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From the illustrated social history book…
“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.
Low Blantyre Post Office
From as early as the 1850’s, Blantyre had in those times 2 posts offices. The Low Blantyre post office located in the gatehouse at Blantyre Village Works had adjacent gates that could close off the village to the outside area. The other post office located also in a populated area in High Blantyre at Main Street, on a site where the Apollo pub would later be located.
By the 1890’s, the post offices had changed location. The Low Blantyre Post office had moved to large new tenement premises at their main Post Office at 7 Stonefield Road. This important building was located at the bottom of Stonefield Road for just over 3 decades located between Benhams shop and Valerios café. Blantyre postmistresses were Miss Isabella Stewart and her assistant Marian Kilgour. In WW1, on the window was the famous poster of Lord Kitchener pointing for “More men – God save the King”.
The Village post office, still retained was used as a sub post office. In High Blantyre, the post office moved across the road to the tenement which formerly stood where now is the car park entrance to Kirkton Park.
For the convenience of the residents in the Stonefield district of Blantyre a further sub post office was opened in early February 1900 in Gilmour Place under the charge of Mrs. Arbuckle, stationer. This was much welcomed at the time and was noted as being a great convenience to the inhabitants of the area. Mr Sam Douglas actually cut people’s hair from within the post office. It was often called the “wee post office”. Mr Eddie Dobson lived above the wee post office.
By 1910, the Village sub post office had moved from the Gatehouse to a new tenement, further north at Ulva Place, where it existed for many decades.
That year, High Blantyre’s sub post office was on Main Street directly across from Lint Butt’s on the lower level of a tenement. It was adjacent to the bank, situated on Main Street, at the corner of Cemetery Road. A Mrs Darling worked in this post office around WW2. In the 1960’s, it became Jim Hobson’s butchers shop. It was located next to Brown’s shop (which previously had been the bank.) The High Blantyre Post office would later move back near McLean’s Shop, then in 2016, move to Family Shopper where it is at present.
During the mid 1920’s, the main Post Office at Stonefield Road closed and the post office moved to a rented building named, “Clydeview” at 249 Glasgow Road immediately adjacent to the YMCA. This was to be Blantyre’s main post office until 1953. This old place of business was apparently very cramped and unsuitable for the type of work being carried out by the postal authorities, conditions that they had suffered for years.
Low Blantyre post office on Glasgow Road started construction in 1953. It was located on the vacant ground where the collapse had taken place of Turner’s Buildings 13 years earlier, exactly at the western corner of Logan Street.
The dating stone on the new Post office showed the commission date of 1953, along with of course the Royal Mail insignia, quite iconic for the postal service set into a stone at the top of the building. The new Post Office was opened without any ceremony whatsoever on Monday morning 25th October 1954, when business was conducted ‘as usual’ at 9 a.m. Built of stone blocks, single storey the new public building had a solid construction look, one which certainly was unique in Blantyre and almost art deco in places, bordering on municipal. The gable of adjacent 2 storey Turner’s Buildings was reinforced.
Soon afterwards in early November 1954, the Blantyre Gazette recorded that there was a call for a pillar-box and a stamp machine to be placed at the site of old premises (next to the Y.M.C.A. further along Glasgow Road on the same side). In the new building, which was welcomed warmly in Blantyre, customers would go in one door and out the other and were impressed by the speed in which the counter staff could stamp things from stamp pads to pension books and postal orders. A phone box was located in the inside of the building. The Post office also catered for Car Tax, Family Allowance, Postage, Premium Bonds and Savings Accounts. A popular feature to this building was the ability to pick up a parcel from the office, rather than having to go to Cambuslang. A lady named Betty was the cleaner for many years.
The post office had address 165 Glasgow Road. When the council bought the surrounding land in 1977 in advance of Asda, this little site where the post office was located, was “ringfenced” off and left out of the sale, the requirement for the postal building continuing. As such, once Asda was built a few years later the post office, appropriately named “Clydeview” after the old premises was maintained and indeed provided the name for the new shopping centre. After the demolition of the post office in 1997, some rubble was left, landscaped over to create a grassy area at Logan Street corner near the Asda Petrol station, which today, is still council owned, vacant but maintained.
After the building was demolished, several Blantyre people were interested in acquiring the masonry date stone to protect and ensure it didn’t get put in a skip. Amongst them was Blantyre man, the late Jimmy Cornfield. Jimmy had struck a deal with the foreman of the wrecking crew, and when he returned with the cash he was told the deal was off, the worker saying his boss has told him it wasn’t for sale and that someone else had taken it. The location of the stone is unknown, but perhaps another local person beat Jimmy to the ‘prize’.
The Post Office then moved further along Clydeview Shopping for a short time. Afterwards the post office relocated west along Glasgow Road to the rear of the Londis supermarket, on the same southern side of the road. Difficult to park there, it feels perhaps a little inconvenient but remains an important, popular resource for the people of Blantyre.
Blantyre Project Social Media:
Henry Hambley: “Lovely, functional building!”
Elaine Hunter: “I remember it well. I used to go up there with my Nana when I was a wee girl. I’d play with the fountain pens and blotting paper in the booths, whilst she was at the counter.”
Bruce Baldwin: “I worked as postman there. Great memories! Lots of fun with the front counter staff. It was a great place to work with guys like Bill McGlynn, Alex Young and Malky Muir back in the 1960’s.”
Maureen McCallum: “My dad was Bill McGlynn. He worked in the sorting office at the back. I worked there a few times when it was busy at Christmas.”
John Krawczyk: “Remember it well! When I was a student from time to time I worked there as a postman.”
Eddie Meechan: “I used to run in one door as a child, and out the other!”
Carol Crombie: “I played in it too! I loved skidding around the shiny floor and loved the style of it inside, playing in the booths and phone box.”
Anne Grogan: “I wished we’d preserved some of these old Blantyre buildings. Saddens me when I visit my old home town.”
Clydeview Shopping Centre – East
Clydeview Shopping Centre is a contemporary small shopping centre fronting on to Glasgow Road, currently with partially occupied businesses.
It is located near Blantyre Asda supermarket and was opened in October 1980. It comprises of 2 storey retail units to the east and west of a central pedestrian precinct leading from Glasgow Road to Asda. The retail units have anodised display frontages with matching doors protected by roller shutters. Sizes range from 1212 sq ft/112.6 sq m to 3780 sq ft/ 351.2 sq m over 2 floors.
‘Clydeview’ takes its name from the post-office building, formerly at 249 Glasgow Road which relocated to a more modern premises in 1953. The centre occupies the land between Logan Street and Victoria Street, at its boundary with Glasgow Road. The shopping centre is built in two blocks, an eastern and western side. This article is about the east side, formerly on land that was Turner’s Buildings and Craig Street. Craig Street prior to 1979 ran down to Glasgow Road near to where the central hard landscaping now is. The land the eastern shopping centre occupies was subjected to extensive redevelopment during 1977 – 1979. When the shopping centre first opened, brick planters decorated the area, as well as young trees. However, some planters were removed, replaced with more robust paving in 1990.
The purpose built Clydeview Shopping Centre enjoys a frontage to Glasgow Road with extensive free car parking facilities to the rear and today, the centre is anchored by ASDA nearby who also own and rent out the units.
Over the years, there has been at least 53 shops and businesses on the eastern side including Malcolm Campbell Greengrocers, Just Video, Video Express, Global Video, RS McColl, Supersweet, B2B Hair Styling, Greggs, Betfred, Marie Curie, Munro the Butcher, Quids In Poundshop, Hawkhead Carpets, Jem Carpets, MDC Motor Shop, Farmfoods, Capital Frozen food, Craft at Home, Rapture Clothes shop, John Fernan Ladies hairdressers, Theresa Mulholland Hairdressers, Weaver Wines, ATR Curry House, Tandoori Nights Indian Takeaway, Mr Kebab Takeaway, Happy Place Chinese Takeaway, Iceberg Frozen Food, Awans Takeaway, Kenny’s Tattoo Parlour, Cartys Solicitors, The Curry House, Country Feeds Pet Shop (Gibbs of Galston), Clydesdale Electricals then very briefly The Post Office, Lorraine & Sabrina’s Hairdressers, Gillian Baker Family Law, Gostelaw Family Law, Blantyre Criminal Lawyers, Little Bo Beep Wool Shop, Kaos Skateshop, Rinaldi’s Chip Shop, Luciano’s Fish and Chip Shop, Stepek Electricals, Royal Bank of Scotland, The Abbey National, Sue Rider Charity Shop, Cantors Furniture shop, Mr Saver, Ace Clothing, ‘Land of Leather’ Italian Furniture Leather shop, Masons Furniture Shop, and Capital Options (Car & Life Insurances).
Sadly, some of the units have been unoccupied for many years and as of 2017, still are. The centre has been a huge talking point in Blantyre in recent years with many people angry at the possibilities wasted, caused by high rent and rates, non-competition terms and conditions and poor maintenance. In Springtime 2017, following a petition started by local lady Amanda Dawson, Blantyre Community Council added the item for discussion on their monthly agenda, inviting Asda representatives to come along and explain potential solutions to getting the units occupied. As of September 2017, there is a strong possibility that these eastern units will be demolished entirely to pave the way for modernized, rebuilt units for traders. Such a radical development for the town makes this worthy of inclusion in this book. Some businesses, like the Royal Bank of Scotland have already left, closing their doors for good, others have been given notice.
Addresses were all Clydeview Shopping Centre and none were given numbers along Glasgow Rd. Let’s now look at a few of the former, more well-known businesses at this location.
Abbey National plc was a UK-based bank and former building society, which latterly traded under the Abbey brand and Santander name. Along with RBOS, it was one of two banks to occupy the Clydeview Shopping Centre in 1981, in the retail units adjoining the Asda shop at Glasgow Road.
The Abbey was in a unit where the façade changed direction, where now Baker Criminal lawyers are based, facing out on to Glasgow Road. When it opened, adjacent shops included Rinaldi’s Chipshop (later Luciano’s) and Rapture’s Clothing Shop (which had a hairdresser above). It had an ATM outside the façade, which is remembered as being one of the first in Blantyre.
Ex-Boxer, Jim Watt officially opened the Abbey National to the public, signing autographs and handing out signed photos. The entrance was on the left and the frontage was all window glass. The Abbey National had white signage with red writing. It had postcode G720QD and is remembered for having a good savings programme for children and adults alike with customers receiving a small pay-in book, first manually written into, then during the mid 1980’s, typed into with each incoming or outgoing transaction.
The children’s savings had “Mickey Mouse” pay-in books. In 1989, with branches at Hamilton also being rebranded, the Blantyre branch closed down for good, causing much frustration and forcing many people to change their bank in Blantyre to either the Royal Bank of Scotland or further up Glasgow Road to the Clydesdale Bank.
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland, (under that name) has been in Blantyre since the 1960’s at Glasgow Road. First located on the ground floor of a 2-storey tenement on the opposite North side of the road at 166 Glasgow Road it was adjacent to a pub. Rita Clark started working there in 1972 and added that when the pub put their fire on, smoke would come through the walls into the bank, as the tenements were so old. New premises were needed badly.
During the construction of Clydeview Shopping Centre and with the subsequent demolition of the Glasgow Road tenements, bank staff worked temporarily from a portacabin at 188a Glasgow Road. The bank opened in 1981 at Clydeview Shopping Centre. Rita would later move back to Blantyre branch in February 1996 when she became manager. A long-standing employee was Caroline Lee who worked at the Blantyre branch at Clydeview Shopping Centre from 1981 until 1996. A former manager was Stephen Morley, one of many staff who worked there over the years.
To huge disappointment, the Royal Bank of Scotland closed down at Clydeview Shopping Centre on Tuesday 20th June 2017 and planning permission was granted for the ATM being removed shortly after.
Munro Butchers was a former butchers chain shop at Clydeview Shopping Centre in the 1980’s, which is now occupied by Marie Curie. In August 1995, Property group Asda Property Holdings linked up with Dewhurst managing directors Roger Reeson and Eugene Lines.
Asda Property purchased the freehold premises occupied by Dewhurst, the largest chain of its type in Britain, and leased them back to the new MBO company, Dewhurst Butchers, which by then had bought over the Alex Munro chain of butchers. (In Scotland Dewhurst traded as Alex Munro). However, Munro Butchers in Blantyre was solely a 1980’s business and closed down in the late 1980’s rumoured to have been due to competition ters being imposed from Asda. There were also shops in Rutherglen, Motherwell, Cambuslang and Hamilton at the time. Jimmy Scott worked in the popular shop and former employees remember the multitude of different characters coming in for their meat.
Country Feeds (Gibbs of Galston)
Gibbs of Galston was a large pet shop and pet store formerly located in the Clydeview Shopping Centre in the late 1980’s. It was officially called, “Country Feeds” located in one of the larger units, near the corner carpet shop and faced out on to Glasgow Road. It was one of the earlier businesses to open at the shopping centre and had operated for some time before closing temporarily in the late 1980’s. It re-opened for a couple of years before again closing for good around 1990. Today, that particular retail unit has been closed for years. People have become accustomed seeing closed shutters.
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