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From the illustrated social history book…
“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.
Origins of Bardykes
Bardykes Road is a main road artery connecting Kirkton in High Blantyre, through Barnhill to the West End near Bardykes. It is today, a busy road bordered on the west by the Calder. Bardykes is likely taken from the word “Bar”- meaning ‘low hills’ and the Gaelic Dike, Dyk, as meaning “a wall of turf or stone”. In the context of the early area around Bardykes Road junction with Glasgow Road, it is a fitting description for this lower part of Blantyre that would have had many stonewalled farm fields.
The Jackson or Jacksone family were in possession of the lands of Bardykes, (or Bardykis as it was then known) officially from 25th October 1525 although former Blantyre historians have suggested it may be as far back as 1502. Incredibly, with the exception of the Miller family at Milheugh, they are the longest family to have owned land in one place in Blantyre, occupying and owning the land at Bardykes on the fringes of Blantyre Parish for the best part of 400 years.
Owning mineral rights on their lands, some wealth was accumulated from their nearby estates at Hallside and Spittalhill. They also owned lands in High Blantyre at Greencroft, Barnhill and are responsible for being early inhabitants of Springwell. Their wealth was reinforced in later centuries deriving from their vast tea plantations in Sri-Lanka (formerly Ceylon), conducting their business as merchants Messrs Jackson, Buchanan & Company in Glasgow. They went on to become one of the largest wholesale tea dealers in Scotland.
Being such a prominent family and as heritors of Blantyre, they owed a duty to Walter Stuart of Minto, the Commendator of Blantyre when he was given ownership of much of the Parish land on 18th January 1598. The land was noted as “Bairdisdykis” as well as other established areas. In 1606, when he became Lord Blantyre, as a gesture and a departure from paying taxes, the Jackson family presented an annual red rose to Lord Blantyre instead as a reddendo.
A John Jackson died in 1707, his will showing all belongings passing to his family of the same name. By this Century the family were marrying into other large farms in the area, occupying other Blantyre farms like Park, Coatshill, Croftfoot and Old Place. Prior to the current Bardykes House being built near the Westend of Blantyre, a good-sized farm steading was all that was on this land. The Valuation books for 1859 state, “A good Farm Steading. The property of Mrs. Jackson.” Bardykes House today is the home of the Wilkie family. 1871, saw a fundamental change where Bardykes Farm was demolished and the construction of Bardykes House commenced.
The new sandstone house was to be 2 storey and accessed via a long tree lined avenue, that led off of Bardykes Road, the entrance located near the west end on Glasgow Road. A grand turning circle was created at the entrance and all former farm buildings demolished.
On 5th April 1957, the Wilkie Family moved to Bardykes. Peter, Margaret and their 3 children, all under 5 years of age flitted from High Blantyre to Bardykes for the first time, in the horse pulled milk float. With them was ‘Dinky’ the Alsatian dog and ‘Minky’ the cat.
We leave you with this beautiful verse taken from Revelations in the Bible chapter 14 verse 13, which served the Jackson family well. It’s inscribed on the stone Obelisk memorial on their family graves, which can be witnessed in the Kirkton graveyard. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. They rest from their labours and their works do follow them”. Simply put, it means have faith in the Lord, work hard and your efforts will be remembered. By the very fact that this is being reprinted here, the motto has proved its worth and the statement is also very fitting for all the hard working people of Blantyre.
Today, Blantyre residents still know Bardykes House more commonly known as Wilkie’s Farm. It is officially known however as “Bardykes Farm” and today incorporates “Bardykes Farm Nursery School”. The Wilkie family are still very well known and respected in this town. They are noted too for charitable work, being involved in the fundraising for many community campaigns, including hosting the fondly remembered Blantyre Highland Games from their fields from 1987, with their association with Blantyre Round Table.
Not actually on Glasgow Road, the house is accessed off Bardykes Road and its detailed history is told in other Blantyre Project books.
To the west of the Bardykes Road junction at Glasgow Road and beyond the Westend was until 1994, just farm fields, not built upon until that time. The fields belonged to the Wilkie family and prior to them amongst other owners, the Jackson family.
On 26th January 1994, Alexander Wilkie (Sandy) with consent of the trustees of Wilkie Construction sold the field adjacent to Glasgow Road to Wimpey Homes Holdings Limited, well known house builders in Scotland. Wimpey commenced building a brand new housing estate, which was named Bardykes Grove. The estate consisted of one street, with 3 cul de sacs all to be named Callaghan Wynd. The street was named after Mrs. Cathy Callaghan, a long service teacher.
Whilst researching this book, her daughter Margaret Mary O Sullivan added, “The street was named after my mum who spent most of her teaching career in Blantyre, teaching in Saint Joseph’s, Blantyre and latterly in Saint Blanes – a job she loved. Like most people who came from a working class background, she appreciated the value of education in the fight against poverty. She was the eldest in her family and was ever appreciative of the sacrifices made by her younger sisters Bride and Theresa, who had to leave school and work in order to bring money into the house. She on the other hand being the eldest had the chance to continue with her studies. She believed that it was so important to give young people that opportunity.”
It was a range of 3 bedroom semis and 3 or 4 bedroom detached houses which sold for a price range of between £52,000 to £85,000. Making use of almost all the field, a turning circle was located at the far western end. Alex Rochead was amongst first owners and moved into number 73 in November 1994. Arlene and James Green moved into 77 in December 1994. That winter was particularly harsh in Scotland with snow and temperatures down to – 15 degrees Celsius. Everything froze, including the pipes of the new houses, affecting many residents, some even having to move temporarily out.
Blantyre Project Social Media:
Arlene Green: “Callaghan Wynd was a super place for my family to grow up in. My 2 girls had plenty of friends. It had a playpark near the top end and was adjacent to the Wilkie’s fields so very easy to feed the horses.”
Gerald Kellachan: “Cathy was a labour activist. Her father Andy Fagan was awarded a BEM in the 1950’s and Fagan Court in the village named after him”
Although not directly on Glasgow Road, this next property is briefly explored here as the estate grounds fronted on to the road and had an entrance lodge house situated nearby. Caldergrove House was a large former detached villa in its own grounds by the Rotten Calder River. Situated just over the river in Cambuslang Parish, it was accessed by the private road, leading off Glasgow Road across the Priory Bridge and up into woodland, part of the Caldergrove Estate. The closest buildings to the stone built house was the West End Bar and Bardykes Farm.
It was built around 1830 as a private home and impressive it was too, with considerable land around it, sitting high up on the cliff ledge, overlooking the River Calder.
According to the 1859 Valuation Roll it was described as- “A superior and large dwelling house having offices a little last of it, and surrounded by young fir plantation. The property of and occupied by Mr. J, McCulloch.” The River created the boundary between Blantyre and Cambuslang and with Caldergrove House on the West side, it sat firmly in the Cambuslang side, right on the fringes.
In 1875 a mansard roof and Ionic-style porch were added to give the house a more imposing façade. The interior was elaborately decorated in 1875 and at the height of Victorian fashion, the house was given all modern facilities, including refits of bathrooms, water supplies to inside and architectural adornments that gave the house a “wow factor”. Many of the Victorian features and fittings inside lasted right into the 20th Century.
By the end of the 1890’s, the house would have been a prominent feature in the area. The planted estate trees had grown to form the beginnings of the woodland we see today.
Ornate gardens were formed including a fountain, paths and a large Summer glasshouse, as well as routes created for strolling down by the river. Caldergrove House had evolved into being one of the grandest estate homes in the area.
Caldergrove gave over its residential use during World War One to be a local hospital. It was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during those war years. A cast metal plaque on the exterior of the building was later inscribed: ‘To record the use of this Building as an Auxiliary hospital during the Great War and the thanks of the Scottish Branch of the British Red Cross Society to the Generous Donors April 1919.’
The equipment of the hospital was removed when the war ended and the interior was once again decorated in 1919, in a more “modern”, art deco era. It once again became a secluded, private home. The house had lamps on cast iron posts flanking the stone steps leading up to the Ionic-columned porch. Above this an advanced bay led the eye up to the mansard roof with its ornate cast iron balustrade, which protected the roof terrace. This fine house had two gate lodges also situated in leafy grounds. It would have been a pleasant retreat for its wealthy 19th and 20th-century owners from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow.
In the post WW2 years, it was owned for several decades by 2 elderly ladies. Jenny & Bertha Waddell, daughters of Jeffrey Waddell were spinster sisters who ran a mobile Children’s theatre, known locally in the area. They filled the house with antiques including a large collection of stuffed tropical birds.
Sadly, the house is no longer there. Its demise was relatively recent in 1983 when it burned down amidst suspicion, speculation and rumour about missing children! Rumours circulated soon after when one sister disappeared and the other was found dead, at the top of the Cliffside one October morning. The interior of the house was completely gutted by fire, resulting in the entire demolition of the house. Today, Caldergrove house is still there in name. However, it’s now a modern building on the site, no sign of the old one and for a time until recently, was the modern head office of construction company, “Advance Construction”. The detailed history of Caldergrove including many interior photos are explored in other Blantyre Project books.
Bardykes Mill & Bardykes Mill House
Bardykes Mill, or more commonly known as The Black Mill or Priory Bridge Mill was formerly situated on the northern riverbank of the River Clyde immediately adjacent to the east side of The Priory Bridge. As you exit Blantyre, on the left, at the edge of the river, on the approach to Caldergrove, the ruined mill cannot be seen from the modern road, but certainly could up until the road realignment of the 1930’s.
The mill can be traced and dated back to at least 1748 belonging to the nearby Jackson family at Bardykes. Built of stone over 2 storeys it was square on plan.
In the 1700’s and 1800’s, a condition existed, which was known as “Astricted Milling”. This was a tri-party agreement between the landowner, his tenant miller and the tenant farmer on the land. It permitted that all the grain belonging to the landowner’s tenant farmers was sent to the miller for grinding. The farmer would be paid by the miller, therefore providing the income for the farmer to pay his rent to the landowner. The Miller, in turn after working the grain, would be able to sell the product, allowing him a source of income and means to pay his rent to the landowner. The three parties, whilst independent upon agreeing their financial arrangements, were actually dependent upon each other to succeed.
This mill was formerly a flour or corn mill, and in the 1850’s used for providing charred wood & coal dust, to make dross used for moulding purposes in Foundries. In some mills of this description coal dust was ground for putting in powder, & they were sometimes termed “Soot Mills” . This was also commonly termed a Soot mill. The mills at Cambuslang of the same description as this, were called “Black Mills” so the Miller considered the term to be appropriate for this one too. The mill was one of 7 major mills in Blantyre.
This map from 1859 shows the location of Bardykes Mill which also hints even by then a nearby ruined lade running alongside the river.
Nearby on the opposing north west side of the Priory Bridge was the miller’s house. The house would have been the very last house as you left Blantyre Parish crossing over into Cambuslang Parish. It was inhabited property on the 1859 map, some 60 years later. A sketch by Jean Claude Nattes in 1799 shows this cottage as having a thatched roof. The 1859 map puts it in good reference and shows the house sitting in its own field with paths at the front of the property leading down to the waters edge and to the mill. In 1865 James McCracken was the miller, renting from Mr. Jackson.
The Hamilton Advertiser 5th October 1867, confirms the mill had a detached small house nearby with a small garden. The mill at that time was fitted out as a saw mill for which it was commented it had been very well adapted for. The machinery at that time included a saw and bench and was up for sale as well as the mill house. Mr. John Jackson of nearby Spittal was showing the property at the time and the advert hoped to let out the still functional water powered mill.
The next occupier was Thomas Taylor who was still there in 1875 but gone by 1881. By 1885, there were no occupants in the mill, but the house was still occupied being rented by Mr. John Campbell.
Thomas (Tam) Taylor, was a man greatly in advance of his times. The Blantyre man, the last miller of Bardykes was also an inventor of one of the earliest reaping machines. Blantyre readers will be proud to know he attempted to make one of the First Flying Machines, a full 30 years before the successful flight of the Wright Brothers in 1903!
Born in Blantyre in 1846, Tam was by 1871 living in Bridgeton. Importantly, he’s noted then, aged 24 as being a “Maker of Steam Boilers”. It is alleged Thomas unveiled his great plans for a flying machine, which at the height of the industrial revolution, was to be powered by steam. Now Thomas had a great acquaintance in Mr Templeton, the blacksmith at Barnhill. The relationship was likely first a business one where Thomas commissioned parts for his inventions and Mr. Templeton would make and supply them. So it was no surprise that the flying machine endeavour, involved them both working together. Mr Templeton did indeed make the machine parts and assisted Tam in constructing their flying machine which was built in the barn at the old Barnhill Smiddy.
When completed, the flying contraption was taken out into the adjacent Larkfield field (now where the High Blantyre Primary School is) and the engine was stoked, ready for an attempted flight. The local inhabitants of Larkfield and Barnhill would have been naturally curious upon the sight. It is not recorded who piloted the flight, but it was likely Tam, given his investment and inventive nature. Varying accounts have this story in the 1860’s or 1870’s.
From an account written by Mr. Templeton’s son, almost 80 years later, which says word for word, “The Smith’s father made some of the parts of this machine over 80 years ago. The power unit was a steam engine. Tam and the Smith tried out the machine but just as it began to rise, the supply of steam gave out. The elements of success were there but the engine was not suitable. “I didna manage it”, he said to the Smith, “but it will come yet whaever leeves tae see the day”. A true prophet! The principles of flight were known even in 1860, but the problem lay in steam engines not generating enough speed and therefore the lift needed for takeoff. It would take the petrol engine to be invented and used in a flying machine in 1903 for successful flight to be established. People will remember Tam Taylor, the Blantyre born inventor. Regardless of the story taking place in 1860’s or 1870’s, Tam was a young man when he made this trial flight. By 1881, Thomas was married to Ellen Taylor and they were away from Blantyre living at Govan with a growing, large family, never to return.
In April 1872, Thomas Caldwell of Blantyre Works was convicted of maliciously removing tiles from the roof of Bardykes Mill on 24th March 1872.
The End of the Mill
On the 1898 map, both the house and the Black Mill are shown as ruins and not lived in, concluding the final use of the house was between 1885 and 1897. The mill fell out of use earlier between 1876 and 1880.
In 1907, the fate of the Black Mill House was also sealed when the Parish authorities demolished it to extend the width of the road leading up to and over the Priory Bridge itself, to accommodate sufficient room for two trams to pass. It was the land to the North that was extended, the Mill itself left as ruins in-situ. The new widened road and tramlines are shown on the 1910 map.
In the late 1930’s the area changed completely, when a massive earthworks embankment was placed alongside the roadway to realign the road. The first of several which forms the new and current Glasgow Road profile, the bend in the road at Priory Bridge becoming redundant. There is little hope of ever uncovering where the mill house was, as much of the realigned road and earthworks were placed in the field near the location of where it once stood.
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