Economy

Up to this time agricultural conditions had been practically static as the old lairds land was a source of manpower, and not a subject for improvement.

To a family like the Campbell-Colqhouns, accustomed to the amenities of the City, the picturesque old house of Garscadden would not be thought attractive or comfortable enough. No doubt this factor was a driving force in the improvements made to the building and the surrounding district. High death duties eventually drained the wealth of the Campbell-Colqhoun family and were forced to retire to their farm in Crief in Perthshire.

There is an interesting account of the economic conditions that prevailed in the Drumchapel district in the 19th century, records in the statistical account (Circa 1839). The writer was the Parish minister of East Kilpatrick ” The habits of the people are in no way very peculiar.

There is a growing taste for neatness and cleanliness in personal appearance, and domestic arrangements.

The comforts and engagements of society are engaged in to a very considerate degree” The food of country people was oatmeal in the form of porridge and cakes, potatoes milk and cheese, barley broth and butchers meat. The villagers with higher wages had an even better diet, with extras like Wheaton bread, butter tea and coffee.

The average rent of a farm was £1.14/6 and the lease usually lasted about 19 years. Much improvement took place at this time with farmland being divided into fields, and hedges planted. Modern implements were now being more widely used.

There was also quite a lot of rebuilding, the new steadings being a kitchen parlor, a middle apartment, all on the one floor and two sleeping apartments in the attic, the roads also improved considerably and the use of the wheeled cart came into being.

Typical wages of the 1839 period were, Day labourers received two shillings per day in summer. One Shilling and eight pence in winter a Ploughman’s basic was £9. Per half year while Dairymaids received £5.five shillings per half-year Masons made16 shillings to seventeen shillings per week. And Carpenters seventeen shillings to eighteen shillings per week.

There were many farms in the area at this time but one hundred years later they are no longer in existence…

The West Drumchapel site was sold to Old Drumchapel Parish church for their new building and Mathers farm is now used as playing fields for Blairdardie Primary School.

The latter farm was run as a piggery mainly and consisted of a small white-washed cottage with a few out buildings.

Around 1870, industrial enterprise took over and changed the face of this once peaceful area. This was the case until the turn of the century.

In 1870 Mr.. Archibald Campbell- Colqhoun was laird of Garscadden House and during his time there was considerable development in Drumchapel. Mr. John Black who had acquired estates in the area from Alexander Morrison Waddell, a Glasgow accountant, set about developing the mineral resources of his land.

Number one pit is just above Drumchapel station and is now overgrown by a belt of pine trees.

Number two pit was between Drumchapel and Westerton near the railway .One of the original offices is still there today having been converted into living accommodation, where once it stood in isolation it is now surrounded by a housing estate.

The mineral tenants were William Dixon Ltd. (1879) (Dixons Blazes) and Monkland Inn & Colt. (1886). A row of houses were built to accommodate the miners and these houses were to be known for many years as the MINERS ROW long after the last mining family had left them.

A photograph illustrating the miner’s row in Drumchapel Road was probably the last to be taken, as the houses were demolished in 1939, they were considered to be no longer serviceable and the occupants were provided with new and up-to-date houses in the village in Dalsetter Avenue.

During the Franco Prussian War, 1870-1871,the miners apparently enjoyed a period of great prosperity and it was in 1872 that they started the Blairdardie Co-operative to supply Groceries and clothes and other requirements. As stated in another section, public transport was not available in this remote spot and as the station did not open until 1890 the co-operative was well supported for food and the only alternative was to cycle to shops further a field.

The miners made the most of this period of prosperity, and were stated to be”Hingin wi jewelry” many bought pianos which they were unable to play and a local worthy was said to have converted his into a coal bunker. The mineral empire closed down after 40 years, as the pits were too expensive to run with insufficient.

Returns to make it profitable, With the closing of the pits, the miners left the “Row” and the houses were occupied by other trades people, some employed locally and some at the Temple and Singer factories.

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