Who can remember this building in Cemetery Road? These were the official offices of Blantyre Parish Council, where many decisions about 20th Century Blantyre were made, voted for or against and recorded.
This stone building of one storey opened in Cemetery Road, High Blantyre on 25th April 1901. It was detached, made of sandstone with a slated roof. Other features included two large bay windows and a doorway that was just off centre opening out in an easterly direction. It was located near the Cemetery itself. This building celebrated not only the hopes for the new 20th Century, but also was to be the official office of the Blantyre Parish Council, which had formed just a few years earlier in 1895.
(Actually, Blantyre Parish Council succeeded a much earlier form of the organisation, in Blantyre Parochial Board, which had been established in 1848). Both the Parochial Board and the Parish Council were to be involved in all matters of Blantyre, most notably in its educational, social, infrastructure and housing reforms. Important matters such as installing Blantyre’s Gas, Water and the building of schools were taken and made by the Board. It was therefore perhaps one of the most important organisations Blantyre has ever seen.)
Pictured here in 1904 from Gilmour’s Directory, I have been able to zoom in on certain features, the photograph still offering amazing clarity.
In 1929, the Parish Council ceased to exist following the introduction of the local government act (Scotland) 1929. From April 1930, the building became part of the 5th District Council of the County of Lanark (a predecessor to South Lanarkshire Council). As the newly formed 5th District Council took ownership of similar buildings across Lanarkshire, it is likely around this time that they renovated and upgraded the building. I say this, for aerial photos from 1955, show the building façade to look very different with a large tower above the southern bay window. It is unknown why this was done, but it may have been simply to accommodate a better gravity fed, heating system or large water tank at an elevated position. Anyway, people who actually remember this building, will certainly remember it as having the tower and not looking like the 1904 picture.
The building lasted for 100 years and was used as a day centre for a short time, for care of the elderly and disabled, just before its demolition in March 2001.
Sidenote: For those interested, the 5th District council became the 8th District Council in April 1964, then with a reorganisation of local government in May 1975, Blantyre became part of the Hamilton District of Strathclyde. Finally on March 31st 1996, Hamilton joined the surrounding area and formed the present South Lanarkshire Council, a recognition at the time that Strathclyde needed to be more individually divided and managed differently.
On social media:
Anne Ellis My Banns were posted there
I registered my first daughter there and found out where my granny’s pauper grave was.
Liz Allan Yes I remember it. I think you used to register deaths etc there
The Blantyre Project yeah, i think deaths were registered there before the John Street offices were built.
Christine Allan Brown I got married ther in 12 July 1963 xx
Brian Weaver I think the tower may have had a siren on it. There was definitely one in that area – War time sirens were still common in Lanarkshire in the 1950s
The Blantyre Project Im sure the Police houses on Main Street had a siren on them too. I remember a siren being there in the middle of the roof ridgeline (quite a large machine too). I’d love to know why and when the tower was added to the Parish Building. It seems such a massive thing to do unless it served a function like housing water tanks or heating equipment.
Brian Weaver Yes, I remember the siren on the police houses too.
James Stirling there was one on top of the police house across from the apollo , i believe it is still there
The Blantyre Project James we posted at the same time. There was one there, but its gone now and has been perhaps throughout the 2000s.
Jean McIntosh Yes I remember, you registered births and deaths. Lovely building.
Moyra Lindsay Our Banns posted there. I remember the ladies who worked there.
Margaret Elma Griffin I used to live in Cemetery Road so remember the building well my Dad used to have one of the plots at the back of it
The Blantyre Project Were they little allotment plots Margaret?
Elizabeth Dobson Grieve Think my marriage must have been one of the last ones registered there. Posted my Banns there too.
Colin Duffy I was married in it in 1982
Catherine Sneddon I was 1986
Margaret Quinn Me and my sister May were registered there at birth x
Margaret Elma Griffin Yes they were allotment plots
Irene Agnew My son and daughter were registered there and our banns were posted there
Catherine Sneddon I was one of the last one to get married there still going strong 30 yrs on xx
Annette McSorley Bathgate I registered my children here, my first born, a son, was registered here nearly 38yrs ago……. Oh how time flies past ever so quickly. Always thought the building was lovely & saddened when it was demolished, pity really, the building should have been saved in my opinion.