How’s this for a wonderful photo, which next year will incredibly be 100 years old! As promised, this is the start of many colourised old Blantyre photos, being shown exclusively on Blantyre Project.
Frank William Benham is pictured outside his shop at the bottom of Stonefield Road in 1921. Whilst writing my Glasgow Road book, I discovered that he was actually for a short time also the owner of the Old Original Bar across the road from his shop! He took over ‘The Old Original Bar’ in 1917, whilst living at ‘Craigrock’ villa at 310 Glasgow Road, next door to Robert Craig at 312. He would live there with family for the rest of his life. After the death of Robert Craig, on 7th April 1917, Frank Benham applied for an alcohol license, which was granted by authorities.
I had no date for this photo, but managed to determine the year with some investigation work. It’s definitely 1921 according to worldwide news posters which were on the side of the shop. Frank Benham was too old for war, at the time of this photo and it’s safe to say, he was a known character in the area.
Frank rented and ran this popular newsagent shop, adjacent to the large pend close at the bottom of Stonefield Road at number 11, between Valerio’s café and the main Blantyre Post Office. Selling fruits, confectionery and hard goods, I can see also the shop next door sold cigars. Blantyre kids stand back to give the photographer a good view of the shop and its owner.
He died on 13th December 1925, at his home at Craigrock, his will read on 8th April 1926 with eldest daughter Elizabeth Jackson Benham inheriting £901, 13 shillings and 6 pence. (Around £50,000 in today’s money). However, Craigrock and the shop at 11 Stonefield Road were rented and did not form part of the estate. The Old Original Bar was however part of the estate and would be sold on to others. His barmen at the time were John Gibson and Felix McBride, who both lived nearby.
With thanks to Scotland Colourised for the realistic added colour, the vivid shop window certainly bringing this old pre colour photo to life. More colour photos this week!