I’ve previously written about Blantyre squatters living at the former Milheugh House at the Calder, in the mid 1940s.
This newspaper article from The Glasgow Herald, from Saturday 24th April 1945, provides some more detail on that story. To put the Blantyre events firmly in a global time context, 2 days later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in Berlin, signifying the approaching end of the war. As transcribed below:
Houses Used – Blantyre Trespassers Fined
A series of prosecutions for contraventions of the Trespass (Scotland) Act 1865, were called in Hamilton Sheriff Court yesterday against several married people in the Blantyre District.
One group of offenders admitted having, between April 18th and 25th , lodged in Millheugh House, which was situated on Millheugh Estate, High Blantyre, without the consent or permission of the owner. Others pleaded guilty to a similar charge of trespass by lodging without permission in a house known as Greencroft, Bardykes Road, Blantyre without the permission of the owners, the Summerlee Coal and Iron Company Ltd.
The Fiscal explained that Millheugh House was owned by Mr. A.M. Bannatyne, a well known solicitor, who was in business in Glasgow. It had been standing empty for some months and was in charge of a caretaker. On Thursday April 19th, the caretaker found that entry had been forced and that a number of men, women and children were in possession of the premises.
Housing Shortage – Mr Robert Ferguson, writer, Hamilton, explained that the present series of prosecutions illustrated the acute housing shortage that prevailed in the Blantyre District. The need for houses had been aggravated by the closure of a property known as Bowie’s Land in Blantyre, and in sheer desperation, the people had seized unoccupied houses. Two members of Lanark County Council were in court and they had authorised him to say the situation would be relieved in a few days when a number of military huts would be available as temporary accommodation for the people of Blantyre (the Whins). The Fiscal explained in connection with the offence at Bardykes Road that the house was being got ready for a colliery manager who had been appointed by the Summerlee Coal and Iron Company Ltd to a colliery in the district. This property which was undergoing renovation was “invaded” in the same way as Millheugh. Sheriff Dobbie fined all the men involved in the trespass at Millheugh £1 each. The women were admonished. In connection with the trespass at Bardykes Road, two women were each fined 10s.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c)
Pictured is Milheugh House in the 1930s, but I’m sure the house would have looked very similar that following decade and VERY tempting if it was empty and families were homeless.