Pigeons Relocated, 1978

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Need your help. I have very little notes on these buildings, just off the red ash park, bordering the Calder through Hunthill Lane. I’ve always believed them to be pigeon coops, though not sure if they still are or even were! Anybody able to comment?

Looking into this subject, by 1978, a growing problem of pigeon fanciers*, i.e keeping live birds in bird lofts in gardens was being discussed by the Council. The popular past-time was especially popular in Blantyre with some homes in Logan Street, Cemetery Road, Auchinraith Road and Hunthill Road noted as having these bird lofts.

* People who breed pigeons are commonly referred to as pigeon fanciers.The hobby is gaining in popularity in the United States, after having waned within the last 50 years in the UK.

The problem was twofold. Neighbours complained about the noise and health standards the birds were being kept in. Others complained of the constant bird mess on the town in general.

In June 1978, Hamilton District Council decided to act and to run pigeon fanciers “out of town.” Actually, the proposal was far less severe than it sounds. The lofts were to be removed from individual gardens and rebuilt on council land or allotments away from homes, but still let owners continue their sport.

The process started when the Council ordered the removal of pigeon lofts from tenement gardens in Cemetery Road. The owners were given a months grace before orders were enforced, which was to give them time to prepare and let the birds finish racing. It also let the council have some time to find a suitable replacement site in Blantyre.

Councillor James Swinburne commented, “These people have a right to continue their leisure activities and we should do everything in our power to help them.”

I wonder therefore, are these the lofts the Council proposed in 1978? 

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  1. My uncle Johnny Sim and auntie Mamie lived at (I think) 52 Cypress Avenue and he was a fancier.
    I remember a big race (Nice in France I think) and while I was visiting he was having a hard time with one of his birds trying to get it to the coup so he could record it’s time. He was so frustrated because he thought he might be in the money.
    He used some of the best expletives in Blantyre, but that bird just refused to get to the coup. It was perched on a tree, on the house and fence for many hours, so I guess at the end of the day, it didn’t bring him any revenue.
    Another great memory. Thanks Paul.

    1. Im hearing more and more about how popular bird fancying was in Blantyre. I can only imagine the state of all the roofs! lol

      1. Aye Paul, mainly around the fanciers domiciles. However, nothing compared to what dogs left on pavements and streets (and still do!).

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