From the illustrated social history book…
“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.
Low Blantyre Post Office
From as early as the 1850’s, Blantyre had in those times 2 posts offices. The Low Blantyre post office located in the gatehouse at Blantyre Village Works had adjacent gates that could close off the village to the outside area. The other post office located also in a populated area in High Blantyre at Main Street, on a site where the Apollo pub would later be located.
By the 1890’s, the post offices had changed location. The Low Blantyre Post office had moved to large new tenement premises at their main Post Office at 7 Stonefield Road. This important building was located at the bottom of Stonefield Road for just over 3 decades located between Benhams shop and Valerios café. Blantyre postmistresses were Miss Isabella Stewart and her assistant Marian Kilgour. In WW1, on the window was the famous poster of Lord Kitchener pointing for “More men – God save the King”.
The Village post office, still retained was used as a sub post office. In High Blantyre, the post office moved across the road to the tenement which formerly stood where now is the car park entrance to Kirkton Park.
For the convenience of the residents in the Stonefield district of Blantyre a further sub post office was opened in early February 1900 in Gilmour Place under the charge of Mrs. Arbuckle, stationer. This was much welcomed at the time and was noted as being a great convenience to the inhabitants of the area. Mr Sam Douglas actually cut people’s hair from within the post office. It was often called the “wee post office”. Mr Eddie Dobson lived above the wee post office.
By 1910, the Village sub post office had moved from the Gatehouse to a new tenement, further north at Ulva Place, where it existed for many decades.
That year, High Blantyre’s sub post office was on Main Street directly across from Lint Butt’s on the lower level of a tenement. It was adjacent to the bank, situated on Main Street, at the corner of Cemetery Road. A Mrs Darling worked in this post office around WW2. In the 1960’s, it became Jim Hobson’s butchers shop. It was located next to Brown’s shop (which previously had been the bank.) The High Blantyre Post office would later move back near McLean’s Shop, then in 2016, move to Family Shopper where it is at present.
During the mid 1920’s, the main Post Office at Stonefield Road closed and the post office moved to a rented building named, “Clydeview” at 249 Glasgow Road immediately adjacent to the YMCA. This was to be Blantyre’s main post office until 1953. This old place of business 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.
Low Blantyre post office on Glasgow Road started construction in 1953 (not 1960, as others have commented in a book). It was located on the vacant ground where the collapse had taken place of Turner’s Buildings 13 years earlier, exactly at the western corner of Logan Street.
The dating stone on the new Post office showed the commission date of 1953, along with of course the Royal Mail insignia, quite iconic for the postal service set into a stone at the top of the building. The new Post Office was opened without any ceremony whatsoever on Monday morning 25th October 1954, when business was conducted ‘as usual’ at 9 a.m. Built of stone blocks, single storey the new public building had a solid construction look, one which certainly was unique in Blantyre and almost art deco in places, bordering on municipal. The gable of adjacent 2 storey Turner’s Buildings was reinforced.
Soon afterwards in early November 1954, the Blantyre Gazette recorded that there was a call for a pillar-box and a stamp machine to be placed at the site of old premises (next to the Y.M.C.A. further along Glasgow Road on the same side). In the new building, which was welcomed warmly in Blantyre, customers would go in one door and out the other and were impressed by the speed in which the counter staff could stamp things from stamp pads to pension books and postal orders. A phone box was located in the inside of the building. The Post office also catered for Car Tax, Family Allowance, Postage, Premium Bonds and Savings Accounts. A popular feature to this building was the ability to pick up a parcel from the office, rather than having to go to Cambuslang. A lady named Betty was the cleaner for many years.
The post office had address 165 Glasgow Road. When the council bought the surrounding land in 1977 in advance of Asda, this little site where the post office was located, was “ringfenced” off and left out of the sale, the requirement for the postal building continuing. As such, once Asda was built a few years later the post office, appropriately named “Clydeview” after the old premises was maintained and indeed provided the name for the new shopping centre. After the demolition of the post office in 1997, some rubble was left, landscaped over to create a grassy area at Logan Street corner near the Asda Petrol station, which today, is still council owned, vacant but maintained.
After the building was demolished, several Blantyre people were interested in acquiring the masonry date stone to protect and ensure it didn’t get put in a skip. Amongst them was Blantyre man, the late Jimmy Cornfield. Jimmy had struck a deal with the foreman of the wrecking crew, and when he returned with the cash he was told the deal was off, the worker saying his boss has told him it wasn’t for sale and that someone else had taken it. The location of the stone is unknown, but perhaps another local person beat Jimmy to the ‘prize’.
The Post Office then moved further along Clydeview Shopping for a short time. Afterwards the post office relocated west along Glasgow Road to the rear of the Londis supermarket, on the same southern side of the road. Difficult to park there, it feels perhaps a little inconvenient but remains an important, popular resource for the people of Blantyre.
Blantyre Project Social Media:
Henry Hambley: “Lovely, functional building!”
Elaine Hunter: “I remember it well. I used to go up there with my Nana when I was a wee girl. I’d play with the fountain pens and blotting paper in the booths, whilst she was at the counter.”
Bruce Baldwin: “I worked as postman there. Great memories! Lots of fun with the front counter staff. It was a great place to work with guys like Bill McGlynn, Alex Young and Malky Muir back in the 1960’s.”
Maureen McCallum: “My dad was Bill McGlynn. He worked in the sorting office at the back. I worked there a few times when it was busy at Christmas.”
John Krawczyk: “Remember it well! When I was a student from time to time I worked there as a postman.”
Eddie Meechan: “I used to run in one door as a child, and out the other!”
Carol Crombie: “I played in it too! I loved skidding around the shiny floor and loved the style of it inside, playing in the booths and phone box.”
Anne Grogan: “I wished we’d preserved some of these old Blantyre buildings. Saddens me when I visit my old home town.”
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,: