Lawson’s Bakery, Larkfield

1910 Lawsons Bakery hi-resLarkfield is the area in Blantyre immediately adjacent to Hunthill, Barnhill and Stonefield. It centres around the current bing, the previous site of a colliery and encompasses much of the Scottish Special Housing estate and Watson Street. However, on old maps, the actual Lark field was the one where High Blantyre Primary School is built. I’ve been asked recently by both Blantyre folk, Gary Campbell and Mary Anderson if i knew anything about a bakery once there. Here is the known history on that little building.

This photo taken in 1910 shows Lawson’s Bakery which was a stone tenement building, one and half storey with pitched roof. The building was situated at the end of Watson Street, across the Broompark Road, on the exact site where John Carrigans Eating house is today (formerly Finbars, the Manhatten Pub and earlier as Collin’s Shop/Bakery). You can see the upper window where the bags of flour were offloaded and brought into the building, and indeed where the final cakes and bread were taken away. The cart belonged to the bakery and is pictured here sitting on the Broompark Road (the loading window and gable faced on to the Broompark Road, with the “front” of the building on the same line as Watson Street.

larkfieldI’ve been able to determine from maps that the bakery was originally built between 1864 – 1880. This co-incides with the pit being sunk behind and may have been seen as a business opportunity for miners. By 1898 the area of Larkfield was quite populated. Watson Street was formed (although not named until 1903), the colliery behind the bakery providing work for many people in the area. Lawsons Bakery is clearly marked as LB on this old 1898 map. The bakery still functioned as a bakery right through the second world war and beyond into the 1950s.

During mid August 1947, the building belonged to John Ingram, who was also the master baker. He had lovingly prepared a beautiful tiered wedding cake and left it in the bakehouse. The next day he arrived to find it gone! Somebody had stolen it. Police were called given the time and expense put into the cake and it was found that the bricks had been dislodged from the sidewall of a cellar facing the colliery.  Just enough bricks for a person to enter the bakehouse. The bride’s cake however only had somewhat of a limited appeal to the thieves. There, on the outside of the wall, in the back yard was the cake, half eaten and deposited in bits scattered and beyond use. The culprits had helped themselves and had their fill!

The bakery building is shown as a ruin on a 1958 map and is not even on the 1966 map. However, Blantyre Project reader Caroline Lee recalls it still being there in 1967 . It effectively lasted 100 years as a bakery before the land was sold, I believe to the Collins family.Another reader, Arlene Campbell (nee Collins) was able to validate what happened to the bakery beyond 67. She wrote to us “the Collins formely ran their bakery business somewhere next to the old picture house on the glasgow road, baked in the day, purvees in the evenings, they then relocated to the better known site on broompark rd, the building was not rebuilt was the original old bakery . The building came under a compulsory purchase order when the area of the bing was being redeveloped, They fought it and won, and it was developed around them. The supermarket was built in front of the old bakery, as the long term intention was to convert to a pub, when it was the bakery was added to the modern building, and is still there, when you go into the pub now, it is the snug/private room at the back, and the cellar, on the same level. So the old bakery is now hidden and appears as a modern building. the building was prepared for development in the latter part of the 70s, and the supermarket built.

I distinctly remember in the early 70s going to school nearby and spending my sweetie money in the little supermarket shop on that site and a few years later buying hot pies. What is your memory of this area or the shop?


Add a Comment
  1. Thanks Caroline, I’ve amended the story to account for your recollection. I’m a fairly methodical person, so access to maps and documents IS the proof i need to start out with these type of articles. I agree though that comments from people who remember such buildings, such as yours are very important in filling the gaps and adding to the finer detail.

  2. The original bakery was still there 67plus, but a new shop was built in front of it.. Was a wee super market / bakers owned by Mr Collins, now it’s a pub… History is not found in maps, papers it’s in the people who lived it…

Leave a Reply