Over the last few months, I have to offer particular thanks to Blantyre man, Robert Stewart who has been taking photos of Blantyres buildings and sights for several decades and sharing them here. Photos of buildings that may not have seemed particularly important at the time, now take on a new meaning, especially after they’ve been demolished. Robert’s great photos evoke memories and nostalgia, like this one of the popular Glasgow Road Community Centre that used to sit opposite the David Livingstone Memorial Church. Taken in 2001, Robert told me, “I was brought next door to the Centre, a popular wedding venue in the fifties and sixties. I heard that it was officially opened on the same day as the Livingstone Memorial.”
I can confirm it wasn’t opened on the same day as Livingstone centre (Oct 1929). This community building looks later and still doesn’t appear on 1936 maps. That said, i’m not sure what the actual construction date? Previous to the 1920’s, there used to be a concert hall on this site called Westneuk Concert Hall. I’ve previously written about that which can be found here. https://blantyreproject.com/2014/01/22/westneuk-concert-hall-stonefield-cottage/
Regarding the modern community centre, now demolished, if anybody is able to offer further advice on the actual opening and demolition dates, I can add the detail to this article. Thanks.
Update: On Social Media Nick Rice found a possible reference in 1938 to a community centre in Blantyre. If it is the same one, construction could be narrowed down to between 1936 – 1938.
Gordon Cook, was able to solve the mystery, adding “The Earl of Home was the president of the Centre,and Mr W. G. Dow was the chairman; the vice-chairmen were Rev. James Gibb and Mrs M. Robb, Mr R. Paton was its honorary secretary; Mr Quentin Smith (well known local teacher), was the honorary treasurer, and a Mrs Douches and Mr R. Neill represented the men’s and women’s sections.
The Centre had facilities for making furniture and for cobbling (a roaring trade at the time), and for a while there was a library with reading room, a dressmaking room, and other recreational activities. Attached to the Centre there were nearly 50 allotment gardens. The Centre also had a large kitchen, a games room and it even had baths.
The Centre was opened on Wednesday 13th April, 1938, by Lord Nigel Douglas Hamilton (Commissioner for Special Areas in Scotland), and was designated for the Blantyre Mutual Service Association, (it was a government scheme, funded entirely by the government to help deprived districts). The architect was Mr John G. Dunn.
Others present that day were Mr Allan Chapman M.P., for Rutherglen, Captain Watt, Chairman of Lanark County Council, and Robert Bryce Walker, who was the County Clerk.The County Director of Education, C. T. Mair was also there, and I’m pretty sure there were local Councillors too, I seem to remember Edward Daly being present although he wasn’t mentioned in the report.“