I like this photo of Glasgow Road at Craighead. Its now 60 years old, the aerial view taken in 1955. I’ve zoomed in on the photo quite a bit which has lost some of the resolution, but has also picked up some of the detail.
The picture first and foremost serves to show Chalmers Building, named after the nearby haulage contractor. I recently found out that Chalmers Building was demolished in 1959. The building on the right at the edge of the photo is Rosendale. The road from left to right, with the bus on it, is Glasgow Road, leading past some tall billboards. In the foreground the roofs of Baird’s Rows can be seen.
My query though was what on earth was the double storey small building at the front of the rows? Sitting detached, in a large lot of land facing on to the Glasgow Road, a set of steps up the side? I needed help with this one. At a recent Blantyre Heritage meeting, I asked Gordon Cook who told me, “I have asked many people about it, even people who lived and were brought up there, but no one could remember it, they all remembered the billboards. I was told by one person that coffins were once stored in it. I wondered if it might have had something to do with Craighead House, but I don’t think it did. Could it have been the Baird’s Store spoken of during the riots of 1887, perhaps the manager of the store lived upstairs”
Back home, looking at local maps, I noticed Craighead Lodge was nearby, but not this building. Gordon’s reference to coffins is interesting, as I’d heard of the nearby building, ‘The Coffin Hall’, but thought this to be the nickname for the Caldwell Hall (Stonefield Church Halls) across the road. The little building remains a mystery for now, but I think Gordon is right, it probably was the infamous Baird’s store noted in the Blantyre riots.
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