Unauthorised Markets, 1979

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A brilliant set of pictures next, hopefully the first time you’ve seen these an evoking lots of memories of Blantyre Market. These are from 1979 and in particular this is a brief period where the markets had no license, and therefore were unauthorised!

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The Hastie’s Farm 1970’s market was run by an English based company called “Spook Erections” and their market would open in Blantyre each an every Tuesday. It had a maximum capacity of 50 stalls and was a popular, lively and thriving place to do business. Indeed it was doing so well and so many people had lined up, asking to be involved in outdoor trading that in 1978 they applied to DOUBLE the market size to 100 stalls utilising all the space in front of Hastie’s farm right down to Glasgow Road.

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Hamilton District Council turned down the application on the basis that nowhere nearby offered good parking for the market, something incredulous to people given Glasgow Road at the time had so many vacant plots. The decision was taken by Councillors who visited the site and had already decided amongst themselves that a market would not be a good thing for Blantyre given plans underway to create a modern shopping centre. It was believed open air trading was a thing of the past and relied upon weather for successful trading.

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Hastie’s Farm Market closed for good in March 1979 upon expiry of the final issued trading license. These pictures are from shortly after.

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Spook Erections who applied annually to renew market licenses, were not best pleased. From their English offices, in 1979, together with petitions from Blantyre people, they collectively voiced their protests to the Council and after being removed by officials from the Hastie’s site ,the (unauthorised) market was moved briefly to space near Glasgow Road, later to become Devlin Grove. However, with officials clamping down, the situation could not be maintained. A market with no license was not going to be tolerated.

As can be seen in the photos, the future was here, with the arrival of Asda and an abrupt end to regular markets in the town.

Photos: G Hay.

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