Batters Ironmongers was a former late 19thand 20th Century shop on the north side of Glasgow Road at numbers 142 and 144, located on the lower floor of Millar’s buildings, stone tenements, situated between John Street and Clark Street.
The shop was 144, the house above 142 and both were located mid terrace in a 2-storey tenement block directly across from the entrance of Church Street.
The Batters Ironmongers shop started out in Blantyre in 1881, opened by Mr. Walter Batters at Coopermindale Place. Walter’s business did well in the late 19th Century, enough for him to buy a house, workshop and shop on Glasgow Road by 1905. A year later he was building many homes in newly formed Church Street.
When he died in 1918, the business passed to his youngest son, also named Walter Batters.
On Monday 8th April 1935, an outbreak of fire was discovered in the large warehouse of Mr Walter Batters, ironmongers and general merchant, 144 Glasgow Road, Blantyre. The fire originated in a large saloon built of Stone (40 feet by 20 feet) at the rear of the business premises, entrance to which was gained from the front premises via the shop. The Hamilton detachment of Lanark County fire brigade succeeded in confining the fire to the saloon. The damage caused by the fire was not extensive but the stock suffered badly from water.
The adjacent workshop eventually was turned into a store prior to WW2.
The shop was popular and sold all sorts of hardware and when electronics became popular, it branched into providing electrical components of all sorts. It had ladies handbags in the window too, attracting a wider audience that general DIY enthusiasts.
In the 1960’s it also provided a key-cutting service. Blantyre ladies of a certain age may remember buying their scraps and scrapbooks in there, and boys may remember kwenchy cups and the model cars.
The shop continued to be run by the family. At Christmas time, the shop window would be beautifully dressed with lights and toys, which fascinated passing children.
To adults, it only smelled of leather, paraffin and carbolic! Indeed, you could just about get anything in this hardware store. Walter would sell you a single nail if you needed it! It was very much a traditional shop, the sales assistants with brown overalls and coats on and this standard was maintained even after Walter’s death in 1957.
The Barret family lived above the shop in the 3rd quarter of the 20th Century. In the 1960s and 70s the wood was painted around the windows and doors a burgundy colour.
There is a wee saying….”Can i help you?”, asks Walter. “Yeah, kin a have a wee boatle please?” “Certainly sir”, says Walter, “what do you want in the bottle?” “Jist the smell o this shoap. Ah’d like to keep it tae smell when ah git auld, fir memory’s sake, y’know!”
The shop succumbed to Glasgow Road redevelopment and was eventually demolished in 1977.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c)
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