Population 17,328. Figures
taken from 2001 Census.
Blantyre nestles between Hamilton and
Uddingston on the River Clyde. This former mining town is famous as
being the birthplace of the world-renowned explorer and missionary David
Livingstone and the tenement where he was born, now managed by the
National Trust for Scotland, receives around 20,000 visitors every year.
Blantyre has an excellent sports centre and
swimming pool as well as a state-of-the-art skatepark for young people -
watch our SLVTV
Skate Park film (this link will open in a new window).
Blantyre's youth centre, Terminal One, developed by young people for
young people, was a pioneer in its field.
Among the big employers in the area are
direct bank First Direct, electronics company CTS, contractors the ECG
Group and Botterills, based in the Hamilton International Technology
Park and bustling Blantyre Industrial Estate.
Blantyre has a number of primary schools and
following the Council's multi-million pound schools modernisation
programme, it has two new-build secondary schools, Calderside Academy
and the denominational school John Ogilvie High in Burnbank.
Housing in the Blantyre area ranges from
council and private flats to impressive Victorian family villas close to
the open countryside.
The main local newspaper is the Hamilton
Advertiser and the area is also served by the local radio station L107.
You can also watch our SLVTV films about
Blantyre Miners Welfare and
Diary Of A Fighter about Blantyre Amateur Boxing Club
(these links will each open in a new window).
A film about the David Livingston Centre can
be viewed on the council's online
SLTV channel (this link will open in a new window).
Blantyre has traditional shopping as well as
a large Asda, Focus and Lidl. The Council has carried out substantial
improvements in the area and has provided a new library in partnership
with ASDA within the Clydeview shopping centre.
By car, take the A724 from Glasgow or
Hamilton and the A725 from East Kilbride. There are regular trains from
Glasgow, Hamilton and Motherwell. There are also regular buses to
Glasgow and Blantyre's environs.
Blantyre was put on the map in the 13th
century when a priory attached to Jedburgh Abbey was established for the
Augustinian canons and in 1598 High Blantyre was chartered as a burgh of
There are many explanations of where
Blantyre derived its name. One is that it comes from the Gaelic for "the
field of holy men". Another is that it is from the Gaelic for "warm
retreat". Some believe that it comes from St Blane and another
explanation is that it comes from the Welsh - which was once spoken in
the Strathclyde area - meaning "promontory".
Blantyre's population exploded during the
Industrial Revolution. In 1785 a large water-powered cottonmill was
established at Low Blantyre just over a mile north east of High Blantyre
and a model village was created to house the textile workers, mostly
displaced highlanders, lowland farm workers and Irish immigrants.
At the height of the Industrial Revolution
coal was discovered and the whole area around Blantyre became heavily
dependent on mining. On October 22, 1877, the day started like any other
for the miners at William Dixon's Blantyre pits. But it was to end in
tragedy. A gas explosion caused roof falls. One pit was cleared quickly
with the discovery of seven bodies but another pit couldn't be
completely cleared until a week later. The final death toll reached 207,
leaving behind 92 widows and 250 fatherless children, making it
Scotland's worst ever mining disaster. The cause was never established.
Blantyre's most famous son, explorer and
missionary David Livingstone, was born in 1813. He started work in the
local mill at the age of 10, but studied hard at night school. He was
determined to become a Christian missionary in China and started a
medical degree to help him on his way but the Opium Wars thwarted his
plans. During his studies he met a fellow doctor just back from a trip
to Central Africa where thousands of people had never heard the Gospel.
Livingstone's plans changed and in 1840 he sailed for Africa. Immersing
himself in the local customs and language he spent years exploring and
charting swathes of the African continent, discovering the Zambesi River
and Victoria Falls.
On his last trip to Africa Livingstone went
missing and the New York Times commissioned the journalist H.M. Stanley
to find him, resulting in one of the most famous meetings in history.
David Livingstone died in Zambia in 1873 and his heart was buried under
a tree near where he died. His body was brought back to Britain and was
buried in Westminster Abbey.