Improving Victoria Street, 1910

Blantyre Parish Council met on Thursday 8th April 1910 to discuss the condition of Victoria Street. An improvement plan for the road surface was discussed. Now first, we need to put this date and location into context.

At that time, Victoria Street had only been named in the previous decade, existing prior to that as a rough track called the Clay Road. By 1910, the lower part of the road had been much improved though this was a time before all the houses of the Crescents. Victoria Street was then still a relatively rough roadway with open fields at either side, the upper part of the street beyond the railway bridge and up to Main Street, in much worse condition.

The Common Grounds Committee of the Parish Council recommended that efforts be made to put this upper part of the road into proper condition from the top down to the railway bridge.

Mr McMillan said that as it was a private road, not owned by the council, the council shouldn’t have to maintain it. The clerk, referring to the land owner pointed out that many years ago, Col Clark Forrest once closed off the Clay Road to prevent cart traffic, and this proved very unpopular. The people of Blantyre demonstrated and broke down the barricade.

“Yes”, replied Mr McMillan, “I was one of the demonstrators!”. There was some laughter in the chambers.

The Chairman replied, “I’m sure you did your best to pull out the wooden stobs”. The meeting continued.

Mr McAnulty pointed out that the lower end of the street had been put right and pointed out it was a most useful road connecting Low Blantyre to High Blantyre. It was suggested they should approach the feu owners for their assistance, rather than the council taking the full cost of any improvement. However it was pointed out that this was a “right of way”, belonging to the Parish and that the feu owners could not be asked to take the full cost of the work. Mr McAnulty pointed out that a right of way did not necessarily mean a cart road, but that this road had become a public highway and that the feu owners for the top part of the road should be approached to pay.

A compromise was reached where the council would put the existing road in order, but would NOT be willing to widen it, especially near Main Street where Mr Welsh owned the feu rights. It was agreed to improve the road, but to approach Mr Welsh , inviting him to the next meeting and asking for his co-operation.

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