1700s Blantyre Mineral Spring

In the 1791 A Statistical Account of Blantyre written by Rev Henry Stevenson, there is a comment about a Spring in Blantyre that was even visited as a tourist destination! Long lost to history, the exact location of this Spring is now unknown. Where from the description below could this be? Springwells must have got a name from somewhere but that area was only fields at the time, undeveloped? There was also supposed to be a Spring in Auchintibber? The account had me puzzled as no particular Spring is currently famed today in Blantyre. So, i started to dig a little deeper. Here’s what was written in the 1791 account;

Mineral Springs – There is a mineral spring in this parish, the water of which is frequently and successfully used, for sore eyes, scorbutic disorders, and a variety of other complaints. The water is sulphureous; it is very strongly impregnated, and is accounted the best of the kind in this part of the country. About fifty years ago (1740), it was the common summer resort of many families from Glasgow: but from the changes of fashion, so frequent in relation to such objects of medical regimen, it is now almost totally deserted.

I think i found an answer. In 1885 within the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, Francis H Groome wrote “A mineral spring at (Broom)Park , strongly impregnated with sulphur held in solution by hydrogen, was much frequented by Glasgow families toward the middle of last century, and still is famed in scrofulous and scorbutic cases.”

This is surely the same Spring written almost a hundred years earlier. Next stop on my search, were the old maps from 1750 – 1885 of Blantyre, and particularly looking for any wells or Springs in the Broompark area. I was particularly curious as there’s an old well (Kennings) in my own garden in Kirkton, but Kirkton is not in Broompark. So where else could it be?

First map i found was 1735, very close to the initial account of the Spring, but the area of Broompark was completely undeveloped with no features, no houses and simply fields. The maps then were very, very basic too, so it didn’t tell me much. However, the 1860 map still has Broompark largely undeveloped with 2 exceptions, the large house (Broompark House) and the naming of a new area popped up called…wait for it….”Springfield”. I’m convinced this is the Spring from the initial account. It makes lots of sense to have an area named after the Spring in the field and it had easy access from Broompark or Hunthill Road if anybody decided to visit from the nearby train station. Springfield still exists today, but in the form of a street remembering this area. Springfield Crescent is just off Stonefield Crescent and joins Stonefield to Broompark. This is the area i grew up in so i’m personally glad to have tracked down another little piece of Blantyre history.

Update: I amended this story providing another explanation in October 2013. Click here to read it.

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