Blantyre Project is a unique FREE massive archive for all things related to the former mining town of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. Representing the largest Blantyre online and offline collection of stories, news, photographs and local history knowledge, this huge resource is the product of many years work, relentless effort and enthusiasm.
The Project is run part-time each evening and weekend by Paul Veverka, a full time construction manager who has previously assisted managing such large Scottish Construction Projects like the new Queensferry Crossing and large Roads Projects. It’s a job he enjoys very much. Blantyre Project is very much his hobby and has consumed almost all of his spare time since 2011. Its the longest running Blantyre history project too. Its roots go back much further to 1985, when Paul started collecting memorabilia, photos and news snippets. Now some 35 years in the making.
Blantyre Project prides itself by immersing itself only in fact. Unlike other sites, it features the largest collection of social history comments from over 17,000 readers that actually LIVED, WORKED and EXPERIENCED Blantyre life. Unlike other sites who just regurgitate news, we immerse ourselves in the social history, built from and listing commentary from people who ACTUALLY lived it! Keeping the history real. A primary goal is to steer clear of assumption, incorrectness and low quality or fake imagery and the general “copy and paste lacklustre” efforts you may have seen elsewhere online. This website is now used a reference tool, even by other Blantyre related sites and is now one of the largest free local history collections in Lanarkshire.
Paul writes, “Having a young child and often working away has afforded me the time to write each evening when my daughter goes to bed, or if i’m working away, in hotels and B&Bs. I have a very patient and understanding wife who appears proud in what I have accomplished. I never let this hobby interfere with my full time job, but I do look forward to coming home and writing in evenings. There is literally only a handful of evenings when I have not written about Blantyre since when I started properly, back in 2011. I’ve been posting daily, without fail, through sickness and holidays, for a fifth of my whole life!”
Paul continues, “I started Blantyre Project when I noticed what an incredible amount of well, lets face it, rubbish had been published online about Blantyre since 2003. There was a gap. Post Millennium, the only real, excellent quality history being written was by local Heritage Groups and history enthusiasts like the late Charlie Neilson and Jimmy Cornfield and contemporary history experts like Gordon Cook. Their work is to be commended, but seemed confined only to being offline without the exposure it deserved. There is nobody who knows more about Blantyre at any time in my opinion than Gordon Cook.
A site did exist though it became inactive several years ago. Conversely, I thought it a huge injustice to Blantyre’s history to see the only Blantyre history ONLINE so inaccurately told from just one person’s assumption and guesswork, without any diligence, research of facts checking about people who lived there, and with so many wrong dates and data. Something needed to be done. With such a network of Blantyre contacts already established and a wish by local residents for more detail, more accuracy and better photos, I KNEW together with their social history input, I could explore Blantyre’s history and present it in a better way online , with a focus on archiving it for future generations and in a manner which included the actual commentary from people in this town. Blantyre Project was born. I made good friends with other noted history enthusiasts and found myself accidentally perhaps being mentored by Gordon and others whom I’m in daily contact with. In recent years I’ve sometimes found myself able to provide THEM with new history and been able to talk about Blantyre people, buildings and events in a deserving manner. Posting online so frequently, quickly branched offline also into history presentations and a popular series of welcomed books, the largest collection of Blantyre narrative and photos.
In recent times, my research and knowledge of Blantyre has grown to the point of being able to address incorrect information published online and offline in books by others. Such things DO need corrected in case they’re believed or perpetuated further. To that end, everything i’ve ever written about Blantyre (millions of words!), is all stored in drafted Encyclopedias, still to be unleashed in public. Blantyre deserves its important history being told accurately, preserved for the future and shared. I hope I’m doing a good job and giving Blantyre’s history the due attention it deserves.”
Posts are automatically scheduled here in advance and currently scheduled for many more months to appear daily at 10am. Written and pre-queued in advance each evening, the website publishes these posts automatically, even if Paul is on holiday, working, sleeping, ill (or worse!) ensuring fresh, new daily content for every reader around the world.
Paul was Chairperson of Blantyre Community Committee for 5 years before stepping down due to having to work away from Blantyre and he’s a member of various local community organisations including Friends of the Calder, Blantyre Futures. He runs sister website Blantyre Telegraph in his spare time which has raised over £30,000 in recent years for over 180 charitable Blantyre good causes, some of which came from the sale of Blantyre Project books here, all over the world.
His passion for Blantyre and collecting memorabilia and historical data comes from his late mother, Janet Duncan Veverka (d2009) who was interested in the history of Blantyre. Paul has collected stories, news, postcards and photos about Blantyre since 1985, when he was just 14 years old! Born in 1971, Paul is an accomplished local history author with 9 successful Blantyre history books already published to 18 different countries, with several others in the pipeline coming out in the next year or two. His books directly assist the community and are non profit, by his decision. He often gives history presentations to organisations in Blantyre and is well known in the town.
As the years have progressed, the history blog has now evolved into the largest collection of Blantyre history in any one place. The pace has been nothing short of relentless. Always fresh content, never repeated, always growing.
In 2015, the website gained further recognition. Having grown into a huge archive, it was officially deemed by South Lanarkshire Council and the National Library of Scotland as Blantyre’s Official History Archives. At painstaking efforts, it’s been sorted into chronological order and also filtered on each individual area in Blantyre, making the site more accessible to all. Handy search boxes allow you to search for any topic.
Paul, never one to be idle, is progressing plans and external funding to make this large archive more official, accessible and permanent for future generations, including those offline. With Blantyre Projects hosting online secured until at least 2030, he’s always on the lookout of being able to permanently house this whole collection, offline in a local venue.
Enjoy. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Blantyre Project awaits……