Two bowling alleys were known to exist. One at High Blantyre, which was located next to the old Kirkyard, and another more well known at Glasgow Road.
When the Blantyre Picture House (The Dookit) at Glasgow Road closed, two local men, Mr. Ian Liddell and Mr. William Paul, converted the property and opened it in 1959 as a 10 pin bowling alley, naming it ‘The Blantyre Bowl”. The premises saw an extensive refit and renovation. The bowling premises would have today been on the ground between the sports centre and Glasgow Road. Descendants of the Liddell family once contacted me offering more information, so if they’re reading this, I would love to know more about Ian’s business venture.
Ten Pin Bowling was a short-lived pastime at that location, for in 1966, fire destroyed the business. In the 7 years it was open, the 10 pin bowling proved very popular and a number of players took the pastime to a more serious level, succeeding at a National game. Blantyre’s John Keenan, winning the British Under 21 Championships. Morris Buchanan winning the Scottish Junior 10 Pin Bowling Championships in 1963 at the young age of only 15. When the Blantyre Bowl closed, many people wished to continue and resumed their sport at Hampden.
Pictured in 1935, a few decades earlier is a nice clear photo of the Dookit Cinema, the premises which would later become, The Blantyre Bowl.
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In 1929, it was leased out to LCV Circuit who embraced new technologies such as “talkies” or movies with sound. The cinema served Blantyre well and was popular even when a second cinema arrived in 1939.
The attendant who would guide you to his seat was known as Jimmy “The Brick” McCallum (named after a comic book character of the time), a man all children feared. Shining a torch in your face if you were misbehaving was apparently the norm. Other stories I’ve heard about this building is how children would stamp their feet in excitement when the “goodies chased the baddies” and the noise of crisp bags popping every minute.
However, by the late 1950’s and with grander picture houses opening nearby in Hamilton, the cinema started to fall into decline (perhaps through its age and facilities).After a brief spell in the 1960’s as an indoor bowling alley, and as a live acts venue, it closed shortly after and today is no longer there.