History of Springfield House

Springfield House was a former detached home once located at the junction of Broompark Road and Springfield Crescent. It should not be confused with Springfield Cottage, an existing old house on Glasgow Road, Blantyre.

Springfield House did however start off being called a ‘cottage at Springfield’. Situated at 78m above sea level, the area of Springfield, just off Broompark was originally tied to the lands of ‘Mains’ or ‘Old Place’. The name can be found in the 1700’s.

The 1800s

Built around the early 1790’s, Springfield was a fine looking stone built, detached home with a slated roof. A storey and a half, it is marked on the very outskirts of the 1795 map of Thomas Richardson’s map of Glasgow.

I haven’t been able to find the original constructors, but it would seem a significant plot of land was bought from Old Place in order to build a new house. The house at the time was substantially more impressive than some of the smaller, thatched cottages nearby.

Information on early owners and tenants is scare prior to the mid 1800s. However, it is recorded on Thursday the 1st of July 1819, Mrs Margaret Givan, relict of James Dick of Wheatlandhead, died at Springfield, Blantyre aged 82.

On Tuesday the 16th of September 1823, George Gardner Esquire of Springfield, Blantyre, married Agnes Gardner, who was the daughter of the late John Gardner of Broompark. This does makes some sense as the Gardner family owned Broompark Farm which was almost immediately across the road from Springfield.

The house sat isolated, commanding great views across the farm fields of Broompark Farm (New Mains). At the corner of the field beside the entrance was a pond, likely a low point in the field and perhaps giving rise to the 18th Century name of “Springfield”

The house appears to have been rented out to several tenants around the time of Queen Victoria taking to the throne. On 9th September 1841, Mrs Margaret Waddell, relict of the late Rev John Black of Shotts died there. On 14th February 1844, the Rev Duncan McLaine of the free Protesting church died after a lingering illness.

This was a time before the name ‘Broompark Road’. That road was then simply known as a tree lined road from Causeystanes to Barnhill, cutting across farm fields in Blantyre.

In the 1850’s, the Gardner family of Broompark were expanding, selling off their farmlands to others for the purpose of building homes. Part of this consolidation was to sell off Springfield House.

In April 1851 Springfield was advertised to be let and the advert gives a great glimpse into the size of the house : “SPRINGFIELD COTTAGE, consisting of six rooms and kitchen, with grates and other fixtures in good order, with garden and one acre of land attached, about a quarter an hour’s walk from the Blantyre Station (this would be Low Blantyre Station) of the Hamilton Railway. Rent £24 per annum.”

1859 Map showing Springfield layout of gardens

I wonder if the price was too high for such a sleepy, rural place like Blantyre. The house was still available over a year later. It was up for sale in the papers in March 1852 again. By July 1852 the property was still up for sale and re-advertised, this time with a bit more description.

“THE VILLA or COTTAGE of SPRINGFIELD situated on the South-West side of the Parish Road, leading from High to Low Blantyre, distant about one-fourth of a mile from the former. – The House consists of Dining Room, Parlour, Bed Room, and Kitchen on the Ground Flat, and Upper or Attic Flat of Three Bed Rooms ― all newly papered and Painted; Washing and Milk-House; into the Washing House Spring Water is introduced. Byre or Stable of Two Stalls, and other conveniences are attached. A small Field of nearly an Acre, and Garden well stocked with Fruit Trees, in good bearing condition adjoins. It is pleasantly situated, and commands an extensive view of the surrounding country. Is distant about seven miles from Glasgow, and within a quarter of an hour’s walk from the Blantyre Station of the Hamilton and Glasgow Railway.

The Ground is unrestricted, and the entry of Heirs and Singular Successors is taxed to Double Feu, which id £8 yearly. A more eligible and healthy situation is seldom to be met with.

Apply to McGrigors and Stevenson, Writers, Glasgow, who will show the Title Deeds and Articles of Roup; William Forrest, Barnhill, Blantyre, who has the Keys, will show the House, Glasgow, July 20, 1852.

The 1859 map shows the house with nicely laid out ornamental paths and the orchard at the back of the house.

By the 28th July 1852, the house had gone to auction for the reduced sum of £300 and aided by the better description, a long term buyer was soon found in Mr Anderson.

George Carrick Anderson of Springfield, Blantyre, owner of the cement works (and also later the farm at Calderside) set up a company in the 1850’s named “George Anderson & Co” which would trade in Roman Cement. The business of “Calderside Colour and Cement Works” was based at 158 Hydepark Street, Glasgow, named after his home area and where the stone was extracted from.  Calderside’s Roman Cement was a dark brown colour. The 1850’s was an important decade for Anderson. His arrival into Blantyre saw him own not only the cement works, but also Calderside Farm, the homes around it and of course his newly acquired residence of Springfield. Mr Anderson had well and truly moved to and made his mark on Blantyre!

On 20th November 1855, Adelaide, the eldest daughter of George Anderson was married at home at Springfield.

In 1858, the turf was cut to start laying the railway next to Springfield. The railway cur right through part of the land of Mr Anderson and I’m in no doubt he would have received compensation for this. With the railway cutting directly past the house, it would have been noisy. A new railway bridge was erected on Broompark Road, the road going underneath.

In 1859, the valuation roll describes the house as “A superior dwelling feued off the lands belonging to “Mains” or “Old Place”, — Lord Blantyre’s, feued.” It appears on maps from that year and shows the railway curving beside it, on land now a green field.

In May 1860, George Anderson’s son, William C Anderson won a prize for Geometry and Mathematics, clearly this was a family aiming for better things.

1859 Map showing Springfield

In June 1862, Jane Carrick, the wife of George died at home at Springfield. Just 3 months later, her daughter Jane was married.

There is an interesting story about Mr Anderson in November 1862. In that month, perhaps concerned about the dark, winter nights and growing population, Mr Anderson was one of four wealthy parties who helped donate a total of £700 to establish the Blantyre Gas Lighting Company, bringing gas street lamps to Kirkton, Hunthill, Barnhill and Stonefield Road.

In 1868, George Anderson & Co. advertised white lead, paint, colour, varnish, and cement manufacturers, 58 Hydepark Street, Glasgow ; also charcoal, ivory black, and cement works, 80 Hill Street, Gallowgate, Glasgow. Residence : Springfield, Blantyre.

In 1870, Mary Shepherd Anderson, the youngest daughter was married. In 1872, Mr Grieg was the 80 year old gardener of George Anderson, his remarkable age attracting attention in newspapers! It likely says lots about how fond Mr Andersons were of elderly Mr Grieg, to have a gardener of such age.

Following the death of George Anderson in 1872, aged 72, the cement business was inherited by his 26 year old son, William Anderson and it is at this juncture, Springfield was sold.

Mr John MacGregor was the next owner in March 1873 and acquiring the 1 acre of land beside the house too, he is the likely constructor of another property Hydepark, which was built immediately next to Springfield House. Mr MacGregor chose to live at Hydepark and let out the older house.

However, just over a year in moving to Blantyre, in October 1874, he was in trouble with authorities for letting his sewage run into the burn which travelled over the fields of Broompark, past Dixons Rows and down to the farm at Stonefield, polluting the watercourse which others washed and drank from! Sanitary inspectors called for action when it was discovered up to 200 families relied on this watercourse. I’m sure many people must have been very ill.

In 1875, MaccGregor let Springfield out to Dr William Grant. Dr Grant would 2 years later be one of the brave men to descend into the Blantyre Pits in the rescue attempts when the Pit Disaster happened in October 1877. Dr Grant must have liked living there. Perhaps in a central location, assisting doctor callouts, he would move almost next door to his own new house, Croftpark, High Blantyre shortly after.

Mr John MacGregor of Hydepark had Springfield To Let unfurnished in March 1880. He said it had 6 apartments, offices, large garden, and ‘good water.’ 

By 1885, a neighbouring property, Springfield Place had been built nearby with many tenants moving in. It was a busy little cul de sac and even had shops. This would have been at where the corner of Springfield Crescent is now. By the 1890’s, John Mason was renting Springfield.

The 1900’s

During the 1900’s, even into the 1920’s James and Alexander Loudon the butchers lived there, Andrew Reid and his mother lived in the attic rooms then. Mrs Reid did some work for him.

Following the demolition of Hamilton Palace, it was rumoured that the gateposts on the main entrance at Broompark Road were from the old Hamilton Palace and people may remember the small “heads” that topped the blue gate posts. (which were actually quite frightening to a child!).

Springfield House, Broompark Road, Blantyre

This remarkable photo of Springfield is seen exclusively here online for the first time, courtesy of Gordon Cook. This 20th century photos shows some young trees growing nearby, trees that would become huge by the end of the 20th Century. In the 1930’s, the house was briefly owned by John Curley, a retired merchant. He would have seen the creation of Springfield Crescent outside his home and the arrival of many families into the quality new homes nearby.

Then, in wartime and post wartime years, it was owned by the Bell family. Robert Bell certainly owned it in 1940. It had a gravel chipped stone drive way leading to front door. At the right-hand side there was a small gate for the service men, milk papers coal etc. Then at the same side, it took you to the back of the house still at the right-hand side was a small back door (small) that led you inside to upstairs to the two annex apartments.

Springfield House photographed in the 1970’s (c) Gordon Cook

In its latter years, it had a dark and foreboding appearance, which was only really due to its age and location amongst some tall trees. This photo from the 1970’s shows that to good effect.

The house was demolished around the mid 1980’s. There is good evidence from other nearby homes that mine workings may have affected the house, though ultimately, its age and deterioration would have been a factor. The site wasn’t vacant for long. By 1988, a new bonnie, modern family bungalow had been built.

On Monday 23rd January 2017, the old railings were cut down which for so long had fenced off the property at Broompark Road. The gateposts and gate were left in place.

Current Modern home on the site of Springfield

Shortly after, on Friday 10th February 2017, a wooden tall fence was erected around the perimeter at Springfield Crescent and Broompark Road with the entrance now on Springfield Crescent. This bungalow is a well kept, in a desirable area and occupancy of the site, even after 230 years, continues.

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