Broomhouse Farm – According to Parish Records of 1859, Broomhouse was then just a long thatched cottage, lived in at either end, but with the middle portion of the roof collapsed and in ruin. Mr John Torrance, a solicitor from Hamilton owned the house and surrounding lands and indeed the nearby quarry. He, or his father is the likely constructor of Broomhouse cottage. The name Broomhouse is derived from 2 types of Broom grown nearby in the mid 19th Century in a small wooded area to the east of the cottage. Thorny and Plain broom was grown here. (Calicotome spinosa known as thorny broom or spiny broom is a very spiny, densely branched shrub of the legume family Fabaceae, which can reach up to three metres in height. The yellow flowers were used to produce perfumes and the srub itself when stripped used to assist thatch and the bristles of hardwearing brooms). Broomhouse is not on Roys Military map of 1747, and given the middle of it was in complete ruin in 1850’s, there is a likelihood of it dating from the latter half of the 18th Century.
During 1859, A J. Dickson occupied it and the whole building paid feu duties to Mrs James Jackson of Barnhill for £14 per year, a situation that continued throughout the 1860’s. A.J Dickson appears to be a business name involved in the constructing of homes at nearby Parkneuk. In those decades, Broomhouse cottage was accessed by a small track than ran north to south connecting Greenblairs Farm to Craig Row and Auchentibber Road. There was no entrance from Parkneuk Road. To the north were Mr Torrance’s quarry and an old limestone pit. To the west was Greenblairs Farm and to the East the nearest property was “The Nest” at Parkneuk Road. Mr John Torrance died in 1870, aged 56 and John Russell, the tenant farmer who was working in his quarry, bought Broomhouse Cottage, land and the quarry. He appears to have demolished Broomhouse Cottage entirely that year and rebuilt on the same land, a much more substantial property, which was to be called Broomhouse Farm. Mr Russell added these assets to his portfolio of homes he already owned at Priestfield, Muirfoot and Blantyre Muir. Robert Dickson, a farmer had received an upgrade and was renting the new Broomhouse Farm from new owner, John Russell, farmer of Burnbrae in 1875 for £20 per year. This situation carried on through the 1880’s and 1890’s.
The new farm was substantially larger than the former cottage. It was constructed in stone comprising of an L Shape. The property was whitewashed and had a slated roof. It was single storey with use of attic space. Two windows faced west and it had 3 chimney pots.
By this time, the nearby quarry to the west had hugely expanded by John Russell and was encroaching upon the field adjacent to the farm. Houses had also been built at Parkneuk, so Broomhouse by then had neighbours. A Rowan tree grew in the courtyard to the south of the building. By 1905, Broomhouse Farm had been sold by John Russell (but not due to his death, which didn’t occur until 1918). The buyer sometime between 1895 and 1905 was Mrs Helen Wallace, wife of prominent Auchnetibber property owner, James Wallace of Muirfoot. She owned 7 other homes nearby and a meeting room. She continued to rent out to Robert Dickson for the same annual rent of £20. However the Wallace ownership of Broomhouse Farm was to be short lived. By 1915, Robert Dickson owned, occupied and farmed Broomhouse Farm; his purchase took place between 1905 and 1915. It is suspected it occurred during the first decade of the 20th Century. For by 1910, several substantial new outbuildings for storage had been built. By 1920, Broomhouse was inherited by William Dickson (not to be confused as William Dixon coalmasters a mistake the 1920 valuation roll presumes!). It is here we first see reference to Broomhouse being firmly established as a recognised working farm. Around the 1920’s, a single-track access road was created entered from Parkneuk Road, leading up to the farm, the track still existing today.
A large barn was added, double height built of stone running north to south. It had a vaulted semi circular tin roof. Conditions inside Broomhouse may have been in need of repair at this time for in 1920, there is nobody occupying Broomhouse living there permanently, but instead William Dickson preferred to rent from Arthur Leggat and lived at nearby Springpark on Auchentibber Road, a building still there today. Importantly, as noted in the 1920 and 1930 valuation rolls, some of the ground next to Broomhouse was still owned by John Jackson Coats, the Rev Walter M Coats and Surgeon Lt Colonel James Coats and being rented by William Dickson, land that would soon be his. The Dickson family would retain and hold on to the farm throughout much of the 20th Century. William’s daughter Flora inherited the property and married her old sweetheart and former neighbour, Robert Potter in 1966 who came back from Australia. During the late 1960’s Flora hired out the large barn to a youth group in Blantyre for their dances. Trees have significantly grown from the nearby disussed quarries masking them almost entirely.
Looking to the future – In recent years, the farm passed from the Dickson family to commercial owners. A substantial large detached property called ‘Campsie View’ has been built next to the farm, which post Millennium, has been a industrial and commercial premise F.E Hoad & Sons Ltd was a former freight haulage business located at Broomhouse Farm. They operated from a huge warehouse structure built on the north side of the farm. During their post Millennium time there, the farm was well kept and whitewashed but the company dissolved on 17th February 2012.
Broomhouse Farm Estate Ltd (a private limited company incorporated on 9th June 2016), owned the title for the land under registry number LAN 71998, a business directed by Isobel Jane Currie and Mr. Andrew Newall. Mr Newall acquired the property to run his own business.
In February 2017, it was announced that family-owned Townhill Welding Company would move to new commercial premises at Broom House Farm, Auchentibber, after receiving a six-figure loan from Clydesdale Bank. The premises will allow Townhill Welding Company, owned and run by Andrew Newall and his son Kevin, to move out of their rented site in Hamilton. This will expand their commercial footprint and has already allowed the team to hire a new member of staff. The well-known Lanarkshire Company was able to secure the loan as part of Clydesdale Bank’s lending initiatives, providing support for small businesses to purchase their own premises. Andrew Newall, Director Townhill Welding, said: “We are delighted to benefit from this loan from Clydesdale Bank. We have been a customer of theirs for five years now and receiving this funding made all the difference when it came to purchasing our first site. We are excited to look to the future of the business and its expansion moving forwards.” Patrick Burke from Business Direct, Clydesdale Bank, said: “It is always such a good part of my job to be able to help respected business owners in the local area expand and progress. Business Direct focuses on providing support to small businesses across the country and we would like to wish Andrew and his team all the best with his new endeavours and look forward to seeing how the business grows in years to come.”
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
On social media: