Springpark is a 2 storey, detached sandstone house with a grey slate roof. I believe the Leggat family, (owners of nearby farms at Greenblairs and Newfield were the constructors or possibly Mr. Jackson of Park Farm), as the original tenants were connected to those families or their farms. The house sits on a long narrow portion of land adjacent to Auchentibber Road which certainly looks to be over a half acre. The building is not shown on the 1832 map of Blantyre, and first census information indicates habitation by 1851, giving a construction dating gap of sometime between 1832 and 1850. The name is known on census information as “Spring Park” and locally as having two separate words but maps and indeed documents of the time refer to the property as “Springpark”. Not to be confused with nearby Springbank.
The large house was initially divided down the middle, with 4 separate residences within the one property. 2 homes upstairs, 2 downstairs. The two single door entrances facing north, were complimented with 5 north facing windows.
In 1851, twenty six year old Thomas Williamson, an agricultural labourer and his family lived in one of the four houses. Thirty seven year old Matthew Hamilton and his family lived in another of the houses. Given lack of any other record in the census, it would seem that Arthur Leggat, a brother of the nearby farmers lived in the upstairs and downstairs portion of one half of the whole building.
Arthur Leggat was born in 1811 in Avondale, Lanarkshire. His family were directly connected to the Leggat family of farmers at Greenblairs and Newfield farms in Blantyre and due to this, he may have been a favoured tenant for them at Spring Park. His parents were Matthew Leggat and Margaret Gilmour who married on June 12th 1808 in Avondale (Strathaven).
In the 1851 census he was 40 years old and by this time living at “Springpark”, noted as being a provisions merchant. It is unclear if he simply was a grocer and/or spirit dealer at this time. Unmarried and with no family, 22 year old Isabella Brown was his house keeper, a young woman originally from Linlithgow. His intention looks to have been to set up a provisions store for the nearby ironstone and cement kiln workers and their families, something I think he accomplished and successfully prospered. Arthur’s living quarters were likely upstairs and the shop down below on the ground floor. Two separate stone outbuildings existed which may have been provisions storage.
By 1859, Springpark was noted in the Parish records as being a Public House well known by its name. It is recorded as being on the lands known as “Muirfoot” and was fued off Mr. Jackson of Park. (another good indication that Mr. Jackson was the original constructor and owner). Arthur Leggat was the landlord according to the Valuation Roll. The fact that “Springpark Public House” was well known, may have meant the Pub had existed for some time throughout the 1850’s. Given the lack of any other name in the census information for 1861, other than Arthur’s, it would appear perhaps through his flourishing business as a provisions merchant that he bought out the other two homes within Spring Park and created the Springpark Public House.
Muirfoot was part of Auchentibber, but the name appears to be lost now. In 1859, Muirfoot it described as “A couple of houses named from the Muir of Blantyre coming formerly to this place, which is still divided into small portions of land that were formerly given to the Heritors of the Parish to cut peat in. Those portions do not, in some cases, exceed a few perches. They (the division marks) are all defaced, and now exist only in the memories of the persons ho hold their right to the original portions for cutting peat upon. These small portions are all cultivated, it could not be perceived in the fields they are in as separate properties.”
The pub may have been popular with ironstone and early coal miners and no doubt the farmers, throughout the area. Offering fantastic views over the countryside and down into Blantyre it would have serviced the entertainment and drinking needs of this community.
However, just 2 years later, by the 1861 census all trace of Springpark as a Pub vanishes. This was not through liquidation or lack of success. Arthur had actually married. His bride, a woman named Ellen and at 50 years old was now living in Bothwell, noted in the census as “proprietor landlord of houses.” His former servant girl Isabella Brown, turfed out and back living again in West Lothian, where she remained. I found out through Ancestry databases and census information, that the “houses” he was landlord of, were none other than Springpark itself. Getting out of the pub business, between 1859 and 1861, Arthur had found himself the owner of 4 separate houses within the Spring Park Property. Properly split, this large detached building as it did originally, had 4 separate, rentable homes, room for 2 families living upstairs, and 2 downstairs. He had let the houses out for rent.
On 25th September 1864 Arthur’s brother Matthew Leggat a farmer at Greenblairs Farm (1828 – 1864) sadly died young at aged 36. The cause of death is noted as paralysis and he died at a property owned by Arthur at Springpark. He left behind a widow Janet Hamilton (1833 -1908) and a new born baby, Matthew Leggate Jnr. The death certificate also confirms Arthur who confirmed the death, was living in Bothwell at the time.
In 1869, Miss Flora McIntyre turned the adjacent old house sitting on the corner of Auchentibber Road and Parkneuk, into the “Auchentibber Inn”. I suspect she did this due to the vacant position of a pub on that road, with Springpark no longer trading as a Public House. It is therefore my opinion that Springpark only traded as a Public House during the 1850’s and perhaps into the year 1860.
In 1871 James and Jennie McGregor were renting Springpark. James, a miner lived there with his wife and 3 children.
In 1874, Arthur Leggat, at the age of 63 suffered a tragedy. His wife Ellen died.
In 1880, Auchentibber School was built in the field immediately adjacent to Spring Park., which must have been handy for the many children now occupying Spring Park with their parents.
On social media:
Julie Leggat Wow how cool is this!! So much info! Awww I wish it was still ours frown emoticon great memories here though xxx ( Craig Reid)
Claire Leggat How cool is the family tree I’m nearly in tears here x
The Blantyre Project it was a pleasure to research and very, very interesting.Michelle Leggat This is amazing. Mum has been speaking with the gentleman that has been investigating the family tree. Lovely memories of playing in the school with Julie Leggat xx
Julie Leggat Brilliant, I’ve never seen this picture before, I have the rent books for all 4 properties of springpark, it notes all the occupiers dates of residence and how much the rent was , it was also said that in the later part of the 20th century people deliberately rented these homes because they had no indoor toilets and were rehomed quickly due to a change in the law stating that a home must have indoor amenities x
Julie Leggat Springpark was eventually sadly sold by my brothers sisters and I in 1999 , was it 1999 Margaret Leggat Carswell?? Xx
Margaret Leggat Carswell It was 2000 sis x this is great reading for us and I am just now looking out my old pictures lol xx
Julie Leggat Lol great I wanna see them too, I’ll need to get this loft cleared out n find the diaries n stuff that I’ve got, cany really remember what’s all there but I do remember the writing is beautiful xxx
Julie Leggat Mags you’ll need to come and explain some of this to me, struggling to understand some of it, it u know how easily confused I can get lol XX
Julie Leggat Margaret Leggat Carswell, So who was Elizabeth leggat who died in 1974? What year did my grandpa die? What year did my uncle Mathew die? And what year did my gran Elizabeth leggat die? When did they move to springpark? They moved to springpark from sterling did they not? , how did they end up at the big house and how did we end up inheriting it?? ohhhh so many questions lol