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From the illustrated social history book…
“Blantyre – Glasgow Road South, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018.
Broompark Place, Glasgow Road
Near the eastern corner of Stonefield Road at Glasgow Road junction was a former 2 storey tenement officially called, ‘Broompark Place’. The name certainly sounds strange in a modern context, a name that many people would more associate with High Blantyre, which in itself may have been a reason the name fell out of existence through the lifetime of the building.
Broompark Place was constructed of stone with a slate roof and had a large central close running north to south right through the building leading from Glasgow Road to its rear yard. Built in 1888 into 1889, it consisted of 1 shop to the east of the close, 2 shops to the west and with 2 houses on the upper floor. Access to the upper homes was through the close and up a stair at the rear yard.
The property was initially detached, but later neighbouring Minto’s Buildings would be built up against it. It had a prominent position directly across from St Joseph’s Presbytery (later the entrance to St Joseph’s School) and would also have enjoyed good views across to St Joseph’s Church.
The name ‘Broompark’ was certainly popular in the 1880’s. Indeed, in 1885, there already were another two ‘Broompark Places’ in Blantyre! A building at Larkfield with several shops and homes and another building on Stonefield Road with 9 houses, should not be confused with this article. When Broompark Place was constructed on Glasgow Road, it may have taken the name from the Stonefield Road property demolished around the same time.
The original constructor appears to have passed away between 1889 and 1895, for the first recorded owner in valuation rolls in 1895 was a Mrs M.W.D Cruickshank of Polockshields, noted as being the bondholder in possession. Mr. George Campbell of the adjacent bank was factor. In the houses, Mr George Pate and Mrs Arabella Arbuckle were first tenants.
James B Dall
Broompark Place was a building which would have a long retail tradition of being associated with clothing or drapery. The first shopkeeper occupying all three shops on the lower floor was draper, James B Dall of nearby Brownlie Cottage. He was advertising looking for drapery staff in 1889 at newly constructed Broompark Place, having moved from Gilmour Place on the north side of the road presumably for this opportunity. In 1891 James was 37 years old, married to Margaret and had 6 sons and an infant daughter. The Dall family moved away from Blantyre by 1901, perhaps due to drapery competition from the Co-op and several other private retailers. However, it was far from the end of drapery businesses at Broompark Place.
In 1900, another draper arrived in Blantyre for the first time and moved his business into the 3 shops, i.e. the whole lower floor. Henry R.S. Oliver was to be a long term occupier operating his business there for several decades and was to be one of the longest established traders on Glasgow Road.
Others have incorrectly assumed and called this building ‘Oliver’s Building’. However, it was never called that. Not in any census, any valuation roll or official documentation. Oliver rented the building at all times and at no time was it ever his building, never owning it. There’s no doubt though that Blantyre residents knew where ‘Oliver’s Shop’ was being there for so long.
Henry R.S. Oliver
Henry Russell Stewart Oliver was born in 1867 in Alloa, the son of James Oliver a master baker and Mary White. He was 33 years old when he came to Blantyre in 1900, but was already established as a draper. He was married to Irish woman, Isabella Holland. The Oliver family lived nearby at Brownlie Cottage and it is known they had at least 1 son who went into the family business. The Olivers would rent the lower 3 shops at Broompark Place for an incredible 46 years until his death. Henry’s died on 11th March 1946 at Homeland, Glasgow Road, Blantyre.
Tenants in the upper storey would change over the years. In 1905 Hugh Davidson a roadsman and Gilbert Harper Junior, a mechanic lived there. Alexander Russell, a roadsman lived there from prior to WW1 until the late 1920’s. Sometime between 1920 and 1925, the 2 homes upstairs were reduced to just one, as one side of the upper storey became a storeroom for the shops below. The house was occupied by James Devine from the late 1920’s.
The name ‘Broompark Place’ was used less and less following WW1 for this building, even more so when it was allocated postal addresses 267, 269, 271 and 273 Glasgow Road. The shops were 267,269 and 273 and upper homes was 271 Glasgow Road, a configuration that continued throughout the 20th Century. Olivers may have flourished especially at this location being so near the tram terminus at Glasgow Road, offering shoppers convenience.
It is little wonder that this charming postcard was commissioned in 1903. Looking east along Glasgow Road, as well as celebrating the arrival of trams to Blantyre, it must have represented modernization at the time. The newly built Minto’s Buildings on the left foreground with its wooden picket fences, next to it the older Broompark Place with iron railings. (Railings were NOT removed during the ‘Iron Drive’ in World War 2 for iron to construct ships at this location. They were removed a full decade earlier in 1930 for the Glasgow Road being widened, following reconstruction upon the termination of trams). Elsewhere other relatively new buildings of the era like Mayberry Place and the Old Original Bar feature.
As well as clothes and textiles, Oliver’s sold curtains, bedding and other decorative soft furnishings, some of which may have been considered as luxury goods for any humble mining family. In WW1 years Oliver’s rents to Mrs MWD Cruickshank was around £8 and 10 shillings. Mrs Cruikshank lived in Liverpool by that time, still owner, bondholder in possession of the entire property right up until the end of World War One. Ownership then passed to John Jackson Coats from 1918 until the early 1930’s and subsequently before 1935, to AJ&A Graham, as bondholders beyond World War Two.
Following 1946, shops changed use and in the late 1940’s for a short time into the 1950’s the end shop at 273 became Dr. Terris’s surgery. When he moved to High Blantyre in the 1950’s the surgery became Dr. Harkins practice then more latterly Dr. Church’s surgery. From the mid 1970’s this end shop then became Batters, Malone and McKay lawyers until its demolition in 1993.
Post WW2, the other shops were also well used. Many Blantyre residents remember Pat Hughes Photography. Pat lived in Victoria Street. His shop was small with a single room studio, but it was well used and photography services could be called upon away from the shop too. It moved westwards to Westend Place around 1979.
The other shop was Paton’s Ladies & Gents Hairdressers. Willie Paton, his wife and daughter Margaret were well known in Blantyre throughout the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Willie’s nickname was ‘Scooby’ and he had a pleasant manner about him. Although one main public room, the shop was always busy, with loads of chatter and gossip.
Broompark Place was completely demolished around 1993 and is now the site of several homes belonging to modern Valerio Court.
Blantyre Project Social Media:
Arlene Green: “My mum remembers Pat Hughes Photography shop as being an old fashioned type shop with a simple counter. Next door was Paton Hairdressers. Willie Paton’s daughter Margaret worked there as did a girl called Grace Brown. I got my hair done in Paton’s. The ‘Purdie’ was a famous cut in the 1970’s and then frizzy perm in the 1980’s.”
Martin Smith: “Pat Hughes did live on Victoria Street. He was good friends with my father.”
Sharon Morrison Doonin: “Hughes Photography was still at the Westend in the mid 1980’s. I remember getting my photos there.”
Elaine Spiers: “I had my first communion photo taken at Hughes. The hairdressers next door was where mum got her hair done. It was a noisy room with big ‘sit under’ hairdryers and always with a smell of hairspray and perm lotion. I watched people endlessly getting their rollers put in. In 1978, I had hair so long I could sit on it, but I wasn’t allowed to get it cut until I was 12. Even then, Margaret Paton refused to cut all that lovely hair so short, so we had to go elsewhere.”
Clyde Cottages were two former semi-detached homes at 275 and 277 Glasgow Road near the corner of Stonefield Road at Glasgow Road junction. They should not be confused with Clyde Cottage in Auchentibber. The cottages accessed by one central path, appear to have been well built lasting nearly 120 years and served as homes for many different families.
In 1865, Mr. Robert Clyde Lindsay constructed the cottages, giving them his middle name, which was also the maiden name of his mother. As such, the name Clyde, although popular and relevant in Blantyre due to the nearby River of the same name, is attributable in this case to a person’s heritage.
Born in Glasgow, Robert lived in Denholm Cottage in Kilmalcolm prior to coming to Blantyre and is noted in the 1871 census. The Lindsay family initially moved in around 1866 and also owned an adjacent blacksmiths shop, yard and corner ground which they let out to Messrs Mitchell & Forrest. Also in 1866, eldest son David Lindsay a joiner, got married at the new cottages, the event noted in the local newspaper and the cottages named specifically.
The Lindsay Family
There is good evidence that the Lindsay family initially lived at Clyde Cottages from 1865 until around 1871. In 1867, James Lindsay, the brother of Robert was a road surveyor, who was looking to learn more and take part in Architecture classes, even advertising asking if there was any nearby. He would later go on to own land at Stonefield Road named Pilot Acre.
On 4th June 1868, Robert Lindsay married Alison Mitchell and the same year his sister Margaret Smellie Lindsay married at Clyde Cottage to William Pollock. Robert and Allison had a child Robert Lindsay Junior born in 1871 who would live until 1929. It is known Robert and Allison Lindsay had at least 4 children, all of them having the middle name ‘Clyde’. It was therefore a place that saw several family weddings, the cottages being comfortable enough for the weddings to be held and for births of family members. They may only have occupied one side of the Cottages, for in 1871, a lady named Janet, the wife of a William Adam died at Clyde Cottages.
The Lindsay family had moved out by 1875 although continued to work in Blantyre. Robert Lindsay was involved in the construction of Allison Place in Springwell in 1878, hired by Ann Allison Heriot. New tenants were then renting Clyde Cottages from Robert Lindsay Senior. In 1875 Thomas G Brown and John Waugh rented the property for £18 per annum.
By 1881, Robert Lindsay Senior had moved away from Blantyre. It is unknown why he left but the fact that his furniture was auctioned and that the bank took full ownership of Clyde Cottages, is telling that all may not have been well financially. Despite this assumption, there are no records of any liquidation, so the reason for the departure may well have been unremarkable enough, perhaps just a change of scenery. On 31st July 1882, the furniture of Clyde Cottages in its entirety including all the kitchen equipment for both cottages was sold at Smellie’s Auction House in Hamilton. The Hamilton Savings, Investment & Building Society took ownership of Clyde Cottages in the same year.
Tenants changed again. In 1885, Mr. Greenshields a warehouseman occupied one of the two houses, and Mrs. Hogg, widowed wife of James Hogg occupied the other. James was a stationer who died in 1884, and also a military man , a quartermaster-sergeant in the 74th Highlanders. Rents were being paid to Hamilton Savings, Investment & Building Society and the houses were both factored by Angus McQuarrie, a grocer at High Blantyre.
In 1895, tenants were David Thomson, a warehouseman and Mrs. Jane Simpson. In 1905, the houses were occupied by James Galloway, an Inspector of Drains and Mr. James Smith, a joiner, renting for £14, some £4 less than the rents had been 20 years earlier! A sign of the rented accommodation competition that may have prevailed in Blantyre at the time. The Smith family would live at this address for some time and James’s woodwork skills may have become especially handy as the family business of undertakers took off.
Sometime between 1898 and 1910, the toilets at the outside were rebuilt adjoining and part of the cottages at the back of the building. Likely feeling more modernized this would have saved a walk out in the cold winters to get to the loo.
By 1915, Clyde Cottages had been given addresses 275 and 277 Glasgow Road, the Smith family living at 277. Each were rented for £15 and the location may have seemed ideal as an abundance of shops sprang up at Stonefield Road and the previous decade had seen modern buildings like the Old Original Bar, the Church be built nearby. The proximity to the tram terminus would have been welcomed too. At 275 that year were Hugh Anderson a miner although he died in 1916 a year later. His widow, Mary would live there until the late 1920’s. Next door at 277 was Andrew Smith, a funeral undertaker, and son of James, who lived there well into the 1950s.
In 1930, at 275 William H Young, a confectioner was tenant and by 1935, the house had changed rental again , occupied by John Young, a fruiterer. In post WW2 years, this house would be occupied by Tommy Valerio, a well known shopkeeper who ran the Café De Royale, or “Mickey’s Café” situated very close to the back of Clyde Cottages. Interestingly, after 1930 Clyde Cottages became referred to as “Clyde Cottage”, i.e. in the singular, the name from then on only applying to 277 Glasgow Road, the home of the ‘Smiths.’
Injuries caused by a wheel
Dan Connor (73), was injured in a peculiar road accident on Monday 3rd August 1931. He was standing at Clyde Cottage, near the junction of Glasgow Road and Stonefield Road when one of the wheels of a passing motor car (which had been forced to swerve avoid another vehicle), became detached from the axle and dashed against him, knocking him down with force. He received facial injuries, including a broken nose.
The railings in this part of Blantyre uniquely survived the WW2 iron drive, lasting right up until the cottage was demolished.
Smith Undertakers operated under the name “J&A Smith Funeral Undertakers” and worked from their yard at 277 Glasgow Road adjacent to their Clyde Cottage home. With Telephone number Blantyre ‘44’, however, their main business was at Victoria Garage in High Blantyre.
In the 1950’s and 60’s large trees adorned the back gardens of Clyde Cottage, at the back of Mickey’s Café. Pictured in 1979 are Clyde Cottages. Both homes were eventually demolished in the early 1980’s, as part of the modernization of Blantyre. It is safe to say that many families had occupied these unassuming homes, often missed being set back from Glasgow Road.
Workshops & Yard
On the eastern corner of Glasgow Road at the bottom of Stonefield Road was a couple of workshops and a yard. The earliest workshop dated back to 1865 when constructor Robert Lindsay built it and let it out to Mitchell & Forrest, local joiners and blacksmiths.
This commercial relationship existed even after 1881, when the Lindsay’s left Blantyre and John Mitchell, a joiner continued to rent with his business partner for around £9 per annum. In 1895, John lived nearby in Stonefield Road and rented from new owners, the Hamilton Savings, Investment & Building Society, who also owned most of the buildings at the corner of Stonefield Road also.
Around 1900, a second joiners workshop was built in the yard, facing out on to Stonefield Road, which was initially rented by John Reid, a joiner. John would operate from this workshop and yard until the end of the First World War, by which time it had address 281 Glasgow Road.
Also around 1900, the older workshop expanded with a new small pitched roof single storey workshop facing out on to Glasgow Road. This would have address 279 Glasgow Road and was situated between Clyde Cottage and Reid’s joinery workshop. This was to be the rented workshop of the Smith family for several decades. The workshops would have been a common sight as passengers alighted at the nearby, new tram terminus in 1903.
In 1905, the pitched roof workshop at Glasgow Road was rented by James Smith, a joiner. By 1915, Andrew Smith occupied the workshop.
The Stonefield Urinal
Yes, you read that right! By 1915, space at 281 Glasgow Road, directly on the corner had been reserved for a public urinal. It was noted in the 1920 as still being reserved and constructed during the 1920’s. It was likely sited there due to the proximity of the Old Original Pub across the road. The urinal was an ‘iron duke’ type and despite having a Glasgow Road address, opened out on to Stonefield Road. Under ownership of the Middle Ward District Committee (part of the County Council), it was still there in the late 1930’s, but demolished after WW2.
Workshops Post WW1
Andrew Smith joinery business rented 279 Glasgow Road, the little pitched workshop right up until the early 1930’s, until such a time the business was renamed as “J&A Smith”. In 1935 their business as joiners and carriage hirers was flourishing and as undertakers, business was good. Smiths undertakers however, were still renting the workshop and yard from the bank who remained owners for most of the 20th Century.
The large hut in the yard was used to make and store coffins, the workshop used as an office and nearby at 5 Stonefield Road, certainly in 1920, their salesroom shop. J&A Smith kept their carriages in a large wooden building at 10 Broompark Road. Several other wooden buildings, huts and stores sprang up over the years within the yard for the purposes of Smiths, some being immediately adjacent to Valerio’s Café de Royal on Stonefield Road.
The other workshop at 281 Glasgow Road facing on to Stonefield Road was occupied by Stewart W Allison, joinery in 1920 right up until the immediate post WW2 years, passing to Alexander C Allison , a joiner sometime between 1930 and 1935.
Fisher’s Yard & Latter Years
Contrary to popular belief, the corner of Stonefield Road and Glasgow Road was not Mickey’s ‘Café de Royale’ which was actually nearby further up Stonefield Road during the 20th Century. In post WW2 years, the corner of this junction was David Fisher’s Yard.
Blantyre Project Social Media:
Robert Stewart: “For years an old double decker bus sat at the right hand corner of the yard next to Valerio’s. I remember being in the yard with my dad and I’m sure it was used for storing strips of steel. Silly the things you remember from youth!”
David manufactured wrought iron gates, fences and offered general blacksmith (smiddy) services. The main office and showroom faced out to Glasgow Road at number 279 in the small pitched roof building similar to the current hairdressers shop at Larkfield. The yard was narrow and long, running from the Glasgow Road to the gable end of Valerio’s, with its entrance at the bottom of Stonefield Road. David Fisher’s company was there well into the early seventies. After he retired the little showroom became a different kind of showroom selling interior light fittings, tables lamps etc.
Blantyre Project Social Media:
Drew Semple: “I remember that plot of land at the corner. At the end of Fisher’s Yard was a corrugated fence with a cigarette machine built into it. Needless to say, it got emptied a hundred times by locals.”
Moyra Lindsay: “I remember David Fisher. He made our railings for our verandah in 1971. He had a white poodle, which went to work with him and he cut the doghair himself, it was a right sight! I’m sure he was bit grumpy.”
Moira Hutchings: “In the early sixties we went to Mickey’s once a week to use the payphone to speak with my Dad who was working in England. Sometimes we even got an ice cream! Across the road was the grocers, where my Aunt’s friend Janet worked. Butter was still sold from a massive block from a barrel and had to be patted when you bought it. Next door was the butchers.”
Stewart Dennings: “In the 1970’s, I recall Jeannie Scratcher (a nickname obviously). She used to sit on the wee bench at the corner, her affliction causing her to touch her face often. Not nice name on reflection. Hope she lived long.”
Fisher’s Yard looked likely to have been cleared when the other buildings were demolished around 1979 and 1980. Prior to that around 1975, the yard was fenced off and a gravel path was constructed on the small triangular plot of land offering a bench to sit on and a few shrubs cordoned off by some modern red 2 foot high tubular railings. A tiny little park no less at that busy junction with good advertising space on the billboards on Valerio’s Stonefield Road gable.
Following demolition of Minto’s Buildings, Dervoch Cottage, Broompark Place, Clyde Cottages, the workshops on Glasgow Road and the tenement houses and shops at the bottom of Stonefield Road, a new housing estate sprang up at the corner during the early 1990’s. The estate was named to remember the Valerio family who had traded at the former popular Café De Royal (Mickey’s Café) rented nearby on Stonefield Rd, run by ‘Valerio & Co’.
Why not named after other well known traders of the area? Benhams? Pates? Or the property owners themselves? Well, clearly the chosen name of Valerio not only honoured the Valerio family for conducting business there for so many decades, but also acknowledged their presence in Blantyre since as early as 1900, in other parts of Glasgow Road. Councilors named the housing estate well, for this had been a well known family throughout Blantyre for many generations.
The detailed Valerio history and that of the Café is reserved for exclusively telling in another Blantyre Project book covering Stonefield Road.
Valerio Court is today centered around a small mini roundabout, accessed off Stonefield Road. Around it are 2 storey beige and brown brick houses in an L shape with frontage on both Stonefield Road and Glasgow Road. (hence inclusion of Valerio Court in this book). Bin stores and sheds are kept at the back. The opposing part of the court is a combination of bungalows, one and 2 storey homes. All homes have good access to local amenities.
Valerio Court is still today a well maintained, neat and modern housing estate but the days of many, many shops in this area are long gone.
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