From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road South – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
Situated between Henderson’s Building and the United Free Church (Burleigh Church) was the former Anderson’s Buildings. The 2 storey tenements were constructed between 1902 and 1904 by Thomas Anderson, a bicycle maker.
The property was directly across Glasgow Road from Grant’s Building and made of stone, consisted of 2 shops on the ground level, opening out on to Glasgow Road pavement and 2 houses above. They were directly attached to Henderson’s Buildings but slightly lower and of different appearance. There were 5 narrow windows on the upper storey facing out on to Glasgow Road, with chimneys at either end and the middle of the building. The garden at the back consisted of a long, narrow plot of land. Access to the upper floors were on stone steps at the rear yard, entered from nearby Herbertson Street behind the church.
Constructor, Thomas Anderson was a Cycle Agent who made bicycles in those boom times when trams had just started running and lack of motor vehicles. Born in 1865 in Old Monkland, he was an incomer to Blantyre around 1900, noted in the census of 1901 living at Stonefield with older brothers John and Matthew. Clearly his parents were religious people, naming their sons after saints. With them were cousins, the Richardson and Robertson families.
In 1905 first occupants in the 2 houses were Denis McKay a spirit salesman and Matthew Anderson, the brother of Thomas. Matthew was a pitheadman who moved specifically from Springwell to these buildings once constructed, renting from his younger brother. In the shop nearest Henderson’s Buildings was Mrs. Ann Robertson, a greengrocer and cousin of Thomas. She rented for £10 per annum.
In the other ground floor shop, next to the church wall was Thomas Anderson himself, conducting his business as a cycle agent. On the outside of his shop was a metal bicycle wheel, which could be seen at a distance by customers, as pictured here in 1903.
Around 1910 postal addresses were allocated to Anderson’s Buildings, and from that time onwards the buildings was only known, certainly in census and valuation rolls by the addresses 97, 99 and 101 Glasgow Road .
Tenants and Change of Ownership
In 1915, Thomas was renting out the 2 upper houses, both with address 99 Glasgow Road to William Cunningham a miner and continuing to rent to his brother Matthew. At 101 Glasgow Road the end shop near Burleigh Church was no longer run as a bicycle shop, but instead was occupied by John Marshall, a merchant (possible printer) who lived at the house behind the Burleigh Church Hall on Herbertson Street. John’s rent was £18, 10 shillings that year. Whilst researching this era, we found a long lost Blantyre pub, which was situated in Anderson’s Buildings at 97 Glasgow Road. Robertson’s greengrocers was now Robertson’s spirit dealership, immediately adjacent to Henderson’s Buildings. The spirit shop was formed between 1905 and 1915 but was short lived and gone by 1920.
By the end of the First World War, ownership was to change and Matthew R Anderson, a pitheadman who lived at 99 Glasgow Road in the upper floor was the new owner, buying or inheriting the property from his brother, Thomas. The other house in 1920 still occupied by William Cunningham. The spirit shop was then John Marshall & Son a grocers shop. The other shop was also John Marshall & Son, likely a printers. The Marshalls therefore rented all shops in that building, but again only for a short time with shops to change occupancy frequently.
1925 saw Matthew Anderson, still owner at 99 Glasgow Road but in the other house was James Botterill, a boot repairman. The name Botterill is interesting given the Botterills ended up owning and running shops here later in the Century. The ground floor shops of Anderson’s Buildings in 1925 were occupied entirely by Hill Brothers Ltd, pawnbrokers, renting the larger premises for £28 and the smaller shop for £22. Again, though only for a short time, vacating Anderson’s Buildings in 1927.
1930 had Matthew Anderson living away from Blantyre at 134 Dredis Street, Airdrie. His former home occupied by Frank Lyon, a stocktaker. James Botterill occupied the other house. At 97 Glasgow Road the shop was by then James McTavish’s Butchers. The larger shop at 101 at the opposite end was split, one half empty, the other half occupied by Charles McElhone, a pawnbroker and competitor of the previous tenants Hill Brothers. Matthew died in 1932 in Airdrie, aged 75 with tenant James Botterill buying his building.
You may think the economic depression of the 1920’s gave rise to pawn shops in Blantyre, but they existed far before that, and indeed can be traced back to the 1870’s. Families like the Fegans, McLindens, Hills all were involved in the pawnbroking industry in Blantyre, some of them like the Fegans even earlier in nearby towns.
Charles McElhone married into the pawnbroking business. He lived at 114 Glasgow Road on the north side of the street with his wife Anne Fegan, the daughter of more established and well known Hugh Fegan pawnbroker. The McElhones ran their own pawn broking business from 120 and 122 Glasgow Road until Anne passed away in 1927, after which Charles moved to Anderson’s Buildings. He ran the shop until his death in 1947.
In January 1940, a terrible fire gutted some of the adjacent homes at Henderson’s Buildings which must have made Anderson’s tenants very concerned. At the back of Anderson’s Buildings around this time a small greenhouse was built and 2 outbuildings which may have served as stores for the shops.
Anderson’s Buildings existed beyond WW2 with popular shops on the lower part like Botterill’s shop, subdivided into Annie Botterill’s fishshop and Nancy Botterill’s business. Houses remained on the upper level into the late 1970’s until the whole building was demolished in February 1980 at a cost of £1,150. Finally, to put all this into context, here is our overlay of Anderson’s Building where it would be located today at the western end of Gavin Watson Printers.
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