From 1861 I had lost track of Annie McTavish and from 1871 her sister Catherine, the daughters of Duncan McTavish and his first wife Catherine McPhail.  I knew a little about their sister, Isabella McTavish from census records and the drowning death of her only son Duncan John McTavish or Wright in 1905.  The girls’ brother Alexander lived in Oban, Argyll until his passing in 1896.

Using free Will search I located the 1919 Will of Isabella McTavish which led me to her sister Annie’s marriage.

Restaurant Cook, Annie McTavish of 154 Cowcaddens and Lachlan McLean, 38 Milton Lane, Glasgow both 29 years of age were married on the 30th December 1880 by Gabriel Kerr, Minister of Cowcaddens Free Church at 90 Buccleuch Street before witnesses; Isabella McTavish and John McLean.  Lachlan, a Railway Contractor’s Labourer born was about 1852, Tobermory, Mull to Lachlan McLean (dec) a seaman in the Merchant Service and his wife Isabella McInnes.

It was easy to pick them up in the 1881 census living at 40 Ann St, Glasgow with Annie’s sister Catherine (McTavish) enumerated as Kate Scott, born Oban, unemployed domestic servant.

154 Cowcaddens taken 1963

Photo taken in 1963 – 154 Cowcaddens eighty years after Annie resided here.  I wonder whether it was a pub in the 1880’s.  The Virtual Mitchell.  Today – Cowcaddens looks like this on Flickr and nearby is the University at 70 Cowcaddens

1891 Annie and Lachlan were by themselves at 16 Eastvale Place and at the time of the 1901 Census, had settled at 210 Kelvinhaugh St, Kelvinhaugh and were listed at this address in the 1913 Glasgow City Council Valuation Roll.


Lachlan and Annie lived in premises managed or owned by Moses Forsyth, a spirit merchant of 44 Bentinck St, Glasgow per William C Faulds of 133 Great Hamilton St, Glasgow.

Neighbourhood tenants were labourers or tradesmen in the shipyards; food providers – a dairyman and confectioner; a spirits trader; two dining room keepers and a hairdresser.

Mrs Annie Baird, a dining room keeper rented an apartment in the same block as Lachlan and Annie and paid annual rent of £12/5; Archibald McCorquodale a spirit salesman paid the highest rent of £13/5 pa.  Lachlan and two other tenants paid £9/18 pa suggesting a smaller apartment, perhaps on the top storey.

Annie Baird also rented the Shop next door at 208 Kelvinhaugh St and probably employed my Annie as a Cook.

The shop at 218 Kelvinhaugh St occupied by tenant, hairdresser, John Coffield paid £17 pa rent; Christina Robertson rented the shop at 204 Kelvinhaugh St, where she ran a dining room and paid like, Mrs Annie Baird annual retail rent of £22.


The 1915 Valuation Roll for Oban lists Miss Isabella McTavish, tenant paying annual rent of £7 for rooms at 5 Tweeddale Street.  The Inventory of her Personal Estate describes Miss Isabella McTavish, late of seven Tweeddale Street and sometimes Back of Combie Street, Oban and formerly Cook, Lorn Combination Poorhouse.

The 1911 Census throws a different light on events; Elizabeth McTavish, Cook, age 65 was recorded at Lorn Combination Poorhouse when I found my husband’s grandmother, nine year old Elizabeth McFadyen McTavish and her sister, Mary age 12, as inmates of Lorn Combination Poorhouse.  Both the girls were born in Anderston, Glasgow and lost their mother Catherine Hunter in 1903.  [ I believe the 1911 Census for Elizabeth McTavish age 65, Cook at Oban is in fact Isabella. Perhaps the person completing the census on the night got it wrong.]

In 1915, Ship Fireman, Dugald Carmichael paid £7 annually for rooms in a tenement building at 9 Tweeddale St.  I am certain Dugald is the husband of Elizabeth McTavish, half-sister of Isabella and daughter of Duncan McTavish and his second wife, Elizabeth McFadyen.

The proprietor of this tenement block (which includes 5 & 9 Tweeddale St as well as the King’s Arm Hotel at 28 George Street) is A McTavish, retired hotelkeeper; McArthur & Stewart, solicitors, factors; the yearly rental or value totals £400/0/0 of which £270/0/0 in annual rent is received from James Matthew McTavish, hotelkeeper of the King’s Arm Hotel at 28 George Street.

A google of 9 Tweeddale Street took me to the property described as “Early 19th century, 3-storey and attic, 4-bay traditional terraced tenement. Street elevation, cement rendered and painted wall of coursed rubble, window cills and dressed margins at openings. Segmental-arched pend opening below centre bays, flanked by doorways, window at bay 1, further pend in bay 4. Reconstructed rear wall with modern render finish. 12-pane sash and case window at ground floor bay 1. Modern glazing elsewhere at front and rear elevations. Grey slate to E (street) pitch of roof, modern rooflights. Ridge recently heightened, rear pitch converted to mansard form with artificial tiles.  Notes:  Alterations to this building since 1980 have been non traditional in form, but an effort has been made to retain the original profile of the Tweeddale Street elevation. This building is therefore important to the streetscape, especially when viewed in context with No 7. Photograph of 1980 shows the pend to the right with a steel lintel, suggesting that the opening replaced a window, and the original symmetry of the facade was then lost. Source: Historic Scotland  Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence”.

Isabella left a tidy estate; money on deposit with the Oban branch of The Commercial Bank of Scotland Limited dated 18th January 1919; a sum in H.M. Post Office Savings Bank, Oban and Prudential Assurance Co. Ltd held a policy of life therein designed as of Lorn Terrace Oban No. 46774054 Industrial Branch for £15/0/0.  Household furniture and other effects were valued £10/0/0.  Her Last Will and Settlement made on 2nd December 1907 appointed Annie as sole Executor.

On the 28th October 1905, Isabella’s only child, Duncan John MacTavish of 7 Back Combie St, Oban, Fisherman age 32 was found in Loch Melfort, the cause of death; accidental drowning.  A 1907 publication refers to “McTavish, Duncan Fisherman, 7 Back Combie St, Oban – Debt Exceeds Assets [Business & Economics HMSO 1907 on page 61:  Papers By Command Vol 68 Great Britain Parliament, House of Commons]”.  Duncan’s father John Wright had his occupation noted as Hotel Boots on his son’s death certificate.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Isabella had paid her son’s  debt.

Isabella worked hard, leading a respectable life, perhaps frugal with her money.  She died at the home of Annie and Lachlan on 28th March 1919.  Her parents would have been proud of her as I am.