Clydeview, Blantyre

From the illustrated social history book…

“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.

Clydeview

   ‘Clydeview’ is the name of a former 3 storey tenement located at 245 to 251 Glasgow Road, of which only the ground floor remains today. It should not be confused by the shopping centre of the same name and of later build much further east.

1910 map

Clydeview Building on the 1910 Map of Glasgow Road

The building has had other nicknames throughout the 20th Century including Cameron’s Buildings, Blantyre Social Club, The Post Office and Knights of St Columba, businesses located on the lower floor at one time or other but the building has primarily been called on all official census, valuation and documentation, simply “Clydeview”. It’s had a complicated, interesting history of changing use, which we fully explore now.

‘Clydeview’ was built in 3 storeys in 1880. Constructed of stone, shops were on the lower storey with up to 6 homes on the above 2 storeys. Opening out on to Glasgow Road pavement, it was built on a slight, rising incline heading up to the west, and therefore the doorways were stepped.

The constructor and original owner was Mr. Duncan Cameron, a flesher and spirit merchant whom in 1879 had been living at Woodburn Place. The 1881 census has Duncan aged 25 living with wife Margaret at their new buildings, let out also to others born outwith Blantyre. On the lower floor were 3 shops and in 1885 these are confirmed as Cameron’s Spirit Shop, Joseph Lister Barbers and the Independent Co-op shop. However, Cameron’s Buildings (as it was known in the 1881 Street Index was short lived under that ownership and by 1884 had been sold on.

New owner, Mr. Patrick Masterton, a spirit merchant (who did not live in Blantyre) is the likely source of the long standing name, “Clydeview” and likely responsible for not calling it Cameron’s Buildings anymore after 1884. Born in 1841, Patrick lived in Paisley and would let out these buildings as businesses and homes for others.

Location Line Clydeview

Location Line Drawing putting Clydeview into modern perspective how it once looked

   In November 1889, Patrick Masterton sought to renew his annual license at Hamilton Sherriff Court, a good indicator that he had been there at least a year. He is noted as being the Proprietor of the Public House. 

   Clydeview also comprised of a small, narrow 2 storey part to the building on its east, with a narrow lane separating from the 1891 Co-op building. As such Clydeview is earlier than the Co buildings.  

19th Century Tenants and Shops

   Amongst the first tenants were David Green, William Currie, David Archibald and Patrick Clark. In 1893, Patrick Masterson in recognition of the growing population, was amongst one of the prominent businessmen of Glasgow Road who would sign a petition asking for Stonefield to be made into a Burgh in Blantyre. However, this failed to happen and we’re left wondering what advantage this all was to the businessmen or their customers.

   In 1895, the small shop in the 2 storey part was occupied by Thomas Henderson, a plumber. Patrick occupied the spirit shop and cellar and at the far west of the building on the lower 3 storey part was Henry Montague, a shoemaker who operated there only a short time until 1898.

   In March 1898, about 10 years into ownership, Patrick decided to sell. The reason is unknown, but he was financially ok. On 23rd March that year he placed an advert in the Glasgow Herald selling his pub and the tenement houses above it, stating it had a rental potential of £117, 10s per year. It sold quickly and in July 1898, Patrick left Blantyre for good to run a hotel in Broxburn.

   The next owner of Clydeview, was Thomas H Bennett & Co Ltd, a business of well known spirit merchants in Glasgow. Thomas and his son Thomas Junior owned several pubs in Glasgow at the time. However, they ran into an immediate problem upon acquiring Clydeview. The license was not permitted to be renewed. So, they would let out the building and 5 homes but as of 1898, there would never be another public house here. They also owned the buildings at Main Street, High Blantyre near the Auchinraith Vaults.

   Thomas Henderson would continue to rent his little plumbers business from the small shop, something he did until just before WW1. The large ground floor shop, formerly the public house, was taken over in 1898 by Piscina Guiseppe, an ice cream manufacturer. This was a large ice cream parlour occupying the whole ground floor at 249-251 Glasgow Road and Piscina rented for £30 per year also up until just prior to WW1. It is observed that Blantyre had many ice cream parlours at the turn of the 20th Century, most all owned by Italian incomers, a trend that would continue for a couple of decades.

20th Century Shops and change of use

   The trigger for the businesses changing use prior to WW1, wasn’t war itself, but was the liquidation of Thomas H Bennett & Co Ltd, which happened between 1910 and 1915. (The liquidators of this company however, would continue to own Clydeview right up until WW2 years.)

   When liquidation happened, the little shop at 247 Glasgow Road became Joseph Britton Painters, and would remain there until the early 1920’s. The Valuation roll of 1915 also noted 6 houses in the building occupied and an empty stable at the rear. By the time WW1 had started, Blantyre Social Club occupied 249-251 Glasgow Road in the 3 storey part of Clydeview, with John Berry their secretary. Blantyre Social Club would remain there until the late 1920’s before relocating elsewhere.

Blantyre Social Club

    Originally from just before WW1 at 249-251 Glasgow Road in the ‘Clydeview’ building, they were forced to move premises in the late 1920’s when the main Post Office relocated from Stonefield Road to Clydeview.

    However, they didn’t move far relocating to 253 – 257 Glasgow Road next door. When they moved, they bought the adjacent building for address 253 Glasgow Road was owned and occupied by the club outright. The premises were licensed. Managed by a committee of 12 people in the early 20th Century, the notable characters being Mr. Thomas Price (president), Mr. John Clements (Vice president), Mr. Thomas McGuire (Treasurer), Mr. Thomas McCool (Secretary), Mr. William Corrigan, Mr. Terrence Mulvaney, Mr. George Stein, Mr. Peter Quinn, Mr. Patrick Taggart, Mr. William Weir, Mr. John Davie, Mr. Michael Duffy and John Crookston. They may have had their own quoting club of the same name.

    Sheriff Boyd Berry in Glasgow refused the renewal of their club license on 5th June 1931. Almost a month later on 30th June these 12 members were in front of the court charged with being the persons responsible for a club which was kept mainly for the supply of alcohol in respect that intoxicated people were frequently seen to leave the premises. The accused all pleaded guilty and fined 20 shillings or 10 days imprisonment. Their new building later became the Y.M.C.A.

 Pre WW2 years

    There were several outbuildings to the rear, most likely washhouses and toilets as well as storage for the businesses. In 1925 M. Campbell & Co had taken over the small shop at 247 Glasgow Road but only for a short time. It is unknown what their trade was, despite searching.

    In the late 1920’s Clydeview lower floor at 249-251 Glasgow Road became the Blantyre Post Office and it would remain there until 1954 before moving to their new, larger premises at the corner of Logan Street. The Clydeview Post Office was apparently very cramped and unsuitable for the type of work being carried out by the postal authorities, conditions that they had suffered for years. It was woefully inadequate and workers delighted in being told they were moving.

    In 1930, there were 6 upper houses continuing to be rented from the liquidators of Thomas H Bennett & Co Ltd and the small shop at 247 had become Umbeto Schivone’s Ice Cream Shop, which existed only a short time until 1935.

   Tenants of the house above the small shop had to make a hurried escape, when fire broke out in a new fish and chip shop at 247 Glasgow Road on Friday 11th October 1935. Within a few minutes the inside of the shop was a raging furnace.

   The property was two-storey and the house above was occupied by a Mr Thomas Rusk, a widower, and his family. They had to beat a hasty retreat, and had no time to remove any of their belongings. The No. 2 branch premises of Blantyre Co-Operative Society was only separated by eight feet from the fish shop. Employees tackled the flames with extinguishers, and assistance was given by men carrying pails of water. The flames were thus held in check until the arrival of the Cambuslang detachment of Lanark County Fire Brigade. The fish shop, which has been closed for several months, was to have been opened that day by Mr. Charles Gray, Halfway, Cambuslang. It was completely gutted, but the house above was saved, although damaged by water.

   It wasn’t the first time a chip shop would go on fire at this location. When Gray’s fish shop became Pat McNally’s Fish & Chip shop, it went on fire again in the early 1970’s, as this dramatic photos shows.

1970s early Fire at Chip Shop by AS

1970’s early fire, but the building survived. Photo courtesy of Anthony Smith with thanks

    The shop in the eastern end would change use a few times in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s it became the “Pat McNally’s Fish and Chipshop” then a chip shop owned by Maggie Bell. In 1976, for short time, the “Shat In Chinese Takeaway.” Ariel & Art Cabs occupied the west shop in the 2 storey part during the mid 1970’s. It does not appear that the upper storey (within the 2 storey part) of the building was used by that time, the window bricked up.

Copper Kettle

   The Copper Kettle was a former café located at 249 – 251 Glasgow Road in late 1960’s to early 1970’s and still there in 1973. It was run by a Mrs Watson and sold sandwiches, coffees and teas, cakes, biscuits and the like.

Shat In Chinese Takeaway

1981 Clydeview

Clydeview in 1981

    The Shat-In was a former Chinese Restaurant and takeaway, one of the first to arrive in Blantyre during the early to mid 1970s. The ‘unfortunate’ sounding business name is named after the Hong Kong racecourse of the same name, and was a common name for takeaways all over the UK at the time. It was located at 249 Glasgow Road. You could sit in to have a meal or takeout. The Shat In was originally located further along Glasgow Road near Herbertson Street but moved to the 249 Glasgow Road location at Clydeview around 1976. The takeaway was on the left, the restaurant on the right to the west. The restaurant became the Sun House Cantonese Takeaway in 1976.

Knights of St Columba

   When the Post Office moved out of Clydeview in 1954, the ground floor on the 2 storey part was split and became Ashley F Mack joiners business, which had telephone number 341. The other side was Robert White Plumbers & Electricians, with telephone 380. By the end of the 1950’s, both these shops combined again to become the ‘Knights of St Columba’. This social club would remain at this location before moving to dedicated premises at Carlowrie Avenue in Coatshill during the 1970’s. It was a popular club, liked putting on entertainment and was heavily involved in charitable work for the community. They subsequently became ‘The Columba Club.’ 

   By the 1980’s, the 3 storey building started to have a dangerous lean, as this photo from 1983 shows. At almost 100 years, it was becoming dangerous and later that decade something drastic was done to make it safe. The trigger for this was a storm which caused the stone chimney to come crashing in through the roof of Ariel & Art Cabs, forcing them to move to the Industrial Estate. The upper 2 storeys were removed very carefully, some say stone by stone, hand by hand. Contrary to what others have written it was not entirely demolished and rebuilt, but actually the lower ground floor of the 3 storey part was retained. The 2 storey part completely demolished. Receiving a new pitched roof and render roughcast over the gables, it re-opened as the Sun House Chinese Takeaway in the 1980’s, which still trades under that name today.

Phew! We told you this was a complex building!

1983 Clydeview and Stonefield Tavern wm

1983 Stonefield looking west along Glasgow Road, Stonefield Tavern, Clydesdale Bank, Co

Sun House Chinese Takeaway

   Takeaway and offsales. The Sun House is a contemporary Chinese takeaway with address 249-251 Glasgow Road, G72 0YS. The business established in 1976 and was initially located further east on Glasgow Road not far from Herbertson Street. By the 1980’s, following Glasgow Road redevelopment, it was at this new location. Sun House also delivered cigarettes and alcohol, and indeed people of Blantyre are known to order just 1 bag of chips to validate their delivery of booze and fags too. Indeed, it was noted that by ordering food with the alcohol order, it arrived faster to ensure the food didn’t get cold! The curries are reputed to be very good. Mrs. Lee owns the Sun House, at one time owned another takeaway across the road, but not anymore, retaining only the Sun House. In February 2017, planning permission was given to change the use of the Sun House to become a café, sandwich shop as well as takeaway, something that as of October 2017, has not yet happened.

Finally, some modern photos taken in October 2017 by Alex Rochead, proving that the lower existing floor IS still the original building and NOT rebuilt from scratch as some would incorrectly have you believe.

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