By the start of March 1917, Blantyre Co-operative Society had completed their new premises at the corner of Herbertson Street and Glasgow Road.
When I was writing my Glasgow Road book, I covered this event, but have now researched further detail to share here.
The impressive building had been under construction since the beginning the war. The opening ceremony was made into an occasion with a series social entertainments, free to every member and his wife, and for eight whole nights their new hall was packed!
On Friday, 23rd February 1917, the directors and building contractors met in the Co-operative Hall and celebrated with an enjoyable social, rejoicing in song and sentiment. Mr Thos. Gray, president of the society presided.
He referred to the fine build which spoke volumes for the united effort and for what the working man was able to do for himself. Mr Wm Muir, director, presented Mr George Muir, manager with a gold English lever watch, albert, and seal in the name of Blantyre Co-operative Society.
Mr Muir stated that the manager had entered the society’s employment twenty years ago. and during that time had never been off his work a day. He was appointed salesman in No. 1 Grocery Kirkland Place. High Blantyre. During his salesmanship he improved the system of stocktaking, also leakage in selling out and was successful in window-dressing by carrying off first prize every year. He was appointed general manager twelve years ago .
The following are the records his first and last quarter’s balance sheets showing just how fast the Co-op was expanding in 12 years (1905-1917):-
Sales. £12,668. today £38,688;
Share capital, £11,428, to-day £30.725;
trading capital £763. to-day £1,783:
self insurance £113. to-day £542;
reserved for chocks nothing:, to-day £402;
Penny Bank. £272, today £696;
reserve fund. £935. to-day £2099;
property cost £26,465. depreciated £2547;
fixed and live stock £8,548. depreciated £5,577 ;
membership, 1130 and now 2150.
Mr George Muir, in replying, said he felt proud to have been presented by the society with such a valuable token of appreciation, and commemoration of opening the new central premises. He emphasised importance of advertising, and in the year 1912 an exhibition was held the Masonic Hall, and today 3 coloured slides are shown alternately in Blantyre Picture House showing how simple it is for people to join the society by the payment 1/2. He paid a tribute to the architect. Mr James Lochhead of Hamilton for being able to meet all demands, and for his assistance in securing the site and installing the modern wonder of electricity. Mr Muir new if the building was be modern in the town of Blantyre, it would require a supply of electricity, therefore he had carried out all the arrangements and negotiations and it was an accomplished fact.
Mr James Lochead, Architect, in the name contractors, presented Mr Thomas Gray, chairman, of the society with a gold mounted umbrella, and asked Mr Gray to hand over one to each of the directors, book-keeper and manager. Mr Gray thanked -them for their tokens of esteem said that Mr James Lochhead, architect, and the contractors were to be congratulated being able to accomplish everything during these trying times, such a fine range of shops and halls.
Mrs Wm. in the of the society, presented Mrs George Muir with a gold mounted umbrella. Mrs Muir thanked directors for their kind remembrance and handsome gift. Mr John Galloway, director, in the name the society, presented Mr James architect. Thos. Fraser, and James Miller, with a silver cigarette case each, also Mr George Dunkeld with a pocket book. Mr John Galloway referred to the peculiar shape of the site, which proved that Mr Lochhead’s architect abilities were a very high merit. Mr Lochhead thanked the directors for their appreciated gifts. Mr Thos. Fraser, draughtsman, was complimented on his masterful drawings, of which 500 were submitted to the various contractors. Mr R. Lyon, convener of the Building Committee, referred to the advantage of having the whole Board as a Building Committee, which allowed all work and discussions to be carried out in an expeditious manner. Mr Thos. Heggison secretary, rendered violin selections, and John Campbell, of S.C.W.S. Musical Department, acted pianist. Frank Stevenson, book-keeper, gave a cinema display.
The social was a great success, and the company sang Auld Lang Syne before they parted.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Anne Irvine A wonderful story + a beautiful building.
Anne Mackie Verrry interesting xxxxx
Andrew Mclinden They took all this down destroyed our town
JJ Young The place had character then.
They’ve ruined the towns character by pulling down perfectly good buildings that I am sure could have been restored to their original glory .Filling their pockets and not even considering the future of the town .
Stuart Oneil great piece of history paul.i enjoyed reading that.
Eva Brown Sandra Mckeown Great building went to Dancing classes in the Hall.
I was born in Bairds Rows across the road from the co-op my mother did all her shopping there. Still remember the number 2361
Betty McLean The shoe department was on Herbertson Street I still remember the Coop number.
Joe Sneddon The local council have a lot to answer for , main street Blantyer a disgrace ..
June Hislop I worked in the office and loved my time there, my number was 406
Elizabeth Knowles My Grandfathers Co-op number was 743, remember well going to the grocers and butchers as a child. In fact all the Co-op shops along Glasgow Rd. we lived above one of the shops, our neighbours were called Wood, young Jim was a friend. Grandad was Chair of the society some time in late 40’s early 50’s. Don’t live in Blantyre now but when I do visit I could cry at the Way history has been destroyed.
Margaret Farmer Wish the buildings could have been kept up and utilized. I lived on Herbertson Street and Jackson Street which have been demolished.
Rita Stewart Docherty I went to Mrs Bowie’s choir upstairs in the Co building. I really enjoyed it. On the same night there was elocution lessons in another room.. It fascinated me that there was a. class to learn to speak ‘properly’..At the end of term we had a concert for family and friends. The choir sang and the Elocution group performed a play..but I was totally confused when the play was in broad Scots and they talked just like us!!!
Mary Morrison Yes I remember it weekly shopping, underwear, furniture and everything else. It really is a lovely memory.
Margaret Bordon Mary we went to elocution lessons in that building
Catherine Whitefield My granny lived in the houses above the shops . My mum an her sister’s all met there every Sat an remember them sorting out the co checks
Jiae Jiae And….many a wedding I attended in the Cooperative Hall!