This wonderful old picture was taken at a time when photography was a new, emerging technology. Unbelievably, it was taken in our very own Douglas Street in 1880 (thats over 130 years ago!) and may be amongst the old photos of Blantyre.
Douglas Street, for those not familiar, is a main artery in Blantyre now, leading from the High Blantyre Cross at Carrigans down towards the EK Expressway. The old white building on the left is the High Blantyre Smiddy, or Blacksmith as we know that term these days. The building at the back, at the end of the road, is the Station Cafe on Main Street which would have been next to what is now Carrigans pub. Sadly, all buildings in this photo are now demolished. Remarkably and in the spirit of this website to dig a little deeper into history, old Smiddy pictured on the left actually was influential is the course of historical American Politics and indeed the president himself! If you want to know how a wee boy called William Pollock who was born in that smiddy influenced American politics… Want to know more? Click here.
The Kirkton Smiddy was a popular building serving all the ironmongery and horse shoeing needs of High Blantyre. Unfortunately, the identity of the wee girl is now gone, but maybe her great grandsons or great granddaughters are reading this?! The Smiddy backed on to the old Kirkyard wall which still exists today. In the 1880’s, Douglas Street was not a main road. It was a lot narrower than today’s more modern wide road, with the kerbline on the left roughly matching where it is today.
To put things right into context, we’ve created an overlay, putting the 1880 photo right on top of a modern Google Earth photo of the road as we know it. The results are quite amazing and immediately we know how much this area has changed.
Finally, for reference, the original modern photo is shown below.