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Further Examples from the 1895 Valuation Rolls in Scotland

Included below are some examples from the 1895 Valuation Rolls (VRs) for Scotland.

You can see further examples from the 1895 VRs in the launch newsletter and the June 2013 newsletter.

Abdul Karim at Balmoral - Queen Victoria's Indian Attendant

The 1895 Valuation Roll sees 'The Munshi Abdul Karim' listed as 'inhabitant occupier' of the Secretary's House at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire. Abdul Karim (1862-1909) was an Indian Muslim attendant of Queen Victoria serving her during the later years of her reign, 1887-1901. The word Munshi means 'teacher' and Karim was so called because he gave Queen Victoria lessons in Hindustani as well as teaching her about Indian religion and culture. From 1894 he held the position of Indian Secretary, assisting Queen Victoria with petitions from India. He was granted lands in Agra, India, and made companion in the Order of the Indian Empire.

He first appears at the Secretary's House in the 1894-5 valuation rolls, and last appears in 1901-2. The yearly rental value of the house in 1895 was £10. During his service the Indian Secretary's other official residences were Frogmore Cottage at Windsor and Arthur Cottage, at Osborne. Following Queen Victoria's death in 1901, Abdul Karim retired to his property in Agra, India, where he died in 1909. The 'Royal Palace, offices and laundry' are included on the same page of the valuation rolls and valued at £1,000.

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The Cranston Tea Rooms, Glasgow

Catherine (Kate) Cranston was born in Glasgow around 1849 and was brought up to be a strong and independent woman. She was not content to follow the Victorian convention that women stayed at home, and by 1895 she had firmly established herself as a highly popular and successful businesswoman. Her brother Stuart was also a very successful businessman who owned many properties and businesses in Glasgow.

Catherine appears twice in the 1895 Valuation Rolls, as a 'restaurant keeper' with rented premises at 114 Argyll Street and 205-211 Ingram Street, Glasgow, both listed as 'Shop & Cellar'. Catherine Cranston commonly referred to her businesses as 'tea shops' rather than 'tea rooms'. In 1886 she opened her first shop at Ingram Street, where customers took their tea in very fashionable surroundings designed by George Walton, the noted Scottish architect and designer. Between 1897 and 1917 Cranston commissioned Charles Rennie MacKintosh to design or restyle all four of her shops.

At one time Kate was managing four establishments, but following her marriage in 1892 she reduced them to two. Her husband John Cochrane was the part-owner of a successful company, John Cochrane Engineers of Barrhead. Before John died in 1917 he made arrangements in his will to repay to Catherine a loan of £5,000 she had given him for his business. The tea shop business must have been profitable, because Catherine could afford to agree to be repaid over seven years.

Kate Cranston's Tea Shop at 217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow still trades as the Willow Tea Rooms.

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Carnegie Street – a tenement in Edinburgh’s Southside

Evidence of Scotland’s crowded tenements is revealed in the Valuation Rolls, which list the owners, tenants and occupiers. ScotlandsPeople is making available the Rolls for inter-census years, the latest being the Rolls for 1895. Unlike the Censuses the Rolls do not list everyone living in a house, but they can often be much more revealing than the Post Office Directories, the only other annual listing of householders.

Take for example, no 21 Carnegie Street, part of a tenement on Edinburgh’s Southside, which was developed in the early nineteenth century. The directory for 1895-6 lists just one person at no 21, Mrs Alexander, but the Rolls tell a different story, listing the names of no fewer than 27 other inhabitants.

They were mostly skilled workers, including two painters, four masons, two cooks and a seamstress. A typefounder and a maltman represent the then extensive printing and brewing industries in the capital. Also at no 21 were charwomen and labourers. They were almost all tenants and lived in cramped and unhealthy conditions. The 1891 Census reveals that the 69 adults and 47 children on the stair mostly lived in flats that only had two rooms with one or more windows. A few households only had one room with a window: ‘single-ends’, in which a whole family lived in one room that served as kitchen, bedroom and living space.

Mrs Christina Alexander was perhaps listed as the only resident owner of property in the tenement. She occupied one flat with two windows, and rented another to Alexander Hailstones, a watchman. In 1891 she had lost her husband James Walker, an attendant at the Museum of Science and Art in Chambers Street, and she died in 1898.

The Rolls also help answer the discrepancy between the 1891 Census, which lists several householders at no 18 Carnegie Street, and the 1901 Census, when the same people are at no 21. This was not the result of a general flitting from one building to another, but because the tenement was renumbered sometime between 1891 and 1895. We can trace this to changes arising from the construction of the Deaconess Hospital on the north side of the street in 1894. Carnegie Street was heavily redeveloped in the 1960s.

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Glasgow Crematorium

In 1895 the crematorium in Glasgow's Western Cemetery or Necropolis was the first of its kind to be built in Scotland, and only the third in the United Kingdom. It first appears in the 1895 Valuation Rolls.

The crematorium was owned by the Scottish Burial Reform and Cremation Society (Limited), which was founded in 1890 as an educational body to promote cremation as an alternative to burial of the dead at a time when demand for burial space was ever increasing. The first cremation took place on 13 April 1895, but cremations were very slow to catch on in Glasgow, and after ten years only an average of nineteen cremations a year had taken place.

The building was designed in gothic revival style by a local architect James Chalmers, who designed many of Glasgow's churches. It was subsequently expanded, and is now a category B listed building.

In the Valuation Roll entry for Glasgow Crematorium, it's possible to see the name of the owner, the Scottish Burial Reform and Cremation Society (Limited), the address for the company and yearly value of the building and land.

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Oakbank Mining Village, Kirknewton - Housing the Shale Miners

The 1895 Valuation Rolls for the parish of Kirknewton, Midlothian, contain details of all the houses built and owned by the Oakbank Oil Company Limited. These 165 homes housed not only the miners who worked in the nearby shale mines, but many other men in occupations associated with the mine works, such as firemen, retortmen, timekeepers, watchmen, coopers, labourers and stillmen.

The houses, which were completed by 1890, were of different sizes, some being single storey homes and others of two stories, while some had gardens. Their value ranged from £3. 5 shillings to £7. 16 shillings, although the home of James Reid, the manager of the mine, at number 165 Oakbank was rated at the princely sum of £15.

Only one woman is listed in the 1895 Rolls, Mrs Euphemia Sandilands at 64 Oakbank. In the 1891 census she was living at the same address with her husband Walter, but in 1894 he died at Mid Lothian Asylum age 37. The mining company allowed his widow to stay in her home, and in December 1895 Euphemia, whose maiden name was Kerr, married another miner, a widower. In the 1915 Rolls Margaret McMonnies once again appears as a widow, still living in the same house, and it was there that she died in 1928. The Rolls also record many other mining widows living in the village.

Following the decline of the shale mining industry the Oakbank houses were gradually abandoned and demolition started in the 1950's. The last home was demolished in 1984. There is no trace of the village today, but researchers can use the Valuation Rolls to bring the village back to life.

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