James B Struthers, Spirit Dealer

Mr James B Struthers was a well known spirit dealer at Stonefield and High Blantyre in the 1880s. He was an accountant from Wishaw still living there as late as 1875. On 23rd April 1872 he married Mary Ann Harrison at Cambusnethan and had son, also James in 1875. The couple went on to have other children, mostly female. By 1879, they had moved to Blantyre and changed James elder had changed profession by setting up spirit dealership at both the bottom of Stonefield Road and also at High Blantyre Main Street. Taking advantage of a population boom in Blantyre due to coal mining, the businesses were to prosper. Sidenote, he is not to be confused with his more famous son, James BH Struthers, who owned the Auchentibber Inn from 1899.

1885 Valuation roll showing Struthers at Priestfield

1885 Valuation roll showing Struthers at Priestfield

By the 1880’s James B Struthers, elder is noted as a Spirit dealer of High Blantyre, Stonefield and Auchentibber. The Masonic halls in High Blantyre Main Street, originally opened as Mr. Struther’s concert hall in 1879 and it is known he lived nearby in Priestfield according to valuation rolls. The 1885 valuation roll is very revealing as to how he was faring in life. He owned two stables at back Priestfield which was used in conjunction with his hall. As well as his spirit dealership shop, a family member Francis, also leased another shop in Priestfield from him. It is clear how business minded he was, when we see that by then, just a few short years after coming to Blantyre, he owned and leased out 14 houses at Priestfield!

James provided the food for the opening of Auchinraith Primary School in 1900. He died in 1913 at HIgh Blantyre, at Kirkton. He was interred in HIgh Blantyre Cemetery that year on 24th November. He was aged 74. The family owned the adjacent layer for the Harrison’s, his wifes family.

1906 Struthers at Stonefield Rd

1903 or 1904 Struthers at Stonefield Rd

Young James, his son would have inherited the businesses and properties and it is quite probable that this inheritance and selling off the hall and property, led him to establish and purchase the inn and grounds in Auchentibber. Some Stonefield Road postcards of the early 1900s suggest Struthers spirit dealership was still there, so it is likely that Struthers may have continued his fathers business at that location, going into partnership with other dealers. (This postcard appears incorrectly dated in online and offline places. It can’t possibly be 1906 when the St Josephs Church hasn’t been built yet in 1905. Craig’s Bar is there, so the photo dates from 1903 or 1904.)

Leave a Reply