The Blantyre Bowl (at the Dookit)


1935 Blantyre Picture Theatre (the Dookit)

1935 Blantyre Picture Theatre (the Dookit)

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.

On social media:

Robert McLeod-Wolohan i was in there a few times when i just entered my teen years lol again such fond memories.

Elaine Hunter My mum, who is now 80, used to go to the pictures every week with her dad when she was a wee girl

Lillias Addison My Uncle Tom McDonald was the projectionist there many many years ago

Emma Trevethan Seen a few films at the “Dookit”. .. So much for progress in Blantyre 50 yrs or so ago we had two cinemas bowling alley now we have nothing .. Happy days. X

Helen Stewart Remember when it went on fire x

Gord Fotheringham I scored a 300 game as part of the young ones bowling team…. Have never really bowled since……it was a real achievement back in the day……the young ones name came from cliff Richards new song….

Stephen Allan Where would that be on Glasgow Road now?

The Blantyre Project Stephen, i should have put that up too. The entrance to the Dookit, was in the EXACT spot of the current path leading down from Glasgow Road to the Sports Centre. The path itself now, lined up with where the Dookit door was, which would have been on the grass in the foreground, right on the Glasgow Road pavement.

The Blantyre Project's photo.
Stephen Allan Do u know what replaced the Dookit after the building was demolished?

Archie Peat Picture House was run by a Mr and Mrs Brown. The premises on the left was the ” Daisy Brown School of Dance ” A very enterprising couple !!!!

The Blantyre Project The Blantyre Picture Theatre was constructed on vacant ground in 1913 on Glasgow Road near the corner of Alpine Street. It was the first cinema in the area to show reels of film and proved an instant hit with the entire population, young and old alike. Built by EH Bostok, It proved an important local role in the first world war in keeping people informed, visually what was happening in the Great War. It housed 850 seats. The ventilation windows in the projector rooms made the outside of the building look like a dove cot and the building soon had the local nickname “The Dookit”.

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.

Lillias Addison I remember my father telling me of my uncle being the projectionist at the Doolkit you also mention Browns dance school I have a picture of myself about 3 years old sitting in the front row of a picture taken of the people in the class

Christine Cather It was the Broadway, when I went in the early 60’s.We did the stamping when it was exciting.Bought a Jubilee and a packet of crisis with the wee blue crunched up paper with salt.

Archie Peat The first 6 rows were benches without backs and when Mr McCallum decided you had seen the show he ordered you out. Nothing like 2 ” houses ” it was continuous running . Incidentally he was more crudely known as. ” s**t a brick “

Martin Smirh The Dookit ahhh the memories

Jeanette Allardyce Ward Shame there’s nothing like this now

Garry Lee It would be great to have another one of these in the town!!!


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  1. Good morning. I found your site whilst researching the history of UK Tenpin bowling centres. I am researching this history for the website. I was interested to find details of the Blantyre Bowl and would like more information if that is possible. I noticed there was reference to a second bowl in Blantyre but could not find and details. I am interested int date provide for the opening of the Blantyre Bowl (1959). It is well recorded that tenpin bowling did not come to the UK until April 1960. I would be most grateful if you can provide and more information of the two bowling centres. Many thanks in anticipation.

  2. Thank you Morris. Glad you like the site. It is growing at a phenomenal rate! I’d love to know more about the Blantyre bowl, or firm up dates or any stories or recollections you have. Its little discussed and in danger of becoming forgotten. I’d love to write up a proper article when you have a few moments! Thanks.Paul

  3. what a surprise to see my name mentioned under the Blantyre Bowl section. i love this website and often scan through it. it gives me many grea t memories of Blantyre. well done, great website

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