Fish at Blantyre Weir

How about this for a great photo! Derek McSwan took the picture at the David Livingstone Bridge last month.

Fish have been abundant in this part of the river for many centuries. Did you know, during the early 1700’s, long before the construction of Dales Blantyre Works Mills, a previous dam had been built on the River Clyde at Blantyre.

The area was then known as Millhaugh (a forgotten name now, meaning the land of the Mill) and the dam most likely assisted that early industry. It is known a mill existed at this location on the Blantyre side of the river before Dales 1785 mill, for baptism records of folk who worked there, exist for the mid 1700s.

Lord Blantyre was the constructor of the little dam which was known then as “the Small waulk” of “Fulling Mill”, for the thickening of the “Hodden Grey” of the Lairds of Blantyre. This was preceded by the “Little Cotton Mill” first built. Fish swam freely through the “Triffing Dam Dyke” with plenty of water flow for salmon to pass freely up the river.

The 1747 map shows this little Blantyre Mill directly across from Bothwell Mill well ahead of the more well known Blantyre Works.

In 1771, dredging of the River Clyde for navigation and easier upstream access commenced. An escalation in the rate of industrialisation, including construction of a number of weirs hindered the passage of adult salmon, notably including Blantyre Weir on the River Clyde (1785) and Partick Weir on the River Kelvin.

Blantyre Weir (a first version different from todays) was built in 1790 during a 7-year construction period when Dale and Monteith were building their mill works at Blantyre. Mill workers were strictly forbidden poaching from the river, though I bet many turned a blind eye to this.

From forthcoming series of Encyclopaedias “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2020

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