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Scottish Towns-Cities / Writings · 10 July 2024

Scottish Towns and Cities. Blantyre.

Blantyre  or ; Scottish GaelicBlantaidhr) is a town and civil parish in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, with a population of 16,900. It is bounded by the River Clyde to the north, the Rotten Calder to the west, the Park Burn to the east (denoting the boundary with the larger adjoining town of Hamilton) and the Rotten Burn to the south.

Blantyre was the birthplace of David Livingstone, the 19th-century explorer and missionary, and because of Livingstone’s work, the second-largest city in Malawi is named after it.

Globe Fountain And Shuttle Row Geograph.org .uk 894647


See also: List of listed buildings in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire

The name has a number of probable origins: originally Cumbric blaen tir “top of the land” which has been Gaelicised; an association with Saint Blane, whose associates have a number of local place-names named after them, such as Dalmarnock, and further afield, and personally, Dunblane.

The town consists of a number of small hamlets which have largely become connected into a single urban area, with housing in a variety of styles and ages reflecting the changing use and availability of land over the decades.

High Blantyre is the area to the east and south of Burnbrae Road which 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 km) south of Blantyre Parish Church (High Blantyre). Also in this area is Greenhall Park, where the Calder (Cawther) flows north through a valley to eventually join the Clyde near Newton. A new residential development, Greenhall Village, was built at the western side of High Blantyre in the 2010s. There was previously a large mining community in this area clustered around several pits including Auchinraith and Larkfield which still exist as distinct communities within the town; weaving was another local occupation. A railway station (on the Hamilton and Strathaven Railway) was in use from the 1860s to the 1950s, located to the west of the church. High Blantyre Primary School was established in 1875, continuing through various reconstructions to its current buildings dating from 2005.

Western parts of Blantyre and the River Clyde from the air

At the western end of the main thoroughfare, Glasgow Road (A724) which runs east–west, is the Priory Bridge neighbourhood (named after the original bridge over the Calder towards Cambuslang, which itself was named after the now-ruined Blantyre Priory to the north of the town which was home to monks from around 1235). It borders the older and larger Coatshill housing estate which has its own schools and community facilities. On the other side of the main road from Coatshill is the similar neighbourhood of Wheatlands (parts of which were built by the Scottish Special Housing Association), while further east is the modern centre of the town, built up from the 19th-century mining communities at Stonefield and Low Blantyre featuring the local secondary school Calderside Academy, Stonefield public park, Blantyre Leisure Centre, several churches and the Clydeview Shopping Centre (which has featured a large Asda supermarket since its opening in 1980). Glasgow Road continues south-east via the A725 elevated bypass, the Springwells neighbourhood and the town boundary, leading on to Burnbank (specifically the area once known as Greenfield).

Further north of the town centre is The Village, the oldest industrially developed part of Blantyre which was previously a mill settlement on the River Clyde. Near to the town’s train station, it is the only part which is north of the railway lines. Next to the David Livingstone Centre, at the end of Station Road, is an iron suspension footbridge which crosses the Clyde giving pedestrian access to Bothwell.

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