Downie’s Public House – was known to have existed at least since the 1850’s and perhaps as early as 1841 for William Downie Senior is noted as being a storekeeper in that census.
It was located on the lower floor of a 2 storey-stone Kirkton tenement, High Blantyre. The Public House is shown on the 1859 map denoted by “PH”.
William Downie Senior appears in the 1862 Handbook of Hamilton, Bothwell and Blantyre & Uddingston Directory as being a grocer and spirit merchant in High Blantyre. In 1879, according to Naismith’s Directory, Mr. William Downie Senior ran this public house.
It was located in Downie’s Buildings on the north side of Main Street, near Kirkton Cross, where today is a small triangular grass park. It likely simply had the name “Downie’s Pub” as referred to in press articles.
The pub passed from William Downie Senior following his death in 1885, to William Downie Junior, then aged 40. Downie’s pub had ceased to exist under that name by 1893, following the death of William Downie Junior without any inheritors.
In March 1894, following reading of a will, the spirit shop passed to William Johnstone, Downie’s loyal assistant who was his cousin.
It is known that in the early 1920’s a Mr Pearson was running the pub until 1924 when Joseph McNeil acquired it. Joseph McNeil would continue to operate the pub calling it the Caledonian Bar, nicknamed locally as the Heilandmans, before moving to the WestEnd in 1934. The public house, along with the tenements was subsequently demolished in 1934.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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