Jim Cochrane sent me this photo today which prompted me to do some detective work on it! I’d seen the photo before but there was never any date on it. Was it 1900s , 1910s or even 1920 or 30s? Here’s why its great to revisit old photos, once you have the date history on buildings…..I am able to confirm this photo as being Winter 1903.
Firstly, about the photo. It shows a tramcar at the Glasgow Road junction with Stonefield Road. So, why can I exactly date it? Well…firstly the trams never opened until 22nd July 1903, so we know the photo is after Summer 1903. Secondly, in Autumn 1903, the Old Original Building was constructed, which is clearly visible in this photo on the left, so again, photo MUST be after Autumn 1903. We know its Winter, as the trees are bare of leaves. But crucially, there is a wide open space between the St Joseph’s Chapel School on the right and the housing at Mayberry Place. The scene is missing the current, large St Joseph’s Chapel, which didn’t open until 18th June 1905. Construction work on foundations started in 1903 with the church rising out the ground in 1904, before a year of fitout. There is no church in the picture. Therefore, this photo IS Winter 1903.
The date makes perfect sense really. I suspect it was only taken as the trams had opened only months earlier. Exactly where the tram is located outside the Old Original Pub, was the terminus, end of the line if you like. You could travel between that point and Motherwell at that time, but it took until 1907 until the Blantyre line was extended along Glasgow Road and out into Cambuslang.