Let’s go to Main Street, High Blantyre next and one of the oldest Blantyre photos. This previously unseen photo is a real treat from 1883!
This is the former Auchinraith Nursery on Main Street at the corner of Auchinraith Road.
Matthew Campbell Senior (b1836), who owned the nursery at the time is standing on the left with granddaughter Jeannie. This was passed down to family members so a lot is known.
Photographed from the Main Street, the picture confirms in that era Main Street had hedges and a hint of trees. The former Nursery Cottage is just out the picture to the left. The greenhouse on the right would now be the entrance to Kirkton House Care Home. Auchinraith Road, then just a track, was just out the picture to the right and in this era had no detached homes built yet!
The date is confirmed as 1883…remarkable to think this photo was taken only 6 years AFTER the Blantyre Pit Explosion! Matthew Campbell Junior is pictured too, alongside the nursery workers, all names known. At the time this photo was taken, there would have been nothing behind the nursery, all fields down to the hospital for infectious diseases and the railway. The chimney was part of the heating needed to keep the greenhouses warm in winter.
The workers are known. Sandy McInnes stands by the horse, then to the right Matthew Campbell Junior (b1868), on the shovels are John Rae and William McQuater.
I’ve recently been researching a later date of 1915 and reminded of a WW1 story about the nursery, which happened 32 years after this photo.
On Saturday 28th August 1915, a ‘Carnation’ day was held in Glasgow. The purpose was to sell carnations to raise funds for the Glasgow branch of ‘the Soldiers and Sailors’ Help society’. Blantyre certainly rallied to this cause and like efforts these days, in 1915 local businesses were keen to help. Matthew Campbell and Sons Nurseries donated an incredible 10,000 carnation blooms, which may give an indication of how large the nursery once was!
So great was the demand that day, that all 10,000 were sold in a matter of hours, raising £241 (about £30,000 in today’s money!). The full stock run out. Even at home, gardeners were “doing their bit” for the war effort.
Photo Courtesy: With kind thanks to descendent John Campbell, of Chester.