On 17th October 1979, Springwells declared Independence from Hamilton! This was the cheeky headline in local papers following the decision by Hamilton District Council earlier that year to rip Springwells from Blantyre and place it into Hamilton on an official basis.
Springwells was having none of it! Following no success with protests and petitions, they decided to meet the problem face on and get Springwells put BACK into Blantyre, where all residents felt they belonged.
The local tenants Association held a march though Blantyre led by a piper. Mr Hugh Dunsmore , the Secretary of Springwells Tenants Association said they were pushed into action by Malcolm Rifkind, the Scottish Office Minister. We asked for a meeting with him about staying in Blantyre. He refused. We’re taking our protest right to him.”
Like much of Blantyre, the Tenants Association could not understand any sensible reason for stripping Springwells out of Blantyre, other than to fit Political gain within Hamilton itself. Springwell was not going to lose over 100 years of Blantyre identity.
That Wednesday, a fleet of buses left Blantyre heading to the Scottish Office in Edinburgh.
Springwells ultimately won their battle with residential areas put back into Blantyre, but not without some loss. Nearby areas like Whistleberry were carved up and shifted into Hamilton on a permanent basis, despite having Blantyre roots for many centuries.
Pictured are the families protesting that day before boarding the buses. Do you recognise anybody?
From the book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018.