Broompark Farm, Blantyre

1897 Map showing Broompark at top right

1897 Map showing Broompark at top right

Broompark Farm was a farm steading built around the mid 1700’s on the lands of Mains, Blantyre. (Margaret Gardiner was born there in July 1763). With a farmhouse already at Old Mains, this new property was initially known as New Mains. You can read the story of how New Mains became Broompark here

The 1859 Valuation roll confirms that the farm became more commonly known as Broompark around the mid 1850s’s.

The farm buildings were arranged in a quadrangle, sitting just off Broompark Road, directly across from where the gates are today of John Ogilvie RC Church.

The 1897 map pictured shows Broompark Farm at the top right, situated very close to the railway bridge crossing Broompark Road and the railway itself to the North of the farm. The farm at this time owned the field around it and across Broompark Road itself where modern day Broompark avenue and Kirkton park are located. Today modern homes site on the same ground.

History of Ownership and the Carving up of Land

It is with thanks to Alex Rochead for providing access to information relating tot he ownership of the farm and of course these wonderful photos within this article. Going through this in detail, I was able to pick out some of the relevant interesting information (a task at times given the old handwriting on those documents!.

The earliest entry of any sale of land is on 21st December 1810, so the original construction date of the farm certainly precedes that date. The farm belonged to the Gardiner family. As Blantyre expanded with the discovery of coal and the population increased dramatically in the 1870’s, we see the commencement of many land deals selling off the extensive and valuable lands of Broompark Farm slowly and surely. The list of ownership makes some interesting reading.

The 1800’s

  • 20th July 1876  – John Gardiner sells a small piece of land to John Bowie and Thomas Cook, (both miners at Barnhill). The land was adjacent to the end of Stonefield Road at Broompark. I’m particularly interested in this sale, as the Bowie’s were my own ancestors and I know they built and lived in the semi detached house at 30 Broompark Road, naming it Greenburn cottage. It is still standing today as the first house in Broompark Road after Collin’s shop.
  • 23rd Oct 1876 – Similarly a land sale by John Gardiner to John Robertson a Glasgow Oil Merchant, for land just off Stonefield Road. Again, just 5 days later to Robert Robertson , a joiner land near Barnhill.
  • 15th November 1876 – Land was sold to James & Thomas Lyon, two stonemasons from High Blantyre.
  • 8th September 1877 – John Gardiner sold land to Margaret Forrest for her son.
  • 18th February 1880 – John Gardiner sold land to his nephew including the mineral rights.
  • 27th July 1889 – A more significant carving up of land took place when John sold to several people including the Cumming Family and the Russell family , farmers at Burnbrae a full 3 acres.
  • 3 May 1893 – Charles , Lord Blantyre sold part of the land at Priestfield to John Gardiner. This was just 4 years after John had made a significant sale of his own farmlands. With the money he got, it would appear he bought a field from Lord Blantyre in High Blantyre. It occurred to me when i wrote this, that the tenement that was built around the time was called Gardiner’s Place, which was rented out to families, extending John Gardiner’s business interests. The tenement sat directly opposite the end of Broompark Road on Main Street.
  • 19th February 1896 – It is here we see mention of further Gardiner brothers.  Thomas Jackson Gardiner and William Gardiner. This is a sign that the brothers were interested in giving up the rightful inheritance of the farm land if they were to receive cash instead. We see William Gardiner (John’s brother) selling his land to John Gardiner for £3,000.

The 1900’s

  • 28th December 1903  – John Gardiner leases part of the land to Matthew Rae, a labourer at Auchenraith, for 999 years! Such a clause, must have been to ensure the land was leased always in favour of the proper owner and perhaps done just to ensure Rae or his descendents could never sell
  • 31st August 1906 – John Gardiner sells off lands at Broompark to William Dixon Ltd (the coal company)
  • 19th March 1907 – John Gardiner received £6,000 cash credit from William Gardiner, again another sign the family were selling off their inherited portions of land back to one person.
  • 1st April 1910 – John Gardiner, now in his elderly years sells the land at the corner of Broompark Road to David Cranston, Draper. Again, i’m interested in this. The Cranstons built the house and draper’s business which we know today as Collinses newsagents. The Cranston business couldnt have lasted long in that location, for in 1920 or so, my great grandfather bought the drapers business from the Cranstons and renamed it Danskins.
  • 14th June 1910 – Here we learn that John Gardiner has passed away. The estate then sold land near the start of Broompark Road to William and James Little, joiners. These men and their families became neighbours to my own ancestors and their own descendents with the same name live at that location to this day. Other members of this Little family were the owners of Crossbasket House.
  • 7th March 1911 – Land was leased from Broompark Farm to Robert Jackson of Auchinraithm John Clerk and John Craig of Auchenraith with consent of estate inheritor James Gardiner of Priestfield to Robert Little and his wife Isabel Penman, giving them a piece of vacant land behind the old Auchinraith Tollhouse. (Today that land would be the car park behind Jinxys baker in Main Street).
  • 8th March 1911 – The sale the day before was amended to ensure that the land lease would only be valid on the promise that Isabel would not remarry should she ever found herself to be a widow. Such clauses were quite common at the time.
  • Over the next few years these leases were amended and reissued. A Thomas Watson was farming on behalf of owners for a few years prior to leaving for Canada in 1914.
  • 13th February 1913 – 3 acres of land were sold to the Parish Council, likely as a reserve location for the new Kirkton park or as an extension to the Cemetery.
  • The estate continued to make several small land sales over the next couple of decades. The trustees managed the farm by leasing it out to various individuals.
  • James Rochead went on from leasing to owning the farm

    James Rochead went on from leasing to owning the farm

    27th December 1944 – During the war years, the estate fell out of trustees hands when it was passed fully (likely through inheritance) to Margaret Irvine Gardiner who resided in Surrey, England and Mary Dena Gardiner of Earl’s Court, London. I can only imagine how these two ladies in well heeled areas of Southern England would likely not have had much interest in a rural farm in Blantyre, which by now although still large, was nowhere near the size it once was. However, the story was to get even more complex at this point!

  • 14th February 1947 – Post WW2, it is recorded that Margaret, the new 50% owner of Broompark Farm was in a sanatorium, although it doesn’t say if she was living there as a patient or nurse. Together she and her sister Mary Dena Gardiner sold part of the land again to the Trustees for Members of the Blantyre Bowling Club.
  • 9th October 1952 – Margaret now living in Kensington , London together with Mary Dena sold part of the farmland again to Blantyre Co-operative society.
  • 25th September 1953 – The Gardiner sisters then sold part of their land to Robert Brown of 161 Stonefield Road.
  • 2nd December 1954 – The sisters then sold part of the land to George Scott, a shopkeeper of Stonefield Road.
  • 25th January 1955 – Another sale, this time to Thomas Watson.
  • 16th April 1955 – Another sale, this time to William Cardwell, a shopkeeper at Stonefield.
  • 21st May 1956 – These rapid succession sales and leases would be good businesses for the sisters. They were remote from the area and this must have seemed a great source of income to have so many minor sales resulting in winfalls. Sale this time to Nicholas and John Judd Collin of Stonefield the house to the right to the ground floor of the tenement on Stonefield Road.
  • 9th October 1956 – The sisters sell to Matthew Thomson, a house on the 2nd floor of the tenements on Stonefield Road and then a day later to William Robertson, a house on the first floor.
  • 18th May 1960 – This entry is important, for it would appear that Margaret Irvine Gardiner had died and that Mary Dena Gardiner was by then the sole owner of Broompark Farm. It was on this day that the deal was signed where Mary Dena Gardiner sold the Gardiner business, 160 years after it’s creation, over to James Rochead for £1,600. The Rocheads had been leasing the farm from the trustees for some time , but this acquisition saw them become the full owners.
  • From 1961 – 1969, further land sales occurred with the Rocheads selling to John Aitken (slater and plasterer), John Duncan Ritchie (sheet metal worker), William and Cathie Agnew, Robert and Christine Agnew. By 1969 James Rochead was at Broompark Nursery.
1942 The Rocheads at Broompark Farm

1942 The Rocheads at Broompark Farm

Broompark Farm was taken over by Compulsory Purchase order shortly after. Over the years many people who remembered the farm admitted to helping themselves to the odd potato or turnip and James Rochead would wave his stick at them to chase them away.

Alex Rochead told me, “This picture is from 1942 at Broompark Farm. This has My aunt Janet born 21 April 1916 at Kilmarnock, Uncle David born 14 March 1926 at Broompark, cousin Margaret daughter of John Rochead, uncle Allan born 27 April 1933 at Broompark (Farm). Holding the horse, is my uncle Walter born 17 March 1924”

If you have memories or more information about Broompark Farm, please feel free to contact me and i can update this article. Thanks.

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  1. I have recently started researching my family history and looking for ancestors and I believe I have just found some. My grandfather was John Rochead, who had a daughter Margaret and brothers Allan and Walter. John had other children as well (James, William, Janet, John). I would love to connect with someone who can help connect some dots for me.

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