Blantyre Mills 1860 (part 2 of 2)

1903-blantyre-mills-whole-wmThe following provides a good description of Blantyre Mills in 1860.

“The buildings in which the cotton-spinning was carried on in the year 1805 have remained very much as they were, but by this introduction of improved machinery the work in those buildings, as well as keeping the machinery and buildings in repair, is now efficiently carried out by 260 workers, of whom 201 are females and 59 males.

The building of four stories, called the picking-house, which existed in 1805, was destroyed by fire and has been replaced by one not so high for other purposes, as picking by hand has long been discontinued. The cleaning of cotton is now all done by machinery. The buildings in which the apprentices of former days were lodged are now converted into warehouse stores, counting house, and an armoury for the rifle-corps.

In 1809-10 a large building was added, capable of holding 350 power-looms.

A gas-making apparatus was erected in 1814, by which all the works are lighted ; and since 1843, all the dwell- ing houses in the village, as well as the streets, have also been hghted with gas.

In 1845 mechanics’ shops and stores were erected. 


A good school-house is kept up and efficient teachers provided ; nearly two-thirds of the expense defrayed by the company, and the remainder by the children in school by their pence. Parents not connected with the works send their  children that they may participate in the advantages of this school.

The children are taken to church by their parents to whatever church they please. There are two Established churches, two Free churches, one United Presbyterian within twenty minutes’ walk of the village ; besides which the Methodists meet in the village school, and one of the Free Church ministers delivers a sermon every Sabbath in the school-house, and from five to seven o’ clock schoolmasters, assisted by the heads of families and others 

as monitors conduct a Sabbath evening scliool in the schoolhouse, which is attended by 180 to 190 children.

About two-thirds of the inhabitants attend the Free and United Presbyterian churches, the remainder are divided betwixt the Established Church, Roman Catholics, and Methodists.


The village belonging to the works in 1851 contained a population of 1,280 ; there are now (1860) about 1,400, every available house being occupied ; and were there a fourth more houses added, they would be occupied as fast as they could be built.

A considerable number of the workers come from Bothwell, High Blantyre, and other adjacent places ; they come in the morning and return again in the evening. There are also a large proportion who come from all the coal and iron works, but at a greater distance. They lodge in the village during the week, going home upon Saturday, and returning again upon Sabbath evening.

There are occasionally a few who having natural physical defects could not otherwise gain a livelihood, but can do the hght work of the mill very well.”

Pictured in this article are several exclusive new photos of Blantyre Mills, never previously seen online. As always, if anybody wishes a high resolution copy without the watermark, just let me know.

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

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