1979 Priory Bar, Glasgow Road

The great photos keep coming! I’m quite confident this is the best photo I’ve seen of the former Priory Bar on Glasgow Road, so again its with thanks to Rob Gordon (the brother of the late Blantyre historian, Neil Gordon) for sharing the original colour image with me. It’s sincerely appreciated.

This is of course, the corner of Logan Street and a popular public bar which will be remembered by many people. I’ve researched the early history of this building, which appeared in my Glasgow Road book as follows:

“It comprised primarily of a popular public house (named the Priory Bar) but also had upper homes and shops. Constructed by joiner James Walker around 1889 into 1890, the 2-storey stone corner tenement had frontage on both Glasgow Road and the dead-end street that would later open up and become Logan Street. Mining was at the forefront of Blantyre Industry by this time and the name ‘Priory’ being attached to this building likely signified a nod to the Priory ruin or recent colliery, both with strong connections to Blantyre. 

Constructed on behalf of owner James McHutchison, the building was to predominantly house a bar, shops, and houses. His public house was to be “The Priory Bar” a constant and consistent name that would exist until the demolition of the buildings, regardless of their ownership. James constructed the Public House facing out on to Glasgow Road, which had 5 upper windows on that side and 4 large plate glass windows. At the side and immediately adjacent was a house, separated into 4 small homes. The whole block was to be named “Priory Place” and would become well known in Blantyre. Remote owner, Mr. James McHutchison was a merchant of Bothwell Parish. Perhaps seeing this rental investment, his ownership of Priory Place was however, incredibly short lived.

James died in 1891, aged only 49 and as a public house owner, it may be easy to make a connection as to what he died from. Priory Place passed in 1891 to the Trustees of James McHutchison, to be held in trust. This looks to have prompted a change in occupation of the buildings. In 1895, Mr. George Robertson was occupying a small house at the Logan Street side of Priory Place as well as a stable for £11/year. George was a fruiterer and ran his small, rented shop on the lower floor, not far from the Logan Street entrance. Above the pub lived John Roberts, the son of William Roberts who ran the ‘Volunteer Arms’ pub further along Glasgow Road. John Roberts took over as occupier of the pub in 1891 renting the public house for £55 / year from the Trustees of James McHutchison.

The Priory Bar was clearly successful, for by 1904, John Roberts had the funds sufficient to buy Priory Place from the Trustees of James McHutchison. Perhaps motivated by the Masonic Lodge building their impressive building to the east, John set about to construct an extension to Priory Place on Glasgow Road, building out from the pub eastwards. This was done at the same time as the Masonic Buildings were constructed and by 1905, there were no gaps in buildings in between Church Street to Logan Street.

Again, I’m sure there will be lots of memories of this former tenemen building and pub. Now demolished, attractive, modern homes have recently been built spanning from this corner to Church Street.

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