Putting at the Church Green

feteThis photo doesn’t have a date attached but we do know of some facts that may be able to pinpoint the exact Summer. We know it’s a fete day at the front of Blantyre Parish Church, the activity being putting on the front lawn. The children are unknown, but we do know that in the photo is Jim McLean Senior, Bill McLean and John Aitkenhead.

In the background is the low cottage which once stood in Craigmuir Road, well ahead of the current modern housing estate. Importantly, to assist dating the photo, the old railway crane is still there, which once stood near the platform of High Blantyre Train Station.

Can you help identify the children in the picture or the date?

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Elizabeth Weaver Recognise anyone, Violet Brian Margaret Iain George? At the time of this photo, Jock Russell and his sister Ellen would be living in that cottage – we got to know them when our parents built The Glebe, the first new house up Craigmuir Rd, in 1963.
The Blantyre Project Elizabeth – i’m trying to piece this together. When your parents built the Glebe, did that replace a former house of the same name??? I was looking up the reference book (I’ve been writing for a few years now) and found my note:

Glebe Cottage – A former, substantial double villa dating from 1883, located on Craigmuir Road immediately adjacent to the High Blantyre Station. It was divided into three separate houses. Two were five apartments, the other was a two apartment. Robert Pollock was a Contractor there in 1879. John Young, Veterinary Surgeon, lived there in 1894, prior to that John Hall. Margaret McKenzie (Minister’s wife) in reminiscing about her days in Blantyre, remembered the ‘Glebe Cottage’ as being on the “Brickie” (Craigmuir Road), and it had a paper storage building right next to it. The McKenzies were here from 1934 till 1951. Demolition date unknown. A modern house now sits there.

Brian Weaver I don’t recognise any of the folk in the photo, Elizabeth, but i would only have been about 5 then.

Elizabeth Weaver The Blantyre Project Would that property have been on the right hand side of the Brickie then, if it was adjacent to the station? My parents bought the land for our house (on the left of the brickie) from the NCB (National Coal board) and the railwayauthorities, whoever they were, in 1962 – took a while to find out who owned which bits, as I remember. House was completed in 1963 and as far as I remember, the land was 2/3rds of an acre and derelict. It’s quite possible of course that there had been properties there in the past…gosh, I wish our folks were still around so we could ask! Any more memories, Brian Weaver?

Brian Weaver There must have been something on the site of The Glebe previously, because there was a large concrete area where our garage was built, and the little garden wall across the drive from the front door was there before – it was revamped when the house was built. I’m sure it was referred to as the remains of an old wash-house

Elizabeth Weaver Brian Weaver – well done for remembering that!

The Blantyre Project Ah, got to the bottom of it. Beside the church (as in this photo from 1903) was an old sawmill. It was a substantial large double storey building made of stone, with very few windows. The roof was made of slate and the building is pictured almost in it’s entirety in this photo. The building had an almost square footprint with exception of an oblique gable along Craigmuir Road. The steps to the upper level were on the left hand side of the sawmill (behind the tree in this photo). To the left of the steps would have been a crane, used for manoeuvring the wood. The sawmill was demolished sometime in the 1920’s and as such, is a building not many people know of these days. It lasted no more than 40 years, which for such a size of building is a possible indication that it may have been affected by coal workings below.

Beyond it, almost immediately adjacent to large warehouses for the swmills (and sadly out the picture obscured by the mill itself) was Glebe Cottage. Looking at old maps, the new Glebe your parents built sat partly on its footprint. It was still there in 1936. The name is too much of a co-incidence. I suspect your parents were honouring a name they saw on title deeds or giving a nod to their own local knowledge about what was there before their new building.

The Blantyre Project's photo.
The Blantyre Project the sawmill was disused even by 1910. Glebe Cottage shown that year beside the mill.

The Blantyre Project's photo.
Elizabeth Weaver I’m just thinking that when our parents decided to name the house The Glebe, they were aware that it wasn’t technically on glebe (church-owned) property – I assumed they’d just liked the fact that it bordered church land (that field between our house and the old manse, where the minister’s cows used to graze). However, it’s possible that my mother knew there had been a Glebe cottage near there at some point, since she was very much a High Blantyre girl. Incidentally, I see that our house now has another house in the garden – that’s a busy wee development up there now. In 1963, there was only the Russells’ cottage and us…and then Hamilton Drive up the brickie.

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