Going back 100 years with this photo of the General’s Bridge on Stoneymeadow Road, High Blantyre. Not quite as impressive as the Gothic arch below but a charming photo nonetheless. It was colourised to make a postcard at the time.
The bridge spans the Rotten Calder River with Crossbasket Estate on the right hand side. Some children stand barefoot, which walking out in the country, perhaps some distance from home, still makes me gasp in amazement.
Around this time, the Parish Council launched an initiative to help parents with the costs of shoes and boots. I read this was a one off payment to help buy shoes, but children grow fast and I can’t help but think shoes would be too small, very soon after they were funded.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Moira Macfarlane We used to swim at the general’s bridge,, happy days
Eleanor Clark Wow one of those children could have been out dad as he always walked up there
Elaine Speirs My Papa was born in 1908 and told me he walked in snow in Blantyre as a boy, with bare feet. His idea of rich was being warmed, housed, clothed and not being hungry. This was the reality for many mining families.
Elaine Currie Elaine Speirs very humbling
Drew Fisher Elaine Speirs my Dad was much the same; barefoot in summer but shoes in winter. Hunger was a problem.
Eleanor Clark Elaine Speirs our dad was 1907 and he loved going to school in his bare feet
Jiae Jiae Elaine Speirs many of my friends laugh at me because I still measure health and wealth as having milk in the fridge and a heat in the house. My mother always said that if you had your health then you had everything.
Carol McCormack Anyone know why it’s called generals bridge. My mother has an old photo of it and always refers to it as generals bridge when we go over it.
Thomas Barrett My grandad walked up there every day into his eighties and smoked his pipe.
Betty McLean A favourite walk on Sundays
John Dunsmore One of my favourite haunts up at. Generals bridge fishing
Gord Fotheringham Was indeed a liberal generation……i was shoeless many a time i remember a young lady came to school on day with not shoes…..the nice teacher took her to the shoe store and bought her a good pair of shoes…..the next day the young ladies mother came to school and whacked that teacher with a broom she had brought with her…..life on the 40s
Margaret Muir Yes I remember it.
Agnes Cook Aw man. My folks lived in the North Lodge and worked for the estate. Wonder if any of them are in the pic.
Elizabeth Weaver My mother said that most families would do anything to avoid having parish boots (“pairish bits”) because they were so obviously different from normal shoes 🙁 She remembered seeing some poor weans being laughed at in Auchinraith playground for wearing them.
Mary Kane I went over this bridge every day to school in Hamilton from 1962 to 1967. Also to visit family in Blantyre over the years . I knew every turn in that road.
Jiae Jiae Mary Kane Me too, sometimes I still take that road ….just for a wee nosey
Sandy Wilkie Drove over it every day when I was a kid with my father in the 50’s in either a platform Austin lorry or a Bedford Dormobile van to collect 10 gallon cans of milk from Bob Chalmers & Chrissy Allison at Dughillock (or Allers Farm, now Kennels). Then in the late 60’s when I was legally allowed to drive on my own, we turned left right at the General’s Brig (Road now gone since Expressway opened) and up the Puddock Brae to collect even more milk, from Jim Shields at Basket Farm, back to Bardykes for bottling! Memories!
Jiae Jiae We travelled over this bridge every day to go to school and on a Sunday bday to visit Grannie. One of my first history lessons from my father, ‘the General’s Bridge’! Molly Weir…’Shoes were for Sundays’. Also, just out of interest, I knew an old agricultural man in Aberdeenshire who told me that when he was a’fee’d loon ‘, a bought farm boy, his pay after 6months was …..a pair of boots. He also had to sleep in the ‘chaumer’, (area above the stables) and shake the rats out of his straw mattress before he went to bed at night. Scotland, a nation of slaves, about 100 years ago.
John Dunsmore There was just one public foot pavement which was on the right hand side coming from Blantyre too stonemeadow and. Crossbasket. House.
Eleanor Connor Lovely! ….I drive over it regularly