By 1978, a growing problem of pigeon fanciers*, i.e keeping live birds in bird lofts in gardens was being discussed by the Council. The popular past-time was especially popular in Blantyre with some homes in Logan Street, Cemetery Road, Auchinraith Road and Hunthill Road noted as having these bird lofts.
* People who breed pigeons are commonly referred to as pigeon fanciers.The hobby is gaining in popularity in the United States, after having waned within the last 50 years in the UK.
The problem was twofold. Neighbours complained about the noise and health standards the birds were being kept in. Others complained of the constant bird mess on the town in general.
In June 1978, Hamilton District Council decided to act and to run pigeon fanciers “out of town.” Actually, the proposal was far less severe than it sounds. The lofts were to be removed from individual gardens and rebuilt on council land or allotments away from homes, but still let owners continue their sport.
The process started when the Council ordered the removal of pigeon lofts from tenement gardens in Cemetery Road. The owners were given a months grace before orders were enforced, which was to give them time to prepare and let the birds finish racing. It also let the council have some time to find a suitable replacement site in Blantyre.
Councillor James Swinburne commented, “These people have a right to continue their leisure activities and we should do everything in our power to help them.”
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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