Clive Place Public House

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

    In the early 1800’s a popular and well known public house existed at the western corner of Glasgow Road and Stonefield Road called ‘Clive Place’. The exact spot of this former pub also used an inn, was where the ‘Old Original Bar’ is today.

1859 Clive zoned

Clive Place Public House and Houses on 1859 Map , Blantyre

    The name ‘Clive Place’ incorporated not just the pub, but also a couple of small homes too, nearby on Stonefield Road. The origin of the ‘Clive’ name, dating back to the early 19th Century is unknown, perhaps a person’s surname or place, now forgotten to time. The surname is not in early census information for Blantyre.

   The original owner and constructor was Mr. George Bruce. Born in 1796, George is first noted in Blantyre census information in 1841 as being the owner of houses at Clive Place. George was a ‘wright’ or blacksmith, a profession that would have assisted in attending to horses at his inn. During the 1850’s George owned nearby Stonefield Cottage. He also owned the one and a half storey detached house with dormer windows at 8 Stonefield Road (named ‘Clive Cottage’), right up until his death in the late 1870’s.

    The single storey, detached public house was modestly made of stone with a small lavatory to the western side. Latterly with a slate roof, it may have originally been thatched in the first half of the 1800’s. It is thought to have dated back to the 1830’s. Like ‘Winks’ and ‘Stonefield Tavern’ further eastwards along Glasgow Road, it may have originally been a changing house or inn where weary travellers could rest and get their horses attended to. Situated on the most western extremity of the hamlet of Stonefield, the public house was well used, popular and one of the best early public houses. During the 19th Century, upon exiting the building, you would have looked over towards a small woodland, where now St Joseph’s Church stands. The public house at Clive Place sat isolated at that time, existing long before most Glasgow Road buildings.

1890's robert-craig-wine-spirit-merch wm

Clive Place Public House on Glasgow Road, Blantyre during the 1890’s

    The public house opened out on to Glasgow Road and had no windows in the gables. On the Glasgow Road side of the building were 2 large windows and a central large door, illuminated by overhanging gas lamp, with space above for signage. It was heated by coal fires at either end of the building. Nearby two modest sized trees are shown on the 1859 map and on the only known photo of the building. The trees at the back of the photo were in the grounds of nearby Stonefield Cottage. The property including a small paddock for horses, was enclosed by waist height wooden picket fences. A well was located at the junction serving the property.

Craig Family Ownership

   Between 1851 and 1854, Thomas Craig, a spirit dealer from Bothwell moved over to Blantyre with his wife, Helen, young daughter Margaret and their new infant son, Robert. This family would become synonymous with Glasgow Road Public houses until the end of the First World War. Born in 1817, Thomas Craig was the son of George Craig, spirit merchant of Bothwell and Janet.

   Thomas Craig and family initially in the early 1850’s rented a house at Clive Place from George Bruce, and Thomas would run Clive Place public house. In 1859, the name book for the Parish hints at how established this public house had become, describing ‘Clive Place’ as “A Public house on the side of the Hamilton to Glasgow Turnpike Road. The name is well known throughout the Parish.”

    Opportunity arose in 1861, when George Craig, Thomas’s father died, a situation which resulted in Janet Craig, Thomas’s mother buying Clive Place Public House outright from George Bruce. So it came to be in 1861, at the age of 43, Thomas was still running the pub as he had done for the best part of 10 years, albeit now for his mother Janet Craig, whom by then was absent from Blantyre running her own inn, at Kirkintilloch.

   By 1865, at a time when coal was being discovered in and around Blantyre, and more people arrived, Thomas Craig and family were living at Clive Place, running the public house.

    In 1865, George Bruce had let out a nearby house within Clive Place to the Blantyre Co-operative Society, although only for a short time. It dispels the myth that the Co-op first arrived in Blantyre in the 1880’s and is a full 18 years earlier than previously recorded. The Co-op may have failed in the 1860’s, due to lack of population or presence but would flourish considerably when established again in 1883. By 1875 John Mitchell and 2 other tenants were renting that house instead.

    In the 1871 census, Thomas Craig and wife Helen were in their mid-50’s and together with son, Robert (20) and daughter Margaret (24), they all lived at Clive Place operating the family wine merchant’s business, on behalf of Thomas’s mother, Janet Craig, the owner.

    In 1877, the year of the Blantyre Pit Disaster, Robert Craig was 26 years old and saw opportunity in establishing his own public house, at a sufficient distance away for business to be successful, non-competitive, yet close enough to be near his home and family. License was sought for establishing a public house at Westend Place, on the corner of Bardykes Road at the western extremity of Blantyre. The license was granted and Robert established himself at that location, along with his sister, Margaret made their own way in the world as wine and spirit merchants, just like their father, Thomas still running Clive Place.

1890s clive place zoom wm

Close up of Clive Place Public House and passing Horse and Carriage, during 1890’s

    Trade at ‘Clive Place Public House’ may have drastically dipped in 1877 following the Pit Explosion on 22nd October 1877, with so many of the dead miners previously living nearby at Dixon’s Rows. In 1885, Thomas Craig died aged 68 and the running of Clive Place was taken over by his widowed wife, Helen who was by then 70 years old. Janet Craig, mother of Thomas outlived him and in 1885, it was all change within the Craig family.

Robert Craig

   Robert Craig, son of Thomas and Helen was born in Cumbernauld in 1851, coming to Blantyre as an infant. Living at Clive Place, he grew up around the wine and spirit merchant business and would have known the trade well by the time of applying for his own license at the age of 26. When his father died in 1885, his grandmother Janet gave up her ownership of Clive Place, over to Robert, who would become the owner outright from that date.

    By the end of 1885, Robert Craig owned, not just his public house at the Westend, but also Clive Place. Indications of stretched working life are apparent for Helen Craig (80), Robert’s widowed mother was running Clive Place by 1895, whilst as owner, he was also ‘hands on’ at the Westend. There is no doubt he would have been running between both businesses, overseeing the interests of each. Robert would establish his own mark at Clive Place following 1885. A gable sign erected, noted ‘Robert Craig’s’ wine and spirit merchant business with established date of 1832, going back to the days of his father and grandfather, something he would have been proud of. Local people may have shortened the name, referring to Clive Place simply as “Craig’s Pub”.

    By 1895, the other homes at Clive Place were owned by John Virtue and the Craig family no longer living there. Success of having two pubs meant Robert Craig could afford to live in one of the new large villas on Glasgow Road. By then, a single man, he moved to “Craigrock” a semi-detached villa at 312 Glasgow Road midway between Clive Place and the Westend.

    He married once in 1899 to a woman named Margaret Thomson Roxburgh (who died young, aged 49 in 1914). In the 1901 census, Robert is 50-year-old, living there with his 86-year-old retired mother Helen. He took part in many community engagements and functions and was well known.

   When Helen Craig died in 1903, aged 88, her grandson, Robert was the rightful inheritor of the Craig Estate. Likely coming into money, Robert would seize the opportunity for a fresh start. At the age of 52, as trams commenced directly outside Clive Place, and the opposing St Joseph’s Church construction got underway directly opposite, Robert took the opportunity to demolish the aging Clive Place Public house entirely, making way for a modern, ornate corner tenement building. He may have felt a growing pressure to keep up appearances and modernization given the amount of pubs and new building springing up nearby around this time.

    From Robert’s perspective, his own pub had always been the Westend, and Clive Place was the ‘Old Original Bar’ belonging to the family. The name was a logical choice for his new public house at 283/285 Glasgow Road. Located on the corner of his modern tenement in 1903, he named the pub exactly that, i.e. “The Old Original Bar” in honour of his family’s legacy.

   The name ‘Clive Place’ however would not totally disappear at that time. The upper homes within the new corner tenement with address 287 Glasgow Road would officially continue to be called “Clive Place” for several decades, as would the cottage at Stonefield Road. However, the name ‘Clive Place’ looks to have vanished by WW2, the former pub itself, now an impossibility for any living person’s memory or recollection. 

   This was truly one of Blantyre’s forgotten old buildings.

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

Robert Stewart Clive Place is almost identical to the old Stonefield Cottage that was demolished in 1959


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  1. Paul,
    Where on earth do you find all this history? Great reading!

    Do you mind if I make a comment? You consistently use “it’s” for the possessive case, when it shout be “its”, no apostrophe. “It’s” is usually a contraction of “it is”, or sometimes “it has”. This goes against the usual rule of “apostrophe-s” for the possessive case, but such is the English language. Sorry to be a grammar Nazi!

    Keep up the great work!



    1. Lon- Thanks. This is the feedback I need. Grammar is not my best point and i often write the longer words rather than using contractions. I am just a lowly construction manager but you are right. If i’m publishing, especially in a book, i should be using corrected and proof read text. Thanks and glad you like the stories. P.S I have access to several newspaper databases and i’m now finding some families are sending me stories, which certainly makes things easier! Cheers.

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