History of Loanend Cottages

I thought I would write a brief history of Loanend Cottages, near Flemington. Whilst the cottages are slightly outwith Blantyre in Cambuslang Parish, they are nearby enough to be considered on this website.

1859 Loanend Farm

1859 Loanend Farm

Loanend likely takes it name from “Laun’s end” or “Land’s End”, which i believe to be a reference of the land at the edge of Cambuslang Parish. Knowing the cottages were tied to nearby collieries, I was surprised to see Loanend on the 1859 map of Blantyre, at a time before coal in the area. However, upon closer inspection, it wasn’t actually the cottages, but instead it was the ruins of Loanend Farm, located to the South East of Flemington, not too far from Dechmont.

Not much is known about the farm, but it the buildings were situated in 1859 Map of Loanenda U shaped arrangement, made of stone and even by 1859, were being described as “old”. A good description is given in 1859, as “An old Farm building occupied by servants employed by the lessee of Flemington. The property of His Grace “The Duke of Hamilton.” In effect the old farm was being used as servants quarters for the main house nearby at Flemington. (At the time Flemington Farm, House and offices existed, built on the site of a former and more ancient 18h Century village named Flemington). Loaned sat fairly isolated, with fields all around, the only signs of industry being the nearby Drumsagard Tile works located across the single track road, further eastwards towards Malcolmwood. The 1859 map shows a well in the gardens of Loanend Farm, the whole location sitting slightly north westwards of the later cottages.

1898 Map showing Loanend Farm in ruins

1898 Map showing Loanend Farm in ruins

By 1898 Loanend Farm is shown on maps as “ruined”, i.e derelict, with exception of an L shaped part of the building to the south east. By this time the Tile works had been exhausted and was no longer there. It is probable that just a few remaining servants of Flemington lived in the old farm ruin. However, things were about to dramatically change for this rural and peaceful area.

In 1908, Archibald Russell Ltd sank a shaft on a nearby field at Loanend and discovered coal. Dechmont Pit no 3 was established not far from the farm ruins and a small railway siding was constructed to transport the coal from Dechmont no 3 into Dechmont No 1 and 2, located near Spittal.

In 1909, the colliery erected Loanend Cottages, being forced to build them under newly created Building Bye laws. The cottages were built on the roadside, between the old Loanend Farm ruin and the Dechmont No 3 pit (also known even then as Loanend Colliery). The colliery by 1910 employed 320 people, 280 of whom were underground. 20 of the miners were housed in the Loanend Cottages, with the remainder in rented home in Blantyre and Cambuslang. Described in 1910, Loanend Cottages consisted of:

16 Two-apartment houses Rental £9 14s
3 Three-apartment houses Rental £14 5s
1 Four-apartment house Rental £19

  • Each house has a scullery – One storey, brick built – Damp-proof course – Walls strapped and lathed – Wood floors, ventilated – internal surface of walls and ceilings in good condition
  • No overcrowding – apartments large
  • Garden ground available – wash houses – coal cellars
  • WC within each house
  • Slop sinks, with gravitation water, within each house
  • Drainage treated in small private installation
  • Common ashpit at the extremity of site
  • Scavenged regularly at owners’ expense

Indeed, those homes are described in a much more healthy and favourable fashion than other miners homes of the time. The larger homes would have been the colliery managers.

The nearby colliery proved as dangerous as others, when only a couple of years after opening, fatalities occurred. The Scotsman reported on 21st April 1911, “A fatal accident took place yesterday morning in Loanend Colliery, Cambuslang, the property of Messrs Archibald Russell & Co. (Limited) Accompanied by a number of workers , Mr Robert Edgar the under manager, was about to undertake the stemming back of a quantity of gas which had accumulated in the pit, when they were completely overcome, and had immediately to retreat in a more or less dazed condition. All succeeded in regaining a clear zone with difficulty except Edgar, who was unable to crawl out of the danger. The alarm was speedily spread, and repeated heroic efforts at rescue were made, but without avail, as the fire-damp was exceedingly dense and occupied a considerable space. Dr Hutchinson was lowered into the pit, and lent assistance to the workers who had been affected by the fumes. Mr Low, the manager, was among those who endeavoured to reach Mr Edgar, but he met with complete prostration, and his removal to the pithead, where he gradually recovered, was imperative. There others needed attention, but the arrival of Doctors Macpherson and Beveridge relieved the strain. The accident occurred about nine o’clock in the morning, but it was about one in the afternoon before a young Cambuslang miner, named Duncan Dunn, succeeded in reaching the place where Edgar was. Edgar was dead, and all attempts at resuscitation failed. Edgar who was 36 years of age, resided at Loanend Cottages, Flemington, Cambuslang and is survived by a widow and six children, The colliery was thrown idle for the day.”

There were heroes that day. On 22nd September 1911, The London Gazette reported, ” His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Edward Medal of the Second Class to Walter Cullen and Thomas Macfarlane, miners working at the Loanend Colliery, under the following circumstances:—

On the 21st of April, 1911, Mr. Robert Edgar, the under manager of the Loanend Colliery, Cambuslang, went up a highly inclined road to tear down a screen so as to disperse an accumulation of firedamp, and was overcome suddenly by firedamp. Macfarlane at once went to his assistance, but was in turn overcome and rolled down the road. Cullen, who is 60 years of age, then made two attempts to rescue the under manager, and on both occasions was helped back by Macfarlane, who had recovered, though still suffering from the effects of fire­damp. The under manager’s body was not recovered until three and a half hours afterwards.”

During WW1, a Private Taggart was killed in action, who had previously been a miner at Loanend colliery. In summer 1924 the colliery was subject to a series of strikes. The bing was on the Malcolmwood side of the rows and a mineral railway ran across the fields and under the Glasgow Road at the Flemington Cottages.

By 1936, the colliery was disused and this must have forced the residents there to leave. The nationalisation of the coal board in 1947 saw Loanend Cottages become the property of the NCB.

Blantyre man Alex Rochead, having been brought up nearby, was able to help me with the next part of the story. He told me, “I remember Loanend Cottages before they were converted into the present houses. I think that around 1965 – 1968 Robb the farmer at Flemington bought the cottages from the coal board. He knocked out the centres to make byres and feeding areas for his cattle. He kept one building of two semi-detached houses and converted it into one house for a worker, George Mare and his family. This was at the Flemington side of the rows beside what I think was the Colliery managers house. In my teens I was friendly with his son Billy Mare although I haven’t seen him for years.

Gordon Cook once told me he can recall a small swing park at the back of Loanend Cottages in the 1960s.

Margaret Smith Edmond told me, “I was born at 4 Loanend Cottages in 1950 as were my brothers.  My eldest brother was born at No. 3 in 1936 where my grandparents lived – probably moved there before 1915.  I lived there until 1968.  I think I spoke to the lady who now lives at No. 4 a couple of years ago when we took some Canadian relatives there. We also knew the Mair family.   I remember everyone who lived there and we knew Willie Miller snr very well.  I also remember the Collins family and the McCallums.  To answer one point, the railway bridge was taken down in the late 50s I believe.   When I was very young we didn’t have any street lighting or a tarmac road.  I think one or two of the residents were instrumental in getting this done and they also got the swing park built.”

Loanend Cottages, Flemington late 1970s, shared by W Miller

Loanend Cottages, Flemington late 1970s, shared by W Miller

Mr. William Miller who is president of the Cambuslang Rangers Club gave me written permission to illustrate this article with this wonderful photograph of his father walking outside Loanend Cottages in the late 1970s. William took the photo and told me he always liked to get people into his photographs.

William added “My father walked all a round Cambuslang, Dechmount and Blantyre during his life. At the time of the photo, the properties were used as cow sheds.  If you look further ahead you will see where the railway crossed the road into the pit.”

It is evident that in the following decade the farmer at Flemington sold off the cottages separately to private owners, with the central dividing walls reinstated to create individual homes again. Today, the cottages are beautifully kept and home to many families. Whilst a little out the way, the residents currently enjoy excellent views of the surrounding fields, with abundant wildlife and very little trace of any of the previous industrial work. At the time of writing, a wind mast has been approved for behind the cottages, with a potential for a large wind turbine being placed there in future, something that is fiercely opposed to in that little community.

On Social media:

  • Auntie Jo Nice to read about the history of Loanend Cottages. Like Alex, who is quoted in your article, I remember the houses when they were used to house cows and pigs! As children we used to walk along there from Halfway to explore these wee buildings. It is a real joy to go down that way now to see how they have been transformed back into beautiful family homes.
  • Auntie Jo Paul, what is “firedamp”?
    • The Blantyre Project Firedamp is the name given to pockets of gas, trapped between coal seams. Usually methane, the substance is invisible and highly dangerous. One spark from a pick, or cigarette could ignite the entire pocket of gas, blasting not just the coal, but right though the mine tunnels and shafts, engulfing anything (or anybody) in its path, by flames.
    • Auntie Jo Thanks, had never heard the term before.
  • Mary Crowe My cousin lived in Loanend cottages in the 1950’s
  • Margaret Brown Burns I have a photo taken outside my aunts house 1947\8
  • Ann McCallum I was born at 10 Loanend Cottages in 1965 and that is the address on my birth certificate – we moved out in 1968 – my dad was a miner and we scattered his ashes there. Thank you for the history.
    • Kenny Lynn-Miller Hi Ann, I was there until I was 3 and we move 1969. My dad, Willie Miller, married my mum Nancy Collins and, I believe, they lived at No.12 or 14 Loanend Cottages.
      So we are almost the same age and were neighbours 😀
    • Ann McCallum I will show this to my mum Kenny – she has mentioned your mum and dad in the past
  • Jim McSorley Great story. Geordie Mare certainly was the manager at Flemington before he retired.
  • Liisa Hepworth So lovely to hear of the past Paul. We live in one of the cottages as u know and are hoping that we can get some kind of conservation status if at all possible to protect the heritage of the cottages and to stop giant wind turbine being built so close to our homes & families. Spoke to Alex Rochead and 1st stop mining museum in Edinburgh?. Paul be in touch & thanks again. Lovely to read x
    • The Blantyre Project is there something i should be adding into permanent Loaned history here? wink emoticon
  • Louise McMillan Katie, Martin will like this, as was brought up at Loanend Cottages. xxx
  • Lorraine Kinnen I live in George & Margaret Mare’s house. They are both in a home out Carfin way. My old neighbour still keeps in touch with them. I don’t think they ever forgave the Robbs for the way they were put out of Loanend which made life very difficult for me in the early years of life living there as they visited regularly & didn’t like the changes that were being made. I think they would both be happy that their garden has been kept up to their standards! x
  • Gary Doonin Paul when was the railway bridge dismantled . I’m sure this line went north towards Hamilton Road and took a sharp left behind Dalton school ,over Flemington rd across park under the Hamilton road ,down behind Drumsagard into Hallside and joined at Newton station . The tunnels and metal bridges are still intact
    • The Blantyre Project the line DID follow the path you describe down to Spittal Colliery, then changing on to the main line there. I don’t have a date for the demolition of the railway bridge at Loanend, sorry.
    • Kenny Lynn-Miller The bridge was gone long before the 70’s as I don’t ever remember it. Don’t know when it went though
    • Gary Doonin You sure Paul ,I’m sure the line veered off towards CAMBUSLANG running parallel with Hamilton road . To get to Spittal colliery line must have crossed the Hamilton road but there’s no signs of that . There was a line that came into Spittal colliery from the Newton Hallside direction but this ended at a siding to near BARDYKE chemicals
  • Kenny Lynn-Miller When we lived here, there used to be a line of trees up from the cottages towards the Blantyre end of the lane. One of them got nicknamed the ‘Fairy Tree’ by my dad coz he would hide things in it. MartinJimFrankieHelen, do any of you remember this?
Loanend cottages today

Loanend cottages today

Finally, I received this interesting message from Margaret Smith Edmond who added, “Some further information you might be able to research further.  When the Loanend pit closed, I believe there was a peat cutting business there but I remember a briquette works there which was run by a family called Naismith.  I don’t know if they actually owned the land or just leased it.  This shut down probably in the late 1950s.  When it closed we used to play at the “pit” as we called it and also played on the bing.  Work stated in the early 1960s to remove the bing and I think Frank Doonin’s lorries may have been involved in this.  A man died there during this work when part of the bing collapsed onto the digger he was operating.  This was reported in the local newspapers and you might be able to research this further.

There was also an article and photograph in the Hamilton Advertiser, probably in the 50s, about hamlets in Scotland.  I had a copy of this article which I will look for and if I find it I will send it to you. You may recall the Peter Manuel murders in the 1950s and the Loanend residents at this time believed that Manuel walked passed the cottages when he was making his way to Burnside where he committed one of his crimes. I know up until this time, we didn’t lock our doors but we did so from then on.
Do you know anything about the “wee white house” which sat on the land just before 1 Loanend Cottages?  A family called Wilson lived there and my mother and father were very friendly with them.  There was the house plus a byre.  The last two members to live there were Marion (known as Minnie) and Hughie.  Their parents also lived there but for how long I’m not sure.  I would be interested to know if this formed any part of the original farm. Hope this is of interest to you.”

10 Comments

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  1. Catherine Mckeeve maiden name Smith

    There was a man that had green houses that sold tomatoes on the mine property when I was young I can still remember the taste of them My aunts lived 3 and 4 in the cottages One of my aunts moved to New Zealand in the fifties. Margaret Smith is my cousin My father moved to Loanend when he was two and that was 1914 there were smiths there till 1968

  2. Just found this post by chance. My family lived at 13 Loanend Cottages from 1932 to 1956. My grandparents were John & Gwen Smith and their children Dan, Willie, Jessie, Anna, Jack & Archie. They have very fond memories of growing up there.

  3. My Uncle Finlay McNaughtan lists “20 Loanend Cottage ?Haleside Glasgow” as his address prior to boarding the ship The Briton on 16th September 1921 on his way to South Africa

  4. I am researching my family tree and have discovered My great grandfather William Green lived at 18 Loanend cottages in 1944.

    1. Hi there, I remember Mr and
      Mrs green very well. Mr green owned a bit of land near the “bing” and mr green grew vegetables there. They had relatives from Edinburgh who visited them called Miller, I think, twin boys and their younger sister – perhaps you are related.

  5. We my mum and dad moved in to 10 loaned cottages just after the valentines moved out and me and both my sisters were born in loaned

    1. I got in touch with your sister, Ann last year and am now on Facebook with her. Went back to Loanend in the Eighties and saw the new bungalows. We went round the farm too and it all looked the same. I remember most pf the people who lived in the cottages in the Fifties.
      Audrey Robb( no relation to the farmers Robb)

  6. Hi we lived in 10 loaned cottages just after the valentines moved out I was born there as were both my sisters

  7. I loved reading about loanend it was very interesting I remember my mum working in the fire lighter works in the early 60s as I’m 55 I used to go with her for her wages after Minnie and Marion left.a family called the wrights moved in Mary, Jackson, Cecilia and John they were lovely people

  8. Loved reading about Loanend Cottages and the interesting article from Margaret Smith Edmond. My gran, Maggie Valentine was one of her Mum’s best friends. I was Margaret’s friend in the Fifties. I have lovely memories of Loanend. She also went to Gateside School with my sister, Margaret Valentine. Have searched for her on Facebook so would love to get in touch through here. I lived at Flemington Farm but moved when Gran died in 1959 .Audrey Robb ( nee Valentine)

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