Netherton - the Thorn of Cuilt area

View Down Station Road Blanefield
View down Station Road showing some of the former houses at Blanefield Printworks - Jenny's Burn or the Netherton Burn flows down the left hand side of Station Road.

The Laundry

With the closure of the printworks, the printworks store was sold. It was turned into a laundry by a family called Spark who operated it until they sold it to Peter Taylor who continued to run it as a laundry. It was kept busy laundering sheets, hard collars, table cloths and napkins that were sent to them mostly by the people living in the "big houses". When cleaning items such lace curtains, they were placed on a large frame specially made. There was also a large brass barrel that could take up to 60 sheets and the water was heated in a large coal fired boiler. The drying green was the triangle of land between Station Road and Glasgow Road opposite the school house. Coal was carted to the laundry from the railway station. In 1932 the laundry moved down Station Road having sold the premises to the Lennoxtown Friendly Victualling Society or Co-operative as it was also known. By this time machinery was being used more and more. They had a collar machine and other such equipment to ensure a good finished product. One result of the mechanisation was that the number of people employed fell from 13 to 6 or 7. Mr Taylor had a large van that used to deliver and collect laundry. It also doubled as a holiday home for the Taylor family as when they went off on their summer holidays the frame was taken off and replaced by one that was equipped with bunks etc! The outbreak of the Second World War created difficulties for the laundry. Coal supplies were cut and other cleaning materials such as soap were being rationed. In order to survive some of the laundries worked together to try to continue. The Taylor's worked with Glenmill laundry at Campsie Glen. This was not enough to ensure the survival of the laundry. At the beginning of the 1940's it closed. By the time the Second World War had ended, there was little demand for the laundry to re-open. Instead the area was served by vans from laundries in Glasgow and surrounding areas.

Blanefield House & the Coubroughs

Blanefield House
Blanefield House - note the chimney in the trees After the Coubroughs left it became a private house, then the Blane Valley Hotel before being demolished to make way for the Netherblane development.

In common with the majority of factory owners, the Coubroughs were seen as both good and bad. The family was very involved in parish affairs such as the School Board, the Parish Council and the Poor Roll. Even after the closure of the factory in 1898 the family continued to play an active role in the life of the parish. In 1880 they gifted the first Bowling Club. They also gifted the Pavilion hall which was situated on the ground attached to the printworks store on a triangle of ground between Station Road on the north side, the railway line on the south and the Blane Burn on the east side. This club continued to flourish until the mid 1880's when it fell into disuse. They were very active in their support of youth movements such as the Scouts and would host scout rallies in the grounds of Blanefield House. During the First World War they took an active part in giving hospitality to invalid soldiers and promoting the war effort.

The Coubrough family resided in a number of houses throughout the parish. Their main house was Blanefield House, which stood where the Netherblane development stands now. Another member of the family lived at Parklea or Gateside, as it was also known. Parklea is now better known as the local Nursing Home.
Tales have been passed down through families, however, that illustrate the hold that owners in these days could have over their workers. The Printworks had their own store - it survives to this day and has been the co-op store, food store and is now a hairdresser - and employees were expected to purchase their groceries etc. there. Apparently a person was posted at the gate house to watch to see if any employee went into the shop opposite the printworks in Station Road and if so they were fined. If times were hard at the Works the employees would be paid in goods obtained from the printworks store thus tying them further to the factory. Workers were expected to be prompt turning up for work. Those that were not and were late three times in a row had to put a farthing into a tin that had been placed round the neck of a wee blind white scottie dog. The money was given to those on the poor roll. After the closure of the factory the Coubroughs remained in the village and, as already said, continued to be active on the Parish Council, School Board and other social activities.
One of the Coubroughs married the Rev Theodore Johnstone, minister of the Free Church. Instead of residing in the Free Church Manse, Mr & Mrs Johnstone lived at Blanefield House with Colonel John Coubrough, as he had become known after his war service. He was also known as "Penny Jock" Coubrough, because of his involvement in the War Savings Movement. He died in November 1921. A grandson Cathcart Coubrough left the village in the 1930's moving to Manchester. Another grandson of Anthony Park Coubrough - Charles Ellis Merriam Coubrough was awarded the Military Cross and Bar during the First World War and rose to the rank of major. For more information on the Coubroughs visit the website http://www.coubrough.com/

Station Road Blanefield

The valuation Roll for the parish of 1890-91 provides a comprehensive picture of all the dwelling houses built in Netherton. The following is a selection of the names of some of the streets.

Front Row, Wood Place, Back Row, North Row, New City Row, Sunnyside, Blanefield Terrace, North Gate, First Palace Row, Second Palace Row, Third Palace Row, Fourth Palace Row and Burnside Cottages.

Wood Place, New City Row and Blanefield Terrace still exist to this day though Sunnyside was destroyed in the 1941 blitz. The other houses were demolished to make way for the housing development in 1960 at what is now Blane Crescent etc. There was a total of 88 houses recorded on the valuation roll for these streets and if it is assumed there was on average 4 people to a house, some idea can be gained of the density of population. The buildings of Wood Place, West Row, Blanefield Terrace and Sunnyside were all erected for the printworks workers. With the closure of the factory in 1898, the population decreased from 1,671 in 1891 to 880 in 1901. After the departure of many of the workers, houses were left empty and one could get the choice of a room and kitchen for as little as two shillings and sixpence per week. Many people from Glasgow used them as holiday homes. After 1936, they were renovated and brought up to modern standards with inside conveniences such as water and sanitation installed. Prior to that outside privies were the order of the day and water was fetched from standpipes. After the last war, these houses were sold off individually as they became vacant and are now privately owned.

The Old Village of Netherton at the Thorn of Cuilt

According to Guthrie Smith writing in 1886, the old village of Netherton stood at Thorn of Cuilt. It consisted of the smithy, from the latter part of the last century the schoolhouse and two rows of cottages parallel with the road which occupied the space where the Free Church and manse now stand. It had two shops, one of which was also the ale house.

Jennys Lum

This pretty thatched cottage, now gone, was long occupied by Jenny Brash, after whom the Netherton Burn and Glen are often called and whose "lum" far away on the top of the hills still "reeks" furiously when the storm is at the highest. Jenny's lum is a fissure in the rock through which the Netherton or Jenny's Burn flows through from the top of the Strathblane hills into the valley below. When the burn is in spate, and the wind strong from the south-west, the falling water is blown backwards and upwards and the volumes of spray so formed are exactly like the dense gray smoke that comes out of a chimney hence the name.
Guthrie Smith went on to say that "nothing is now left of Old Netherton save the smithy and the school house, and its very name seems likely to perish, for the factory originally called Blane Printfield has expanded to such ample proportions, and covered its environs with so many workers' houses that the whole of Netherton and neighbourhood with its post-office and railway station, is now usually, but improperly called "Blanefield".

The first new houses at New Netherton were a few cottages near the works then followed by a two-storeyed tenement where there was for many years an east approach to Blanefield House, and afterwards cottages and tenements sprang up in all directions as the printworks grew and prospered.

©Alison Dryden, Strathblane Heritage Society 2001