John Street Gable Collapse

The gable of a Blantyre tenement house collapsed during a fiercesome gale on the morning of Monday 2nd December 1946.  Two families ended up being homeless. Mr and Mrs David Nesbit. 4 John Street, Blantyre, were awakened by the howling of the wind round their house, and the battering of the rain against the windows. She told reporters the next day, ” I had a feeling something was going to happen,  so I got up. I had just got to the middle of the floor when the stone gable crashed down.”

With the wind and rain swirling into the room, Mrs Nesbit found herself gazing into inky darkness where a minute before her bedroom wall had been. And when her husband went into the kitchen he found that here, too, the wall had disappeared. Mrs O’Neil, who occupied the house below Mrs Nesbit in the two-storey building,  also lost part of her wall. Her husband was on night-shift, and the first he knew of it was when he returned from work.  At the time of the gable fall the gale reached velocity of 62 miles an hour. Windows were blown in, and slates hurled from roofs.

1947johnstThis old map is from the same year. Number 4 John Street was the first house up from the foundry at the lower end of John Street, closer to the railway. It was on the opposite of the park. Whilst looking at this old map, i was surprised to see a curling pond where the public park football pitches are now. This was some new information for me and something previously unknown by me.

In earlier decades, before John Street, Low Blantyre got its name from John Forrest Clark’s memory, the street was called “New Station Road”, although i cannot find any evidence of a station at the end!


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  1. Thanks Arch. Your email was received tonight. Great to hear from somebody who lived in John Street at the time.

    To everybody else, here is Arch’s email:
    Hello Paul,
    Congratulations on the magnifcent work that you are doing on the history of Blantyre. I am intrigued at the wealth of information that you so successfully discover. Having left Scotland as an eleven year-old with my family in 1949 for Australia, your postings are much appreciated.

    I was particularly interested in the story on, John Street Gable Collapse. We lived in 14 John Street, in the first of the row of the four buildings that back on to Castle Park, opposite the public park, and the closest house facing the collapsed gable. There was vacant land between us and the building that suffered the damage, on which a community air-raid shelter had been built during the War. It was a shock to wake up the next morning and look-out on the homes that had lost their wall. I have looked at some aerial photographs from 1950 that show the same building with a gable end that I assume is after the damage. The photograph also shows the building as part of a tenement fronting Glasgow Road and turning the corner into John Street.

    I too was unaware that John Street was previously known as New Station Road, however, the road at the bottom of John Street did continue to the left around McPhee’s farm following the railway line to the Railway Station which could possibly explain it. As a matter of interest, when we left Blantyre for Australia, we walked along that road to the station and the train to Glasgow.


  2. Bobby- No, sorry not any emails from Arch. Would love to know more about this story.

    1. Paul hasn’t received any of your e-mails he would love to here more about this story, Bobby Date: Wed, 7 May 2014 18:14:13 +0000 To:

  3. Paul have you received any e-mails from Arch Park, Australia regarding the gable end at John Street he has more info for you, Bobby Dunsmuir

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