Whins Camp, Blantyeferme

Blantyre Ferme Camp or Whins Camp was a former Second World War army barracks camp at Blantyreferme. The land was acquired from the Calderglen estate. It was decommissioned and abandoned following the end of the war in 1945, but shortly after in 1948 became the home of many families who were evicted from a more dilapidated camp at Dechmont Hill.

The camp pictured here exclusively on Blantyre Project, carried the official name “Blantyre Ferme Camp” as noted on some of the late 1940’s birth certificates of children born there and was nicknamed “The Whins” or “Whins Camp”.

1949-blantyreferme-huts-wm1

During the 1950’s birth certificates carried the name “Bosfield”, which may have been a formal name given to ensure the temporary association of the word ‘camp” was removed.

When the Dechmont eviction order commenced at 6am on Friday 8th October 1948, the Department of Health ensured it would be free for the 57 families, picking up any costs.

They provided huge removal vans and assisted the 57 families moving their entire possessions from Dechmont to the Blantyre Ferme Camp and incredibly were complete by the next evening.

In the previous months, the Department of Health had sourced this location for the 57 families, with a specific remit of keeping them all together, and ensuring wherever they moved to would be local and with better conditions that they had been used to.

The Department kept its promise and 3 months before the eviction sourced the old army camp at Blantyre Ferme. The buildings were run down, but considerable monies were spent, upgrading them to a high standard. And what a standard that was!

The huts were thoroughly overhauled by plumbers, electricians and joiners and converted, sometimes joined together into 2, 3 and 4 apartments. Water and electricity was provided in each home, along with flushing toilets and washhouses. The 57 families were each overjoyed at being given such accommodation.

1949-blantyreferme-huts

Of course, this wasn’t entirely free afterwards. Having paid no rent at Dechmont for poor living conditions, the new lodgings at Blantyreferme were almost palatial.

All 57 families were satisfied to begin paying a heavily discounted rent for their new living arrangements. Rent was 3 shillings a week for a room and kitchen, or 7 shillings for 3 rooms and a kitchen. 2 shillings per week was the charge for electricity, which at first was on temporary generators, only until the connection was made shortly after.

Women at Blantyreferme didn’t need to queue for rations, as food and fuel delivery shopping vans were frequent to the camp.

In 1949, after some protest, a special bus was put on permanently to take the children to school and back, direct to the gates of the camp.

You can imagine the excitement of the flit and being able to choose whom you were going to live beside. Amongst the children who moved was 3-year old Ann Taylor, Benny Craig aged 7 and James Craig aged 9, who each took great delight in assisting with the move.

Mrs Emily Scott and her 3 children Coral (12), Emily (4) and David (2) soon settled down in their new home quoting “this is far better than my last one! I feel i’ll be quite happy here and be close to all my neighbours“.

40-year old John Croll, the camp caretaker told journalists at the time, “I gave up my room and kitchen in Corn Street, Glasgow to come here. I’ve no regrets and it’s up to everyone here to make this the showcamp of Scotland“. The camp no longer exists today and is now the site of Redless Park.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

On social media:

Jackie MacDonald Lovely article.
The Blantyre Project thank you. I had several people asking if i could write something about it.
Helen Allan Very interesting
Marian Maguire Remember my dad talking about this.
Archie Peat I remember the children coming to Nessie’s School in1947/8 . It was memorable because they did not wear shoes or socks. As kids we were really excited and told our parents we could go to school barefoot !!! Teachers and parents soon put a stop to that !!!!
Gord Fotheringham Remember on of our teacher at st.joes……taking a wee lassie to the shoe shop and bought her new shoes……the next day the wee lassies mither came to school and had a fight with the teacher…..and threw the shoes at the teacher……indeed those were the happy dayz…..
Colin Wotherspoon Wonder why no pictures of the front of the Buildings as some had verandas from what I can remember facing onto Blantyreferme Rd with a football pitch and Vehicle ramp for inspection underneath many locals used for there own cars
Edward Boyle I once visted the camo in the early 1950s where an Aunt lived with her small family, 2 Cousins were born there. Att aerial photo is from 1941.

Edward Boyle's photo.
The Blantyre Project Thanks Edward .I wonder what the large building was at the far right? looks like a hall?
Edward Boyle Maybe some sort of guard room to secure that corner? We’ll probably never know.
Andy Callaghan I always knew this as The Whins and used to play around the deserted buildings in the 1950s when the only residents were the local farmer’s coos.

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  1. Re birth certificates changed to Bosfield [ Rather than Blantyreferme Camp in 1950’s] Must have been sometime after March 1951 as I have a relative born there then with latter address complete with “Hut Number” on birth certificate, 3 of his older siblings have many glad & some sad memories of living there.

  2. My Dad was the care-taker of the gun-sight there in the 50’s We used to play in the Bunkers in the compound ..The school bus came and picked us up for St Joseph’s. School . there was a huge wash-house for the women and fish n chip van ice-cream,,grocery van came around .Great place to grow-up and lots of adventurous places to play.

    1. I was partly brought up there up until 1953, I went to Nessies School in Blantyre on the school bus, moved to Fife 1953 around queens birthday.

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