The Metal Road

It may come as a surprise to many people that beside the High Blantyre Cemetery, just off Victoria Street was once a Hospital for Infectious Diseases. That’s a post for another day, but instead here I want to focus on the road into that hospital.

The road was called the Hospital Road and led into a little row of miners houses and the hospital itself. The terraced miners houses sat in an elevated position overlooking the railway at what would eventually become Burnbrae Road. The rows were called the Dales, a name not to be confused with the tenements at Main Street. In the houses were miners, primarily from England and Ireland.

Hamish Dow recently told me, “Hospital Road was also known as the ‘Metal Road’ possibly as a comparison for Victoria Street which was called the Clay or Cley Road before it was paved. I never understood why it was called the metal road. I couldn’t see any metal in or on it. It was years later when I became a civil engineer that the mystery was solved. The road had been surfaced with crushed rock, perhaps slag. That sort of unbound surfacing was called road metal. The term metal coming from the Latin for mining and quarrying. Not a lot of people know that!”

I’ve never been able to find out the official name of this hospital. Was it just regarded as simply “Blantyre Hospital”, for it was there even before the Cottage hospital? If anybody knows more, I’d love to know!

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  1. Hi Paul, I wonder if this was where children were looked after during a “diptheria” epidemic in the early 1930s? My Dad recalls the day he came home to “Merry’s Raws” and immediately jumped into the cupboard that held the bread, devouring a lot of it as he remembers being “starving”. He also had his hair shaved off?? I am not sure if these memories of his are melded or as they happened but he was a sorry little boy at the time.

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