JBH Struthers was a very clever man. Hi family owned several pubs throughout Blantyre (at Stonefield and High Blantyre in the 1880’s, but it was he who acquired the Auchentibber Inn in 1899 and he managed to persuade the local miners that a flat field on the banks of Sydes Brae, Auchentibber was the ideal spot for them to construct a quoiting pitch. His pub just happened to be right next to it!
Quoiting was a sport enjoyed in Blantyre from c1900 – 1935. A bit like “hoop-la” it involved throwing heavy cast objects to hook on a stake protruding from the other end of the pitch. Local teams practiced on midweek evenings and played matches against other villages on Saturdays. By the 1920’s the Auchentibber team were quite skilled and in 1928 won the Scottish Cup! Of course, the spectators and players were always thirsty afterwards and the pub is reputed to have thrived on this. The miners were encouraged to add decoration to the gardens surrounding the pitch, usually in the form of quarried and worked stone from nearby pits. By the mid 1910’s the gardens were quite extensive, ornate, well tended and very beautiful. They were modeled on Italian designs. Indeed they are remarked to have been amongst the “finest quoiting green in Scotland”. Quoiting ended at Auchentibber in 1929 but was resurrected in High Blantyre at Broompark by some of the team members a couple of years later in 1932.
This remarkable photo was taken by my great grandfather. On the back it says “1924” and “The Kite Green”, obviously a nickname for the Quoiting pitch. Pictured is JB Struthers himself who died 13 years later in 1937. The rumour of him falling down a well is proven as untrue. Also displayed, is a common postcard from the era showing the beauty of the area.