When trams were removed and Glasgow Road widened to accommodate vehicles, almost all the houses in Glasgow Road lost much of their nice large front gardens. Businesses along the road were affected to. Most notably the David Livingstone Church, lost its front gardens almost entirely with the church entrance being close to the road. It prompted concerns amongst the congregation and by the minister that the heavy traffic would affect the huge spire of the David Livingstone Memorial Church and so began a long, drawn out battle between the church and the County council, which ended up in court.
On Friday 23rd August 1929, the Bellshill Speaker newspaper, reported, “The long-drawn-out dispute between Lanark County Council and the managers of the Livingstone Memorial U.F. Church, Blantyre, regarding the compensation to be paid for loss of ground in front of the church owing to the widening the Glasgow road, was referred to arbitration.
One of the principal contentions of the church managers was that bringing the road so much nearer the church the heavy and continuous road traffic would jeopardise the safety the massive 120-feet spire.
The arbiter, Mr A. F. Gordon, Edinburgh has awarded the church £250, the sum offered the county, with £10 for expenses.”
Pictured in 1904, in good detail is the David Livingstone Memorial Church showing how large the garden was at the front. I’ve marked up a modern map showing the extent of the front ground lost to the road widening.
The sum would have been about £14,000 in today’s money. Looking at modern photos, it is clear that the existing wall and entrance pillars were simply dismantled and rebuilt further back using the same stone in 1929.