Alan Smith put in a request to me quite some time ago asking, “Could you find out about my address 159 AUCHINRAITH ROAD please? It would great to get the history on my house.”
I like these type of requests and they usually turn out some good information when researched in detail. I was able to give Alan this reply.
This needed some careful handling from the off. There’s an Auchinraith Terrace and made more complex by the house at 159 Main Street being called “Auchinraith Cottage”. This request was about Auchinraith Road.
The official name of this house is “Inezlea” a name which existed for many decades at the property, though unsure if it’s still called that today.
It was built by the Roberts family. The Roberts family came to Blantyre, specifically to the Stonefield area sometime between 1875 and 1879. William Roberts is noted as a spirit dealer, together with John Roberts at Glasgow Road in 1879’s Naismith’s Directory. He was the first owner and constructor of the Priory Bar on Glasgow Road. The Roberts family however, were primarily a family of joiners, with brothers forming “J&W Roberts” (John and William) and they built a significant number of houses in Blantyre around their own homes on Herbertson Street, mostly in Auchinraith Road.
Inezlea was one such house. Built in 1905, right from the start the family ensured it belonged to Agnes Roberts, the wife of William. It is safe to say, this family was likely fairly wealthy, involved in several businesses and able to expand their financial interests by building more homes.
The origin of the name Inezlea was relatively simple to trace. The name Inez is a girl’s name of Portuguese origin meaning “pure, virginal”. In English, that name translates to Agnes, a woman’s given name, which derives from the Greek word hagnē, meaning “pure” or “holy”. The Latinized form of the Greek name is Hagnes, the feminine form of Hagnos, meaning “chaste” or “sacred”. ‘Lea’ means a meadow or land that is sown with grass. Together, Inzelea, literally means “Agnes’s meadow.” I think thats nice how such thought was given.
Whilst this was Agnes’s house, she didnt ever live there. It was a business interest and always let out, certainly beyond WW2.
Built of sandstone, the house is the left side of a semi detached mirrored property. It faces out on to Auchinraith Road and has a lower bay window and upper dormer. Whilst narrow on the front, it is deceptively large behind and has both back and front garden. It has been modernised over the decades. The Roberts family certainly knew what they were doing when they built this house. Accomplished building skills, attractive to look at….this was a far cry from Merry’s Rows just down the road!
In 1920 William Roberts died in Blantyre, aged 70 and Agnes continued to own the house which at the time had no house number, (but was situated beside then number 93). Mrs Agnes Roberts, the widowed wife of William continued to live in the ground floor home at Herbertson Street.
In 1925, Agnes, widow at 14 Herbertson Street was the owner with David Roberts of 16 Herbertson Street managing the house for her. She rented it out to Miss Mary McIntyre for £30 per year. Sometime between 1925 and 1930, the house numbers were all restructured to provide modern postal addresses and Inezlea became 159 Auchinraith Road, situated between Lavender cottage at 157 and Strebora at 159.
During the 1930’s and 40’s, the house was owned by sisters Agnes and Maguerite Roberts. During the war it was let out to James Taylor, who was renting the property for a hugely reduced rent of £23 and 15 shillings per year.
I have not explored the Post WW2 history of this house. Today, Alan Smith, the owner of ‘Granda Alan’s Confectionery’ business lives there. It remains a well built, nice looking desirable house and a legacy the Roberts family would have been proud of.