This publication from 1864, gave a wonderful description of Blantyre that year, an important account which predates the sinking of major collieries. This is the sleepy account of Blantyre before heavy mining industry:
“Blantyre, a Parish containing 2 villages and a post-office of its own name, and also five other villages in the north west of Lanarkshire. It is bounded by the Parishes of Kilbride, Cambuslang, Bothwell, Hamilton and Glassford. Its greatest length, north eastward is 6.25 miles, its mean breadth is about 1 mile and its area is 4,170 imperial acres. The Clyde, which is here a noble and very beautiful river, traces all the boundary with Bothwell, and the Rotten Clader traces the boundary with Kilbride and Cambuslang. The surface of the parish is low, and nearly all level, ot aleast without any prominent natural feature. The soil is various, but though part is clay, loam and sand, the whole is very fertile, except towards the south western extremity, where it becomes a deep peat moss. Great agricultural improvements have been made by drainage and otherwise. The farm houses are of a superior kind. The rent of land averages about £1 per acre, but is so high in some places as £4 or £5. The total real rental is between £2,500 and £3,000 per annum.
Ironstone of excellent quality, is wrought to great advantage within the Parish. Limestone is also wrought at Auchentibber and Calderside. There is mineral spring at Park, strongly impregnated with sulphur dissolved by means of hydrogen gas, which used to be much resorted to, about the middle of last Century by families from Glasgow, and is still famed in scrofulous and scorbutic cases. The ruins of Blantyre Priory which was founded some time prior to the year 1296, are finely situated, in a most retired situation, on top of a rock which rises perpendicularly from the Clyde, exactly opposite the noble ruins of Bothwell Castle and commands a very romantic view.
Walter Stuart, the first commendator of this priory, and Lord Privvy seal in 1595, was made a peer by the title of Lord Blantyre, 10th July 1606. The revenues of the priory were in 1561, money £13 6s 7.5d. Hamilton of Wishaw says in his ‘Descriptions’ compiled about the beginning of last Century, “The Lord Blantyre heth ane fruitful orchard at the old priorie, where he is some tymes in use to dwell.”. There are yet a few relics of this orchard here, but from the state of the buildings, it could scarcely have been supposed that they were in a habitable state at any period within the 18th Century. Urns have been dug up at different times in several parts of the Parish.
A curious conical hillock, called the Camp Knowe, measuring 200 yards in circumference and anciently surrounded by a ditch, occurs in Calderside. The Hamilton branch of the Caldeonian Railway and the south road from Glasgow to Hamilton go across the Parish, and the former has a station here. The Blantyre or Kirktown of Blantyre stands amind a rich level tract, Sheltered by many fine tall trees, about 1.5miles form the Clude, 3 miles from Hamilton, 4 from East Kilbride and 8.25 from Glasgow. Population in 1841 was 261.
The village of Blantyre Works stands on a rising ground adjacent to the Clyde, at a place where the stream is 104 yards wide. Here are extensive factories for cotton spinning, steam loom weaving, and cotton yarn dyeing. The number of hands employed in 2 cotton milles here in 1838 was 839. The first of the mills was erected in 1785 by Messrs Davod Dale and James Monteith. The village was built entirely for the accommodation of he work people in the factories, and is notable for cleanliness, cheerfulness, and general good order. Population in 1861 was 1,317. The other villages are Auchinraith, Auchintibber, Barnhill, Hunthill and Stonefield, but all these are small. Population of the Parish in 1831 was 3,000, in 1861 it was 3,092. Houses, 381. Assesed property in 1843, £8,280 9s 7d. This Parish is in the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Aur. Patron Lord Blantyre Stipend £196, 10s. Gelbe £16. Schoolmasters salary £26 with £19 fees. The parochial church was built in 1793 and contains 360 sittings. There is a free church attendance about 135, yearly sum raised in 1853 £144 17s 1d. There is also a United Prespbyterian Church, with an attendance of 200. “