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A Faskine Tale

Memories of Faskine by Elizabeth Tennant

see emails at end of article

Faskine village was the birthplace of my Grandmother in 1882. After her marriage, she moved to Coatbridge.  It was in the 1940's while my Father was in the Royal Navy during WW2 and my Mother and I were living with her, she took me on one of her visits to her two sisters who lived in the old school house at Faskine.   

With the memory of the visit now very vague and a hankering to view once more where my ancestors came from, I went with my own Granddaughters on a beautiful Spring day in May, 2010 to visit the area again.  My first trip as a small child was exciting, in the 1940's we usually walked everywhere, but this time I got to travel upstairs at the front of a tramcar to Airdrie, passing familiar landmarks in Coatbridge  

I thought would be there forever, i.e. The Cinema Picture House, the many shops and businesses lining Bank Street and Main Street, particularly Woolworth's and the Fountain.   My own Grandchildren's trip in the motorcar seemed just ordinary to them along a busy new roadway, where not only all the tram rails had vanished, so had 1940/50's Coatbridge.

The wind of change had blown away it's heavy industrial overcoat, dirtied and worn after many years of grime and smoke and a clean rural gown had been exposed underneath. The area had changed so much that finding where Faskine village had been mid 1940's was not easy for me. We sped through modern housing estates into Airdrie and after a few twists and turnarounds I spied two stone gateposts, flanked each side by a line of trees overhanging a roadway, EUREKA!  I remembered the walk along that road, these landmarks triggered my childhood memory and pinpointed the Faskine area.

My Great Great Grandfather was James Hogg a Carpenter, and the 1851 Census for Scotland gave his address as Faskine Farm where he employed four men in his boat building firm, this I found quite easily as it is still standing, though it has probably changed quite a bit since then. I tried to picture this area as he and later my Grandmother would have seen it. 

 I looked in vain to place Cairnhill Cottage where she was born, but couldn't find it, nevertheless, it was in Faskine School House where her Mother, Elizabeth Hogg, a Dressmaker and Father, James Geekie, first a Miner then a Pithead Man had brought up their large family of nine children, but alas I couldn't place where this house was either, I asked several people out walking if they knew or had known of it's whereabouts, but no one knew. My own Grandchildren with their Mum and Dad, by this time, had returned to the car, the children although interested at first, had become bored and wanted to play with their Nintendos, toys that are very different from the ones my Grandmother told me about in her stories of Faskine.  

Childhood was fleeting in Victorian times, but although life was very hard and the children of Faskine had to do their share of the work, they did manage to have some time for play, this was spent either rolling their locally made "Gird and Cleeks" or spinning their "Peeries" with whips, these were small cone shaped pieces of wood, hewn to almost a point, a long piece of string attached to a stick in a whip like fashion was wound round three ridges carved out the top of the cone, when the whip was pulled away fast. they spun like a top and girls could keep their peeries spinning for a considerable time by a simple lash from the whip string from time to time.  A clay pipe and a bowl of soapy water on washday, were how bubbles were blown to chase in the wind, boys galloped about on imaginary horses, wielding "switches", which were long branches, broken off the high hawthorn hedges, then stripped of their leaves and thorns.  

The surroundings may have been industrial, but my Grandmother spoke often, about the beautiful trees in Faskine, they remained her favourite plant and when she lost her hearing at an early age, due to the noise from the machines in the factory where she worked, no health and safety then, it was the birdsong she missed most from this affliction.


I found Palacecraig House, this was where her Grandmother and Step Grandfather lived, her own Grandfather James Hogg, had died before she was born, but a tale passed down the family came to mind as I walked along the canal bank, it was of the villagers having a good chuckle at him, as he went about his business building a boat, not this time of wood, but of iron, they scoffed it would sink like a stone, as they watched it take shape on the banks of the Monkland Canal and he took a lot of ribbing about it, but Faskine's historic claim to fame, the iron boat "The Vulcan", didn't sink like a stone and had many years plying it's way up and down the canal to Glasgow. 

It's replica can be seen today, at the Summerlee Heritage Museum in Coatbridge, a must place to visit for anyone with connections to the Monklands area, this was where I with my Grandchildren, had the joy once more, of riding upstairs in a tramcar together, no boredom here.  Thank you Summerlee, perhaps they couldn't see the Coatbridge of my day, just as I couldn't see the Faskine of my Grandmother's day, but this wonderful Museum, captures the essence of an era, to quote a modern saying "it does what it says on the label," a living monument to all those who gave the sacrifice of life and limb in the mines and factories of yesteryear.      

Unfortunately I cannot identify the pictures. I took them for my own personal file, for the family tree I have been researching, what I do know is that these are of Faskine area where my Grandmother lived and played as a child.

I snapped the trees in the belief that she may have looked upon them when they were tiny saplings. The ones that can be named are the entry to Faskine Farm and the white house is Palacecraig House where my Grandmother's Grandparents lived, this I know from the census forms and my Grandmother's brother was born in the left wing of this house according to his birth certificate.

Many thanks for your kind attention.

Elizabeth Tennant

  Hi There

My name is Kirsty Graham. I am writing on behalf of myself and my mother.

We read an article by Elizabeth Tennant on your site about Faskine Farm.

She mentioned a James Hogg, Boat carpenter. As we have been tracing our own family line, we have discovered we are also related to the same James Hogg.

We were hoping to get in touch with Elizabeth to share information about

our line of relation with her and hopefully be able to plan out more of our

family tree.

Could this email either be forwarded on to her, or could you provide a

contact address for her?

Thank you for your time

Kirsty Graham


The email was forwarded to Elizabeth Tennent


John -

Thought you might like an update on this query you received, it

turned out Kirsty did share the same relationship to James Hogg as I

did. While mine was through Elizabeth, James Hoggs' daughter, Kirsty

was through a son, namely Thomas. I had previously found another cousin

through Genes Reunited whose connection was through Thomas and after a

bit of to and fro Kirsty and she got in touch and they have had numerous

exchanges. I was born in Coatbridge and although it was a dirty old

industrial town when I was small, I loved it and I am very proud of my

Monklands connection.

Thank you for the Monkland's website.



Glad to help - Betty and Kirsty




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