Thomas Baxter & Sons


screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-11-10-45Back in March 2016, Michael Barrett messaged me saying, “I am just wondering if you have any old pictures of Church Street in Blantyre (quite near Asda) or Craig Street as it used to be before Asda was built? My dad had a small company R.G.Barrett & Co that he started in 1970 in Craig Street but moved to Church Street, manufacturing body sills. The building at Church St (No.19) is still there, now in my ownership and may have been built in the 19th century?  Our lawyer lost the title deeds, so we have no proof of this. My dad appears to have bought the building outright in 1973 from the liquidators of Thomas Baxter & Sons after moving from 18a Craig Street as there was talk of Glasgow Road redevelopment. I know it was a potato merchants at one time and also Baxter’s Bluebird Buses at another time….any further info/photos would be brilliant – if they exist!”

The closest photo I have to this particular request would be this photo of the bottom of Craig Street in 1978, before Asda. The little building Michael refers to is at the very end of Church Street. According to the Valuation Roll, in 1930, Thomas Baxter & Sons owned a fruit store & garage at number 19 and would later be known for their potatoes. The name Baxter’s Bluebird buses.


I would add that the building is not 19th Century. Church Street, according tot he 1898 map itself did not exist and was simply the Church on Glasgow Road, with fields behind. By 1910 the homes had been built, but nothing yet on that spot where the garage now is. By 1936, the garage had been built, so this was a good indication of it being built between 1910 and 1936, rather than being older. The attached maps will demonstrate this. Michael later confirmed to me there is a carving in the garage with the date “1912”, which I think is the likely construction date, rather than graffiti.

William Baxter & Son was a Blantyre bus company of the 1920’s, based at Church Street. In April 1929 their amalgamation with J.W&R Torrance of Hamilton created a larger company but no changes were made to timetables. During 1930, Thomas Baxter & Son owned this fruit store and garage at 19 Church Street on the east and very end of the street. The Baxter family would later go on to create Baxter’s Bluebird Buses. They would become liquidated in 1973, a sad end to this family’s generations of business there.

Information extract from “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

On social media:

Ann Crossar You can get a copy of the title deeds from Registers of Scotland – customer service centre now located in Hanover House, Douglas Street, Glasgow.
Elaine Cavanagh I think this was my Gran’s family. I’ll ask my Aunts if they have any photos. My Gran definitely lived there until at least the 1940’s, when according to a living history account she had written down, their trucks were requisitioned and converted to ambulances. She drove ambulances in WWII. I do remember some pictures of family businesses amongst her photos. She died in 2013 aged 97 and was sharp as a tack.

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  1. R G Barrett used to advertise in motor mags. I remember calling at the place to get them to make up floor “top hat” strengthening sections for a Mark 1 sprite. I recall the young chap “serving” me! Those were the days of pop riveted cover sills etc. Now all have to be welded.

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