Saturday, 29 December 2007

Electoral discrepancies in Labour constituency

Don't get too excited - the constituency was the Labour stronghold of Glasgow Bridgeton from 1929-39: the local MP being the legendary Jimmy Maxton.

My great great aunt, Rachel McCartney emigrated from the slums of Bridgeton to New Zealand back in 1929, leaving her husband and young son. The McCartneys in 1929 had just moved in with Rachel's mother, my gg grandfather's widow. Presumably, Rachel wanted to make sure that her son would be safe with granny before she left. Altogether, there were 23 adults in the tenement listed on the voters' roll. Rachel emigrated in November of that year, leaving her husband and son behind. It had been thought that she had abandoned them. However, John continued living at that address until after the Second World War. Presumably, he was sharing the childminding duties with his mother in law all the way through to 1939. The funny thing is, Rachel remained on the voters' roll all the way to 1939 also.

So, did Rachel abandon her husband and son, and her grief-stricken husband hoped desperately she would return, so maintained her on the electoral register? Or, had he known she wanted to emigrate (along with several of her siblings) and went along with it for reasons of his own? Who knows?

Perhaps there was wholesale electoral fraud at the time and the population of the supposedly overcrowded slums consisted of fifteen people and a dog actually living in some comfort. History is wonderful.

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