Railway Bridge over Clay Road, 1898

Back in 1898, the Clay Road cutting through from Low to High Blantyre was no more than a small rough track, the predecessor of what would later become Victoria Street. If you can imagine in that era, the track was the width of the lane where it exits on to Main Street today. Then there was nothing either side of it, except fields.

For some time during the 1890’s the Caledonian railway bridge crossing over the Clay Road (near where the junction of Burnbrae Road is today) had been in a dangerous and poor state of repair. Something had to be done before a railway accident happened.

So on Sunday 16th October 1898, a large group of workmen for the railway descended upon the area and began to take down a large portion of the bridge, rebuilding it with pre-made materials. The many, many men worked all day and night on Sunday and although it was not quite complete, it was so far advanced by the Monday morning, that trains were permitted to cross over it again!

Today, the Hamilton and Strathaven branch of this former railway is now largely green, open spaces being used as parklands. I’ve attached the 1898 map of Blantyre which shows exactly how rural this location was. (marked with a circle).

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