Shops Forced to move, 1979


Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 14.49.27In March 1979, uncertainty existed at a block of shops on the north side of High Blantyre’s Main Street.

The shops on the lower floor of the tenements at the corner of Cemetery Road and Main Street were to be put under compulsory purchase order, to make way for the council’s new development of 29 homes. Naturally, traders were anxious to know where they were going to be relocated!

Mr Hobson, the butcher was particularly vocal to reporters, for along with 5 other shopkeepers in the block, his butchers shop still didn’t have firm confirmation of where they would be relocated to and frustratingly, the council seemed to be pressing on with the housing plans.

Speaking on behalf of all the shopkeepers, Mr Hobson accused Hamilton District Council of using underhand tactics in their dealings with the traders. In 1977, 2 years earlier Mr Hobson had met with the council and agreed to form a consortium of the traders to build new shops and was told by the council they would be granted a 99 year lease on vacant land.

However, in March 1979, the Council believed the consortium had fallen through and pursued a private developer to build the new shops instead. Mr Hobson, bewildered at this had commented that the consortium was still strong and they had employed a surveyor. The surveyor had reported that the council may not even OWN the land for the proposed shops and that actually it was tied up in parcels of ownership to various landowners. The long timescales had meant even one of the consortium members had decided to retire rather than move.

However, in due course the council had to concede that they would not move the shopkeepers until the new shops had been built, and only then would they commence the new houses.

Pictured in recent times is the grassy plot where once these shopkeepers traded from, viewed from the corner of Cemetery Road.

Words from the book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018

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

Margaret Elma Griffin Remember well all the shops along that stretch and how Cemetery Road used to look as we lived at 16 then 20 Cemetery Road the old houses the only place I recognise now is the Cemetery

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