Blantyre, South Lanarkshire
|Scottish Gaelic: Baile an t-Saoir|
Shuttle Row, the birthplace of David Livingstone
Blantyre shown within South Lanarkshire
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||South Lanarkshire|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||Glasgow |
|UK Parliament||Rutherglen and Hamilton West|
Blantyre ( listen (help·info) or listen (help·info); Scottish Gaelic: Baile an t-Saoir) is a civil parish in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, with a population of 17,505. A general description of the parish c.1854 was in The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland. Vol.I. (AAN-GORDON) by Rev. John Marius Wilson. pp.176–177 
The name is probably originally Cumbric blaen tir "top of the land" which has been Gaelicised. It is bounded by the River Clyde to the north, the Rotten Calder to the west, the Park Burn to the east and the Rotten Burn to the south.
Blantyre was the birthplace of David Livingstone, the 19th-century explorer and missionary (see below).
Blantyre has a number of small hamlets. High Blantyre is the area to the east and south of Burnbrae Road and continues to High Blantyre cross at the north. It is thought to be the area of earliest settlement, with a Bronze Age village near Auchintibber 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Blantyre Parish Church (High Blantyre). Also to the west is Greenhall Park, where the Calder flows to eventually join the Clyde near Flemington.
Blantyre is loosely divided in half by Main Street, High Blantyre. At the west-end is Priory Bridge – named after the former priory to the north which was home to monks from around 1235. There is also Coatshill and the village, the oldest industrially developed part of Blantyre. Glasgow Road continues south via Springwell and eventually joins to Burnbank. Next to the David Livingstone museum, at the end of Station Road, is an iron suspension footbridge which crosses the River Clyde giving pedestrian access to Bothwell.
On 22 October 1877, Blantyre was the site of the Blantyre mining disaster, where 207 miners (men and boys) were killed when a coal mine exploded due to methane gas. There is little doubt that safety regulations were not adhered to. Christy Moore and Luke Kelly along with local Blantyre singer/songwriter Drew Semple recorded well-known versions of the traditional song about this disaster. A monument to the disaster of which the youngest victim was a boy of 11 is at High Blantyre cross. The site of the mine now lies under the East Kilbride expressway.
Nearby towns and cities
- Hamilton (borders the Burnbank, Hillhouse and Whitehill areas)
- Glasgow (City Centre) 8 miles (13 km)
- Bothwell 2 miles (3.2 km)
- Cambuslang 2.5 miles (4.0 km)
- Rutherglen 5 miles (8.0 km)
- East Kilbride 4 miles (6.4 km)
- Motherwell 5 miles (8.0 km)
|This section requires expansion. (March 2010)|
Blantyre presently has a football club competing in Scottish Junior Football Association competitions, Blantyre Victoria F.C.. Known as the Vics, they won the Scottish Junior Cup (the highest achievement in junior football) in 1950, 1970 and 1982; their home ground is called Castle Park. There is another football club in the town, Blantyre Celtic F.C.. The original club went out of existence in the early 1990s however, in 2010, they reformed as an amateur team.
The town of Blantyre has long had links with speedway racing. In the pioneer days a group of riders who appeared at White City in Glasgow were known as "The Blantyre Crowd". They operated their own track at Airbles Road in Motherwell in 1930 and this was known as Paragon Speedway. The Blantyre Crowd also operated a more professional version on the same site in 1932. The greatest ever Scottish rider, Ken McKinlay came from Blantyre as did Tommy Miller who had a somewhat meteoric rise to stardom in 1950. Speedway was staged at the Greyhound Stadium as the home of the Glasgow Tigers in the late 1970s/early 1980s before the new road forced a move to Craighead Park which closed down at the end of the 1986 season.
Recently, Blantyre Skate Park has received a lot of business as the youth company Radworx has been operating within it as well as some other skate parks. The skate park contains a 4 ft spine section as well as an 8 ft halfpipe, alongside a 6 ft counterpart. There is a 2 ft mini-bowl and a credible street section which contains two fun boxes as well as a 5-set.
- Primary schools
- St. Blane's
- St. Joseph's
- High Blantyre Primary
- David Livingstone Primary
- Auchinraith Primary
- High school
Blantyre contains many amenities, including:
- Blantyre Leisure Centre – sports centre with swimming pool
- Blantyre Asda
- Stonefield Park – with a purpose-built skate-park
- Victoria Nursing Home (for the elderly)
- David Livingstone Centre – museum built in the birthplace and former home of David Livingstone
- Five churches
- David Dale House – South Lanarkshire Council facility named after another famous Lanarkshire dweller, famous for his connection with New Lanark
- Blantyre Credit Union
- Terminal One – Fully equipped Youth Centre with state of the Art Multimedia equipment, Recording Studio and Rehearsal Room, Community Internet Cafe, Mobile youth facilities including 3 x DIGIBUS's and mobile climbing wall and lots more.
- Priory Parks
In August 1983, a democratic non party political pressure group was formed in Blantyre called Blantyre Youth Council, which aimed to represent young people's views in the town and actively engage young people in campaigning for better facilities. The Youth Council contributed over the next few years to developing youth involvement in the local Volunteer Centre and Community Council. BYC set up a Youth Enquiry Service for young people and a Claimant's Union which advised young people and adults. The Youth Council conducted a series of public meetings for youth throughout the town and conducted a survey amongst the town's youth which demonstrated a need for more and cheaper facilities for young people. The full-time Youth Enquiry Service Base was in the Elizabeth Scott Centre (now Terminal One). In 1984, as part of their "Working with young People" policy, Strathclyde Regional Council created Blantyre Youth Development team against initial opposition from Blantyre Youth Council who saw no need for an Officer/Adult led organisation in a town with an active and successful Youth Council. Blantyre Youth Council eventually agreed to disband however and support the Youth Development Team on the principle that it was to be youth led. At an early meeting, the Youth Development Team unanimously agreed to support a motion calling for the organisation to concentrate its energies on creating a Youth Centre in the town. The YDT gained charity status in 1997 and created the Terminal One youth centre. It provides services to the young people of Blantyre and North Hamilton including music tuition, multimedia artistic tuition, recording studios, youth clubs, excursions and self-development programmes. It is funded by South Lanarkshire Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Blantyre/North Hamilton SIP.[clarification needed]
Blantyre's most famous son is the 19th century missionary and explorer David Livingstone. He is acknowledged as the first European to see the "Mosi-oa-Tunya" (Tokaleya and Tonga: the Smoke that Thunders) which he named in English the Victoria Falls after the then British sovereign Queen Victoria. His former house is now a museum which is at the end of Station Road, on the banks of the River Clyde. This centre includes a museum, a playpark, a cafe, a shop, an African Garden and several workshop studios. An adventure assault course also existed there until a young man died in 1995.
Mandala (the largest city and commercial centre of Malawi), one of the countries which Livingstone explored, is more commonly named Blantyre in recognition of the link created by Livingstone during the colonial era.
Other famous people
Other famous people from Blantyre include:
- Philip Murray, American Trade Union Leader, "One of the most important American labor leaders of the 20th century"
- Ryan Fletcher, actor, musician.
- Stuart Christie, an anarchist, who at the age of 18 was to stand trial in Spain for plotting to blow up General Franco.
- Martin Bulloch, drummer of the Scottish group Mogwai.
- Tommy Miller, speedway rider – Scottish Champion.
- Ken McKinlay, speedway rider – multi world finalist.
- Ian Stewart, born 1950 – former Labour MP for Eccles, near Manchester – 1997–2010
- "List of UK post towns". Evox Facilities. Retrieved 2012-02-22.[dead link]
- "Usual Resident Population: Civil Parish: Blantyre". Scotland's Census Results Online: Census: 29 April 2001. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh. 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland. Vol.I. http://archive.org/stream/imperialgazettee01wils#page/176/mode/2up
- Watson, W. (1926) A History of Celtic Place-names of Scotland". Edinburgh
- Information re. Mining disasters in Blantyre
- "Blantyre Football".
- "Homepage". Blantyre Credit Union. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "Terminal One".
- SRC 1984
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