Caroline Weintz contacted me with some information about her husbands great grandfather, Walter Stewart. Although not the famous Lord Blantyre Walter Stewart, this person was accustomed to more humble origins and worked as a barman at the Westend. I have pieced some information together along with Caroline’s information to record the following entry:
Walter Stewart was the barman at the Westend Bar during 1900 and certainly still in 1905. He worked for Robert Craig and looked after Westend Place on Glasgow Road also as watchman.
Following 1905, his time in Blantyre was short lived and eventually moved to Perthshire as a gamekeeper, a job amongst many he had in his life.
It was said Walter’s mother went into labour in the old washhouse, which possibly is the garage (or other outhouse). Walter Stewart used his time whilst owning/managing the pub to write and undertake his other passion of bird watching. He was a noted ornithologist and some of his stuffed birds may have ended up at the Hoolets Nest Pub on display in glass cabinets in the 1970s.
One evening around 1900, someone had broken into the West End Bar whilst Walter and his young family were asleep upstairs. He took his gun from the cupboard and went out onto the external backstair where he spotted the thief bending down in the road – he took aim to shoot the thief in the rear end, however things went terribly wrong and the thief stood up and the bullet hit the intruder in the spine, crippling the intruder for life. However, Walter was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing when it went before the court.
Pictured is Westend Place, which consisted of the Westend Bar and 9 homes in 2 storey tenements. The picture dates from 1900 and Walter Stewart was very much likely behind the bar in that building when this was taken!
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017