This is a photo of the grandmother I never met, as she died before I was born. Helen McCrae was born in Kilmarnock in 1875, the daughter of John McCrae coal miner and Mary Ann McInerney.
She married Henry Strachan in 1896 at the Commercial Inn, Hurlford and they lived in Crookedholm where their eldest seven children were born. They then moved to Lanarkshire, first to Tollcross and then settling in Cambuslang, where their youngest four children were born.
One of Helen’s children died in childhood, of measles, but the remaining ten lived long and fruitful lives (or at least most of them did). Three of the children migrated to Toronto, Canada, and Helen and her youngest child, my father Robert, did several journeys to Canada and back during the 20s and 30s.
Helen died in hospital in 1944. She was visiting someone, but sadly had a cerebral haemourage whilst there. My father was in the army at the time, down near Bath.
From what I’ve been told, Helen had a hard life, could be very tough at times, but was a bit of a softie at heart. I think it shows in her face in this photo.