A Running Jump


A Blantyre businessman told he District Council to “take a running jump” in December 1980 over a legal threat to his five Blantyre shops.


This was the defiant response from Yaqub Ali to Hamilton District Council who warned him that legal action would be taken unless “Paving landscaping works” were carried out around the firm’ five shop unit on Stonefield Road.

Mr Ali said he would do the work in his own time but said the council threat was like adding insult to injury. Mr Ali’s complaint was that he lodged planning and built his shopping units and the council had not informed him of their intention to let ASDA build too. The Council maintained they had no obligation to tell trader that other shops “Were due to be built”.

The massive competition of ASDA arriving meant that his firm AA Brothers were only able to lease just one of the five new units at Larkfield. (Landmark). The five new units had cost £100,000 to build. Mr Ali was proud in that they would be leased out at “bottom rates” to others, as affordable to “stick it to Asda!”

However, of his own enterprise, Mr Ali who married into the Botterill family said, almost immediately after opening, he was thinking of abandoning his own lease at the largest unit and giving it over to other supermarkets as he felt it was losing money there. To be told to “finish the paving”, added injury to his complaint although he recognised that shoppers needed to walk safely to the shops.

George McInally, a local Councillor reminded Mr Ali that the units at Larkfield had passed planning, long before decision about ASDA had been made. Cllr McInally’s reply reminded him that not obeying an enforcement order would mean court action and urged Mr Ali to get the pavement completed.

It’s safe to say Yaqub Ali was no fan of ASDA or the District Council. It’s also safe to say he had the last laugh. Forming Castle Cash and Carry, he went on to have monumental success and lived a comfortable lifestyle. A far cry from humble beginnings in the area peddling goods on doorsteps with an old suitcase!

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

Marianne Stark Aitken Who were the wonderful rhubarb men….that’s what I want to know.
Caryn MacRaild Marianne from memory it was a story of a group of guys from priory bridge who got in a fight and defended themselves with rhubarb stalks from someone’s garden. Hence became the wonderful rhubarb men. That’s one story I was told years ago
Marianne Stark Aitken Caryn MacRaild hahahahaha really??? I grew up directly behind landmark in Teviot Way and never heard that story!! Thank you
Sharyn Sn What was the 5th shop? Good thing about these units are that I’ve never seen them boarded up lying empty
John Dunsmore True. Sharyn sn.
Marian Maguire Yes they have always been occupied, but could do with an upgrade now, getting a bit shabby.
Eleanor Clark Yaqub Ali was a gentleman, know of many things he did
Carole Mackie Rickard I remember Landmark opening and the baby shop which was in the unit that is now the vets. I worked in the Chinese for about 2 weeks when I was 18. None of the units have ever been empty and have had pretty much the same tenants for many years. I believe this is due to their central location and plenty of available parking.
Catherine Docherty Worked with mr Ali, dont gets bosses like that now
Neil Mcgill I remember the spar Chinese wool shop and JDS what was the fifth shop ??


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