Gala Day

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre history

Gala Day

Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History

If we cross the street and back up again to the start of the Co-op on Herbertson Street.

The Co-op took up all of that block in the 1930’s where you go west till you reached Jackson Street.

 Blantyre Co-op


Jackson street was a little bit more fashionable, in that it contained some private 2 storey homes and bungalows all made of brick with baths and toilets inside the homes, all of the other tenement type homes I have been explaining about here and there, had their toilets on the landings of the staircase, or in the entrance of the close.

There was a side entrance into the back of all of the Co-op stores here in Jackson Street. You went through a large close type opening between the buildings into a cobble stoned square, from there it was possible to enter each and every store for the delivery of goods.

The public was not allowed to use this entrance, especially with all of the horses mingling around, I can still hear the clip-clop of hoofs on the cobble stones and the shout of “whooh Nelly”, and of course the habitual smell of dung in the air, remember this was a closed in type square where all sounds and smells being accentuated by the surrounding buildings. It was Hustle and bustle of a certain kind. I know of this for there was I standing outside the entrance with my pail and shovel awaiting for you know what.

As you may be able to tell from my writing, I had a great amount of exposure to the Co-op as did all the other kids in Blantyre. A lot of our weekend activities were organized by people from the Co-op.

Gala DayOne of our big celebrations which I believe took place on May-day 1st. All of us kids and their parents, which of course would be mostly all of the miners and their children, had a parade. We would all meet at ????????? (I shall try and fill in at a later date) and there all of us kids would receive from the co-op what we called a Tinney! this was just a wee tin can with a ribbon on it so we could hang around our necks. We would then parade along Glasgow Road with the local Miners Silver Band, with all the Magnificent Clydesdale Horses, all decorated up with ribbons and the high polished brass bells, and their highly polished harnesses, it truly was a sight to behold. We’d march along proudly, having great fun along the way, until we reached our destination, where we had our Tinney’s filled up with all the milk we could drink, and of course there were a lot of those yummy cookies from the Co-op.

We then played and raced in all of those wonderful games and sports we knew as kids.
Everyone went home full and exhausted. A memory as you can see I cherish deeply.

As this was an annual event throughout Scotland at all the Co-op’s, I would think that in your childhood, you too may have enjoyed this experience Margaret?.


Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago, formerly Logan Street, (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.


Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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