Although I think the title of “Oldest House on Main Street”, may fall to my own house (Croftfoot, built 1731) and with postal address on Main Street, my house actually sits back off Main Street, almost out of sight. However, of all the houses and tenements on High Blantyre’s Main Street, that actually open on to the pavements next to the roadway, the house pictured is the oldest. The construction date of this little single storey house is 1823, which has been confirmed to me by current owner John Murray. This is backed up by it being featured on the 1859 map, meaning it is well over 191 years old. I cannot find other surviving homes (or indeed any other building with exception of the Church) in the Main Street, that is older.
I’m writing this article, as I get asked about the house often and until recently knew very little about it. On a personal note, i see the house every day, as it’s directly opposite the end of my driveway. I’m very curious about it too, especially as in the last 2 years, the roof has started to cave in.
The building is likely to have originally had a thatch roof and of course the bricks in the windows and doors, and indeed the roughcast is modern.
Opening up the mystery of this house on social media, incredibly over 50 people have kindly offered information. I’ve taken the most relevant and interesting and pieced together the puzzle using their comments noted below.
The most reliable source, however was from Julie Smither, who contacted me to say that the address is 375 Main Street, and her father John Murray currently owns the dilapidated building.
On the subject of previous owners, Shona Preston told me, “the house belonged to Jock Taylor, connected to my grandmother but the Springfield rd connections would have been the Aitkenheads and a family member Mrs macleod who lived at the corner of springfield and broompark rd.“
It would appear that John Murray, the current owner had won a long standing battle from others getting a hold of this property, including the McLeans from the nearby newsagents who ended up building the adjacent flats. The house may also have been a target of compulsory purchase order also.
Peter McSorley said, “John Murray won his fight against Alister McLean to keep his house . He was my dads pal“. Adam Murray added, “Remember him telling me they wanted to knock it down, whilst pouring me another cup of stewed tea 🙂“
Susan Henderson said, “that’s wee johns house. Wouldn’t sell it to council so they knocked down the building attached to it then john roof n floor caved in x“
Danni McDougall told me, “A mind a fell threw that roof when a was aboot 12 n landed on an old piano n nearly broke ma neck!“
Beth McNaughton remembers, “I stayed in the police house across the road for years and the man that owned it was eccentric to day the least. I do remember the council wanting him to move out so they could have the land to build on & he point blank refused to move- it was in the advertiser I’m sure it was the mid 80s. I was friends with his step daughter & sometimes used to stay, it was rotten with dampness even then.”
Jean McIntosh added, “I remember the old man, he did not want to move, he was sitting at his door with a petition. I think his house had a compulsory purchase order on it. “
Nicola Crowe said, “I remember the wee old man out watering his plants“
Liz Allan said, “I stayed above wee Val’s and remember an elderly couple living in it when they left a guy did move in was always with a woolly cap and glasses he walked everywhere he also lived there with the windows boarded up.”
Geordie McClenaghan, reflected upon his childhood, “I remember chapping the door and running away, the auld boy caught me hiding behind the petrol station and stuck his toe up my arse lol“
I hope this wee house if and when it ever gets sold on, will end up being renovated in a manner sympathetic to it’s age. It would be a shame to see the iconic High Blantyre landmark vanish.