Athole Cottage, High Blantyre

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Athole Cottage – or Athol had address 8 Hamilton Drive, just off Syes Brae, High Blantyre.

Constructed in 1902, by James Walker a local contractor in his 40’s, James owned and occupied the small, detached cottage when it was initially only accessible from Craigmuir Road (now severed by the East Kilbride Expressway). James Walker was a joiner who previously had lived at New Station Road (now John Street). It’s unknown how the name Athol came about, but the name suggests links to Perthshire.

The cottage commanded a good view from an elevated position looking down upon High Blantyre and looked directly out over the adjacent railway lines towards the spire of Blantyre Old Parish Church. It offered good access down to High Blantyre though was very close to the Greenhall brickworks. The location though may have been ideal for contractors and builders, being close to brickworks, sawmills, railway sidings and loading facilities of High Blantyre Station.

On 10th February 1909, following the death of James Walker, the cottage was sold at Smellie’s Auction to Mr William Kerr, a Blantye builder. This may have had a future if it wasn’t for the fact that the arrival of WW1 meant it was to be an unfortunate time for the building trade in Britain and like many tradespeople, William Kerr’s finances were in trouble, forcing him into insolvency. In the run up to 1914, William had been selling his properies with multiple adverts in newspapers.

In 1915, the creditors of William Kerr, Glenpark, Station Road owned the cottage and it was going to have to be sold on, for them to claim what was owned to them. The tenant at the time was William Cochrane, an engineman who had been an immediate neighbour of James Walker. It was likely a worrying time for him waiting to see if he could continue living there during those war years.

It was sold on Tuesday 25th September 1917 at public auction for £125. Smellie & Sons Ltd of Hamilton were the auctioneers. Following this date, the house was known as Athole with an ‘e’ at the end, rather than Athol. Mr Thomas Cochrane, clerk was the buyer, stepping in to buy the cottage as an investment and of course to continue letting it out to existing tenant, William Cochrane, a family member. As for William Kerr, it looks like he resurrected his building business after the war and got to keep his own home at Station Road.

Thomas Cochrane owned the cottage for at least 9 years. Between 1926 and 1929, Athole Cottage was sold to James McCutheon, a miner from Larkhall, and in 1930 being rented by Andrew Mair. A further, different tenant by 1940 was Robert McEwan who rented for £12 per year. James McCutcheon by WW2 also owned ‘Wallacelea Cottage’ at number 12 Hamilton Drive and had by that time moved to 18 Victoria Street, Blantyre.

In subsequent years the cottage could be accessed from Sydes Brae, once Craigmuir Road became unusable. Today the cottage, still a private home sits near the end of the cul de sac opposite a turning point with a grass garden at the front, overlooking the Expressway.

Rather bizarrely, the cottage now has address 6 Hamilton Drive, perhaps a sign of renumbering post 1930s.

From the book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2020

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

Sharon Morrison Doonin Paul there is an Athole Gardens just off Byres Rd at Ruthven Mews. I wonder if there is a West End connection?
James Richardson Prior to 1928 W. Kerr & family stayed in Redstone the semi.villa attached toGlen Park . The firm morphed into Hugh B. Kerr & son,who also owned Kerlaw quarry I.e. The white quarries,and Birkenshaw Brickworks in Larkhall.
Jim McSorley Great story. I delivered milk there as a co-op milk boy.
Linda Mccaig Hamilton drive
Sandy Wilkie ………..and we delivered next door, Jim. Yours was a Pinta Day customer – ours took a Doubler-a-day! Can you remember “Doublers”?
Eleanor Connor Knew the Lady who lived in no. 10…nice part
Brian John Frankham I was born at No 12 in 1946. I think that calls for a “Blue Plaque”
Gay Frazier Dose anyone have any photos of Timber Town Parkville Drive Blantyre Scotland lived that house
Gillian Morton I lived next door 8a when I was born for 1 year in 1970☺️
Joan McClure Robert McClure this is about our house
Blantyre Project does it still have the same name Joan?
Joan McClure Blantyre Project no it’s 8 Hamilton Drive, but we might see if we can go back to the name now that we know, thank you 😊 We’ve been to Atholl Palace at Pitlochry a few time, nice coincidence.

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