Auchentibber – what of the future


1930 Gemmel colliery manThis article was written in 1928 by Blantyre man, “David Chalmers Gemmell”. David at the time was the colliery manager at Auchinraith and was deeply respected and much liked. Indeed, even a year after the pit disaster in 1931, when he set off and left Blantyre to Fife, he was given gifts by the miners. Thanks to Gordon Cook for the picture of David.

Clearly educated, David may have been profoundly affected by the explosion that cost the lives of 6 men. it may be a surprise to some that he wrote this little article titled,“Auchintibber in the Past –  what of the future 1928.”

David’s foresight told of a warning about Auchentibber and a danger for the 500 people living there at the time. A real interesting article.

High on the rising ground, almost two miles to the south of High Blantyre, stands the lonely and isolated village of Auchintibber. A village of from four to five hundred inhabitants, it is in many respects a self contained community, living its own life, finding its own amusements, and with at least its own share of that clannishness peculiar to the Scottish village. The “hub” of this little village has always been the inn, an unpretentious building standing at the junction of the roads. The owner of this hostel (JBH Struthers) has invariably been the “uncrowned king” of the community. The village contains practical proof of the beneficence of his rule, as well as of the loyalty of his subjects. The Auchintibber miner is an enthusiast for quoiting. The site of the pitch and the well-known gardens extending beyond was formerly an old sandstone quarry. The beauty of these gardens must be seen to be appreciated. They are laid out with a taste and skill worthy of our best landscape gardeners. The war memorial standing here is worthy of notice. Its appearance is imposing, formed as it is by polished pillars with marble slabs between, all procured from Hamilton Palace. The roll of names inscribed thereon testifies that the village did its share in the great struggle.

But a shadow has fallen on Auchintibber, and there is grave danger that in the near future this interesting hamlet will be wiped out. Housing ideals have changed vastly since the erection of the dwellings in this upland village, and the decree has gone forth from our progressive rulers that some at least of the houses must go. Such places have been the cradle of men and women who have made their influence felt for good in the world, and the best is not brought out of humanity by herding it together. The motor car has enabled the business man each evening to leave the scene of his labours far behind. Must the worker be condemned to live within the sound of the factory hooter or in sight of the pit bank? Simpler and cheaper sanitary arrangements should suffice for smaller outlying villages than for the larger centres of population. Is it beyond the ability of our engineers to devise schemes suitable for the needs and financial resources of such conditions? Has any attempt been made to approach the problem from this angle?

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  1. Hi Paul, Any Gemmell, Jackson, Hamilton, Barr, and other names, I save them for working out our tree. Your project is just so invaluable to me, and so many others. Thanks for every crumb. Bev Smith

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