Glasgow Road Tenements

A short poem to tell part of the story of the Glasgow Road tenements. We fondly remember shops and these old buildings but the more I research the late 1970s, the more I read about people in Blantyre desperate to get them demolished and modernise or replaced. Reading about the condemned notices and the deplorable state of some of the shops, damp and rotted, it’s easy to see on paper why their time was up. It wasn’t landlords. It wasn’t high rents. This poem explores a major reason many of these buildings did NOT stand the test of time.

“Glasgow Road Tenements”

Homes and Shops on Glasgow Road,
the ghosts of “Blantyre’s Past”,
Well built of stone, sturdy ‘n strong,
and all supposed “tae last”.

A busy street took shape,
With tenements ‘a plenty,
Dozens of homes, with shops below,
and ‘nane ‘o them wur empty!”

Like Uddingston, Bothwell and Larkhall,
A street to call our own,
Trams came along in 1903,
and stopping, “tae git ye hame!”

It had all you ever needed, 
a real “one stop” street,
Flowers, petrol, paint and nails,
and Miller’s “shoes fur feet.”

Andrew Littles for your rolls,
and haircuts at Patons and Clearys,
Walk in to Batters, Matha’s & Co,
by Sunday “ye wur weary.”

But industry played a heavy part,
in this ‘retail Mecca’s’ demise,
for something hid down far below,
and coal….it “wis the prize.”

Buildings collapsed and fell apart,
their walls cracked and broke,
and boarded windows soon got up,
the backs of “Blantir folk.”

Council scorned and quite a sight,
something had to be done,
Rats and Rubbish, the Broadway gone,
a street ‘nae longer fun.”

With a market gone and shops all lost,
Asda was the saviour,
a store of modern stuff was built,
Blantyre “nae longer a failure.”

We’re quick to say the heart was ripped,
from this town when tenements came down,
but remember this, the thousands of jobs,
that Asda gave this town.

So, coal it was the sorry cause,
No supermarket is to blame,
But now we lack the personal touch,
and that is such a shame!

Of course, we yearn for years gone by,
Nostalgia….our memories find,
those crumbling tenements couldn’t be saved,
something “tae keep in mind.”

by Paul Veverka

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