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William and Isabelle Quarrier William Quarrier

William Quarrier was born in Greenock in September 1829. His father died when he was 3 and his family moved to Glasgow. William began work at 6 years old in a pin factory then as an apprentice shoemaker. Glasgow was a wealthy growing city at that time, but the people in the slums were very poor and William and his friends were often cold and hungry.

When William was 17 he went to work as a shoemaker for a Mrs Hunter and began attending Blackfriars Baptist Church where he became a Christian. William soon owned three shoe shops and married Mrs Hunter's daughter, Isabella. They had four children – Isabella, Agnes, Frank and Mary.

Orphan Homes of Scotland

William Quarrier felt that he could do more to help the children sleeping rough on the streets of Glasgow. In 1871 he opened a night refuge in Renfrew Street in Glasgow and then with money donated from all over Britain he built cottage homes in a village setting in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire. Each cottage would house small numbers of children who could live together under the care of a housemother and housefather.

By the early 1890's there were 34 cottages, a school, a church, farms and a fire station within Quarriers Village with over 800 children living there. At it's height, Quarriers Village accommodated 1,500 children at a time.  In all, more than 30,000 children passed through Quarriers Village.  Over 7,000 migrated to Canada or Australia, and others were prepared for life in the merchant navy or learned a trade.

Note: The desecration of William and Mary Quarrier's name has been done by all the former ex–employees of Quarriers Homes convicted of sexually and physically abusing children placed in their care.

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