The Sharp Family

William Sharp

In order to trace my wife Andrea's family tree, I asked her father, William (known as Bill) Sharp, about his paternal forebears - he could remember very little. His father died when he was eight. He was an only child.

Bill, aged eight, with his mother Jessie

Sixty years later, he still found it difficult to talk of this loss.

He had maintained contact with two aunts - Janet and Helen (known as Nellie), who had emigrated to the USA.

However, it was only when I began to unearth his forebears from the Edinburgh archives that Bill was able to recall long-forgotten names.

His early life was happy.

He was born in 1914 at Westmuir Street, Parkhead, Glasgow, a house with a "tiled close"!

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He then moved with his parents to a comfortable red-sandstone house in Drumrye Road,Clydebank.


He did well at school, and his future looked promising.

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Nine days before Christmas, 1922, his father, George, died (see later).
Bill and his mother, Jessie, were plunged into a new - and alien - world. Jessie had somehow to earn a living. She sold the Clydebank house, and bought a small newsagent's shop in Rutherglen. They moved into the flat above the shop, and Jessie spent the next 40 years selling newspapers, cigarettes and sweets to commuters travelling into Glasgow.

Bill's life was totally altered. Each morning, he was up at dawn, delivering newspapers. University education was now out of the question. At the age of 15, he left school.


He gained an apprenticeship as an electrical engineer with Mavor and Coulson of Bridgeton, Glasgow.


The switchgear section of the firm moved to Kirkintilloch, where it became known as M&C Switchgear. Bill became a draughtsman, then Publicity Manager, a post he held until he retired in 1979.


Bill had been with the firm all his working life, and showed them great loyalty. That same year, the firm was closed in Kirkintilloch, as the mining switchgear it made was no longer in demand, because the British mining industry was almost gone.


On 14th June 1941,in Rutherglen, Bill married Agnes (known as Nancy) Killin Brown.


They went to live in Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow, where my wife, Andrea, was born; nine years later, her brother, Iain, was born.

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Andrea - 14 months - and Iain - 7 months

Bill and Nancy lived in the same house in Bishopbriggs all their married life.


Bill was a kindly, gentle and intelligent man,with a keen sense of humour and quiet wit.As a young man, he was an able tennis player, and throughout his life, an enthusiastic golfer.


He found great pleasure in reading and in gardening - his lawn was rightly a source of pride.


He was greatly missed when he died as the result of a cerebral attack on 26th October, 1990, at the age of 76.

Bill Sharp - A page for his grandchildren and his great grandchildren written by Andrea

Bill's father
George Sharp

George was born on the 15th of February, 1885, at 11, Abercorn Street, Paisley. He was the sixth child in the family. His younger sister, Margaret, was born in 1891, when their mother was 45, and their father 50. The gap between eldest and youngest was 22 years.
The eldest, Isabella, born in 1869, became a millworker.

Engineering, however, was in the blood:-
James, born in 1871, became a marine engineer. He died young, however, and his family emigrated to Canada.
Campbell, born in 1873, became a foreman engineer - he fitted the turbines on the first "Mauritania", built on the Tyne.

Janet and Nellie

Janet (1879 - 1958) and Helen (1882 - 1960) moved to the USA. Janet married Thomas G. Wylie. Helen, known as Nellie, married George Fraser, who was born in Kilmacolm. George started up a nursery in the States, cultivated prize-winning dahlias and introduced new varieties. He became first selectman of Windham,Connecticut, in 1942.

Nellie's earliest memory of George was of his clambering on to the kitchen roof in order to climb on to his penny-farthing bicycle.

On 2nd March, 1911, he married Jessie Adam, of 84 Causewayside Street, Paisley. By then, George was an iron turner, and was living at 8, Springbank Road, Paisley.
They went to live at Westmuir Street, Parkhead, Glasgow, where their first child, George, was stillborn in 1912. William was born two years later.


George became an engineering manager. They moved to a very comfortable house at 11, Drumrye Road, Clydebank, in a quiet, prosperous area, with a countryside view.
He joined a laundry machine firm, called Tullis's.The owner's two sons had been killed in the First World War. So impressed by George, was Mr Tullis, that he decided to hand over to him eventual ownership of the firm.


George suffered constantly from colds. His friend, and neighbour, Dr Strang, gave him what he said was a new cure - an injection of horse serum.
It killed him.


His death certificate states "chronic nervous disease (glycosuria) and acute peritonitis".
He was 37. Jessie was 40. Their son, Billy, was eight.

George's father
George Sharp

George was born in Johnston, in 1841. He became a blacksmith and locksmith. On 12th June, 1868, nine months after his mother's death,he married Margaret Forrest, a 22 year old threadmill worker.

By 1881, they lived at 11, Abercorn Street, Paisley. In this three-roomed house lived nine people ;-

George, aged 40, Margaret, 35, their four children, aged 12, 10, 8 and 2, and three boarders - James MacAllum, a shoemaker, aged 15, James Davies, an iron turner, aged 38 and John Herton, a pattern maker, aged 19.

Their neighbours in 1881 were a millwright, a dyer, a brass founder, a coal merchant and a domestic coachman.

On 19th October, 1900, George died of internal obstruction and heart failure.Three years later, Margaret died, aged 47, of chronic pneumonia and cardiac dropsy.

In 1900, their son George was 15.

George's father
James Sharp

James, like George, was a blacksmith and locksmith.
He was born at Logie, Fifeshire, in 1799, and married Janet Scrimgeour (1800 - 7/9/1867), from Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire.
Janet's parents were James Scrimgeour, a farmer, and Margery Caldwell.

James and Janet lived in a two-roomed house at 3 William Street, Johnstone. Their neighbours in 1861 were a stonemason, a nailmaker, a schoolmaster, an engine smith and a tinsmith.
He died there, at 7.45 am, on 1st February, 1863, of inflammation of the left lung. He was 63. Four years later, Janet died, aged 67, at William Street, Johnstone, of a malignant stomach complaint from which she had suffered for 17 months.
In 1863, their son George was 22.

James's father
William Sharp

William was a farmer. On 28th December, 1782, at Logie, he married Elizabeth Miller.

Last updated 22.1.2008