Sherriff’s Pub & Bruce’s Pub, High Blantyre

Next, a subject that has taken me a long time to investigate. High Blantyre Pubs of a bygone era. Very little information exists, other than local heresay about 19th Century pubs on Main Street, even old, local maps giving nothing away, so I knew from the onset, this would be a difficult subject.

In particular, in this article I was looking at the location of where The Cornerstone Pub is now. i.e at the corner of Main Street and Hunthill Road. It is known by some that this pub formerly Carrigans, was also once the Victoria Bar, Steele’s Pub and before that Logan’s amongst other names. However, what I aim to tell here is a time even before THAT building existed.

1859 Map showing Kirkton Buildings

1859 Map showing Kirkton Buildings

In 1859, this map shows 2 buildings at the corner of what was School Lane, with a detached building at Hunthill Road within the same fenced off land. There is no public house mentioned in that plot of land.

Jumping forward to February 1886, the Glasgow Herald contained an advert stating, an established wine and spirit business, the property of the late Alexander Sherriff, was to be sold off. The description is “a corner tenement and tenement adjoining occupied as shops and dwelling houses and a detached building consisting of 4 stables, loose box and cart shed on the ground floor, and small hall and beer store on the upper floor. There is an enclosed yard and gardens. The spirit business is carried on in the corner shop and flat above.”

Now whilst that may sound like the Carrigan’s/ Cornerstone building at Kirkton Cross, its not. It was a time before that building, the buildings highlighted in red in a different configuration. Looking at this old map, this description could only have been describing this location at Kirkton.

The advert is telling, for it shows a licensed premises existed at Kirkton at that location in 1886, something that had been there for some time. Not marked as a pub on 1859 map, it must have been created sometime between in the 1860s or 1870s.

The advert goes on to explain that another 2 pits are expected to be sunk in the area which would greatly improve trade and the pub and premises were to be sold for the princely sum of £1,350. The whole lot was bought over by Mr. David Logan, who would later go on to demolish all of the properties and rebuild on this land with more substantial, modern buildings, one of which still exists today as The Cornerstone Pub. No photos are as yet known to exist of these older buildings.

Before I leave this story, i will touch upon a suggestion. Another pub existed between 1880 and 1885, called Bruce’s Pub. Located at Kirkton and run by Thomas Bruce in 1885, Bruce’s pub appears to be short lived and may have been at this location, with Thomas Bruce leasing the public house from its owner, Alexander Sherriff. Another family member James Bruce appears to have become bankrupt in August 1882, and as he was a High Blantyre spirit merchant, this looks likely to have had a connection to Thomas. This last comment, is a suggestion only, for despite trying, I have been unable to determine for certain where Bruce’s pub was. A strong clue was given, when on 17th November 1880, a tramp was discovered in the road outside the pub, and was taken to recover at the nearby stable. The vagrant had been intoxicated the day before crying out he was an Irishman and an old soldier. He was spotted laying in the road outside the pub, by two passers by, who took him to the stable and called for Dr Grant, the doctor. He was then removed to Bruce’s public house nearby where Mr Sillars, inspector of the poor came to visit. He was about 60 years of age and remained unconscious until he died shortly after. He had B.C tattooed on his arm, along with an anchor and a crown.

Sherriff’s Pub and Bruce’s Pub may be one and the same, or may be separate in nearby locations, but I prefer the first option given the evidence.

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