The area at the top of Stonefield Road, at its crossroads junction with Broompark Road and Stonefield Crescent has long had shops and retail units, just as it does today. Shops have been located there as far back as the early 1900’s and even further back if we include the nearby former bakery. It’s a busy little hub of commerce of all sorts today including the Newsagents, hairdressers, Candelina, The Blantyre Vets, Happy Season takeway and Scotmid. We can also add Carrigans Coffee House (inside the new building) this year and towards the end of the year the arrival of William Hill bookmakers.
Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the shops in the area were just as popular. By then the former drapers Danskins, at the corner of Broompark Road had become Dunsmuirs Drapers, who continued running the premises as a supplier of clothes, silks and wools.
On the same side of the street at the top of Stonefield Road, several small shops were located on the lower floor of Little’s Building and Robertson’s Building, the 3 storey tenement (although it did have dormer windows in the roof, making it at one time into a 4 storey!)
People of a certain generation will remember Patons Hairdressers. This was located in the small pitched roof one storey building adjacent to Dunsmuirs. The little building is still there today being used as a hairdressers, although not by the Paton family. The small detached building was built by William and Jimmy Little, tradesmen and joiners of the area. Jimmy owned Crossbasket in 1932. The hairdressers were owned by Willie and Jim Paton. The shop layout was gents at the rear and ladies at the front.
Further down in the first large building known as Little’s Building was McAleeneys shop. This was on the lower floor of Little’s 2 storey building. It was a dark shop and sold things like firelighters, paraffin and possibly newspapers. The spelling of McAleeneys may be slightly different. Next to the shop was a passageway/close leading through Little’s building to the rear back yard.
Further down and adjoining Little’s Building were larger tenements, of 3 storeys high with an upper dormer level. Shops were located on the lower floor of this building which stood once where the existing Larkfield Shops now are. This building was called Robertson’s Building or Robertson’s Laun or Land.
Below all the many homes, the most notable shop there was perhaps the popular Cardwell’s Ice Cream shop which was incredibly popular especially with children. The Ice Cream shop was run by Mr and Mrs Cardwell who lived in Broompark road in the house next to or next but one to Dunsmuir’s. I think this was formerly called Greenburn Cottage but has a different name today.
Bill Duncan who lived in Robertson’s Laun kindly told me last year, “Mr and Mrs Cardwell had a son and a daughter Billy and Nan. Billy and his wife Irene for a time had a Hotel or boarding house in Blackpool, but gave this up, moved back home and set up a roadside cafeteria on the A71 near Strathaven, over the years they developed it into a more upmarket restaurant, having checked Google Earth, sadly, I don’t think its there any longer. Willie Cardwell’s shop was popular with the locals. It served them with a variety of confectionary and other misc items as well as the excellent ice cream which was made onsite. Willie had a couple of ice cream vans on the road servicing for many years East Kilbride, initially the village area then the Glasgow overspill schemes being built, the ‘Murray’ mainly. My dad did some part time work on the ice cream van and I helped also.
One night on the road home, it was either Christmas Eve or New Years Eve my dad crashed the van on the hill running down to Stoney-meadow, the conditions were snow and ice. My mum was also in the van as she had been helping that night. The van overturned onto its side coming to rest on a roadside fence on the wrong side of the road. luckily they were not seriously hurt, but extremely fortunate as one of the fence posts narrowly missed them as it penetrated the side and roof of the van behind their head.”
Willie Cardwell also had an arrangement with The David Livingstone Memorial to sell ice cream onsite from a small hut in the visitors play area. He transported ice cream down to the hut in a large multi gallon freezer. Bill had the pleasure of having a great childhood part time job, by helping him out. Later, a Mr Whittaker and Mr Jimmy McDonald bought the business from William Cardwell and continued to trade under the name Cardwell Ices at High Blantyre Main Street at the lower level of Todd’s Building, near the entrance to Kirkton Park, before the family later moved to Auchinraith.
Next was Smith’s Grocery shop, which was run by Mr and Mrs Smith. They had two sons, Robert and Jackie. Anyone living in Larkfield in the 1950’s would remember Jackie. He was allegedly quite the character, but unfortunately severely disabled. Jackie couldn’t walk and was bodily weak, but remarkably managed to get about on his own on a special large wheeled tricycle. In the summer months Jackie could often be seen cycling down Stonefield road, passing Little’s cottages and on into the tennis courts at the Bowling Club where he spent many hours. He was well accepted by the Club members and they looked after his welfare when he was there. His brother was a keen photographer and would likely have taken many photos of Blantyre.
Thanks again to Bill Duncan. Do you remember any other shops in this area from the 1950s or 60s before the buildings were demolished? I’d love to add your memories to this detail.