200 Lantern Views of Blantyre

The Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly Newspaper on Friday 23rd September 1892 page 4 raised the possibility of an interesting mystery in Blantyre. It said,

“ILLUSTRATED LECTURE OF BLANTYRE – The very Rev. Dr Gloag is to deliver a lecture on Blantyre, historical and picturesque, in Stonefield Parish Church on Friday, 30th September, at 8 p.m. The lecture will be illustrated by about 200 lime light lantern views from negatives recently taken by Mr W. F. Hendrie, in all parts of the parish.”

Other adverts of similar nature cropped up confirming that 200 views of Blantyre taken in 1892 existed back then! Now the question has to be, where are they NOW?!

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Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News on Friday 7th October 1892 in page 5 followed the show up with a review:

“STONEFIELD PARISH CHURCH. — A lecture, entitled, “Blantyre : Historical and Picturesque,” and illustrated by nearly 200 lime-light lantern views, was delivered in this church, last Friday evening, by Rev. Dr Gloag, to a large and appreciative audience.

Rev. Thomas Pryde, M.A., pastor of the church, presided. Dr Gloag, in his opening remarks, referred to the many changes that had taken place in Blantyre since he came to the district, about thirty-two years ago. Referring to Blantyre historically, he drew attention to the rapid increase of its population, which had risen from 496 in 1755 to something over 12,000 at the present day. Referring to the industries of Blantyre, he dwelt chiefly with Blantyre Works, and amongst the numerous eminent men who had been born and died in the parish, he particularised the Millers of Millheugh, the Hunters of Museum fame, and, of course, the immortal David Livingstone.

Geographically speaking, he referred to many finer specimens of fossils and shells that had been found in the district, and urged upon miners, quarrymen, and others, to look out for and retain any specimens. At the close of the lecture, lantern views were thrown on a large screen, erected behind and over the pulpit. The pictures were of the most magnificent description, and taken from negatives by Mr W. F. Hendrie, who deserves the highest praise, not only for the excellence of the views, but for the exceptionally fine treat afforded to the people of the district.”

How I would have LOVED to have been in that Church presentation that evening!

With thanks to Gordon Cook for these snippets.

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

Chris Ladds Rev. Dr Paton J. Gloag has crept up a number of times during my research – a few of the references I cannot find just now, but he did seem to do at least one walk (I think) in the Glen.

As well as being more prominent for his scholarly work, of course he was for a time the Minister of Blantyre Church, and he was a corresponding member on the subject of natural history, especially fossils, and it would seem his Peer, Paton, the Paleontologist who wrote a learned paper on the district’s fossils, named a fossil from Calderside found by Rev. Dr. Gloag after the latter. John Young mentions this in his principle published work on the subject of Carboniferous Fossils in the West of Scotland, 1871.

During his period of activity magic lantern lectures were very common amongst ministers, mainly on the subject of religion and church teachings however, and most of those do not survive. Sadly unless foresight was applied to allow for the preservation of those 200 slides, then there is a chance they do not survive either.

If they contained subjects such as the periphery of Blantyre or of Long Calderwood/Hunter Brothers then I surely would have seen something by now in any one of the 2,000+ collections of various institutions/archives/libraries I have trawled – so if they are somewhere, they may not be individually catalogued, but rather listed under Gloag or something related.


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  1. I found a box of black and white glass “slides” dated from 1904 to 1912 of the Bearsden area plus some “views” like a 1912 Rover Car and Steam engine at Aviemore. Found in a charity shop in Byres Road Glasgow.However how do I print or view them?

    1. Eric – thats a specialist job. Perhaps Car enthusiasts or community groups in Aviemore would be willing to assist with the cost (it can be expensive). However, if its one of the smaller type plates of A4 size or less, you may get a good result by putting it into a flatbed scanner, as long as the lid can shut properly.

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