was infected by fleas whilst giving the Last Rights aged 33.


Kilbirnie / North Ayrshire, photos/images/video, Uncategorized

St Brigids Church History 1862-1962 #kilbirnie #northayrshire

please click here for the document (PDF)  Final page here

This 27 page document produced in 1962 looks at Catholicism on the west coast of Scotland and details how the  Church in Kilbirnie came to be  opened in 1862. It contains a photo of the first priest  ( I already posted his death certificate on this blog) as well as the  surnames of all of the first Catholic families to worship in the Church which is very good for genealogy researchers.  It gives a rare glimpse of Catholic life on the west coast of Scotland and also talks about the opening of the school as well as other Churches in the area.

Kilbirnie / North Ayrshire, photos/images/video, Uncategorized

Jean Jeffrey McTaggart

This picture is of Jean Jeffrey, my Great Great Grandmother, (sometimes spelt Jeffray or Jeffries) who was married to Neil McTaggart and lived at 13 Dennyholm Street, Kilbirnie, by the mill on the site of what is now Dennyholm Wynd, Her Mother was Mary Jeffrey who married Andrew Stevenson, whose family were coal merchants in the town.

There is a family story that Neil was a twin with a brother Malcolm but I have not been able to prove that from any government records.

Jeanie had a very large family, including my Great Grandfather Neil as well as a daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth married Samuel Cairns and two of their children are sitting on Jean´s lap. Jean was red haired and used to walk from the Dennyholm out to Glengarnock barefoot to visit some of her children

Jean died in 1927. I estimate this photo to have been taken around 1923.