Memories of ‘The Dookit’

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre history

Memories of ‘The Dookit’

The DookitBrown’s Building, Fruiters (Cathy Potts), Norris grocer’s, Picture House (The Dookit), Paterson’s Chemist & Optician, Hogg’s Newsagent (later Pate’s), Little’s the Baker, Paterson (Painter & Decorator), Peter Craig Butchers then Greenside Street.

The three story building (above the car) was McAlpine building and made a right turn down Alpine Street.

The McAlpine building was well known to everyone in Blantyre and more so to our family, this was where my Mum was born and she lived here with her eight sisters and a brother.

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”

(Every picture tells a story…. something untoward is taking place in this photo… can you spot it? Tell Bill.

The film being shown at the time of this photo is Laurel and Hardy in Way out West.

The Picture House was opened in 1913 by a well known Circus family, Bostock & Sons and was able to show talkies by 1929.


Jack and Daisy Brown

Jack managed The Dookit and The Broadway cinemas. his wife, Daisy had a very successful Dance School in Glasgow Road and then Alpine Street.

Jack Brown, cinema and theatre manager-promoter; born Millport, November 28, 1909, died Hamilton, February 11, 1997

JACK Brown, a Scot who lived and breathed the world of cinema and live show-business, was one of a disappearing breed of show-business characters who toiled with all their heart in the ebullient, sometimes romantic but always precarious world of entertainment. Unlike many in today’s profit-chasing and sometimes soul-less era, he was a dedicated show-person, working all hours to give value to his customers through the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and enjoying his job both front-of-house and backstage.

A lover of his home ground at Millport and elsewhere on the Firth of Clyde, he began, like others who went on to be entrepreneurs on a larger scale, as a humble spools-boy. He was on the Doon the Watter scene of the 1930s when a lovely lass, Daisy Dee, came north from Hereford to sing and dance in the Scottish seaside shows of yesteryear. They married and became, as one associate put it, ”the most handsome married twosome in the West of Scotland.”

Jack sampled most aspects of show-business – from concert party, resident holiday shows and revue to cinema and, latterly, bingo. He was a loyal manager in the Rank circuit at the city-centre Odeon Theatre, Glasgow, and also managed cinemas at Hamilton, Renfrew, Blantyre and Dennistoun. He worked on bright ideas to save the Scottish suburban theatre in the tough days before today’s multiplexes blossomed, and never forgot the many pensioners who gave his cinemas their afternoon patronage, throwing special parties for their interest.

His last cinema was The Parade in Dennistoun, Glasgow, where he set up a club-style entertainment house. As with those earlier forms of show-business which he loved, he threw his energies into the cinema-cum-bingo world that developed in Scottish towns and cities in the 1970s and 80s. But his heart remained in the live song- comedy-and-dance world of Millport, Largs, Rothesay and Dunoon – the long-gone area of Scottish show-business that, in today’s electronic, pop-crazy world, is only a happy piece of nostalgia for those who savoured it.

He was a former President of the century-old Scottish Show Business Benevolent Fund. He was pre-deceased six years ago by his wife, Daisy, and is survived by a son, Bobby, and daughter, Joyce. Showbiz, 1997 style, may have its protagonists, but, let’s confess, they don’t seem to build ’em like the Firth of Clyde Jack Browns of Millport any more.

The Herald, Saturday 15 February 1997


The Blantyre Bowl

When the Dookit closed in 1958, two local carpenters, Ian Liddell and William Paul, converted the property into a 10 pin bowling alley, naming it ‘The Blantyre Bowl” and opened in 1959, much to the joy of local youths. My best friend at the time, Morris (Moses) Buchanan put me out in the Scottish Junior Championship final and went on to Olympia in London, where he won the British Junior Championship.

Unfortunately the building was destroyed by fire and demolished in 1966. A portacabin, housing the Clydesdale Bank, took its vacant place.


Hi Bill

Bill you might remember me, I wrote to you a couple of years back. My name is Chick Frame from the old Buggie building. Now of Perth Western Australia. First I want to congratulate you on the splendid job you are doing with Bla’an’tir’s Ain Website

I have just now, once again read James Cornfield’s poem: Childhood Memories of Blantyre, and once again got that lump in my throat that it always gives me. The reason I am writing is because I know he doesn’t use a computer so I would like you to offer him my heart felt praise for the job he did.  I swear he stole the memories right out of my head, because that’s just exactly what I remember myself.

I remember seeing a Tarzan picture in the old Dookit and there was Cheeta munching into a bunch of bananas, and for the life of me I couldn’y remember even what they tasted like. I remember going across the road to Bowies fruit shop where right there in the window was a stooky bunch of fifes bananas. I also remember one of the boys suggesting going into the chemist shop next door to buy a packet of chocolate laxative, because you didn’y need any coupons. Probably lucky we had no money left.

Best of luck

Chick Frame


P.S.  I send you these couple of pictures as memories from the old Dookit.

Dead End Kids

The dead end kids, Bill Halop reading the paper

Johnny Mack Brown with Charles Stevens (HOFBREED)

Johnny Mack Brown with Charles Stevens  (HOFBREED)

All My Heroes Were Cowboy’s


Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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