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Major Thomas Gray

Carluke Horticultural Society 1901


We offer here a glimpse back into a time gone by,  via a unique collection of letters and photographs. A beginning of great new industry, when armies still dressed in redcoats prior to the Boer War, a time of new ideas when Carluke was growing,  Of Politics, Poetry and Preserves.

Join us to read the letters to a small-town Scottish baker. Born 1849,  Tom died in 1914, six months prior to the Great War.  He was well known not only for his being Master Baker, employer and business man but also beekeeper, friend to R & W Scott the local jam manufacturer and father to six surviving children.

 His own father was a weaver in Stonehouse who married and then became a greengrocer, opening a shop at the Old Cross in Stonehouse. He raised six children including Tom who went on to be an apprentice baker in Carluke. Eventually Tom became a Master baker and opened his own business at Chapel Street. We would know very little of this man and his life but for a packet of letters discovered in an attic which shine a light on how people lived and worked at a time when telephones were a new invention owned by the very few. However, the Post Office offered multiple daily deliveries and was used more often than telegrams as a cheap reliable service.

 Tom's brother George took over their father's greengrocery, using the railway for a speedy daily transit in and out of Glasgow Fruit Market. While it sounds like life was good, Stonehouse was a dirty smoky town and eventually three cousins grew ill and they emigrated to Chile along with thousands of Scots to a new life there. The family tree also shows infant mortality was commonplace. 

By reading this story and clicking on each image we hope to show that despite short lifespans, here was a community getting on with life and trying new ideas and concepts, though they probably had to work hard at it to shine through the dour presbyterian ethic and the weather, the one unchanging element of life in Scotland.


Read more stories from the People section
Robert Moyes Adam (the next story in sucession)
Carluke Bowling Club
Carlukes Early Sculptors
Dr Hunter-Selkirk
From the Gazette
In Memoriam

Created before 2012