Camillo’s Billiard Saloon Fire, 1910

It’s hard to imagine just how much one part of Blantyre can change SO much in 100 years, but these pictures taken at the same spot on Glasgow Road, 100 years apart demonstrate just that. This is the junction at Victoria Street on the right. In the old photo, children feature prominently perhaps on way to or coming back from school. Every single one of the buildings in the old photo now sadly demolished. In the old photo the one storey buildings on the left are prominent and it is one of those which is the little known story of our article today.

The three buildings you see on the left were at the turn of the 20th Century owned by the Clifford family, who let them out as shops, businesses and homes. In the middle property at 236 Glasgow Road and during 1910, business owner Capaldi Camillo was renting from the Clifford family as they had done for some years previous.

During the first week in April 1910, one evening shortly after midnight, the Fire Brigade was called from Glasgow by telephone when flames were spotted coming from the roof of the property. Mr Camillo was an Italian and his business was twofold in that property. An ice cream parlour doubled as a billiard saloon and he was alerted to the fire just as the motor pump was despatched from the Central Fire Station. The brigade remarkably thanks to their readiness arrived in a relatively short time reaching the scene of the fire.

The small property was rectangular measuring 60 foot x 30 foot , one storey and by the time the brigade had set up their equipment, the building was “hopelessly involved in flames”. With water in the district already, there was a plentiful supply and it didn’t take long to put out the fire. However, by that time the building was gutted and had no roof. The damage to the property and stock, which included two billiard tables was estimated as £500. (about £70,000 in todays money)

The 1911 census a year later shows the property still empty, but it is known to have been renovated, appearing in photos later in the 1930s by which time is sat next to Clifford’s Printing shop.

I’ll be writing about this building and indeed ALL buildings on the North side of Glasgow Road in due course.

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