Review 2015 and the road ahead

Can’t quite believe it’s so far into January already! The last few nights I’ve been filing away things from last year, tidying up my records etc and wanted to say thank you for all the support shown this last year.

Let’s recap for a few moments….

Blantyre Project Websites
To accommodate an expanding archive at Blantyre Project, the end of 2015, saw some of my spare time building additional sections and navigation into the main website at This saw a large restructuring to accommodate many more articles and is set to be unveiled shortly. Set out in date order, you can navigate to any story easily and quickly for ANY area in Blantyre.  Here’s some online highlights:

1. 2015 was all about adding new content. Over 1,100 uniquely researched articles were added to the site with an average of 3 new daily posts per day! (I can’t begin to tell you what an incredible amount of work that was, working on those articles in my spare time almost every day of the year. It consumed almost all of my spare time but is something I took great delight in doing, a highlight being able to  document new or forgotten discoveries.)
2. Internet traffic went absolutely crazy with almost 430,000 hits to the site, from many different countries around the world. The added content means Blantyre’s Largest Historical Online Archive was expanded and now incredibly Blantyre Project has over 5,200 Blantyre related photos and over 2,200 detailed history articles all in the one place!!
3. Similarly, the Facebook page has absolutely exploded with visitors with now over 11,100 people following the daily new articles!
4. A Blantyre Photos website was launched too which is growing in size.
5. Care homes received free hard backed copies of my books, with a view of entertaining and reminiscing and in the case of those same books given to Primary Schools, a view to educating.

Wow! What a year it was for Blantyre Project books. After some recuperation from an eye injury, my book about Crossbasket Castle was launched back in May and very well received. Then, in November Volume 3 of “A Journey in Time” had a successful launch and all capped off today by a third book in 2015 alone, “Blantyre Statistical Accounts”. This was all due to working away from home and having spare time each evening in hotels, something I won’t be doing in 2016. I’m SO proud of these latest books, which added to my Blantyre Telegraph charity fundraising has now seen over £4,555 raised for over 3 dozen local Blantyre good causes.

Thank you
I have to say thanks to the National Trust for supporting Blantyre Project and stocking the books in the David Livingstone gift shop and of course to the Miners Welfare Community Resource Centre, which is a permanent outlet for buying my books. Also to all the people who bought a book this year. All profits , all 100% of them, have gone to charitable causes. By choice, my personal earnings for all book sales in 2015 was £0.00.

So, Whats in Store for 2016?
I’m asked often, have you much more to write about Blantyre? Well, in answer to that, i’d say i’m about 30% of the way through everything I want to write about!! I have SO much more to share and show you. Here’s whats going on in 2016 and hopefully something for you guys to look forward to:

a) My “to do” list has 182 items to investigate on it, mostly emailed requests from people, but also things to double check and follow up on. If you’ve emailed me recently, you’ll be on that list, and i promise to get round to you, in order they came in.
b) I’ll be continuing to add fresh, daily new content to Blantyre Project each day, expanding the archive, without repeating pictures. I’ll be adding to the detail in the overall archive, with a view of uploading it to the National Library of Scotland on a quarterly basis for preservation and publishing it in future books. Indeed, right now, even if I never wrote anything further, brand new, daily unseen content has already been auto-scheduled all the way through until the end of April 2016!!
c) I’ll be recommencing a series of FREE history presentations all over Blantyre throughout Spring and Summer, commencing on 13th March 2016. Dates and venues to be announced nearer the time.
d) I’ve a major announcement to make shortly about how Blantyre’s history from Blantyre Project will touch each and every person in this town, but I’m still finalising and negotiating some final things on that, but needless to say the exciting announcement should surpass anything that Blantyre Project has achieved to date. It’s something I’m so excited about, it causes me to lose sleep. It will ALL be about community engagement and protection of Blantyre’s history on a permanent basis and I can’t wait! More on that later.
e) Yes, there will be a book in 2016. The most significant draft I’m currently working on is a pictorial book. An illustrated book, mostly of Blantyre photos of old, and compared directly to what those places look like today. This book is expected to be out for Christmas 2016 and will see a departure from my usual writing, to something photographic with quality of the pictures being paramount. Very exciting and I think it will be very popular. If there’s time, I have one or two small booklet drafts also open, which may also get finished in 2016.
f) I’ve plenty of new unseen photos of Blantyre to share with you all and will be showing them daily as normal on the Blantyre Project Facebook page and website. In addition to this, I’m now sifting through over 8,000 of my family’s own photographs, to pick out all the relevant Blantyre ones. (Yes, my family have over 8,000 photos of people in our family, homes, family life, outings, occasions and Blantyre itself, dating back to the year 1900 or so!!)
g) I’ve been working on additional sections and enhanced pages on Blantyre Project website. These have been protected and kept offline for now, but I’ll be enabling them shortly, bolstering the Blantyre archives hugely with further new content.

Of course, it’s you guys that make this site so successful. I enjoy learning about new Blantyre people, places, buildings and events from all the input and frequent comments which appear on this page. I couldn’t do it without you and I must confess, theres still so much for me to learn. I’ll be writing about Blantyre’s history…. no scrap that, “recording Blantyre’s history” for a long, long time to come.

Finally, I’m confident 2016 will be a positive year and sincerely hope you’ll join me exploring Blantyre’s wonderful past in the most fun, free and factual manner.


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