From the illustrated social history book…
“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.
Coats House & Bake-house
Sometime between 1832 and 1859, a 2-storey house was constructed westwards and adjacent to the changing house (later Stonefield Tavern). L-shaped on plan, it was distinctive in its appearance from other early buildings at this location for the stonework was whitewashed and with no pavement outside it, painting would have been something required often due to the mire and dirt on the 19th Century Glasgow Road.
Of slightly lower height than the Stonefield Tavern, it was tied to the adjacent building and had a small shop to the west. To the rear was a yard with a well, fenced off from the surrounding expansive fields of Stonefield to the south.
Between 1862 and 1864 John Coats acquired the building and it is known his brother Thomas and sister Elizabeth Coats lived in this house along with him. The siblings, who grew up on Blantyreferme would be involved with the early formation of Stonefield Tavern as a proper public house and living at this location next door would have been ideal. Dixon’s Rows would then be built behind the property, further back to the south.
Coat’s House was occupied by John Coats in 1881 and that year he was only sharing with Archibald Boreland, a cattle dealer utilising a nearby field belonging to Coats. Boreland would live and work there for around 3 decades building a large, wooden cattle shed to the rear of the house. He was initially a carter and rented the house for £15 per year. The shed was there in 1910 but demolished by the 1920’s.
In the 1870’s Coat’s shop was situated at Glasgow Road, directly opposite the track and junction that was to become Station Road.
Adjacent to his house, the shop that decade was occupied by Mr. M.C Young and used as a grocers. However, on 17th February 1882, John Coats advertised in the Glasgow Herald for a new tenant for the shop. This was responded to by the newly established Stonefield Independent Co-operative Society in 1884, who wished to run their first bake-house.
By 1885, a kiln for the Co-op bake-house was situated in the rear yard and the shop, formed a frontage for selling the Co-op bakery products to passers-by, one of the very first Co-op shops in Blantyre. This arrangement would continue only for a few years for the Co-op expanded rapidly and soon had a bakery and bake-house on their own land with no requirement to rent or use these premises.
Owner, John Coats died aged 57 on 28th September 1890 his affairs in a poor state. This little shop, would however, continue as a bake-house for others although the shop and bake-house was reduced in size to make way for the building of the large, tall Co-op premises further west. The little shop was left a ruin by the 1910’s when Mrs. Jessie Rae took ownership of all of the former Coat’s buildings, including the adjacent Tavern.
Prior to WW1, this created a property gap on Glasgow Road between Coats whitewashed house and the Co-op’s 3 storey dedicated taller building to the west. The gap was a prime spot for billboards being erected, offering good advertising space and is seen in the following excellent photo.
Coats whitewashed House was completely demolished in the late 1920’s, along with the ruinous shop, which had existing for 7 or 8 decades. The entire site between the Stonefield Tavern and the Co-op Building was cleared and leveled by 1936, perhaps as a general tidy up of the area upon the building of Priory Street nearby. This site would not be built upon again until the 1950’s when the Co-op expanded by building their popular ‘Emporium’.