Pictured here around 1930, is perhaps the tallest building Blantyre has seen, the Blantyre Co-operative Society Bakery, or more commonly known, the Auchinraith Bakery. At 5 storeys tall, this brick building truly was huge and dominated the skyline, only rivaled by the nearby bing. The vantage point of this photo was from an elevated walkway that led underneath the nearby railway. The railway ran immediately behind this building and it’s nearest neighbour was the Auchinraith Primary Janitors house on the opposite side of the track. Built between 1898 and 1905 the bakery must always have seemed
a very imposing building. In January 1905 Charles Allan and Andrew Messr were repairing the chimney at a heigh of 60 feet when Messr overcome by fumes became unconscious. Allan held on to the man who weighed 4 stone, for an hour and a half until help came.
By the time of this photo, several additional railway spurs had been added at the back of the building directly from the goods and wagon storage sheds right on to the railway, creating an easy means of delivery to places outwith Blantyre. Smaller offices were situated just out the picture to the left.
The Co-op bakery was located at the top of Craig Street at its junction with Auchinraith Road. Today it is no longer there. Modern homes at Carrick Gardens are now on this site which still does command quite an elevated position, by comparison to the nearby streets.
Moyra Lindsay told me on Social media, “I was its nearest neighbour for all my teenage years, in the flat above no.5 cooperative. The house on the other side in Craig Street was the headmasters house. He walked over each day in pinstripe trousers and what seemed to me tail coat. Mr Dunlop. Sat in an office all day with roaring fire and his paper. I still think the only things he did were to count the dinner money and issue the tickets and frighten the lives out of us wee ones! Anyway that building was my view for years. It was a tied house as my dad was the mechanic. Lots of memories there, I was free to walk in and out any of it …no health and safety then. My mum worked there for years, I remember one Christmas her sitting crying she was so tired.“
Cecil Willis added, “Worked in No 5 co-op in front on Auchinraith Rd in 1965 with john broadilay and done the co purveys with jock blythe on saturdays and all the woman pat martin &martha black fanny wilkie to name a few tommy berry worked in the coal yard and used the biggest shovel u could imagine what a worker he was happy days“
Jane Johnstone also told me, “Yes, went there daily with my Grannie, we lived right across the road in Auchinraith, as I got older was allowed to cross the road and go for the milk by myself but…..had to be careful going into the yard for the lorries coming and going and had to remember the coop number…which I have now forgotten….think it was1735 or something round about there! Lol! I remember the milk tokens and loved playing with them as a child. The ‘store’ had sawdust on the foot and a ‘store dug’ always lying at the wee bit in the middle where they took the money or wrote in your ‘Co’ book, guess it was buying on ‘tick’? When the coop closed On a Sunday, I had to go down Craig Street, through the old bridge, no pavement, so had to be really careful going through, to buy Willie Woodbines for my uncle Jock…he always gave us sixpence for going, which was a fortune then! Bought sherbet dabs and lucky bags. My Grannie was a school cleaner. I know that previously she worked in the primary school up at High Blantyre but may have ended her working life at Auchinraith Primary…Jeannie Dalton.“