For several years I have said the Barnhill Tavern is probably Blantyre’s oldest pub dating back to around 1745. I still believe that to be the case, however, I was recently reminded the current building on Bardykes Road is not the original building and is a more recent rebuild. Whilst a pub of that name has been there on
that spot, for the best part of 2 and a half centuries, the Barnhill Tavern was a single storey thatched pub, whereas the modern pub there today is double storey building in stone with slated roof.
The attached comparison shows Barnhill Pub in 1890, clearly as a single storey and from this photo, looks likely to have opened out into Bardykes Road itself, then a quiet , traffic free small road. However, by 1916 the building is double storey, as it is today but opens out into the lane. Firm evidence indeed that a new Barnhill Tavern was built between 1890 and 1916. Was it extended upwards, or rebuilt? Local history enthusiast Gordon Cook kindly gave me some help in answering this question. Gordon pointed me towards Mr Brownlie.
Mr Brownlie who had lived in the cottage commonly referred to as “Aggie Bain’s cottage” (pictured with the whitewash gable above) clarified this in his last interview in 1939, when in that year he was recalling the old days stating, “Business is still carried out in the old inn, but the formed thatched roof one-storey property of these days was demolished a number of years ago when an up-to-date modern building was built.” Today, the Barnhill Tavern was recently renamed simply as “The Hoolets” and run by the Flynns.
Update: I have narrowed this down further by the discovery of a photo taken in 1904 publication by Gilmour of Barnhill area, showing the larger double storey building looking brand new. As such, the building must have been rebuilt between 1890 and 1904. Getting there!