Jean Boyd sent in a message recently saying, “My grandparents lived at 151 Auchinraith Road. The name of the house was Auchinfin and they moved there between 1935-1940. My granddad was Thomas Brownrigg and he died in the house in 1959. My gran died there too in 1962. My Aunt loved there with her husband Robert Robertson who had a fruit and veg business and they also owned a cottage at the end of the land across the road. It was a shop. I’d like to know the history of the house.”
Looking at the history for this house, we first go back to just after World War One in 1920 when miner Thomas Kerr Jnr was living at Main Street, High Blantyre, near the junction of Auchinraith Road.
Thomas was a brusher and owned his house “Sunnyside” outright alongside tomato houses, (though they should not be confused with the adjacent greenhouses that once belonged to gardener, Matthew Campbell)
Between 1921 and 1924, Thomas sold his home to James Clarkson, a butcher, which no doubt freed up money to build his new home, which was to be a “modern” detached villa, with a 1920’s art deco style. A suitable plot of land was chosen and Auchinfin was built, alongside pighouses and tomato houses. Thomas was still a miner in the 1920’s, so I’m fairly sure having pigs and greenhouses were supplementing his income. In the 1925 Valuation roll, the house is there but unoccupied, so it may have been nearing completion that year. It had a rateable impressive value of £27.
Auchinfin is a spacious, detached single storey villa build in block, rouighcast with a slate roof. It has a generous garden and its drive is accessed from Auchinraith Road. Auchinfin is associated with Kilbride, a name which exists there but it may have been suitable for this house, so difficult to find, hidden behind other homes. Fin, a play on Find. Auchin, a nod to Auchinraith where the house is located.
During the late 1920’s, homes were extensively renumbered in Blantyre and Auchinfin was officially given address 151 Auchinraith Road, an address it still has today. Thomas moved in after construction and was still there in 1930.
However, all was not well. 1930 was an extremely difficult year for employment in Blantyre and especially if you were a miner at Auchinraith Colliery, employed by Merry & Cunningham. Following a disaster in August that year, the colliery subsequently closed for good almost a year later.
Prior to 1935, the house fell into repossession and was bought over by the County Council of Lanark, with Thomas’s son James Kerr continuing to live there, but renting from the council.
When the council sought to dispose of such assets in the late 1930’s, Auchinfin was put up for sale, but James Kerr did not buy. Instead, it was bought between 1936 and 1939 by Thomas Brownrigg who immediately let it out as a business interest to Robert F Robertson, a grocer. Robert lived there throughout the war years paying around £11 per year in rent, before ultimately, the Brownrigg family moved in as their own home in post WW2 years.
This lovely house is often missed, sitting very privately off of Auchinraith Road, behind the houses that open out on to the street. It is well kept and remains a desirable property to this day.
Would YOU like me to look at the early history of your Blantyre home? If built before 1940s, I’m quite happy doing that for free. Log your request here: https://blantyreproject.com/requests/