The Blantyre Mills may have been in decline by the 1880’s, but they still looked absolutely beautiful. Over the last few years, I’ve found a few people saying this picture is NOT Blantyre mills, but it absolutely IS. Taken around 1880, the argument to me has been that there are just too many buildings or it was never whitewashed like that. Well, it WAS whitewashed, from the bridge, to the school, to the buildings. The mill owners kept the buildings in good condition, with stories of the white lead paint, scaring away the bees that used to live on the Pey Brig trusses.
Another argument put to me was that the suspension bridge only had one tower. That’s NOT the case. It had two, as seen here, although only one at the Blantyre side was used as the toll gate. I do like this picture. Up above on the embankments, sheets lay out on makeshift bleaching lawns at the back of Waterloo Row. To the right of the quadrangle of houses is Blantyre Works school. I can understand fully why people think this isn’t Blantyre. It’s the large riverside building with the grand column facade that throws people. Of course that building is not there anymore, but it’s been gone for a long, long time and actually only existed for a very short time. Built in the mid 1870s, the building only lasted just over 30 years,
being demolished around 1905 – 1906, a few years after most of the mill buildings were condemned.
In the 1898 map attached, I’ve marked the grand building with red dots and a blue dot for where the photo was taken from.
In the later 1910 map, the scene is very different with the grand building and indeed most of the riverside mill buildings, demolished in that upstream location.
Today, if you want to know where that grand building was, it was about 100 yards upstream from the weir in approximately the position of the modern utilities pipe bridge.