Volunteer Arms, Blantyre Pub


1910 Map volunteer armsVolunteer Arms, The – was a former pub near the west end and southern side of Glasgow Road, once on a site which is now the front gardens in the the middle of Cloudhowe Terrace. Thought to have been there since the 1880s located on the lower floor of Walkers Building, the 1898 map shows rather unusually the name of the pub as being officially, “The Volunteer Arms”. The name is likely an intial reference to the rifle volunteers who would practice at Dechmont and the view outside the pub, looking along Glasgow Road to the east, would have had a good view of the hill. In October 1891, a newspaper report recorded that the Volunteer Arms was renewing its licensing certificate.

In 1901, a Mr Charles Angus McGaughey, a 28-year old Irishman was living at Walkers Building and it is noted he was a spirit merchant. The census reveals he was living there with wife Margaret, their 2 little children and a live in domestic servant by the name of Elizabeth McGhie. It is unknown if he was the properitor of the Volunteer Arms at that time, but the proximity is noted and more than a coincidence.

By the start of the 20th Century a Mr Bruce was the spirit merchant at this property and it is not known if this was the same Mr Bruce who was earlier a spirit dealer at Larkfield in 1879, or if it was the same Mr. Thomas Bruce who earlier had a pub in High Blantyre.

However, forming things up somewhat, according to a newspaper report, in 1915 Mr Bruce’s Volunteer Bar, Blantyre, had a large company of the Merchants Football Club who met to honour one of the players, James Brown on the occasion of his marriage. At the hands of John Ramsay who presided, Mr Brown was presented with a purse of sovereigns as a mark of esteem.

The Pub later became known as the Cross Guns Public House. The Volunteer Arms had rifles crossed over the fireplace and sometimes went by the name “the Cross Guns”. From 1907, trams ran past the pub.

Mr. Charles Cook (b1887) briefly ran it with his wife Annie Cummings. Charles died young, aged 30 on 2nd November 1917 whilst fighting in Gaza in World War One. He had one daughter who lived her life in Blantyre, Mary Maxwell Cook b1911-d1978. The pub was then owned by Mr John Roberts whose son would go on to later own the Priory Bar.

Whilst the building still existed in 1935, it had by then ceased to be a public house and is not shown as licensed premises on the 1935 map. As such, today the name Volunteer Arms is rarely known about or remembered.

Pictured in the 1890s is the Volunteer Arms showing its close proximity to Robert Craig’s West End Bar.

1890 Volunteer Arms

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