Lawson’s Bakery, Larkfield

1910 Lawsons Bakery (c)

Larkfield is the area in Blantyre immediately adjacent to Hunthill, Barnhill and Stonefield. It centres around the current bing, the previous site of Dixons colliery 4 and encompasses much of the Scottish Special Housing estate and Watson Street. However, on old maps, the actual Lark field was the one where High Blantyre Primary School is built.

This photo taken around 1910 shows Lawson’s Bakery which was a stone building, one and half storey with pitched roof. The building was situated at the end of Watson Street, across Broompark Road, on the exact site where Carrigans is today. My understanding is the bakery was formed in the 1890s and in 1909 extensively renovated then to expand the business. You can see the upper window where the bags of flour were offloaded and brought into the building, and indeed where the final cakes and bread were taken away. The cart belonged to the bakery and is pictured here sitting on the Broompark Road (the loading window and gable faced on to the Broompark Road, with the “front” of the building in the same line as Watson Street.

The bakers and assistants are pictured. The wee girl holds up a plaque which says “Lawsons of Blantyre”. The women stand with what looks like cake stands or whisks.

I’ve been able to determine from maps that the bakery building was originally built between 1864 – 1880 and it may have been the old Alhambra Theatre which ceased in 1886. By 1898 the area of Larkfield was quite populated and the nearby pit offered good employment. Lawsons Bakery is clearly marked as LB on this old 1898 map. The bakery still functioned as a bakery right through the second world war and beyond into the 1950s.

On 4th June 1947, John Ingram the owner of the building died. He was a retired, widowed baker that year and was 79 when he passed away at 16 Broompark Road. His death certificate says he was a master baker and had been suffering from ‘chronic dementia’. A few years earlier, he had lovingly prepared a beautiful tiered wedding cake and left it in the bakehouse. The next day he arrived to find it gone! Somebody had stolen it. Police were called, given the time and expense put into the large wedding cake and it was found that the bricks had been dislodged from the sidewall of a cellar facing the colliery.  Just enough bricks for a person to enter the bakehouse. The bride’s cake however only had somewhat of a limited appeal to the thieves. There, on the outside of the wall, in the back yard was the cake, half eaten and deposited in bits scattered and beyond use. The culprits had helped themselves and had their fill!

It’s thought the building was not worked in beyond 1947. The bakery building is shown as a ruin on a 1958 map and is not even on the 1966 map. However, it was still there in 1967.

I understand that the land was sold to the Collins family. Local woman, Arlene Campbell (nee Collins) was able to validate what happened to the bakery beyond 1967. She once told me a few years back…. “the Collins formerly ran their bakery business somewhere next to the old picture house on the Glasgow road, baked in the day, purvees in the evenings, they then relocated to the better known site on Broompark Rd. The building was not rebuilt but was the original old bakery . It came under a compulsory purchase order when the area of the bing was being redeveloped. They fought it and won, and it the Bing was developed around the business. The supermarket was built in front of the old bakery, as the long term intention was to convert to a pub. The bakery was part of the modern building, (some people will remember going into the Carrigans former pub snug/private room at the back, and the cellar, on the same level). So the old bakery was hidden and appeared as a modern building. the building was prepared for development in the latter part of the 70s, and Eddie Collin’s supermarket built.

I distinctly remember in the early 70s going to school nearby and spending my sweetie money in the little supermarket shop on that site and a few years later buying hot pies. What’s your memory of this area or the shop?

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  1. My brother Joshua served his apprenticeship as a baker with Eddie Collins and became one of the best bakers for doing wedding cakes in Lanarkshire. He made his first wedding cake when he was only 17 years of age.

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