The Westend Bar, Blantyre

Westend barOn this signboard of this rare old photograph of the Westend Bar is “Robert Craig” Wine merchants. This proved that Robert Craig DID own two bars on Glasgow Road, one at either end. He owned the Clive Place (later to become the Old Original) and this one at the Westend. The Westend bar is not on 1882 map, but IS shown as the current tenement building on 1898 maps, so i can conclude it was built during that 16 year period. (Most likely in the 1890s as its similar to other dated buildings in the street). Ironically, the construction of the Westend Bar, may have given rise to the naming of the Old Original in 1903 , being the site of Craig’s ‘old original pub’, Clive Place. Looking Eastwards, a horse and cart is parked outside the Bar. Men congregate around what is now the cross leading up to Bardykes Road on the right and Glasgow Road in the Foreground. The pub later became the property of the MacNeil family who had ownership of it for many decades until only recently. Today, the building itself is very similar although it has lost a few chimneys over the years. It can be seen just how green Blantyre’s Glasgow Road must have been in the late 1890s with tall trees pictured, no longer there today. Photos are courtesy of Alex Rochead.

Westend bar 2

3 responses to “The Westend Bar, Blantyre

  1. Hi Paul – that’s brilliant information and certainly fits the limited information and fills in a lot of blanks about the family involvement in the West End Bar. I believe that they weren’t there for many years as we know that he went on to Perthshire somewhere to take up a job as a game keeper amongst many other jobs that he seemed to have throughout his life. I’ll pass your information onto my father-in-law who will be delighted to get that background information. This site is a fantastic insight into my in-laws’ family history in the area with other branches of the their family having been employed in the mines a few decades later. I was also delighted to find out that Blantyre Priory was built and used by monks from Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders where my own family are from so moving here has sparked a wide array of new historical family connections for us all. Great site!

  2. Hi, my father-in-law’s grandfather was either the owner or at least the licensee of the Westend Bar around 1900 – his name was Walter Stewart and my father-in-law’s grandfather was actually born in the living quarters of the pub whilst they were living in the pub. The story goes that his grandmother went into labour in the old wash-house which we now think is the garage (or other outhouse). Walter Stewart used his time whilst owning/managing the pub to write and undertake his other passion of bird watching. He was a noted ornathologist.

    The family story goes that on one evening someone had broken into the West End Bar whilst Walter and his young family were asleep upstairs. He took his gun from the cupboard and went out onto the external backstair where he spotted the thief bending down in the road – he took aim to shoot the thief in the rear end, however things went terribly wrong and the thief stood up and the bullet hit the intruder in the spine, crippling the intruder for life. However, Walter was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing when it went before the court.

    I know that at one time – during the 1970s there were stuffed birds in glass cabinets in the Hoolets Nest, Bardykes Road and we wondered if these may have come from Walter as he was a a recognised and noted ornathologist.

    As I say, this is information past down from Walter and his son so we don’t know exact details, but would welcome any information relating to this.

    • Hi Caroline – Thanks for your message. Thats a great story! I know that in the 1900s, even certainly in 1905, Robert Craig still owned the bar and indeed ALL the houses attached to Westend place. Walter Stewart was not an owner, certainly at that time, but instead was the barman, employed by Robert Craig. Robert didn’t live there, so its very likely Walter also acted as a watchman or security guard, being the responsible person for locking up and watching over the pub in general. I hope to write up a proper history about Westend very soon.

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