Blantyre, South Lanarkshire

Blantyre (About this soundlisten  or About this soundlisten ; Scottish Gaelic: Baile an t-Saoir) is a town and civil parish in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, with a population of 16,900.[3] It is bounded by the River Clyde to the north, the Rotten Calder to the west, the Park Burn to the east (denoting the boundary with the larger adjoining town of Hamilton) and the Rotten Burn to the south.

Globe fountain and Shuttle Row - - 894647.jpg
Shuttle Row, the birthplace of David Livingstone
Blantyre is located in South Lanarkshire
Location within South Lanarkshire
Population16,900 (mid-2016 est.)[1]
OS grid referenceNS685575
Civil parish
  • Blantyre
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townGlasgow [2]
Postcode districtG72
Dialling code01698
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°47′35″N 4°05′49″W / 55.793°N 4.097°W / 55.793; -4.097Coordinates: 55°47′35″N 4°05′49″W / 55.793°N 4.097°W / 55.793; -4.097

Blantyre was the birthplace of David Livingstone, the 19th-century explorer and missionary, and because of Livingstone's work, the second-largest city in Malawi is named after it.


The name is probably originally Cumbric blaen tir "top of the land"[4] which has been Gaelicised.[5] The town consists of a number of small hamlets which have largely become connected into a single urban area, with housing in a variety of styles and ages reflecting the changing use and availability of land over the decades.

High Blantyre[6] is the area to the east and south of Burnbrae Road which continues to High Blantyre Cross at the north. It is thought to be the area of earliest settlement, with a Bronze Age village near Auchintibber 2 miles (3 km) south of Blantyre Parish Church (High Blantyre). Also in this area is Greenhall Park, where the Calder (Cawther) flows north through a valley to eventually join the Clyde near Newton. A new residential development, Greenhall Village, was built at the western side of High Blantyre in the 2010s.[7] There was previously a large mining community in this area clustered around several pits including Auchinraith[8] and Larkfield[9] which still exist as distinct communities within the town; weaving was another local occupation. A railway station (on the Hamilton and Strathaven Railway) was in use from the 1860s to the 1950s, located to the west of the church.[10][11] High Blantyre Primary School was established in 1875, continuing through various reconstructions to its current buildings dating from 2005.[12]

Western parts of Blantyre and the River Clyde from the air

At the western end of the main thoroughfare, Glasgow Road (A724) which runs east–west, is the Priory Bridge neighbourhood (named after the original bridge over the Calder towards Cambuslang,[13] which itself was named after the now-ruined Blantyre Priory to the north of the town which was home to monks from around 1235). It borders the older and larger Coatshill housing estate which has its own schools and community facilities.[14] On the other side of the main road from Coatshill is the similar neighbourhood of Wheatlands (parts of which were built by the Scottish Special Housing Association),[15] while further east is the modern centre of the town, built up from the 19th century mining communities at Stonefield[16] and Low Blantyre[17] featuring the local secondary school Calderside Academy, Stonefield public park, Blantyre Leisure Centre, several churches and the Clydeview Shopping Centre (which has featured a large Asda supermarket since its opening in 1980).[18][19] Glasgow Road continues south-east via the A725 bypass, the Springwells neighbourhood[20] and the town boundary, leading on to Burnbank (specifically the area once known as Greenfield).[21]

Further north of the town centre is The Village, the oldest industrially developed part of Blantyre which was previously a mill settlement on the River Clyde.[22] Near to the town's train station, it is the only part which is north of the railway lines. Next to the David Livingstone Centre, at the end of Station Road, is an iron suspension footbridge which crosses the Clyde giving pedestrian access to Bothwell.[23]

Mine disasterEdit

On 22 October 1877, Blantyre was the site of the Blantyre mining disaster, where 207 miners (men and boys) were killed when a coal mine exploded due to methane gas.[5] A monument to the disaster, of which the youngest victim was a boy of 11, is at High Blantyre cross. The site of the mine now lies under the East Kilbride expressway.[24]

Nearby towns and citiesEdit



Blantyre presently has a football club competing in Scottish Junior Football Association competitions, Blantyre Victoria. Known as the Vics, they won the Scottish Junior Cup (the highest achievement in junior football) in 1950, 1970 and 1982; their home ground is called Castle Park.[25] There is another football club in the town, Blantyre Celtic. The original club went out of existence in the early 1990s; however, in 2010 they reformed as an amateur team.[citation needed]


The town of Blantyre has long had links with speedway racing. In the pioneer days a group of riders who appeared at White City in Glasgow were known as "The Blantyre Crowd". They operated their own track at Airbles Road in Motherwell in 1930 and this was known as Paragon Speedway. The Blantyre Crowd also operated a more professional version on the same site in 1932. Speedway was staged at the Greyhound Stadium as the home of the Glasgow Tigers in the late 1970s/early 1980s before the new road forced a move to Craighead Park which closed down at the end of the 1986 season.


Recently, Blantyre Skate Park has received a lot of business as the youth company Radworx has been operating within it as well as some other skate parks. The skate park contains a 4 ft (1.2 m) spine section as well as an 8 ft (2.4 m) halfpipe, alongside a 6 ft (1.8 m) counterpart. There is a 2 ft (0.6 m) mini-bowl and a credible street section which contains two fun boxes as well as a 5-set.[citation needed]

Redlees ParkEdit

During World War II, an Anti-aircraft battery and associated camp for military personnel known as the 'Whins' or 'Blantyreferme' was set up on open land off the Blantyre Farm Road between Newton and Blantyre;[26] the camp was used as emergency accommodation after the conflict, but the huts were later demolished. However, some of the AA battery buildings survived into the 21st century (albeit heavily vandalissed in some cases)[27] and were incorporated – along with a former clay quarry nearby – into the landscape of Redlees Urban Park developed by the local council.[28]



Blantyre contains many amenities, including:

  • Blantyre Leisure Centre – sports centre with swimming pool (opened 1982)
  • Stonefield Park – with a purpose-built skate-park
  • Victoria Nursing Home (for the elderly)
  • David Livingstone Centre – museum built in the birthplace and former home of David Livingstone
  • Six churches:
    • Blantyre Congregational Church (C.o.S.)
    • St. Joseph's (R.C.)
    • David Livingstone Memorial Church (C.o.S.)
    • St. Andrew's (C.o.S.)
    • Saint John Ogilvie (R.C.)
    • Blantyre Old Parish Church (C.o.S.)
  • David Dale House – South Lanarkshire Council facility named after another famous Lanarkshire dweller (New Lanark)
  • Blantyre Credit Union[36]
  • Terminal One – Fully equipped Youth Centre[37]


In August 1983, a pressure group was formed in Blantyre called Blantyre Youth Council, which set up a youth enquiry service for young people and a Claimants Union. The Youth Enquiry Service Base was in the Elizabeth Scott Centre (now Terminal One). In 1984, Strathclyde Regional Council created Blantyre Youth Development Team (BYC agreed to disband and support this provided it was youth-led); the BYDT gained charity status in 1997 and created the Terminal One youth centre.[37] It provides many services to the local young people,[38] and is funded by South Lanarkshire Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Blantyre/North Hamilton Social Inclusion Partnership.[clarification needed]

David LivingstoneEdit

Livingstone's famous encounter with the lion at Mabotsa is the subject of a bronze sculpture in the grounds of the David Livingstone Centre. It was designed by Ray Harryhausen who was married to one of Livingstone's descendants from the American branch of the family.

Blantyre's most famous son is the 19th-century missionary and explorer David Livingstone.[5] He is acknowledged as the first European to see the "Mosi-oa-Tunya" (Tokaleya and Tonga: "the Smoke that Thunders") which he named in English Victoria Falls after then British sovereign Queen Victoria.

His birthplace and childhood home is now a museum at the end of Station Road, Low Blantyre on the banks of the River Clyde. The Centre includes a museum dating from 1929 (now run by the National Trust for Scotland), a playpark, a cafe, a shop, an African Garden and several workshop studios.[39] An adventure assault course also existed there before a young man died in 1995. A pedestrian footbridge over the River Clyde adjacent to the museum (its third incarnation) links the area to the town of Bothwell.[23]

Mandala (the largest city and commercial centre of Malawi, one of the territories Livingstone explored) is more commonly named Blantyre in recognition of the link created by Livingstone during the colonial era.[40][41]

Notable natives or residentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  2. ^ "List of UK post towns". Evox Facilities. Archived from the original on 18 June 2000. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. ^ Watson, W. (1926) A History of Celtic Place-names of Scotland". Edinburgh
  5. ^ a b c Local and family history: Blantyre and David Livingstone, South Lanarkshire Council
  6. ^ Places: High Blantyre, The Blantyre Project
  7. ^ Welcome to Greenhall Village, Avant Homes
  8. ^ Places: Auchinraith, The Blantyre Project
  9. ^ Places: Broompark & Larkfield, The Blantyre Project
  10. ^ High Blantyre, RailScot
  11. ^ 1961 High Blantyre Railway Station, The Blantyre Project, 24 August 2015
  12. ^ High Blantyre School, The Blantyre Project, 26 October 2016
  13. ^ Blantyre, Rotten Calder, Priory Bridge, Canmore
  14. ^ Places: Coatshill & Wheatlands, The Blantyre Project
  15. ^ Announcing Scottish Special Housing, The Blantyre Project, 18 November 2018
  16. ^ Places: Stonefield, The Blantyre Project
  17. ^ Places: Low Blantyre, The Blantyre Project
  18. ^ Clydeview Shopping Centre – East, The Blantyre Project, 6 December 2017
  19. ^ Asda unveil multi-million pound plans for Blantyre store that will boost town, Daily Record, 24 November 2017
  20. ^ Places: Springwells, The Blantyre Project
  21. ^ Greenfield, once our nearest neighbour, The Blantyre Project, 16 September 2017
  22. ^ Places: Village, The Blantyre Project
  23. ^ a b "1999 David Livingstone Memorial Bridge". The Blantyre Project. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  24. ^ Information re mining disasters in Blantyre Archived 6 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 15 October 2016.
  25. ^ "Blantyre Football". Archived from the original on 8 July 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  26. ^ "AA Battery Blantyreferme". Secret Scotland. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  27. ^ "Uddingston, Blantyre Farm Road". Canmore. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  28. ^ "Redlees Quarry due for £300,000 makeover". Daily Record. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  29. ^ Our primary schools, South Lanarkshire Council, retrieved 9 March 2020
  30. ^ About Us: History of the School, Kear Campus
  31. ^ "New UWS campus in Hamilton takes one step forward". Evening Times. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  32. ^ "UWS campus move to Hamilton International Technology Park worth £443million to local economy over 25 years". Daily Record. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Lanarkshire Campus". University of the West of Scotland. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  34. ^ UWS – A look inside, The Blantyre Project, 13 August 2018
  35. ^ UWS Lanarkshire campus opens to students after £110m project, ITV News, 3 September 2018
  36. ^ "Homepage". Blantyre Credit Union. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  37. ^ a b "Terminal One".
  38. ^ 2000 sign petition to save Blantyre's Terminal One youth centre targeted in council budget cuts, Daily Record, 12 February 2016
  39. ^ "Places to visit: David Livingstone Centre". National Trust for Scotland. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Blantyre, Malawi". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  41. ^ "Blantyre, Malawi". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 August 2017.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Blantyre, South Lanarkshire at Wikimedia Commons