Alexander Charles Gartly (b. Wrightstone, Glass 1893 – d. Keith. 5th, January, 1973)
To Alec, the middle brother, fell the responsibility of keeping the farm at Wrightstone going, after his father died in 1910, and, in addition, taking over the nearby Backside. I think his tenancy of Backside must have started prior to February 18th 1916 for, on that day, my mother, his niece, was born there.
Backside – as it is today
In 1929, according to a Huntly Express of January 1973, he moved to another Glass farm, Midthird, for 15 years. I think the photograph, in the previous section above, of him shooting, would date from his time at Midthird, specifically the mid 1930s. My reason is that there is another very similar photo of his brother-in-law, James Crabtree, shooting and James and Alec’s sister, Lizzie, did not marry till 1932.
After his spell at Midthird, a change of direction led Alec to setting up the cafe in Keith selling his own prize winning ice cream. The recipe for the ice cream was kept secret, even from close members of the family according to Ross, his grandson. By the time he embarked on this venture he was middle aged and I guess this portrait would show him around this time. I am sorry I do not have more photographs to illustrate further Alec’s life and large family.
These two were taken on visits to my parents’ house in Osborne Place, Aberdeen in the mid 1950s. The first, taken in the back garden, shows Alec with his wife Christina ( nee McIntosh). The hands holding a camera appearing from the right edge are either mine and my dad took the picture, or the other way round.
Incidentally, note the gas street light, the solitary, early X form, TV aerial and the canvas curtains to protect the front doors from sunlight. The last is something I never see these days. Most striking, however, is the paucity of motor cars. A very different scene from today when cars are virtually nose to tail on both sides for the entire length of the street.
As far as I know, Alec latterly retired from the day-to-day running of the cafe which was done by other family members. He died on the 5th January, 1973, having been predeceased by Christina, and is buried in Broomhill cemetery in Keith. Interestingly, his older brother, James Duncan Gartly, died the day after Alec’s funeral, which was held on the 9th of January.