Shuttle Row, the birthplace of David Livingstone
|Rutherglen and Hamilton West|
Blantyre is a large village in Lanarkshire now practically attached to Hamilton to the south (across the A725) to Bothwell to the northeast, from which however Blantyre is divided by the River Clyde (an effective barrier: there is only a footbridge directly between them and two main road bridges overlapping each other to the south. East Kilbride stands just o the west. Blantyre had a parish population of 17,505 at the 2011 census.
The name of the village is probably originally the Cumbric blaen tir meaning "top of the land" comparable to Modern Welsh which could express this in the same words. The parish is bounded by the River Clyde to the north, the Rotten Calder to the west, the Park Burn to the east and the Rotten Burn to the south.
Blantyre was the birthplace of David Livingstone, the 19th-century explorer and missionary. His birthplace is now a museum.
About the village
Blantyre has a number of districts which were once hamlets, amongst which High Blantyre at the south-western edge of the town is the original village from which Blantyre grew. High Blantyre is thought to be the area of earliest settlement, with a Bronze Age village near Auchintibber two miles south of Blantyre Parish Church (in High Blantyre). Also to the west is Greenhall Park, where the Calder flows to eventually join the Clyde near Flemington.
Blantyre is loosely divided in half by Main Street, High Blantyre. At the west-end is Priory Bridge – named after the former priory to the north which was home to monks from around 1235. There is also Coatshill and the village, the oldest industrially developed part of Blantyre. Glasgow Road continues south via Springwell and eventually joins to Burnbank. Next to the David Livingstone museum, at the end of Station Road, is an iron suspension footbridge which crosses the River Clyde giving pedestrian access to Bothwell.
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. There is little doubt that safety regulations were not adhered to.
There is a traditional song about this disaster, which has been recorded according to various versions by Christy Moore and Luke Kelly and local Blantyre singer/songwriter Drew Semple. 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.
- Football: Blantyre Celtic FC
- Junior Football: Blantyre Victoria FC, known as the Vics. Their home ground is Castle Park.
- Skateboarding: Blantyre Skate Park
- Speedway: The village 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. 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.
- Church of Scotland:
- Blantyre Old Parish Church
- David Livingstone Memorial Church
- St Andrew's
- Roman Catholic:
- St Joseph's
- St John Ogilvie
David Livingstone Centre
The David Livingstone Centre is a museum in Blantyre built in the birthplace and former home of David Livingstone. It stands at the end of Station Road, on the banks of the River Clyde.
David Livingstone, the 19th century missionary and explorer Blantyre's most famous son. He travelled extensively in Africa's unknown interior and is acknowledged as the first European to see the "Mosi-oa-Tunya" ('the Smoke that Thunders') the great waterfall which he named in English the Victoria Falls, after Queen Victoria.
His former house is now the museum. The centre includes a museum, a playpark, a café, a shop, an African Garden and several workshop studios.
In Africa, the largest city and commercial centre of Malawi, formerly Nyasaland, is named Blantyre after Livingstone's home town.
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