This is one of my favourite photos of Blantyre, although its with sadness too as its a reminder that the Mills were demolished, rather than saved like New Lanark.
The date is 1903, and Blantyre Mills at the end of Station Road, lay derelict, some properties condemned, and the mills themselves await demolition. In the background on the right was the Powerloom factory. In the middle were the Barracks, home to orphan children workers, which also was used as offices, formerly a shop and of course the wages building. The building in the centre of the photo is now also gone, with exception of the end part, which still stands today, renovated after being ripped from the rest of the building at the time of demolition. Kids play on the lampost on the left, the steps still there today up to Shuttle Row.
Scanning this in high resolution, I was interested in a feature in the mid section of the central building. What appears to be a hoist or lift, from the rafters, with a small loading platform at the ground level, 2 large cogs clearly visible. I knew there was a weighing machine in the area, but that was the little stone building at the end of the fenceline. What was this hoist on the building used for? Perhaps getting coal up to the top floors? Or were the barrack children actually working from the building, lowering some sort of finished goods back to ground level? If you know more about this, I’d love to know.