Annfield Terrace

Annfield Terrace

   Annfield Terrace was a former 20th Century, two storey tenement at the western corner of the junction of Victoria Street and Glasgow Road. It should not be confused, as others have done with the older 19th Century ‘Annsfield’ or ‘Annsfield Place’, which was further away at Stonefield Road.

annfield zoned

Annfield Terrace shown on our 1910 Stonefield Map, Low Blantyre

   The field, belonged to Stonefield Farm during the 19th Century belonged to the Forrest family, for the best part until 1893 belonging to John Clark Forrest. In 1902, Mr. William Nelson of 190 Great Eastern Road, Glasgow bought the field from David Hastie, whom by then had only recently bought Stonefield Farm.

   The name ‘Annfield’ is interesting and the source of the name was exclusively discovered whilst researching this book. David Hastie’s son Peter had married a woman named Ann, but this wasn’t until much later in 1933, so couldn’t have been how the field got its name. Next for investigation, other son John was looked at, but his wife was Margaret, and David Hastie’s wife was Janet. There were no connections within the Hastie family to suggest a reference to “Ann”. Next William Nelson the builder and owner of the property was looked at, but his wife was Margaret and again no Ann connected to the family. Deeper research took us back to 1866 at a time when John Clark Forrest owned the farm and in that year his wife Jane Logan died, aged 29 on 9th June. She died at home in Allanton Farm, Hamilton from being weak at childbirth combined with scarlet fever. Her surviving child, a daughter for John Clark Forrest, named Ann (or Annie) Logan Forrest, born a few days earlier on 5th June 1866. We have our connection and the writer proposes here that the vacant field, used for horses was called ‘Annfield’ after the daughter of the farm owner.

Annie Logan Forrest birth 1866

1866 Annie Logan Forrest, birth certificate

   When William Nelson started constructing his L-shaped stone tenement, there already was a “Nelson Place” in High Blantyre and so another fitting name would have been required. Naming his building after the land it sat on would have appeared logical, just as much as it does today and “Annfield Terrace” was built by 1903.

Annfield Colour wm

‘Annfield Terrace’ shown on right hand side of this painting, 1910

   It sat on the south side of Glasgow Road, directly across from older small single storey buildings on the north side (not the toll house as others have written, which was actually at the corner of Station Road). Annfield Terrace was rather remarkable in appearance by comparison to more traditional 2 storey tenements for it had bay windows on both lower and upper floors, meaning parts of the building protruded along the frontage of Glasgow Road.

   The upper storey was accessed by 5 sets of steps at the rear of the property. Access to the rear yard was via a small entrance at Victoria Street next to Hastie’s Farm and also through a pend close on the Glasgow Road side. The field at the back was sloping, so a retaining wall separated the field from the yard. The building was stepped slightly as it rose up an elevation at Victoria Street, but sat in a dip on badly drained land at Glasgow Road, sitting away from the start of the Toll Brae further westwards.

   These were primarily homes for miners to rent. When it was completed some miners from Craighead Rows and others from nearby Rosendale moved home to the 25 new homes at Annfield Terrace, 12 of which were on the Victoria Street side.

   Homes were more spacious than miners’ raws and likely desirable due to their proximity to the school and more rural, un-built setting removed from the shadow of any pit bing. Only one shop existed in the building at any one time, which was located on the corner with a unique, oblique entrance door, across from Stonefield Parish School.

William Nelson

   William Nelson was a horse dealer from Glasgow. He never lived in Blantyre and his addresses at Great Eastern Road, then later at Gallowgate would suggest he was a wealthy man. Being in the equestrian industry is of no surprise and he would have likely been well known to the Hastie family, themselves renowned for breeding horses of a first class pedigree. Indeed the whole acquisition of the land, may even have been around some expansive business venture between Nelson and Hastie. Being absent, William Nelson entrusted the factoring of his new rented homes to William Wilson, of Hyde Park at High Blantyre. William Nelson would own Annfield Terrace for just over 2 decades.

Tenants and the shop

   Having only 1 shop makes this building much easier to explore. Throughout the life of the building, it always had 25 homes and 1 shop. The shop had address 207 Glasgow Road and also 2 Victoria Street. There was 1 house at 209, 211, 215, 217, 219, 221 and 223 Glasgow Road and 6 homes at 213 located on the upper level. There were also 4 homes at 4 Victoria Street, 1 home at each of 6, 8 and 10 Victoria Street and 5 homes at 12 Victoria Street next to the farm.

   According to the 1905 valuation roll, the initial tenants were Mrs Martha Rankine, a grocer in the corner shop at 207 Glasgow Road. The other tenants were all rented residents namely George Stein, Joseph Moore, Robert Mackie, Adam Stewart, Hugh Nimmo, Gavin Watson, William Carberry, John Batters, James Crawford, James Kirkwood, Daniel Broadley, William Morris, James Reid, John Walker, Cecila Harkins (w), James Gilchrist, William Mathieson, Richard Price, Charles Russell, Michael McCue, Alexander Smith, John McKay, David Reid and Malcom Mitchell. 1 house was empty. Even allowing an average of 4 people per household, there were well over 100 people living at Annfield Terrace.

1936 Annfield Terrace

1936 Photo of Glasgow Road looking east. Annfield Terrace on the right hand side

   Rankine’s licensed corner Grocer shop existed at this location for a long time. From the buildings construction in 1903 until beyond WW2 years, passing from Martha Rankine to Thomas Rankine at the end of WW1. It is safe to say generations of Rankine’s worked there and in 1925 they were paying a rent of £38 per annum. Around this time Alexander Young Billposters were hiring gable space at the west end of the building.

Gallantry, Bravery and an Accident

   In October 1917, another D.C.M. (Distinguished Conduct Medal) came to Blantyre, the fortunate recipient being Cov. Sergt Major James Fox, whose father, Mr. Frank Fox, resided at Annfield Terrace. The gallant Sergt. Major joined the ‘Gordons’ at the end of August 1914, and was sent to France in July 1915, and had been twice severely wounded, ending up in 1917 in hospital in England, recovering wounds sustained on 22nd August 1916. The D.C.M. was awarded for bravery in the field on the day he was wounded. Sergt. Major Cox was also the proud possessor of the French Medal Militaire, this honour having been awarded to him in May 1916.

   Sergt. Major Cox at that time was 26 years of age, was married and his young wife lived in Cambuslang. Prior to joining the colours, he worked as a minor in Dechmont Colliery, and was an active member in Masonic circles and belonged to Lodge “Livingstone,” No. 599, Blantyre.

did-you-know-that-600x450   In 1923, Peter French, residing at Annfield Terrace was visiting Motherwell dog racing grounds, but met with a serious accident. On stepping off a tram car, his dog escaped from the leash, and ran across the tram lines. French, in his endeavour to recover the animal, failed to observe the approach of a tram car, which knocked him down, dragging his for some distance. His friends ran to his assistance, and found that he was unconscious. He was conveyed in a motor car to the County Hospital at Motherwell, and his condition was regarded as serious. It is thought though that he recovered.

Latter Years

   Between 1925 and 1930, William Nelson passed away and in 1930 the property was owned by his widow, Margaret Nelson until the early 1930’s before passing to James Todd, an oil merchant. During the 1950’s the shop became Gibson’s Grocery then later a Sweet Shop, which must have thrived being sited so close to the school gates, perhaps not so much when the school became the employment exchange in the late 50’s.

   With so many modern quality homes built nearby to the south at the Burnbrae housing estate in the late 1960’s and rumoured subsidence in the building, Annfield Terrace at Victoria Street was demolished around 1970, the part at Glasgow Road shortly after. By 1972, the site was entirely cleared and Annfield Terrace had once again become just a field, which was subsequently re-graded for use by the Blantyre market.

From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road South – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

 

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