Squatters in Condemned Houses


docks.jpgAbout a score of men were charged at the Sheriff Court in early October 1933, with having lived in old Houses in Blantyre and Hamilton in respect of which demolition orders had become operative.

The Blantyre cases were taken first, the accused therein being Blantyre men, namely;
George Montague jun., labourer, 359 Main Street High Blantyre;
Edward Cornfield, miner. 1 Victoria Place Blantyre;
Benjamin Whittaker, 365 Main Street, High Blantyre, and
Alexander Whittaker, miner, 367 Main Street High Blantyre.

“Dealing with the first case the Fiscal (Mr J, C, Paterson) said it was one of a series relating to the seizure of houses in Blantyre—houses which had been condemned as unfit for human habitation. He was not going to enlarge on this question of the seizure of such property because it had been before the Court in connection with Hamilton cases, and the legal position was exactly the same in Blantyre. The only thing he could say was that there appeared to be an extension of the practice from the burgh to the county.

Mr Frank Cassells, solicitor, Hamilton, suggested that the cases might be continued for 48 hours in order to give the accused an opportunity of removing from the houses. The fiscal said that if an undertaking were given by the accused to remove in 48 hours he would not oppose a short continuation; otherwise, he would oppose any continuation whatever.
Each of the accused having undertaken to remove within the period which had been suggested, all the cases were continued until Wednesday morning.”

A week later, in the continued Blantyre case against Edward Cornfield, an ex- sergeant in the Forces, Fiscal-Depute Maclachlan reported that the accused had vacated the house occupied by him at 3 Victoria Street and had also found a job. He accordingly asked that no further order be made by the Court.

The 1930’s presented a significant problem in Blantyre with squatters taking up the few houses available. There was a real housing shortage just before the war.

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