Clyde Cottages were two former semi-detached homes at 275 and 277 Glasgow Road near the corner of Stonefield Road at Glasgow Road junction. They should not be confused with Clyde Cottage in Auchentibber. The cottages accessed by one central path, appear to have been well built lasting nearly 120 years and served as homes for many different families.
In 1865, Mr. Robert Clyde Lindsay constructed the cottages, giving them his middle name, which was also the maiden name of his mother. As such, the name Clyde, although popular and relevant in Blantyre due to the nearby River of the same name, is attributable in this case to a person’s heritage.
Born in Glasgow, Robert lived in Denholm Cottage in Kilmalcolm prior to coming to Blantyre and is noted in the 1871 census. The Lindsay family initially moved in around 1866 and also owned an adjacent blacksmiths shop, yard and corner ground which they let out to Messrs Mitchell & Forrest. Also in 1866, eldest son David Lindsay a joiner, got married at the new cottages, the event noted in the local newspaper and the cottages named specifically.
The Lindsay Family
There is good evidence that the Lindsay family initially lived at Clyde Cottages from 1865 until around 1871. In 1867, James Lindsay, the brother of Robert was a road surveyor, who was looking to learn more and take part in Architecture classes, even advertising asking if there was any nearby. He would later go on to own land at Stonefield Road named Pilot Acre.
On 4th June 1868, Robert Lindsay married Alison Mitchell and the same year his sister Margaret Smellie Lindsay married at Clyde Cottage to William Pollock. Robert and Allison had a child Robert Lindsay Junior born in 1871 who would live until 1929. It is known Robert and Allison Lindsay had at least 4 children, all of them having the middle name ‘Clyde’. It was therefore a place that saw several family weddings, the cottages being comfortable enough for the weddings to be held and for births of family members. They may only have occupied one side of the Cottages, for in 1871, a lady named Janet, the wife of a William Adam died at Clyde Cottages.
The Lindsay family had moved out by 1875 although continued to work in Blantyre. Robert Lindsay was involved in the construction of Allison Place in Springwell in 1878, hired by Ann Allison Heriot. New tenants were then renting Clyde Cottages from Robert Lindsay Senior. In 1875 Thomas G Brown and John Waugh rented the property for £18 per annum.
By 1881, Robert Lindsay Senior had moved away from Blantyre. It is unknown why he left but the fact that his furniture was auctioned and that the bank took full ownership of Clyde Cottages, is telling that all may not have been well financially. Despite this assumption, there are no records of any liquidation, so the reason for the departure may well have been unremarkable enough, perhaps just a change of scenery. On 31st July 1882, the furniture of Clyde Cottages in its entirety including all the kitchen equipment for both cottages was sold at Smellie’s Auction House in Hamilton. The Hamilton Savings, Investment & Building Society took ownership of Clyde Cottages in the same year.
Tenants changed again. In 1885, Mr. Greenshields a warehouseman occupied one of the two houses, and Mrs. Hogg, widowed wife of James Hogg occupied the other. James was a stationer who died in 1884, and also a military man , a quartermaster-sergeant in the 74th Highlanders. Rents were being paid to Hamilton Savings, Investment & Building Society and the houses were both factored by Angus McQuarrie, a grocer at High Blantyre.
In 1895, tenants were David Thomson, a warehouseman and Mrs. Jane Simpson. In 1905, the houses were occupied by James Galloway, an Inspector of Drains and Mr. James Smith, a joiner, renting for £14, some £4 less than the rents had been 20 years earlier! A sign of the rented accommodation competition that may have prevailed in Blantyre at the time. The Smith family would live at this address for some time and James’s woodwork skills may have become especially handy as the family business of undertakers took off.
Sometime between 1898 and 1910, the toilets at the outside were rebuilt adjoining and part of the cottages at the back of the building. Likely feeling more modernized this would have saved a walk out in the cold winters to get to the loo.
By 1915, Clyde Cottages had been given addresses 275 and 277 Glasgow Road, the Smith family living at 277. Each were rented for £15 and the location may have seemed ideal as an abundance of shops sprang up at Stonefield Road and the previous decade had seen modern buildings like the Old Original Bar, the Church be built nearby. The proximity to the tram terminus would have been welcomed too. At 275 that year were Hugh Anderson a miner although he died in 1916 a year later. His widow, Mary would live there until the late 1920’s. Next door at 277 was Andrew Smith, a funeral undertaker, and son of James, who lived there well into the 1950s.
In 1930, at 275 William H Young, a confectioner was tenant and by 1935, the house had changed rental again , occupied by John Young, a fruiterer. In post WW2 years, this house would be occupied by Tommy Valerio, a well known shopkeeper who ran the Café De Royale, or “Mickey’s Café” situated very close to the back of Clyde Cottages. Interestingly, after 1930 Clyde Cottages became referred to as “Clyde Cottage”, i.e. in the singular, the name from then on only applying to 277 Glasgow Road, the home of the ‘Smiths.’
Injuries caused by a wheel
Dan Connor (73), was injured in a peculiar road accident on Monday 3rd August 1931. He was standing at Clyde Cottage, near the junction of Glasgow Road and Stonefield Road when one of the wheels of a passing motor car (which had been forced to swerve avoid another vehicle), became detached from the axle and dashed against him, knocking him down with force. He received facial injuries, including a broken nose.
Smith Undertakers operated under the name “J&A Smith Funeral Undertakers” and worked from their yard at 277 Glasgow Road adjacent to their Clyde Cottage home. With Telephone number Blantyre ‘44’, however, their main business was at Victoria Garage in High Blantyre.
The garden railings in this area of Glasgow Road, survived the iron drive of WW2 and still existed right up until the property was demolished.
In the 1950’s and 60’s large trees adorned the back gardens of Clyde Cottage, at the back of Mickey’s Café. The cottages are pictured in this article in 1979. Both homes were eventually demolished in the early 1980’s, as part of the modernization of Blantyre. It is safe to say that many families had occupied these unassuming homes, often missed being set back from Glasgow Road.
From the illustrated book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road South – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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