Hendry’s Place, High Blantyre

 

I’ve been thinking more about Spiers Laun in High Blantyre. In particular, I got to thinking about a name that crops up in 1895 Valuation Roll for Kirkton, High Blantyre. Hendry’s Place. What I found, would suggest what has been written about Speirs Laun in modern publications is likely to be incorrect.

Hendry’s Place. Asking around nobody seems to have heard of it or remembered it. Looking through the valuation rolls it only appears in 1895 and 1905 and not before. The fact it has a barbers, spirit shop and is noted in Kirkton with houses too, I do also now think it was the set of buildings between Matt Boyles home and where Spiers Restaurant was along Main Street itself. I’m beginning to think the Spiers building was actually only the corner block itself, which does appear to have completely different architecture. It fits in well with the alleged construction date too.

Digging deeper, the 1905 census says Hendry’s Building belonged to “Hamilton Investment Society per Alexander Peters of Rosebank Avenue”. This was a great piece of information allowing me to dig further. Alexander Colinbank Peters was born at Shuttle Row on 19th November 1854, and became a joiner, then “factor of homes”. He eventually stayed at Chalmers Building in one census, then Rosebank Avenue. He married Annie McDougall. If he did invest with the bank in building these homes and shops known as Hendry’s Building, he would surely have done well as the spirit shop alone was let out for £20 a year rent, never mind the other shops and houses.
Alexander Peters lived a long life until he died on 24th March 1934 aged 80. His wife inherited his affairs and is noted thereafter as moving from Blantyre. I feel the date is important. 1934 fits in very well with the 1936 map of Kirkton, which shows not only Hendry’s Building gone, but also Speirs gone too. The immediate demolition of a private building, could certainly be very well linked to the death of the buildings owner and forced eviction of its tenants.
This would mean Speirs Laun was not the hub of commerce once thought, and indeed it was just the restaurant / Station Cafe itself. The hub of shopping actually being Hendry’s Building next door to it, along Main Street, near the Cross.

Hendry’s Building was likely named after John Hendrie of High Blantyre, for it is recorded on 10th April 1880, he applied for a license for new premises at High Blantyre, public-house, porter and ale. He was the proprietor.

In 1933, when the County Council decided to widen Main Street, Hendry’s Building was bought over and just like nearby Speirs Laun in 1934, was demolished to make way for the additional width of the road. Council owned, it is for that reason, that little spare piece of parkland still exists today.

Note, Joseph McNeil, wine and spirit merchant at 346 Main Street High Blantyre at Hendry’s Building since 1924, applied for the transfer of his license to the West End Bar premises at 493 Glasgow Road, Blantyre (which before this was the “Farmer’s Club”) on 31st October 1933. The reason for the move – the High Blantyre property being demolished by the County Council for road widening purposes! Importantly, he moved before the owner died.

Update: Just noticed this map was actually 1910 map, not 1898. Apologies.

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