From the illustrated social history book…
“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.
Immediately adjacent westwards to Clive Place (later The Old Original Bar) was a former detached house, named Stonefield Cottage.
This little house was important for the area of Stonefield on its western boundary and indeed was one of the first buildings within the hamlet of Stonefield itself. Dating back to the 1830’s, it was situated in open fields, directly facing out, but set back from the Glasgow to Hamilton road on a long, rectangular, but narrow plot.
Thought to have been constructed by the Coats family from Blantyreferme, (who also were constructors of the Stonefield Tavern buildings), it was called ‘Stonefield Cottage’ and initially rented out to others. In the 1850’s, Mr. Charles Ford and his wife were renting the cottage fro the Coats family but tragedy would strike on 19th April 1857 when their infant daughter was born but only lived a few hours, passing away at the property.
It would have perhaps felt very rural in those days. There were no buildings across the road and cattle would have been a frequent sight on the Wheatlandhead Farm fields to the rear. A central path led up to the front door from the Glasgow Road. With trees in the small front garden and woodland at the back containing a well during the 19th Century, such sparsely sited early Blantyre buildings quickly became well known to others.
The 1859 name book for the Parish describes Stonefield Cottage as “a neat cottage between ‘Woodneuk’ and ‘Clive Place’. The name is well known.” (Woodneuk was a property immediately to the west.)
Early Owners & Tenants
The Coats family would own Stonefield Cottage for the remainder of the 20th Century, passing between family members Elizabeth, John, William and Margaret. Tenants changed fairly frequently too.
In 1875, John Clark was renting the cottage. By 1885, Robert Gray (the grocer) rented although he would go on to build his own buildings further east. By 1895, Elizabeth Coats was occupying the cottage, as well as being owner, leasing out the nearby grasspark to Archibald Boreland, a cattle dealer, who lived near the Stonefield Tavern.
As the 20th Century dawned, the 1901 census has Margaret Coats (62) and widowed sister Elizabeth Coats Smith (62) and brother William Coats (55) living at Stonefield Cottage, the siblings also having ownership of other properties in Blantyre. By 1905, only William Coats was there, perhaps feeling lonely or the house was too big for just him, for he shared the house with a miner, Alfred Brooks. It would have been a time of great change for William Coats. Losing his sisters, now living alone, seeing trams stop outside his property and large buildings popping up around his cottage like the Old Original and opposing St Joseph’s Church.
By World War One, the siblings all had passed on and the cottage belonged to Miss Isabella Jackson who owned and let it out to Arthur Beattie until the early 1920’s. By this time, official address was 289 Glasgow Road.
During the early 1920’s, shopkeeper Mrs. Annie McGeachie bought Stonefield Cottage, directly opposite Mayberry Place. She let it for a short time to family member James McGeachie whom by then was retired. Annie, then in the late 1920’s moved in as owner and occupier and lived there until the 1940’s.
Following WW2 in 1949, a Mr. Stewart bought the cottage, which by then was nearly 120 years old. After years of trying to repair it, he eventually gave up in 1959. In July, at the Glasgow Fair Weekend of that year the old cottage was entirely demolished and a new one built from scratch.
During its construction the Stewart family lived at Barnhill Farm on Bardykes Road. Mr. Stewart’s young son, Robert is pictured in the next photo in August 1959, whilst the foundation work got underway.
The photo was from a slide, and whilst not of best quality, it does capture the moment perfectly. One can just imagine the young Robert Stewart excited to see his new home being built.
The building to the left is still there today, as is the Co-Op on the right.
Back then those buildings in the rear on Stonefield Road housed Norris Grocery. Living in the flats above were the Robertsons on the left, Mrs Clements on the right and in the shadow, the door to the shared outside toilet. The low building in the centre was Tommy the Cobbler’s shop with another two flats above. During the 1960’s, a long greenhouse was out the back, centrally located in the rear of the plot.
The new house was also named Stonefield Cottage and was sold by the Stewart family in 1983. Today, as the following modern photo shows, the cottage and front garden have a rather minimalist appearance, although the house itself is well maintained and has had windows replaced. Now surrounded by modern flats, it is a far cry from the rural location it initially was, but we should always remember that part of Stonefield had its roots at this little plot of land, lived on now for over nearly 190 years!
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