Coats Tenements, Glasgow Road

    These former three 2 storey stone tenements were located behind the Stonefield Tavern building and had their eastern frontage on to a field (which later became Priory Street). Being so old and demolished for many decades, they’re often forgotten about and largely unknown to people alive today. They occupied a north to south direction in 2 blocks, totaling 8 homes. Built between 1832 and 1859, they were constructed around the same time of the old tollhouse directly opposite. The upper storeys were accessed by steps to the rear and a small gap or lane separated the building from others. 

   The constructor is unknown but they may have originally been associated with nearby Woodhouse (near the top of Station Road) and used to service travellers at the toll stopping point. A firm history for these tenements however, can thankfully be traced from 1859 onwards, shown on the map of that era, with fields surrounding them in all directions.  

John Coats

   Born in 1834, John Coats was the son of local farming parents, John and Elizabeth Coats. John Junior grew up on Blantyreferme (much further to the northwest) on the banks of the River Clyde, often working on the family farm and indeed in the 1861 census was still living and working there, aged 27. Sometime between 1862 and 1864 not long after tolls were abolished, Mr. John Coats Snr acquired the tenements and the other properties beside them either through purchase or inheritance. It is from 1865 or so that we see these buildings collectively being referred to as “Coats Buildings”, something that would continue for half a Century in official documentation.

Locationline Coats

Location Line drawing putting Coat’s Tenements into context

   The tenement houses were primarily let out to labourers and miners, workmen and their families. John Coats Jnr looked to have moved up to Stonefield with brother, Thomas in the early to mid 1860’s looking after their father’s interests but did not live in these tenements, opting instead to stay in a house to the west of the Stonefield Tavern building, also under his ownership.

   In 1875, Coat’s Buildings is noted as 10 houses (these 8 houses and 2 explored shortly). That year the tenants were Mr Boyd (a shoemaker), James Bruce, Mrs Henderson, John Virtue, Neil Greenhorn, Matthew Wilson, Robert Anderson and other unnamed tenants rents for less than £4 per year (perhaps several people temporarily in the one house). Thomas Coats died in 1877, his share, unsuccessfully advertised, then passed to John Coats Jnr, his brother in late 1877. ‘Coat’s Buildings’ is in the 1881 Blantyre Street Index.  

   John Coat Jnr’s ownership of these 8 homes continued until his death in 1890, aged 57 with his trustees continuing to look out for the Coats family interests until just before WW1. Prior to the outbreak of war, the 8 tenement homes were bought by Mrs. Jessie Rae, the proprietrix of the nearby Stonefield Tavern and she would own the tenements for the remainder of their time as homes. Merry & Cunningham (Coalmasters) had bought the mineral rights to dig below this area and by the time of the First World War, these tenements, (before Priory Street), had addresses 225 Glasgow Road, the same address as the nearby public house cellar.

did-you-know-that-600x450    In the 1930’s, the upper storey of Coat’s Tenement Houses was removed, including part of the building to the south. We know the area was mined below so this may have been due to subsidence or perhaps simply due to the deteriorating age. However, a single ground storey was left, notably later that decade facing out on to Priory Street. Sometime after 1950, it was used as a store for the public house.

1950 aerial

1950 Aerial Photo of Coat’s Tenements (Purchased License permission Imsl/ir/100909)

   That single storey, once part of Coats Tenement houses remains today and was recently renovated by Nicola’s Hair Salon in 2017, punching through new doors and windows to create her modern business from that excellent, busy location.

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

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,:

Fairlie Gordon Good post Paul, ( never herd of them before )

Blantyre Project thank you Fairlie. Hopefully the line drawings portray a good indication of what they looked like. Strange to think of such a building once being there, so different from what we’re all used to today.

Morag Graham Great story as always. Thankyou.


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