Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History
The streets of Springwell:-
Auchinraith Terrace, Burnside Crescent, Parkville Drive and Springwell Crescent. There was also an area between Blantyre and Burnbank a place we called the Model Hotel. This was a sort of cheap Doss house where all the local vagrants and homeless people from this area lived. There also was a fairly large Foundry which produced various iron products. One of the by products from the foundry were iron pellets the size of a Euro, these we used in our sling shots, or Slungs as we called them, believe me when I say that was a deadly weapon in the hands of us young un’s. There was a small burn running between the two villages and I do not know if it was official or not, but that to us was the dividing line between the goodyins and the badyins.
All us kids from Blantyre wore white hats!! The Burnbank kids did not look as nice in their black ones.
This is part of a conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.
Note from Bill:
‘If ye keep that up ye’ll end up in the mowdel’.
‘The man fae the mowdel will come an’ tak’ ye away’.
Parents would often resort to this type of scaremongering in order to keep their children in line.
Although not in Blantyre, The Model was just the other side of the Cuddies Burn from Springwell and was well known to Blantyre folk.
A moadel was a place where you could obtain cheap “digs”. The rooms or cubicles, were very small with only a bed and dresser. Bedding generally consisted of a thin, worn out mattress, a couple of old sheets and an army blanket or two. The general condition of these can, with few exceptions, only be described as ‘filthy’. Much of the bed linen was soiled and frequently infested with bed bugs, lice and fleas. The burning of old mattresses and bedding down by the burn was a common occurrence when a resident left or died. Both the cooking (which the residents did themselves on a four foot square grill plate) and the toilet and washing facilities were communal areas.
Residents were expected to pay something for their lodging – a token amount – but even a few pence could be a fortune when you’ve got nothing. The type of men who used these places varied from itinerant workers to men down on their luck… either through a marriage breakup or other misfortune., and of course the locals who didn’t really want to work and who just needed enough money “tae get by”.
Many spent the day begging on the streets, hoping to scrounge enough money for their bed, a meal, and some cheap booze. Others are working, but with no family or home, turn to the Model at night. Some have psychiatric problems; depression, schizophrenia, paranoia and above all… alcoholism. Suicides were not uncommon. Theft was rife and assaults frequent amongst the residents.
The sight of these dishevelled men hanging about the Model would scare the living daylights out of children and mothers alike. Children would be warned constantly not to go near the Model because it was full of bad men.
The children, doing what kids do, would make up nasty stories about the men in the mowdel, only adding to the scare factor.
In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, the one on Birdsfield Street, Burnbank was called “The Trades Hotel”, run by the Dowle family, with sons, Harry, Brendon and Desmond helping whenever they were required.
Most Blantyre folk have memories of ‘The Mowdel,’ and of the scaremongering that was rife at the time. The building was demolished in October 2016. Do you have any memories to share?
Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago, formerly Logan Street, (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.
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