Blantyre Lodge

blantyrelodge1859

Was a former grand, detached house occupied by the managers of Blantyre works throughout the late 18th Century, the 19th Century and into the early 20th Century.

The superior stone dwelling situated in Blantyre Village adjacent to Shuttle Row, sat isolated and detached in the field, with land and the property itself belonging to the Montieth family of mill owners. It was let out to the mill Manager.

There was a main entrance in from Station Road, and an exit path led from the house all the way up to Glasgow Road, through fields, the path known locally as The Dandy. The lodge had ornamental gardens and was a visible sign of “them and us” to all the village mill workers occupying the nearby rows. Offices and large extensive gardens were also situated outside the lodge. There is some evidence the lodge was built in the early 1800’s.

For a time in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, it had extensive timber trellises with ivy growing on it. Additionally, it had a large wooden porch at the front, timber window shutters giving much of the building an appearance of being made of timber. It had an almost colonial, Indian or American feel to it, completely unique to any other building in Blantyre. The entrance faced west, the back of the building looked upon Shuttle Row.

In 1851, Mr. Walter Paterson, a merchant in the cotton and linen trade lived there with his wife, three sons, one daughter, a governess and 5 servants, although by 1855 Robert Reid Esq had moved there.

In 1859, it is described as, “A superior dwelling having Ornamental grounds, gardens. The property of R. Monteith Esqr.” According to Slater’s Directory of 1860, Mr. Robert Reid Esq was occupying the lodge.

By 1865 John Morrison was occupying Blantyre Lodge. Robert Montieth owned the building at that time.

In 1871, Mr. John Morrison, a slate merchant his wife, 5 daughters and 1 son and 6 servants lived there, giving up the property to J Reid by 1875. Still owned by the Monteith family, the next occupier was James Reid who continued to stay there until at least 1885. By then Joseph Francis Monteith owned Blantyre Lodge.

By 1895 Mr J.A McLennan was occupying the house for a short time.

The next oocupier, certainly by 1901 was Mr. William Jolly, a haulage contractor and his family. The Jolly family were well known in the area. In 1901, the census records sixty two year old William Jolly, a retired inspector of schools living there with this wife Mary Ann, also 62. They had a daughter Carolina and 3 sons of whom David was employed as the Gardener, J St Clair as the Insurance clerk for the mill works. A servant girl Jane Mackie also lived at the lodge at the time.

Mrs Helen McGowan Jolly, a daughter in law of William Jolly, describes the house in one of her letters, “The old house of Blantyre Lodge was a 2-storey stone built mansion house of 21 rooms including the servants quarters in the basement. It had Corinthian pillars at the main entrance hall at the front, which had a tiled floor, shaped like a T. It had two tiger skin rugs and fine paintings on the walls, as well as a barometer and grandfather clock. The drawing room and dining room on the ground floor had French windows, which opened on to extensive lawns, tennis courts and putting greens. The views from all around the house looked out on these lawns, court and greens towards a beautiful avenue (with tall trees), which contained a rookery and stretched right up to the Glasgow Road. It is considered a very lucky house that has a rookery, and although the farmers did not like the birds, which ate all the seeds, the Jolly family loved the crows. The house was furnished throughout in Chippendale; the bedrooms had old Queen Mary beds trimmed with rich brocade with tassels at the corners. The Dining room furnished in Mahogany with the walls lined with bookshelves, the whole house was beautiful with a sloping garden down towards the river Clyde. Across the water was Bothwell Castle and nearby were the ruins of the old Priory where lots of old Latin inscriptions made by old Monks who lived there with Mary Queen of Scots, were found.”

Following the closure and demolition of many of the mills, Blantyre Lodge changed hands from the Monteith family to William Baird (coalmasters). It suited the Baird Company to have much of this land and surrounding homes to house their miners. It looks likely that this event triggered the Jolly family moving away. As such the Jolly family seem to have lived there around 2 decades, moving away by WW1.

Belgian Refugees lived here in 1915 during WW1, courtesy of William Baird. Following the war a Mrs Reid was a tenant of the house and was subletting it divided into 4 separate houses.

In 1920 Mrs Reid, Thomas Simpson, James White and Charles McMillan occupied the 4 homes. Mrs Reid paid £30 in rent to William Baird & Company Ltd per annum, but no doubt made more in her own collected rents.

Between 1920 and 1925, perhaps due to a rise in rent to £35 per annum, Mrs Reid gave up the lease and Mr James Scott acquired the rental, again paying rent directly to William Baird & Company Ltd. James Scott saw opportunity in such a large house, and turned it very much into a lodge in the true sense of the words, dividing up all the many bedrooms, into separate accommodation with communual sitting areas and kitchens. His business sense meant that this one house now housed 9 families. James Scott lived there in one of the rooms, letting out 9 others for £4 per year, not only covering fully his rental costs, but also meaning he was living in rent free accommodation himself. His neighbours in the house in 1925 were Miles Breen, Owen Flannigan, John Allan, Peter Devine, Patrick Morgan, Charles McMillan, Hugh Owens, James McKay and Thomas Simpson.

Now this would have made good business, but fate was to intervene. The building had started to become run down and in need of repair by the mid 1920’s and in 1926 when talk of acquiring the nearby Shuttle Row property to become the Livingstone Museum commenced, the fate of Blantyre Lodge was wrapped up and to be considered as part of the acquisition. William Baird & Company Ltd making a valuable contribution in providing Shuttle Row and surrounding land also included within that deal, the provision of Blantyre Lodge.

When the David Livingstone Trust formed on 31st October 1930, it acquired not only Shuttle Row but is reported in Fife newspapers as having acquired the property, Blantyre Lodge and grounds, making the decision around then to demolish it to make way for more expansive gardens in the grounds of the David Livingstone Memorial Centre. It seems likely Blantyre Lodge was demolished in winter 1930.

Today, the lodge would have sat exactly where the small sand playpark is today.

1900 Blantyre lodge

1900 Blanyre Lodge

blantyrelodgetoday

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