High Blantyre Industrial Estate was the third of seven massive Industrial Estates in Scotland opened in 1946, destined to overturn unemployment and bring post war prosperity back to Central Scotland.
Blantyre’s Industrial Estate was opened on Monday 25th March 1946 by Mr Tom Fraser, joint Under Secretary for Scotland. Spread over a massive 42 acres and using some land bought by compulsory purchase order, the buildings were created to employ up to 5,000 people, around a third of Blantyre at the time.
Unemployment was a problem. Just 2 decades earlier, there were 12 collieries in the area and in 1946, only 1 was still operating. At the time of opening, 2 companies had secured premises with firm enquiries for up to another 60,000 square feet. Mr Fraser spoke of the need to diversify industry in the area away from a declining coal mining operation. He added there were 12,000 unemployed in Lanarkshire at the time, 5,500 of whom were men. The estate is located just off Main Street and separated into sequentially named streets.
Many prominent engineering companies rented premises including Rolls Royce, Honeywell and Reyolle Belmos. Indeed, there are simply too many businesses to mention occupying factory units throughout the years but Botterils features prominently at present and many of the units are rented out by a company called Evan Storage.
The large unit named David Williams Business Centre facing out on the Main Street closed down in May 2016 after being liquidated, forcing many smaller businesses to relocate. Perhaps the most prominent former businesses were Simplicity Patterns the clothing manufacturers and the E.K Jig and Tool Company.
An expansion to the estate in the form of adjoining Priestfield Industrial Estate has seen the area continue to flourish. There is no doubt that the estate brought employment and jobs to Blantyre, as it still does today. However, the ageing estate is starting to show signs of age and several of the buildings have recently been renovated.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul D Veverka (c) 2016
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Blantyre printing and binding was there and when that closed Eagle press then opened up , I worked in them all as a bookbinder