Oldest Blantyre Street Photo


1869-main-street-blantyre-wmAlthough a little blurry, this is one of my favourite photos of High Blantyre, if only as I believe it is perhaps the oldest photo of any Blantyre street.

Exclusively put online here for the first time, it was taken in 1869 and shows Main Street looking eastwards. To give you an indication of how old this photos is at 147 years, it is 8 years BEFORE the Blantyre Pit Disaster and even before the coal mining era properly got underway in Blantyre!

I had seen this photo before, but was recently given this better copy on a disk from Betty McLean, along with some other old photos coming this week.

The building on the left is Dales, a single storey building of several homes. These were knocked down and replaced by the current tenements of the same name. After Dales, there’s a gap, but thats not Cemetery Road, it was the entrance to the Bethany Hall, which sat back off the street. Staying on the left, the wooden fenceline would be removed a few years after this photo and the entrance to and Cemetery Road would be formed at that location, before the Cemetery opened in 1875.

I suspect the photo was taken to celebrate the newly built row of tenement homes and shops on the left (no longer there), where now there is a grass field. On the right hand side, construction is actually underway of a property no longer there today. You’ll see a large tree in the background, again not there today under which is the gable end and chimney of the former property called Lint Butts.

This is the boundary between Causeystanes and Auchinraith. Some of the people standing outside Dales may have lived there. I first noticed this name between 1875 and 1885. In 1905, Mr. Robert Hamilton was the owner of this property. The name Dales should not be confused with Dales Cottages which were on the former Hospital Road at the top of Victoria Street.

Here is what the scene looks like today.


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

On social media:

Moyra Lindsay Thanks for that, our first home was in the Dales.


Add a Comment
  1. I never knew the cottages on Hospital Road were called the Dales Cottages. I recall Edwin Hambley lived there, son of the Hambleys on Main Street. He was a driving instructor and helped me pass my driving test. Hospital Road was also know as the Metal Road possibly as a comparison for Victoria Street which was called the Clay or Cley Road before it was paved. I never understood why it was called the metal road. I couldn’t see any metal in or on it. It was years later when I became a civil engineer that the mystery was solved. The road had been surfaced with crushed rock, perhaps slag. That sort of unbound surfacing was called road metal. The term metal coming from the Latin for mining and quarrying. Not a lot of people know that. Hamish

  2. Moyra, I never knew you lived in the Dales. Obviously this was before you moved to the Coop Building at the entrance to the Bakery on Auchinraith Road. Did you know Jack McGaughey who lived in the Dales? Or did you stay in the Dales when you and Don married? Both my father and myself were born in the tenement that has been demolished and the site landscaped. I have a chuckle to myself when I pass the site and I tell my kids “see that rubbish bin beside the bus stop? I was born above that bin.” Hamish Dow son of Malcolm Dow

Leave a Reply