Anne Trainer (1810 -1892)

Anne Trainer was born on 24th November 1810 in Savoy Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Her parents were Thomas Trainer, Weaver, and Rose Ann Connelly, both of whom had been born in Ireland in the 1770s.

Anne Trainer's 1810 birth recordAnne Trainer's 1810 birth recordScotland's People

BRIDGETON, lately a quoad sacra parish, consisting of part of Barony parish, in the suburbs of Glasgow, county of Lanark; containing 3583 inhabitants. This place, which takes its name from its vicinity to the bridge over the Clyde leading to Rutherglen, is partly indebted for its origin to Mr. John Walkinshaw, who, in 1705, purchased some lands to the eastward of the city, which he divided into building lots, for the formation of a village, then called Barrowfield. In 1724, however, he had let only nineteen small portions, and the land was subsequently purchased by the corporation, in conjunction with the Trades' House, who, in 1731, conveyed it to Mr. John Orr, merchant, of Glasgow, who, being more successful in disposing of the ground, may be regarded as the founder of the present town. This now flourishing village contains, according to the last census, above 14,000 persons. It is on the north side of the river, to the south-east of Calton, and, like that place, consists of several spacious and well-formed streets; a few houses are built of brick, and roofed with tiles, for the manufacture of which, clay of excellent quality is found in the immediate vicinity. The population are chiefly employed in the cotton manufacture, and other works in the neighbourhood of the city; and there are numerous shops, for the supply of the inhabitants with groceries and various kinds of merchandise. The parish was formed by act of the General Assembly: the church is a neat structure, erected by the Church Building Society of Glasgow, who are the patrons, and contains 1024 sittings. It is now rented by members of the Free Church, and in the village is also a place of worship in connexion with the Relief Church.

The Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846)

Bridgeton was a major centre for the textile trade in Glasgow. In 1830 the Glasgow, and indeed the West of Scotland, economy was dominated by the cotton industry, with power spinning and, to an increasing extent, power weaving, complemented by a large handloom weaving industry. Spinning continued to expand until the 1840s and weaving until the 1870s. The cotton famine, which was a product of the American Civil War (1861-1865), did not help the prosperity of the cotton trades. Mills were steadily closing as competition from Lancashire and overseas producers ate into profit margins and engineering, shipbuilding and other industries offered better returns on investment. In the 1850s and 1860s a few mills began making linen and jute, but their success was short-lived. It was not a good time to be a weaver and by this time the main prospect such a trade offered was a hard life with long hours and low wages.

Anne had an older sister Rachel, born in 1807 and a younger brother James born in 1818.

In around 1838, Anne met Tyrone-born John Kelly, a Weaver residing in Glasgow, and became pregnant by him. In around 1839, she gave birth to a son, Thomas Trainer, named after her father. No birth record has been located. John Kelly had married Irishwoman Catherine Craig on 31st July 1838 and clearly marriage to Anne Trainer was not an option.

John Kelly and Catherine Craig's 1838 marriage recordJohn Kelly and Catherine Craig's 1838 marriage recordScotland's People

At the time of the 1841 Census (7th June) Anne was recorded as aged 20 (in fact she was 30) and residing in Camlachie with her 2-year-old son Thomas Trainer. She was at the home of her parents, Thomas Trainer, employed as a Cotton Hand Loom Weaver and Rose Ann. Anne was earning her living as a Tambourer. A Tambourer embroidered cloth held on a circular frame called a tambour.

The Trainer Family in 1841 CensusThe Trainer Family in 1841 CensusScotland's People

CAMLACHIE, lately a quoad sacra parish, including the village of Parkhead, in the parish of Barony, suburbs of Glasgow, county of Lanark; containing 3654 inhabitants, of whom 2152 are in the village of Camlachie, 1½ mile (E.) from Glasgow. Camlachie comprises, besides the villages, a rural district containing a few acres of well-cultivated land; it is pleasantly situated on the north of the Clyde, but the houses are in general indifferently built. On the bank of the river, are the handsome mansions of Belvidere and Westthorn, both of modern erection, and commanding fine prospects. The art of letter-founding was introduced, and brought to great perfection, by Mr. Alexander Wilson, afterwards professor of astronomy in the university of Glasgow, who, removing from St. Andrew's to this place, established a foundry here, which was subsequently transferred to Glasgow. The population are almost exclusively employed in hand-loom weaving, and in the manufacture of muslins; and in the immediate vicinity, are several coal-mines, of which, however, one only is in operation, for the supply of the district. In the village of Parkhead, is a penny-post office, under Glasgow. The parish was formed in 1838; the church is a neat structure, erected by the Church Building Society of Glasgow.

At the same time, John Kelly was residing with his wife Catherine and 2-year-old daughter Margaret at Westmuir just about 1 mile to the east of Camlachie.

1832 Map showing locations of Camlachie and Westmuir villages1832 Map showing locations of Camlachie and Westmuir villagesNational Library of Scotland

By the 1851 Census (31st March) Anne Trainer was aged 30 years and residing at Backlands, 297 Great Eastern Road, Barony, Glasgow. She still earned her living as a Tambourer. She was residing with her 70-year-old mother, Rose Ann, who was recorded as being married although there was no sign of her husband Thomas Trainer who, if indeed he were still alive, would also have been about 70. Rose Ann was recorded as being 'On the Parish', that is, receiving financial support from the Parish authorities - the only assistance that was available in those times.

Young Thomas was not resident with his mother and at this time he was residing nearby at 80 Westmuir Street, Glasgow with his father John Kelly and his wife Catherine. His name was now recorded as Thomas Kelly and he was 12 years old. By this time John and Catherine had two children of their own. Margaret Kelly was also 12 years old and Elizabeth Kelly was 9. John was a Master Weaver.

During the first half of the nineteenth century Parkhead was populated by many hand weavers, who carried out their trade in two-storey dwellings with a weaving room on the ground floor and living accommodation above. It was not uncommon for the whole family to work on the enterprise, often with more than one loom being worked.

At the 1861 Census (8th April), Anne, now 40, was still earning her living as a Tambourer and was residing in the Parish of Barony at 23 Coalhill Street which ran northwards off Great Eastern Road, just opposite the Eastern Necropolis. Residing with her was a 16-year-old girl, Agnes Brock who worked in a Cotton Factory. Close by at 37 Coalhill Street was Anne's sister Rachel Crawford (48) and her husband Cotton Hand Loom Weaver Thomas (46) with their children Rachel (23) and Anne (14). Anne's brother Woolen Weaver James (42) and his wife Rose Ann (43) and 3 children, Thomas (15), Peter (11) and Rose (9) were residing at Broad Street just to the west of Coalhill Street.

1860 map showing the location of Coalhill Street and Broad Street in Camlachie1860 map showing the location of Coalhill Street and Broad Street in CamlachieNational Library of Scotland

Back Court of 23 Coalhill Street, Camlachie in 1912, some 50 years after Anne Trainer lived there.Back Court of 23 Coalhill Street, Camlachie in 1912, some 50 years after Anne Trainer lived there.Virtual Mitchel

Anne Trainer's 1871 Census record, if it exists, cannot be found. On 10th January 1873, Anne made an application for Poor Relief and the Assistant Inspector's Report provides further information about her circumstances at the time. She was recorded as 54 years old and had been residing for the past 14 days at 37 Coalhill Street (Low Right), in the same street where she had been living at the 1861 Census some 12 years earlier, and where we believe her brother James was currently residing. Her religion was stated to be Protestant and she was Single. Anne confirmed that her only child was Thomas, now a 30 year-old Collier, although she was unable to provide an address for him. Her occupation was recorded as Hawker, which was simply a Street Seller and in those days a legitimate and respectable occupation, if not one that was likely to support a comfortable lifestyle. She was stated to be partially disabled although her disability was described as 'Destitution', so perhaps she wasn't physically disabled. Immediately prior to lodging with her brother, probably over the Christmas period, Anne had spent 7 days in Wishaw, Cambusnethan at the residence of a Mrs McGregor. We might speculate that she was visiting her son Thomas Kelly who is known to have been residing at Overtown near Wishaw at that time. It may be that her claim not to know the whereabouts of her son was 'tactical' in her pursuit of poor relief from the Parish.

The Report goes on to list the various addresses at which Anne was resident over the previous 17-18 years. These were principally in and around the east end of Glasgow in the Parish of Barony.

The Assistant Inspector wrote:

"Applies for Relief. She has no Rent Books, for Proof of Birth her Brother has been seen and Mrs Blair House Factor in 86 Great Eastern Road. States she has lived in Camlachie for 7 or 8 years. Offered Poor House, which she refused."

Anne may well have refused the Poor House on 10th January, 1873, but there is an entry made to the Record on January 14th which suggests that she did at that point enter the Poor House.

The Poor House in question was Barnhill Poorhouse.

Barnhill PoorhouseBarnhill Poorhouse

1898 Map showing Barnhill Poorhouse 1898 Map showing Barnhill Poorhouse National Library of Scotland

Life in a poorhouse was very hard. Strict discipline was observed in Barnhill. Able bodied inmates were required to make up 350 bundles of firewood per day and stonebreakers were expected to break 5 cwt. per day. Any inmate not producing the stated amount was put on a bread and water diet in solitary confinement for 12 hours. Disorderly conduct such as swearing or breaking of rules, resulted in being put on a diet, excluding milk and buttermilk, for a period of three days.

(In 1945, Barnhill was renamed Foresthall Home and Hospital. After the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, it catered mainly for vagrants but had a geriatric section which was closed in stages between 1978 and 1983. It was demolished in 1988.)

At the 1881 Census (4th April), Anne is found residing on her own at 145 Main Street, Shettleston, about a mile east of Parkhead and Camlachie where she had lived for most of her life. It appears that her fortunes had failed to improve materially and she was recorded as being a Pauper which would mean that she was still being assisted by the Parish.

On the Parish of Barony's Register of Poor, there is an entry on Anne's record dated April 25th, 1881, "Poor House 3 months" and it appears that Anne once more entered the Poor House.

Anne's brother James Trainer died at age 67 on 9th December, 1885 in Barnhill Poorhouse, Dennistoun, Glasgow. It appears that his fortunes had been no better than his sister's.

The last entry on Anne Trainer's record in the General Register of Poor belonging to the Parish of Barony was dated 18 June, 1889 and was "Entered Poor House".

At the 1891 Census (5th April), Anne was recorded as being an 'Inmate' of the Barnhill Poorhouse where her brother had died 5 years or so earlier.

Anne Trainer died aged 70 on 24th April, 1892 at 32 East Union Street, Camlachie, Glasgow, of probable General Debility and Bronchitis. This street was located just to the east of Coalhill Street where Anne had resided from time to time at various stages of her life. The site now lies under the car park of the Parkhead Forge Shopping Centre. Her son Thomas Kelly of Eastfield, Rutherglen registered the death.

Anne Trainer's 1892 Death RecordAnne Trainer's 1892 Death RecordScotland's People

*Much of this story is based on the genealogical research of Maitland Kelly, great great great grandson of Anne Trainer.

Coalhill Street todayCoalhill Street todayGoogle Maps


We learn that Anne Trainer's son with John Kelly, Thomas, was born in 1839 at Moffatsland, Westmuir. 'Moffatsland' was a common form of naming a property, usually a tenement building, in Scotland around that time. It would have described a tenement, owned or occupied by someone named Moffat. As already stated, at the time of the 1841 Census, John Kelly was residing in Westmuir with his wife Catherine and their young daughter Margaret. The Census return shows that in the neighbouring residence was a 60-year-old Coalminer William Moffat and his family. We might speculate that Moffatsland was the residence of this family and was therefore where young Thomas was born. We are therefore left to ponder the possibility that Thomas was born in, or very close to, the same residence as his father. It also suggests that John Kelly took full responsibility for Anne's 'condition' and looked after her around the time of the birth. Of course, John did subsequently take in his son young Thomas Trainer and changed his name to Thomas Kelly. Further evidence came to light that Anne may well have visited her son Thomas at Overtown in around 1873 and finally that Thomas registered Anne's 1892 death in Camlachie the day after it occurred suggests that they would have kept in contact. It seems that any question that Anne was completely abandoned by John Kelly would be wide of the mark.