Before I started looking into my family’s past, I knew about the family connection to the former coal mining village of Longriggend. It was the main thing I knew about my Grandfather. He lived there before moving to Glasgow.
And that’s all I knew.
In 1882/84, Frances Groome’s Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland describes the village:
Longriggend, a place in New Monkland parish, Lanarkshire, 5 miles NE by E of Coatbridge and 2¾ SW of Slamannan. It has a post office under Airdrie, a railway station, and a handsome Roman Catholic chapel school (1879).—Ord. Sur., sh. 31, 1867.Reference: GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Longriggend in North Lanarkshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
The village often appears when I have researched The Sherry family of the 19th and early 20th Century. Three generations of men worked in the surrounding coal mines at the same time until the pits consumed their health or the coal seams dried up.
The Sherry Family In Longriggend
By the late 1890s, my Great Grandparents Arthur Sherry (1857-1918) and Jane Mallin (1860-1944) lived at 23 Nimmos Row, Longriggend. In this Miners row, two Children were born: Patrick Sherry (1898-1917) and my Grandfather Thomas Sherry (1901-1955)
Some of Arthur and Jane’s older children met their spouses in the village and later married at St Mary’s Church, Longriggend. There was a near seventeen year age gap between my Grandad and his eldest brother James Sherry (1884-1962) so when the first Grandchild was born in 1905 my Grandad was four years old.
Perhaps Uncle and Nephew played with each other as children?
A Family Hub
My Great Grandparents and family stayed in Longriggend for the majority of the 1900s The Scotland Census of 1901 has the family living in Nimmos Row in the village. Other Sherry birth records detail the coal mining village as the place of birth.
By 1911, that year’s Census records Arthur and Jane Sherry living in a Miner’s row in Greengairs, a nearby village. Not all of the family made the move though.
From Greengairs my Great Grandparents and some family members moved Glasgow’s East End at some point before the First World War.
I learned recently that my Grandfather Thomas Sherry would take his children to visit Longriggend in the 1930/40s as we still had close family living there, confirming a family link to the village that lasted several decades.
If you have an interest in old photos, there is a Facebook page that is primarily about Slamannan which is a couple of miles away. However, there are images of old Longriggend:
I have visited Longriggend regularly since 2012. My first visit took place during winter and I picked a day for it. As I walked along the Telegraph Road, it was bitterly cold. After my visit, I was bedridden for two days with flu.
That would not have impressed the ancestors.
In early summer 2017, I visited on a beautiful day and took photos. Very little is left of Longriggend from when it was bustling mining village:
The Church and the older houses on Telegraph Road are all that remains of my ancestors time living there.
I’ve found Longriggend a peaceful place but would struggle to live there. There are no shops and no public transport. The car is your friend although the roads are good for cycling as there is little traffic. But only if you have a good level of fitness.
So, if you enjoy spending time in cafes drinking too much coffee, then you have to travel a couple of miles…
When I have been in contact with Sherry relatives I found through research, the majority of them were aware of the Longriggend connection to our family story.
We lost touch with relatives over the decades since the days of living in Longriggend. Outside of my little family pocket, nobody I have spoken with at the time of this post remembered my Grandfather.
I still live in hope although time is only moving forward.
But Longriggend is still remembered through the family stories of other branches of the tree given its importance in the greater Sherry story.
That is why I like to go back there. Usually in better weather.
What are your family connections to this old coal mining village?