I was contacted at the end of April by Shona Preston, who told me she currently lives at Woodside Cottage, on Glasgow Road. In the middle of decorating and stripping back layers of paper and plaster from the walls, it was apparent the detached cottage was quite old and had seen many people live there. Wanting to know more, Shona asked for some help with the history of the cottage, which I investigated as below.
Firstly, the cottage is not be confused with the older Woodhouse Farm which was situated further east and accessed off Station Road.
Woodside Cottage likely takes its name from a small woodland that is shown on Roys map of 1747. This small woodland was located just off the Glasgow Road at approximately where the junction is today at Glasgow road and Cowan Wilson Avenue. It was going to be a house near the wood.
Knowing the house to be old, i next checked the 1859 map, but Blantyre at this location was still just farmlands with no major houses along Glasgow Road at this location.
I next found the 1881 census street index and can confirm the cottage was certainly shown in Enumeration District 2 listed as “Woodside Cottage”, giving us a 21 year window of construction between 1860 – 1881. Not wanting to leave such a wide gap, I was able to close it down considerably by finding the 1862 Post office directory showing the cottage existing that year. The date of construction is therefore between 1860 and 1862. The first owner according to the Post office directory was a James Henry Fuge.
James was born in 1824 in Guernsey in the Channel islands. By the 1861 census, at the age of 37 he was living at Viewfield Cottage, Perth with his wife Maria who was 4 years older than him. He was a railway accountant and part time writer. They had 5 young children all under 10 years old, when they bought Woodside Cottage, Glasgow Road, Blantyre. It is unknown what brought him to Blantyre.
Given the neighbouring cottage is very similar in detail and appearance, it is possible that a private builder constructed the two cottages and sold them separately.
Tragedy struck the family when Maria died in her early 50s. By 1881, at the age of 57, James was now a retired writer living at Woodside Cottage with his daughter Maria jnr 25 and son Charles, 20. 10 years later in 1891, 67 year old James was in ill health and was being looked after by Maria Jnr and Charles. James lived at this address until his death there on 9th July 1892. A legal dispute arose about the house from some of his family whom at the time lived in Dorset, England. This looks likely to have been upheld as the Fuge’s were to give up the property. On 22nd May 1895, presumably after the legalities were sorted, Woodside Cottage was put up for sale. The advert is shown here. The house AND the vacant ground to the right of it (where now a house sits at the junction) could be rented for £16 a year, but was being sold entirely for the reduced sum of £100. It had been previously up for sale in March 1895 at £200, but no buyers were being attracted.
At the halved price, it was bought by John McIntyre, an insurance agent in Glasgow. The Country Directory of Scotland 1901 – 1904 lists McIntyre still living there in that pre WW1 period. John was born in 1855 in Renton, Glasgow. He bought Woodside Cottage in 1895 at the age of 40 moving there from Larkhall along with his children. I suspect that his wife Margaret had died before 1895, prompting the move. By 1901, the census shows him still at Woodside, aged 46 with his TWELVE children, 7 of whom were over the age of 12, the eldest Mary being 24. Andrew, his 19 year old son was a plasterer. There must have been a lot of play and laughter in this house. The youngest of the 4 children are not tied to Margaret of Larkhall.
I immediately noticed no wife was in the 1901 census so this remains a mystery. The McIntyres would have seen considerable disruption in 1907, when the tramways were being laid in front of their home at Glasgow Road. They would have been very used to a familiar sight of trams going past their sitting room window on a daily basis.
During the 1920’s, the front garden of Woodside, along with all other gardens in Glasgow Road homes, were bought by compulsory purchase and used for the widening of Glasgow Road. The saw the pavement come much closer to the front of the homes and included the reconstruction of all the walls, fences and hedges to each property.
Woodside Cottage remains today on Glasgow Road, very similar in appearance today as it did then. The stone property is well built and standing the test of time and sits amongst other most desirable homes in the area.