With the exception of the oldest part of Crossbasket House, the little cottage at Barnhill is most likely the oldest house still inhabited in Blantyre. Above the door, reads 1536 which if believed is the date the cottage was constructed. Located at the edge of Bardykes Road, this was and still is a prominent feature in the little hamlet of Barnhill. Directly opposite is the Hoolet’s Nest Public House which dates from around 200 years later. Outside the cottage is a small lane linking present day Glenfruin Road to Bardykes Road, although this lane was once the main road that led to Glasgow, down the Pech Brae. This old photo dates from 1890, just over 123 years ago. Pictured at the doorway is a proud Aggie Bain who had recently purchased the property from the Brownlie family.
Another rare photo from the same year (obviously a vintage for early photography!), shows Barnhill from outside the Hoolets Nest pub looking down Bardykes Road. This scene is incredibly different now with all the buildings and wall on the left now gone. On the right , above the man’s head is the original Hoolet’s Nest pub which was then known as “The Barnhill Tavern” constructed in 1745, which was reconstructed in 1900 and changed to the Hoolets. The Tavern sign to be seen from the road, was placed on the gable of Aggie Bains cottage. Two little girls pose for the camera and a dog lies in the middle of what is now a very busy Bardykes road.
Interestingly. the visible part of Aggie Bain’s cottage in this picture was chopped away when the road was re-constructed and widened to take cars prior to the Great War. This left the distinctive “cut off” shape of the house we see today. The Hoolets however could not be moved and therefore is very, very close to the current carriageway with no room even for a pavement. In 1890, it would appear that the little thatched cottage on the left was ruined and i can see from this photo the “little mystery building” attached to the Dixon’s tenements. The mystery building in this photo has a small pitched roof and is actually built inside the ruins of the old cottage on the left. If you know what this mystery building was, please contact me. You can read more about the mystery building here.