A town and parish in the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire......Formerly a place of much political importance, a burgh of barony with high magesterial powers, and a seat of considerable trade and marketing, it has fallen into great decadence, and now presents an antique and irregular appearance.Its streets are narrow, some of the houses look as if they still belonged to the Middle Ages, and the townsfolk with few exceptions are weavers, mechanics or labourers. .........

It has a Post Office under Lanark, with money order, savings bank and railway telegraph departments, branches of the Commercial and Royal banks, 7 insurance agencies, the Douglas Arms inn, gas works, the parish church, a Free church, a UP church, apublic school, and fairs on the third Friday of March and October. The kirk of St Bride, founded in the 13th century...seems to have been a large and stately edifice, now represented only by a small spire and the choir......

The Covenanters in the times the of persecution , had close connection with the town, being better sheltered in its neighbourhood than in most other districts, and in April 1689 the Cameronian Regiment was here embodied in defence of the Protestant government of William and Mary, under the command of the second son of the Marquis of Douglas

Population---[1841] 1313; [1881] 1282
[In the Parish]
...the rocks ....belong to the Carboniferous formation, and comprise very fine coal, including valuable Gas Coal......The coal is extensively mined, both for home use and for exportation, and limestone and sandstone are quarried......Fully three-sevenths of the rental are from arable land, nearly one half is from pasture, and the rest is from minerals.....The chief residences are Douglas Castle, Carnacoup, Springhill and ....


In the 1880s Glespin was a tiny settlement two and a half miles west of Douglas, consisting of a few farms and a scattering of houses along the A70 road, which was previously known as Stablestone [The OS map calls it "Tablestone",but the Primary School is "Stablestone".] Along the lower slopes of the high ground south of the village a number of small coalpits had been developed [were being developed] by the early 1880s, and this led to a number of "miners' rows" being built. One of these was "Craigthorne Cottages".These, along with the Primary School which was built at the same time, changed "Stablestone" to "Glespin".

Coal from the local pits would have been taken to the Iron Works at Muirkirk by rail on the Lanark-Muirkirk line which ran to the north of the village and passed through Inches station a mile and a half west of Glespin.

Although several coal pits are still shown on the 1923 OS map of the area, there is no trace of Glespin's miners' rows. It seems likely that by that time they had been replaced by houses built by the local authority on the north side of the A70. The miners' rows may have been on the same site, or possibly on the flat land closer to the Douglas Water and along the road to Crawfordjohn [On this road lie the farms of East and West Glespin, which may have given the "mining village" its name] There may also have been miners' rows west of the village, closer to the pits near Carnacoup House.

The Cost of Living

In the Twenties a skilled man earned on average £5 per week.

Income Tax [in the £] 1s 6d
2 valve radio set £ 20
Copy of the "Daily Mail" 1d
Family Car £ 175
Vacuum Cleaner £ 10
Bacon 6d per lb
Pint of Beer 3d
Bottle of Brandy 5s 6d
Butter 1s per lb
Tea 1s 2d per lb
20 cigarettes 6d

In 1931 'Good Housekeeping' suggested an annual budget for a family with an income of £410 per year should be

Rent, Property Tax, Rates £ 80
Household expenses including food, wages, laundry,lighting, fuel £ 152
Clothing, personal allowances and charity £ 66
Holidays, amusements or Upkeep of a car £ 30
Insurance, Saving £ 35
Incidental expenses, doctor, dentist etc £ 17


"Yesterday's Britain" Reader's Digest

Theo Barker [Editor] "The Long March of Everyman 1750-1960" Penguin, 1978

Molindinar Press "The Clyde a hundred years ago " [Tweed's Guide to the Clyde]

R Rait & GS Pryde "Scotland" [2nd ed] Benn, 1954

TC Smout "A Century of the Scottish People 1830--1950 " Fontana 1988

G Thomson [Gen Ed] "The Third Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol Viii Collins 1960

P Thompson "The Edwardians. The Making of British Society" Paladin 1979

"A Survey of Scottish Togography " [Gazetteer] in 6 Volumes published by Thomas C Jack, Edinburgh, 1883

The Concise Scots Dictionary Aberdeen University Press 1985

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