Blantyre Co-op Bakery


1930 Co-operative BakeryBlantyre Cooperative Society Bakery – perhaps the tallest building Blantyre has seen, the Blantyre Co-operative Society (Number 5) Bakery, or more commonly known, the Auchinraith Bakery. At 5 storeys tall, this brick building truly was huge and dominated the skyline, only rivalled by the nearby Bing. It may have been the tallest and largest man made building ever seen in Blantyre. The railway ran immediately behind this building and its nearest neighbour was the Auchinraith Primary Janitor’s house on the opposite side of the track. Built of brick between 1898 and 1905, the bakery must always have seemed a very imposing building. It had a slate pitched roof and the windows all appeared long and tall, set into an arched façade at the front.

In January 1905 Charles Allan and Andrew Messer were repairing the chimney at a heigh of 60 feet when Messer overcome by fumes became unconscious. Allan held on to the man who weighed 4 stone, for an hour and a half until help came.

Several additional railway spurs were added at the back of the building directly from the goods and wagon storage sheds directly on to the railway, creating an easy means of delivery to places outwith Blantyre. Smaller offices were situated close by. The Co-op bakery was located at the top of Craig Street at its junction with Auchinraith Road. In 1930, it is noted in the valuation roll as having stables too. It was the place where Blantyre residents got their New Year steak pies. Dan Dodds was a van driver, delivering in a side opening van, filled with shelves of breads, cakes and pastries. Former racing speedway star, Mr Ken McKinley was also a delivery driver before his fame. Robert McLeod- Wolohan delivered the milk for the bakery in the late 1960s. John Cornfield and Derek McNamee were milk boys for the bakery in the early 1970s. Bobby Dunsmuir was a mechanic working in the garage building repairing the Co-op vans.

People could pay for their goods using plastic tokens. Modern homes at Carrick Gardens are now on this site, which still does command quite an elevated position, by comparison to the nearby streets. The building sometimes known as Co-op number 5 was eventually demolished in the mid 1970’s and nothing remains of the old building.

A few local people remember this building. Moyra Lindsay said, “I was its nearest neighbour for all my teenage years, in the flat above no.5 cooperative. The house on the other side in Craig Street was the headmaster’s house. He walked over each day in pinstripe trousers and what seemed to me tailcoat. Mr Dunlop. Sat in an office all day with roaring fire and his paper. I still think the only things he did were to count the dinner money and issue the tickets and frighten the lives out of us wee ones! Anyway that building was my view for years. It was a tied house as my dad was the mechanic. Lots of memories there, I was free to walk in and out any of it …no health and safety then. My mum worked there for years, I remember one Christmas her sitting crying she was so tired.“

Cecil Willis added, “Worked in No 5 co-op in front on Auchinraith Rd in 1965 with john broadilay and done the co purveys with jock blythe on saturdays and all the woman pat martin &martha black fanny wilkie to name a few tommy berry worked in the coal yard and used the biggest shovel u could imagine what a worker he was happy days“

Jane Johnstone also added, “Yes, went there daily with my Grannie, we lived right across the road in Auchinraith, as I got older was allowed to cross the road and go for the milk by myself but…had to be careful going into the yard for the lorries coming and going and had to remember the coop number…which I have now forgotten…. think it was1735 or something round about there! Lol! I remember the milk tokens and loved playing with them as a child. The ‘store’ had sawdust on the foot and a ‘store dug’ always lying at the wee bit in the middle where they took the money or wrote in your ‘Co’ book; guess it was buying on ‘tick’? When the coop closed On a Sunday, I had to go down Craig Street, through the old bridge, no pavement, so had to be really careful going through, to buy Willie Woodbines for my uncle Jock…he always gave us sixpence for going, which was a fortune then! Bought sherbet dabs and lucky bags. My Grannie was a school cleaner. I know that previously she worked in the primary school up at High Blantyre but may have ended her working life at Auchinraith Primary…Jeannie Dalton.“

On social media:

Edward O’Donnelly I remember working as a milk boy going there in the morning and getting hot rolls right out of the oven.

Billy McIntyre My dad Jimmy McIntyre worked here. In the early 1960’s I remember helping in the bakery van , paid in cakes.

Frances McDonald My sister Catherine worked in the office there in the sixties with some one called Marshall not sure if that was his first name or second or Jeffery rings bell to

Moyra Lindsay Marshall Jeffrey took over from Willie Pate! I lived there till 1967 probably knew your sister.

Frances McDonald Hi moyra she probability worked there around 1967 she was in America all her life and had a lovely family of 3girls and 1boy her second.d name was stokes she sadly passed away two years ago nice to here from you love reminiscing xx

Suzanne Shell McColligan Russell must just have been across the road

Jean Easterbrook Don’t think mum will understand this.. What a shame. X

Moyra Lindsay Jean she loved Blantyre! Sorry to hear that. I think about her often, not many people left that call me hen!

Stewart Hay I remember this building just at the bottom of elm street on The Glasgow road. One year on bonfire night it was set a light. A few week late it was taken down.

Moyra Lindsay Stewart this building was Auchinraith Road.

Stewart Hay Yes at the bottom just on the Glasgow road at the t junction

Gary Doonin No it wasn’t at Elm st or bottom of Auchinraith Rd you’re maybe thinking of the old Co hall which was indeed at Herbiston street which was at bottom of auchinraith rd near Glasgow rd

Thomas Barrett I was a milk boy there late sixties Davy Campbell was the milk man.Marshall Jeffrey and Bill Cleland were in charge. Wullie Stewart was the head mechanic he lived upstairs in the building that’s still there.

Andrew Thomson I remember sliding down the bing on old bread boards 😊happy days

Jane Johnstone I remember being taken for a walk with the’dug’ around the bing,

Helen Williams Lived round the corner in Maxwell Cres, passed it every day going to school, met my husband Stewart Williams he was apprentice mechanic under Wullie Stewart 1968, he also used to drive the purvey van, with all the ladies on board, weddings funerals was always a co purvey

Gary Doonin Stayed next door to it there was a massive long corrugated iron shed bounded our back garden and we painted a set of goals on it, I’m sure the demolition of the main big building was demolished in late 70s after being closed for a few years.

Moyra Lindsay Gary the shopping vans were parked in there at night. Later on when they were sold dad kept his caravan there as did the cooperative manager Mr Bob Snaddon
Moyra Lindsay Gary I handed a copy of a photo into the pub , it was taken at the back door of your house there. Taken around 1928 it’s got my mum and sisters and brother and your dad and others I don’t know. My mum would be about 8 or 9 in it. Did you get it?

Gary Doonin Sorry Moyra I never saw it

Fairlie Gordon Great reading Paul, i remember it from the late 60’s early 70’s

Jane Maxwell I remember going into the coop with my mum Nettie Mc Laughlin

Gary Morrison The house referred to in the first paragraph was not the Auchinraith schools janitors house but the headmaster’s. My parents bought it in 1970 when it had been sitting derelict for many years.

Moyra Lindsay Hi Gary I think I attended court hearing with your folks when they were objecting to the houses being built there.

Gary Morrison No not us Moyra -we had moved on by late ’76

Gay Frazier This brings back so many memories of my brother Stewart and I sliding down the .bing 💕now thats a good memory.

Margaret Quinn They made the best snowballs ever in that bakery and date buns the co cobblers was there too in the sixties as I recall.

Robert McLeod-Wolohan i worked there as well as a milk boy before going to school then as a milk van boy after i left school, delivering milk, cakes, bread, buns, and then on a friday collecting the tokens for their goods during the week lol those were good times lol

Jane Johnstone There is nothing like nor ever will be anything like a Coop purvey from the Blantyre Co!!!😀

Stephen Allan Where was the building?

Gary Doonin Auchinraith Rd at top of Craig street right opposite timber houses. Only building left is the convenience store with 2 flats above.

Catherine Campbell My dad John Haliburton delivered the milk for years,I remember helping out when they did the purvey,loading the vans my dad would drive to the events and drop of food. He moved to Willkies when they took over from the coop.

Bill Hunter I can remember when on a cold winters night pounding the beat all night and when walking from High Blantyre to Low Blantyre down Auchinraith Road, calling in at the Bakery just when the roles were comming out of the oven, With some of the staff would sit down to a cup of coffee and two freshly buttered hot rolls and a good natter. Great days.

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  1. I remember the co op bakery well in the 1940’s. Approaching New Year my Grandma Fraser (Maggie) would take the ingredients for her shortbread and black bun to the bakery later returning for the finished goodies. When the divi or dividend was paid out, it was usually in tokens or co checks, this went a long way to purchase food etc. I remember well my visits to the Central shops to get the ‘messages’!
    My other Grandma – Hill – who lived in Craig Street had her bread delivered by horse and cart, the Driver was Tam Hiplop, she used to tell me all sorts of stories which involve Tam and his transport. I can just smell the bread now flavours with horse.

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