Agnes Cook sent me a message saying, “Can you look into 159 and 161 Main Street, High Blantyre for me please.?My great grandparents home (159)”
Well, I do have a few notes on this house. There is an added complexity though, as this property like many on Main Street has had several names and addresses!
Lets go back to 1891 first, a time when this was still a field. During that year, two men living in Blantyre were working as stone masons for Aitkenhead Builders in Hunthill Road. Mr Thomas Thomson was 36 years old. Born in 1855 in Motherwell, Thomas lives in Jacksons Land in Barnhill, near the Templetons Blacksmiths. The other man, was Mr Thomas Grimson, an older stonemason at 42 years old, originally from Motherwell, but then living at Hunthill near the builders.
What is certain is that sometime between 1892 and 1894, the two Thomas’s decided to build themselves homes. Acquiring land from Bellsfield, they built these two semi detached cottages. The one on the left Thomas Thomson named “Auchinraith Cottage”. The one on the right owned by Thomas Grimson was called “Feorling Cottage”. Both sat directly opposite the road from the Nurseries. Each cottage was nicely and solidly constructed and you can still see fine stone features on both cottages to this day, some 128 years later.
Thomas Thomson is not be confused by Thomas S Thomson, who owned many properties, houses and shops at Commercial Place at the bottom of Stonefield Road.
As postal address were given out in the early 20th Century, these properties became 35 and 37 Main Street (note 159 was the small derelict cottage at the end of my own driveway up near Douglas Street). Their original names existed on Valuation rolls until the 1920s. Whilst Thomas Grimson lived in his own cottage, Thomas Thomson didnt. Instead he let out the left hand cottage to his cousin, David Turbit. The Turbit family were renting only and Thomas Thomson moved with his family to the North Lodge of Calderwood Castle, just off Stoneymeadow Road during his retirement.
These cottages were at the time situated between Manns Land to the right and Murdochs Land to the left. After Thomas Thomson died, his widow, Helena moved to her inherited cottage on the left and was there in 1925. Just a couple of years later, postal addresses changed and these two properties were renumbered as 159 and 161 Main Street, recognisable addresses which exist today. By the second world war after Helena passed away, the cottage was occupied by son, William Thomson.
The cottages likely always had slated roofs, rather than thatch and have in modern times been re-roofed and new windows and doors. The old door was rather ominous looking like a coffin shape! The doors open out to the pavement. At the back during the 20th Century were glass or greenhouses and a back garden view out across fields over to Dixons Collieries in High Blantyre.
The homes today are well kept and desirable. Thomas and Helena are pictured during the 1910s at North Lodge.