The McAlpine Building
Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History
There were a few stores along the Glasgow Road (Main Street) a grocers, a tobacconist and one other little store, which I cannot place. Again this was a 2 storey tenement type building with entrances through a pen close and the homes were upstairs above the shops. The next store of any significance was the Labour Party store this was situated in a 3 storey block directly attached to the 2 storey.
This block of stores and houses was called the McAlpine Building, the building ended at the corner of Alpine Street.
The McAlpine building was well known to everyone in Blantyre and more so to our family, this was where our Step-Granny lived. She was Lithuanian and fairly plump in stature and I can recall when she would give me a hug she nearly smothered me in doing so but I loved it and always looked forward to my meeting with her. Her windows, in this block were the top two looking directly down into Logan Street, she could see everything that was happening around that area and she sure did like to hang out the window to make sure that everything was going just the way she liked it and if it wasn’t some one got to know about it.
One of the stores in this block was a fish and chip shop by the name of Allan’s. Everyone in Blantyre knew of this shop as it sold the best in Blantyre and it was always used as a reference point in Blantyre, as in. “Yea that’s three streets past Allan’s or its across the road from Allan’s”
The Allan Family lived up the same pen close as my Granny and were well known people in Blantyre.
The next store was a Grocers by the name of Norris and next to them was another grocers by the name of Hughe’s. You can pick out the name Wm Hughe’s in the photo, for some reason that particular day they did not have their shades pulled out so you can see their name, or maybe he knew about the photo being taken and wanted a bit of free advertisement. My older sister worked in this store just before and right after she left school at 14 years of age.
Margaret have you noticed the stores in the photo that have their shades pulled down to protect their wares from the sun, as I spoke about previously we as kids ran about Blantyre in our bare feet most of the summer and I always remember it being warm.
When you look at the latest photo that I have enclosed in the Gallery “THE DOOKIT” You will see that the McAlpine building makes a right turn down Alpine Street.The homes down this street were the usual tenement type that we have been talking about. The only thing unusual about this set-up was that this whole block, all the buildings on the left hand side of John Street, the front of the block facing on to the Glasgow Road (Main Street), and the buildings on the right hand side of Alpine Street, plus a part of the public park all formed a square, and within this square there were all these coal bunkers, washhouses, poles with lines stretched across them for drying the clothes that had just been washed, and the kids playing in between. I don’t know if you can picture this like I can. But it is a memory I have and I can tell you it was something to behold, especially when the wind got up and started blowing any sheets around and the whipping type of noise that was created.
The other or left side of Alpine street was taken up mostly with a produce store and a dancing school run by a Mrs Dorris Brown, wife of the owner of the “Dookit” Picture Hoose, which ran mostly all the way down to the Public Park.
Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago (known as TDH or Drapadew) and originally from Logan Street, Blantyre and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.
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