A little update with some exciting things planned here in 2020.
As some close friends will know, I chose to take voluntary redundancy in early December 2019 having pursued and secured a brilliant, but demanding new job. (I always chase the largest construction projects in Scotland, and this one starts shortly. I can’t wait!) Separating a full time job and only writing about Blantyre during evenings or weekends has been the norm for the last 9 years. So, knowing things will be back to normal soon, I’ve been busy every day since then, using my time off wisely and productively to write every day for Blantyre Project. I’ve been in my element and plowed through a LOT of research. To use a construction metaphor, “the foundations have been laid” for some exciting things coming this year:
- Daily brand new, posts are already scheduled in advance even beyond summer 2020. Articles will auto-post whilst I’m at work. As always, this ensures the expansion of a growing archive with daily, fresh uniquely researched content. It’s wonderful to see so many using Blantyre Project now to help their own ancestry or research! What’s scheduled? Look our for an exciting new look at photos of the INSIDE of old Blantyre shops. You wanted that. I got it. Coming soon.
- In Dec and Jan, I threw myself into working 4 or 5 hours a day on finishing my ‘Blantyre People” forthcoming illustrated book. At half a million words, its now more than double the size of the large Glasgow Road book and has been NINE years in the making, charting thousands of Blantyre lives, some of which I’ve been showing here in January. This is a book never been attempted before on such a grand scale. It’s been a real labour of love in A-Z format, and as the largest book ever printed about Blantyre, its something I’m immensely proud of already. Out at the end of the month
- Further new books will happen in quick succession in Spring, with drafts completed for 2 much smaller books about ‘certain’ Blantyre individuals.
- 2020 will be the year for Blantyre books! I’ve not published a book for 2 years, but been writing new ones every single evening, without fail. There’s another 2 large deeply researched books planned for the second half of the year. Drafted already, but needing an extensive sweep to make them as best as they can be and to finalise getting permissions.
- I’ll be showing the collection of David Ritchie’s photographs. Hundreds of crystal clear photos of Blantyre places and people between 1890 and 1920, now in my collection. I’ve definitely been holding back on this to date, so be prepared for some utterly amazing photos.
- Much requested also, is a sequel for Glasgow Road South book. I’ll be starting to post about Glasgow Road North following Easter, the first time the story of this side of the road has been told accurately or in any real detail. Like the south side already completed, it explores every building, every business that’s ever existed.
- To be scheduled for Autumn and Winter are further important photo collections, previously unseen, adding to the 13,200 photos already in Blantyre Project Archives.
- The website grows every single day. Photo sections are being restructured for easier navigation and to reference their source. The Blantyre Ultimate Hall of Fame module will be uploaded to Blantyre Project’s website in Easter. A massive new section showing the illustrated lives (where possibly) of a whopping 1,442 people from the 12th Century to the present day. A real “who’s who!” and in detail that could not fit into any book.
This year, I’ve set aside some involvement in certain community groups to focus my spare time on Blantyre Project’s books and website. Lots of other exciting things happening behind the scenes too with the new Livingstone Birthplace, fulfilment of ancestry requests, a massive definitive book being drafted on Blantyre’s Mining Heritage, the forthcoming showing of the Cochrane family of Calderglen’s collection and of course continuing to explore Blantyre’s past year by year.
New daily content is paramount. Photos and requests come in daily from all over the world and genuinely, there’s not a week goes by without somebody ringing my doorbell to hand something in! Thank you for your amazing support, interest and hope you enjoy what’s coming.
P.S I confidently add, even 9 years on, I’m just getting started and as motivated as ever to tell Blantyre’s history properly. There’s enough brand new information, photos and research sitting here waiting to post for decades to come.
All I need…………….is time!