A brand new bakery at Auchinraith Road, Blantyre was opened on Saturday 15th October 1904. After posting recently about an accident on the chimney, and seeing all the comments from people who remember the building, I thought I’d post more about….. the opening of the Blantyre Co-Operative Society Bakery.
The bakery was erected by members of the Blantyre Co-Operative Society on spare ground, previously unbuilt upon, but situated beside the Caledonian Railway at Auchinraith. The ceremony took place that Saturday afternoon in front of members of the Co-op drawn in from all over the district.
President of the Blantyre Society, Mr Richard Lyon presided and was accompanied by members of the management committee. Also present was Mr McCulloch Chairman of the United Bakery Society. The Chairman in an opening speech reviewed the position of the Co-Op in Blantyre since its creation in 1883 and how membership that year of only 197 people had now, by 1904 increased to 1,239 people. Corresponding sales rising from £4,582 to £55,603. The Co-Op was well and truly here to stay.
Mr Cullen, the Architect was then introduced. Then Mr. J. Muir, the Convener of the Building Committee was presented with a gold key for the opening. It was noted this was an interesting epoch in the history of the society. Mr Muir then opened the door of the building and invited in the company to inspect the machinery and equipment.
The building was made of bricks and following the demolition of the Mill buildings in the Village a year or so earlier, now found itself with the accolade of being the tallest works building in Blantyre. Inside, the walls were lined with white enamel brickwork, a choice material for cleanliness. Mr Cullen’s plans were estimated to have cost £5,000 to build.
On the ground floor were the ovens, the second storey being the machinery department, whilst the top storey was used for flour storage. When this building opened, the machinery on the second floor was literally state of the art, the most modern efficient contraptions. Similarly for the ovens, which were fired using the latest gas fired appliances introduced at industrial scale for the first time in Scotland by patent holders, Werner, Phleiderer & Perkins Ltd of London.
The Gold Key was supplied by Messrs MacHale & Sons who were jewellers in Hamilton. It bore the subscription, “Presented by the Architect to John Muir Esq, Convener of the Building Committee on occasion of the opening of the new bakery October 15th , 1904.” I have to wonder what ever became of the key?