John Urie (b. 1820) Biographical entry

 1:724 URIE, John, Reminiscences of Eighty Years (Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1908), pp.155. Illustrated.

Born 1820 in Paisley. Son of a hand-loom weaver who also rented out 6 looms. Received only brief schooling at ‘Wee Willie Aitken’s school’ (6 weeks). Married. Lived in Glasgow for most of his adult life.

Started work as a draw-boy in father’s weaving shop, being put to the loom after a few weeks; assisted in cousin’s tavern for a short period before becoming apprenticed to a stereotyper, then left after 4 years and set up in business making wooden types for printers, expanding later to become a wood-engraver and photographer.

Angler; member of Masonic Lodge; author of Glasgow and Paisley Eighty Years ago (Paisley, 1910).

A very useful volume with excellent descriptions of the home; schooling; body-snatching; cholera riots of 1832; demonstrations in support of the Reform Bill (1831); circulating libraries and literary clubs; local characters; radicalism among weavers; public executions; profile of William Cameron (‘Hawkie’: see entry 121); the importance of chapbooks and leaflets before the advent of the unstamped press; fairs; the Glasgow Bread Riots of 1848 and their suppression by the army; Glasgow clubs; leisure (prize-fighting; cock pits; rat pits; taverns); work as a photographer; recollections of Dr. Livingstone. A colourful account of life in mid-century Glasgow and district.

From  The Autobiography of the Working Class: An Annotated, Critical Bibliography vol. 1, no. 724 (Brighton: Harvester, 1984), edited by John Burnett, David Mayall and David Vincent

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