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”.
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.
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
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