Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

High Blantyre


NairooNiaroo – Entrance to a Caravan Park off Pathfoot.
Niaroo is, as we know, quite a unique place in Blantyre and below are some of your comments about it.


Joe Smith, who was the undefeated Heavyweight Boxing Champion of Scotland, fighting under the name Joe Keegans, owned Niaroo which he originally called ‘The Holding’ and lived there until his death in 1970. Niaroo was then inherited by his son Hugh Smith.

I am pleased to have finally found the photo of the Smith family outside their caravan on the outskirts of Dunbar which was taken on July 1951, which I had misplaced for about ten years.

Back row left to right: Terry, Willie and John, sons of Joe and Annie.
Middle row: Jean granddaughter, Joe and Annie, Annie, daughter of Joe and Annie’.
Front: Willie and Joe, grandchildren.

Names by Steve Smith, Grandson of Joe Smith.

Joe Smith and Family at Nairoo
Steve also sent in these Newspaper clippings.
Joe Smith Undefeated Scottish Bare Knuckle Champion


Steve wrote:  Bill,

I was given your name and contact details by a member of staff at the Blantyre mining museum.

My Grandfather Joe Smith was born in 1887, sometime during the late 1930’s I think, he wrote a story telling of his life up until he married in 1908. I have the original copy of the book and over the years had thought about getting some copies made in case it went missing, I did send a copy many years ago to a cousin but I suspect she lost it. In any event I have finally got around to getting the book put together along with some press cuttings and photographs and a number off copies professionally printed. I will be sending some of them off to members of my family in Australia and Canada however Joe and his wife Annie had a large number of children spread over a period of 18 years who themselves had children and they are scattered over the UK and abroad and we have either had no contact or lost touch with them.

Joe Smith's Family Names

I have heard over the years that on at least two occasions, once in the UK and Australia comments have been read on websites from people looking for a copy of a book named ‘Pitman, Pugilist, Poacher’, I can only assume they are from family descended from Joe.

Would it be possible that you could put reference to the book on your website and hopefully it will be seen by descendants of Joe who would be interested in receiving a copy of the book.

I have attached a copy of the front and back covers of the book as well as a page which has the names and dates of birth and death of Joe, Annie and all the children.

pitman Joe Smith's Book named 'Pitman, Pugilist, Poacher'

If any of the Smith family would like a copy of the book I can be reached on this email address:

Regards Steve Smith


In September 2016 with funding provided by Froglife, South Lanarkshire Council and a Biffa Award, volunteers of the Friends of the Calder working with South Lanarkshire Council’s Rangers cleared an area of Niaroo to make way for a man made Frog Pond in order to introduce vital habitats for the survival of amphibians and reptiles.
Niaroo frog pondPhoto by Jim Brown and



Your Social Comments:

Margo Haughen: My best memory of Hughie is how often he put a roof over the heads of folk who were in dire need.

Carrie Levy:
I been a close family friend of the Smith family since I was born. As my dad Charlie McNaught was friends with Hughie Smith since before I was born. Used to be at Nairoo a lot visiting or playing in the water in the summer and ice skating.

Len Northfield: I knew Hughie. He used to have a barrow with bins on it that he’d wheel around the schools to pick up scraps from the dinner halls to feed his pigs. I got a bike off him once.

His brother Bill, a lovely man, had a wee shop in High Blantyre. His sister Mary was one of my mother’s best pals.

Paul Anderson: I don’t ever remember Joe living here! It was his dad, Hugh Smith who owned and lived here, it still owned by the Smith family!

Ellen Clarkin: where is Niaroo?

Blantyre’s Ain: Its on the left hand side of Pathfoot before where the cottages were coming from Milheugh Bridge. Travellers and Squatters would pitch here and pick the fruit for the Farmer.

Len Northfield: Bill Smith had two boys, Danny and Billy, no idea if they’re still in Blantyre.

John Cornfield: Ah remember this as a boy and youth the toilet was a shack that overhung the Cawther and 1 remember the two Irish brothers that lived up the Cawther not here but further up over the bridge at the falls and through the field up in the trees Tony and Kevin can’t recall their surname they worked as casual farm labourers in between drinking sessions a regular sight coming from the Cawther in the 70’s

Marc Moran: I remember ice skating on the pond at ” Oor ain ” when I was wee

Interestingly, Walter Smith of Rangers fame has a distinct family resemblance, but I’ve no idea if they were related.

Margo Haughen: Oh, I can almost remember ‘big Tony’s surname… he helped with the Hay for many years. I’ll get it eventually.

Orlando Ancilotti: That looks like the grandfather in the middle. I think is Hugh back right, Willie in the middle, and another brother (whose name I can’t remember but who lived in Troon or Prestwick, I think). Not sure if Mary is in the photo or who the others are. It was quite a big family, I think.

Samantha Hunter: in niaroo… oorian… my great uncle Hughie’s land… swimming in the falls, shaking in the ice & riding the horses, such great memories & as my bro Paul said still owned by the Smiths to this day!!

Craig Stewart: Used to go ice skating there in the winter!!!

Brian Hughes: Tony Docherty “Tony the tink”

Marion Young: Used to go swimming there.


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