A Town, not a village

town

Did you know Blantyre is officially a “town” and has been for some time. Blantyre being described as only a ‘village’, is an old, in accurate notion not many people under 50 years old use and there’s good reason for that, for the former village of Blantyre became a town in May 1975.

Fondly but incorrectly referenced, some Blantyre residents of a ‘certain age’ will I’m sure always refer to Blantyre as a village, as they remember the old days and descriptions or perhaps be simply unaware the change was made. It’s a mindset that won’t change for some people, and no big deal really, as the term “village” conjures up images of small, quaint, friendly places.

When I enquired in 2012 to South Lanarkshire Council Planning, they confirmed to me that Blantyre is a ‘town’ rather than village. I decided to investigate more just in case. Other historians don’t seem to have written much about this before. Some clarification was much needed, especially after I noticed a rogue assumption elsewhere that Blantyre “couldn’t be a town, as it didn’t have a town hall or mayor“, despite those two requirements only applying to classifications in England!  (Of course in Scotland, there are no mayors, official post holders known as Convenors, Provosts, or Lord Provosts depending on the local authority).

However, you can see perhaps how the mistake is made. Pathe News referred to Blantyre as a town as early as 1930’s, despite it still being officially a village back then. Many other newspaper reports prior to WW2 described Blantyre as a town or village, or simply didn’t bother at all about finding out the real classification for their reports. Rightly or wrongly, an elderly generation perpetuated the term ‘village’, even beyond its “sell by date” in 1975.

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Extract from South Lanarkshire Council showing towns and villages in the region.

So, some evidence.

The Scottish Government shared their clarification with Blantyre Project, after enquiry, adding, “A town is usually a place with a lot of houses. Generally, the difference between towns and villages or hamlets is the sort of economy they have. People in towns such as Blantyre usually get money from industry (factories etc.), commerce (shops etc.) and public service (working for the town), not agriculture (growing food), as may have been the case in Blantyre in previous Centuries.  The subject can be difficult for people who lived on either side of the 1973 Government Act who may not wish to adopt change.

Although modern wards consider population size, the number of people who live in a place does not in isolation tell us if it is a town or a village although it can be a factor in helping to classify designations. For example Bothwell nearby to you has less than half the population of Blantyre but residents there often refer to themselves as a ‘conservation village’. For the record, when referring to Blantyre, we use the classification, town, but it would be worth checking with the local authority. We hope this clarifies your enquiry.”

Classification of land in Scotland is actually different from the rest of the UK. With exception of crown,  Parishes, Burghs, boundaries, councils and subsequent later wards are all treated differently, thanks to Scots Law. 

South Lanarkshire Council wrote back to me, backed up by Hamilton Reference Library, commenting, 

“The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 was an Act of Parliament of the UK that altered local government in Scotland on 16 May 1975. That day, the county council was abolished and the area absorbed into the larger Strathclyde region, which itself was divided into new Council Areas in 1996. With it came the declassifications of Parish’s within Lanarkshire, and a modern step forward to reclassifying and acknowledging growth in villages and towns. Although towns and new towns existed in Lanarkshire prior to 1975, the recognition that some villages were prospering or growing beyond village classification had to be incorporated, leaving Lanarkshire with 13 towns of “Biggar, Blantyre, Bothwell, Cambuslang, Carluke, East Kilbride, Hamilton, Larkhall, Lanark, Lesmahagow, Rutherglen, Strathaven and Uddingston. The classification of ‘town’ was assigned to Blantyre due to it’s size, nature of it’s economy being industry based, a quantum shift away from agriculture and farming and on the noted basis that it held a regular market and fair, something a village does not.”

The evidence was there in black and white and it changed the way I describe Blantyre, always taking care to mention it’s a town, rather than darting back and forth between village and town.

With South Lanarkshire Council, the recognised authority on the subject confirming Blantyre is a town, the Scottish Government, reference library officials and land registration all confirming the same, with not one small reference left to us being a village, the case was clear and closed. Blantyre is now a town.

The Village

It would be amiss of me in this article not to mention that the Village of Blantyre once started out at the small populated centre around Kirkton Cross. Other little hamlets or villages nearby like Stonefield, Auchinraith and Barnhill grew to merge and helped construct the mass populated area we know as Blantyre today. We refer commonly today as the village area in Blantyre, now being beside Station Road, named after the former Mill Works Village created by mill owners in the early 19th Century. It’s good that at least the name “The Village” is still part of the town of Blantyre and is certainly a term used only to describe that area. We’re about to have TWO villages in Blantyre, with the current Avant Homes development in High Blantyre being officially named “Greenhall Village”.

I still don’t mind hearing Blantyre described as a Village or a town but ahead of publishing a definitive book of a million words about Blantyre, I needed to put this to bed, clear up the assumption and with fact, correct it once and for all. If you see Blantyre is currently a Village written anywhere in a modern setting, it’s wrong.

It’s no big deal really but it’s highly likely that Blantyre will still be described as a ‘Village’ by some, for this remaining generation before the term finally dies out and we all end up using the proper reference of a town.

From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road South – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Anthony Smith Might just be me.But when I lived in Hillview Drive,I always referred to where I lived as Low Blantyre,as distinct from High Blantyre and separate from the Village.
Blantyre Project ‘Low Blantyre’ dates from as far back as 1880’s, being referred to as such back then in census and valuation rolls, separating the hamlets of High Blantyre. Low Blantyre as best as i can see in historical references, was describing several hamlets including Coatshill, the Village, Stonefield and Springwell. Although of course this became blurry in modern times when the hamlets all merged.
Sadie Dolan I stay in knightswood terrace I referred when anyone asks me where I stay I answer by the village x
Blantyre Project quite right! Even us High Blantyre people refer to that area today as the village.
Maria Pedersen My mum was born and raised in Knightswood Terrace (no.8) and they always referred to it as The Village 😀
Thomas Barrett I was born in 17 Viewfield Avenue the Village.
Sadie Dolan So you’re a villiager tam, x
Thomas Barrett Yes sadie was born in the house was only there till i was 6 months. Living in a room lol
Sadie Dolan Yeah one bedroom house,they were small xx
Thomas Barrett No it was a big house but we only had a room lol
Sadie Dolan Mrs rouse stayed in 12 view field ave, hers was very small were you upstairs tam x
Thomas Barrett No Sadie self contained next door to Flannigan
Thomas Barrett It was my dads cousins house he was in the army so we lived there for a while x
Sadie Dolan Yeah think the upstair houses were bigger, I stayed in the very 1st house
as you go in on the right it was my dads uncle Benny’dolan house for a while too , xx
Elaine Hunter My mum (aged 82) was brought up in Dixon’s Rawse then 42 Farm Rd but now lives in the village. My nana lived there until she died. There was a Mrs Rouse next door to her. My mum’s grandparents stayed in the village in Viewfield Ave. We always knew it as Low Blantyre or just Blantyre, High Blantyre and the village.
William Mullen in the 60s nxt door 2 sadie n mick rouse was mrs sweeny we thought she was german ?
Sadie Dolan Remember her Willie, xx
William Mullen tams a villager!!!!
William Mullen elaine are u talkin about mrs rouse farm rd xx
Annmarie Mullen Brown My gran rouse stayed at 40 farm road Elaine Hunter 😊
William Mullen so did you annmarie xx
Annmarie Mullen Brown Yeah i did wish i hadnt moved lol our catherine has my grans house now 😊😊
Annmarie Mullen Brown Used to walk from my gran rouses house down the dandy to my gran mullens house 😊😊
William Mullen me vice versa lol xx
Bernadette Mcparland Elaine Hunter we stayed in no 44 Farm Rd…who was your mum & gran?
Lynsey Fojut To us, Everything below the spar on stonefield road was just Blantyre. Above that was high Blantyre which is a separate town & the village was it’s on wee place. We rarely ventured to high blantyre.
Blantyre Project as somebody who lived on Stonefield Crescent, I always referred to High Blantyre as that too and included the primary school at Larkfield as part of High Blantyre including Hunthill Road. 😉
Maryclaire Hood Lyn you’ll need to change the lyrics to the Blantyre song 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Moira Mulvaney Pacheco High Blantyre finished at the part of the road at the top of Craig St.and Auchinraith Rd. also it finished at the bottom off Broompark Rd. before Collins Newsagents. then it was Larkfield. It stopped again on Hunthill Rd. before the Hoolets.
William Mullen big ned mulvaney stayed in the village …60s
Moira Mulvaney Pacheco Sorry wrong it carried on accross the r Td at Collins and again stopped just before the Hoolets. You really couldn’t get out of High Blantyre and Low Blantyre without crossing Water. when you think of this it was an Island
Blantyre Project Moira its ok Moria, I fully investigated this myth and its the subject of a post this week. Rivers are a plenty around Blantyre Parish but don’t fully enclose it, especially to the south east, but would be interested to hear what you think when the post comes up.
Betty Brown Towns have town halls , cities , have city hall, villiges have community halls.👍
Blantyre Project if you live in England. Doesn’t apply in Scotland as confirmed in many sources online and by the council themselves. That was the point of this whole post. The evidence is conclusive. Blantyre has been a town since 1975. Sorry i can see how you would say this, with your pal at the old Blantyre’s ain site intent on a mission of assumption (again) misleading as many people as possible by saying its a village.
Rose Jardine I just assumed the Village where I have lived for the past 42 years, was called just the Village, because the Mills and the workers lived her in a self contained area with school, church,school and shop. I have not known it to be called Blantyre Village, just The Village.
Jay Peajohn Stone I consider that I was born in High Blantyre…
Jay Peajohn Stone Its the same in EK. The original part is still called, “The Village”.
Blantyre Project absolutely. The town hall idea is just rubbish, and doesn’t apply to Scotland. Blantyre is indeed a town, just as EK is. I take great care in presentations and writing about this, especially taking opportunity to correct it when i see it so often written down incorrectly by others. As far as I’m concerned, the case is closed. Blantyre IS a town. 😉
Suzanne Kerr The Village is between Blantyre Train Station & David Livingstone Centre.
Fran Mcdermott Walters village to me was down by the bridge ..I had high Blantyre ..Low Blantyre and the village lol x
Elizabeth Cushley Weir yip same here fran the village was down by david livinstons house x
William Mullen i was born in 52 viewfield ave theres only 1 village…end of lol
Eddie Mcguire 5 veiwfeild avenue born and bred the village then you have high and low blantyre
William Mullen auld johnny seeds…mary murder..deef mary robin hood taji…stookie renyolds…t henderson tam+mick boyle
Eddie Mcguire Who wis the the old dear across fae Mrs Glen Wullie she was German Mrs Glen used to buy the embassy coupons
Eddie Mcguire Isa your neighbour

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