Robert Blair, Buchlyvie, from Schoolboy to Stationer, 1915 – 1925

This week’s post for the Year of Young People 2018 highlights the granting of apprecticeships to young people who were being cared for by the Scottish Poor Law system.

This entry in the register of the poor for Buchanan Parish gives some details of the life of Robert Blair who came from Buchlyvie.

Robert and his brother John were abandoned by their mother Kate in 1915. Robert was 7 and his brother John was 4. Both boys were sent to the Poorhouse in Port of Menteith, quite a long way away from where they had grown up. Small parishes could not afford to build their own poorhouses so people who needed accommodation would be sent to the nearest poorhouse under an agreement between various parishes. Poorhouses whose funding was shared by a number of small parishes were known as Combination Poorhouses.

It is clear from the Buchanan Parish Council minute books that Robert and his brother both attended the local school. In July 1924, it is recorded ‘Robert has got the certificate of the school and the Bursary is finished employment is now required’. The certificate proved that Robert was literate and would enable him to go on to a job where reading and writing were required.

In December 1924, the following is noted, ‘Robert Blair, a prospect of a situation as apprentice Stationer’. Robert’s entry in the register confirms that this happened sometime in 1925.