Blantyre Cotton Works Toll Point

cottonworks1859During the early 1800’s, long before Glasgow Road had any tenement buildings, a large stone building stood at the junction of Station Road and Glasgow Road. Blantyre Cotton Works was a toll house for collecting tolls on the Hamilton & Glasgow Turnpike Road and served as a working cotton business also.

This location was very different in the early 1800’s compared to today. There weren’t shops. Nor houses. Indeed, aside from the tavern across the road, the street sides were empty with only fields all around.

Creating a toll point at that location was genius. It effectively created a tax for any business wishing to turn out of Blantyre Village into Glasgow Road. The collection of tolls was made illegal shortly after this old map was surveyed in 1859, by local surveyor N Fleming. In the mid 1800’s the toll collector was Blantyre man Stephen Hunter.

The name Blantyre Cotton Works obviously created some confusion in the village. The 1859 account goes as far as to explain that “it has not been altered to ‘Blantyre Works’ like the works from which the name is taken”. Clearly when people talked of Blantyre works, it was unknown if they meant the Village works or this Cotton Works on the Glasgow Road. The account assures future readers, “The Toll Bar retains the old form (of the name) & will probably remain so, as all the Works both dying, spinning & weaving, do nothing but in cotton”. So it is, on the survey marked Blantyre cotton works. This site on the corner of Station Road is now occupied by a later tenement built in 1902 (marked on the upper stonework at the entrance to Station Road). Today, a modern hairdresser is open for business (the former Stepek building). The days of tolls and even the Cotton Works itself are long forgotten.

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