Blantyre Project is a unique FREE massive archive for all things related to the former mining town of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. Representing the largest Blantyre online and offline collection of stories, news, photographs and local history knowledge, this huge resource is the product of many years work, relentless effort and enthusiasm.
The Project is run part-time each evening and weekend by Paul Veverka, a full time construction manager who has previously assisted managing such large Scottish Construction Projects like the new Queensferry Crossing and the Millennium Canal links. It’s a job he enjoys very much. Blantyre Project is very much his hobby and has consumed almost all of his spare time since 2011.
Blantyre Project prides itself by immersing itself only in fact. Unlike other sites, it features the largest collection of social history comments from over 13,000 readers that actually LIVED, WORKED and EXPERIENCED Blantyre life. Keeping the history real. It keeps well clear of assumption, incorrectness and low quality imagery and the general “copy and paste lacklustre” efforts you may have seen elsewhere online. This website is now used a reference tool, even by other Blantyre related sites.
Paul writes, “Having a young child and often working away has afforded me the time to write each evening when my daughter goes to bed, or if i’m working away, in hotels and B&Bs. I have a very patient and understanding wife who appears proud in what I have accomplished. I never let this hobby interfere with my full time job, but I do look forward to coming home and writing in evenings. There is literally only a handful of evenings when I have not written about Blantyre since when I started properly, back in 2011.”
Paul continues, “I started Blantyre Project in 2011 when I noticed what an incredible amount of well, lets face it, rubbish had been published online about Blantyre since 2003. Post Millennium, the only real, excellent quality history being written was by local Heritage Groups and history enthusiasts like the late Charlie Neilson, Jimmy Cornfield and contemporary history experts like Gordon Cook. Their work is to be commended, but seemed confined only to being offline without the exposure it deserved.
Conversely, I thought it a huge injustice to Blantyre’s history to see the only Blantyre history ONLINE so inaccurately told from just one person so enveloped in assumption and guesswork, without any story about people who lived there, and with so many wrong dates and data. One person’s opinion on history does not make it fact. Something needed to be done. With such a network of Blantyre contacts already established and a wish by local residents for more detail, more accuracy and better photos, I KNEW together with their social history input, I could explore Blantyre’s history and present it in a better way online , with a focus on archiving it for future generations. Blantyre Project was born. I made good friends with other noted history enthusiasts and found myself accidentally perhaps being mentored by Gordon and others whom I’m in daily contact with. In recent years I’ve sometimes found myself able to provide THEM with new history and been able to talk about Blantyre people, buildings and events in a deserving manner. Posting online so frequently, quickly branched offline also into history presentations and a popular series of welcomed books, the largest collection of Blantyre narrative and photos.
In recent times, my research and knowledge of Blantyre has grown to the point of being able to address incorrect information published online and offline in books by others. I don’t take any delight in doing so, but for example, found 257 errors within a well respected book of the 1990’s and more recently 194 glaring errors in a hastily published book in June 2017 by others. Such things DO need corrected in case they’re believed or perpetuated further. Blantyre deserves its important history being told accurately. I hope I’m doing a good job and giving Blantyre’s history the due attention it deserves.”
Posts are automatically scheduled here in advance and currently scheduled for many more months to appear daily between 9am and 10am. Written and pre-queued in advance each evening, the website publishes these posts automatically, even if Paul is on holiday, working, sleeping, ill (or worse!) ensuring fresh, new daily content for every reader around the world.
Paul was Chairperson of Blantyre Community Committee for 5 years before stepping down due to having to work away from Blantyre and he’s a member of various local community organisations including Friends of the Calder. He runs sister website Blantyre Telegraph which has raised a five figure sum in recent years for charitable Blantyre good causes.
His passion for Blantyre and collecting memorabilia and historical data comes from his late mother, Janet Duncan Veverka (d2009) who was interested in the history of Blantyre. Paul has collected stories, news, postcards and photos about Blantyre since 1985, when he was just 14 years old! Born in 1971, Paul is an accomplished local history author with 7 successful Blantyre history books already published to 13 different countries, with several others in the pipeline coming out in the next year or two. His books directly assist the community and are non profit, by his decision. He often gives history presentations to organisations in Blantyre and is well known in the town.
As the years have progressed, the history blog has now evolved into the largest collection of Blantyre history in any one place. The pace has been nothing short of relentless.
In 2015, the website gained further recognition. Having grown into a huge archive, it was officially deemed by South Lanarkshire Council and the National Library of Scotland as Blantyre’s Official History Archives. At painstaking efforts, it’s been sorted into chronological order and also filtered on each individual area in Blantyre, making the site more accessible to all. Handy search boxes allow you to search for any topic.
Paul, never one to be idle, is progressing plans and external funding to make this large archive more official, accessible and permanent for future generations, including those offline.
Enjoy. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Blantyre Project awaits……