1979, The Blantyre Project


1979 Mr Russell with ASDA model wm

Mr Russell with “The Blantyre Project” ASDA model by Ian Burke Associates

By the start of June 1979, the first ‘positive’ visible signs on site of the multi million pound venture between ASDA and Hamilton District Council was apparent.

Phrases like “Blantyre bomb site”, “open crater” and “dereliction beyond belief” were to be a thing of the past, as contractors confirmed that almost all of the tenements along Glasgow Road, scheduled for demolition, had now been removed.

For many people in Blantyre, it was a welcome sight. An end to rats, boarded up windows and unsafe buildings, many vandalised beyond repair. Seeing the removed tenements, open spaces was a sign of the future, the possibilities, certainly for most people, though for former traders perhaps less so.

By 1st June 1979, contractors had started work on the foundations for the new ASDA store and phase one (the 60,000 square foot store with 6 shops) was underway. Mr Crawford Russell, Hamilton District’s Planning Officer and a member of his team talked of the proposals deemed, ‘the Blantyre Project”, a name I thought suitable all those years ago for this history archive.

His Blantyre Project included building a sports centre just off John Street with decision already made in principal. It included building a brand new trading estate at the bottom of Auchenraith Road, as well as of course the ASDA development. Mr Russell is pictured here in 1979 with a model of the superstore.

What a tough route the Project had taken. Of the 7 huge compulsory purchase orders served, there had been 5 objections. After negotiation and discussion, those objections had been withdrawn and attempts were made to position traders as near to where they had been as possible. Just 4 blocks of tenements remained on Glasgow Road, to keep traders there until new premises could be found for them. Those shopkeepers in the remaining tenements to be demolished would get first option on the new shops at ASDA.

Mr Russell continued to state that the Shopping Centre would include, when finished 20 shops, the ASDA store and a new pub to be built at the corner of Victoria Street. Phase 1 was due to be completed in Autumn 1980. The Blantyre Project also included 450 spaces for car parking and housing would not be forgotten about. 25 special homes were to be built at Stonefield Public Park behind the arch. These were for older folks and a further 30 was planned initially east of John Street (which eventually would become Devlin Grove).

Mr Russell promised Glasgow Road had been modelled on Princes Street in Edinburgh, with shops lining one side, and easy unrestricted access to the park on the opposite side, with wider, larger carriageways and footways.

What do you think? Did Blantyre get it’s “Princes Street”?

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

Margaret Stewart You would need to have incredible vision to imagine that. Maybe if they had built the houses away from the main road there might have been some likeness to princes Street
Moyra Lindsay Or built a castle lol!
Valerie Krawczyk At the meeting we had with Mr Russell he promised local traders that they would prosper from the ‘spin off’ from ASDA coming to Blantyre. How wrong can you be with the recent demolition of the shops which were never fully occupied. Let’s hope the next plan is better than the last.
Liz Boxall Hi .. remember your dads shop well Wullie Pates .. I can still smell his pipe
Lovely man I lived above Andrew Littles
Nathaniel Mains Liz Boxall worked for Wullie and Jeff many moons ago x
Liz Boxall Nathaniel !!! Great wee shop !! I can see you as a paper boy and awe the dugs chasing ye 😂😂😂 .. wee balaclava on tay keep your lugs warm 😂😂😂
Elizabeth Grieve Blantyre looked busier with the old buildings than the mess we have now. It’s sad that there are so few truly local businesses about now
Michael T. McGlynn The town centre totally destroyed by town planners, experts and others. The latest plan for the shopping centre does not offer hope in terms of shopping experience, public realm/ environmental improvement or provide a basis for community pride.
Elizabeth Knowles I lived on Jackson St, and then Glasgow Rd, Coop Building in 1940’s, with my Fraser grandparents, every time I travel home we visit Blantyre. Nothing is left of the old Glasgow Rd, not a bad thing but what is in its place makes my heart weep. We hope to be back in the spring of next year to visit my mothers grave, will we be pleasantly surprised by these new plans?


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