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Blantyre, South Lanarkshire facts for kids

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Globe fountain and Shuttle Row - - 894647.jpg
Shuttle Row, the birthplace of David Livingstone
Blantyre is located in South Lanarkshire
Population 16,800 (2020)
OS grid reference NS685575
Civil parish
  • Blantyre
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Glasgow
Postcode district G72
Dialling code 01698
Police Strathclyde
Fire Strathclyde
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°47′35″N 4°05′49″W / 55.793°N 4.097°W / 55.793; -4.097

Blantyre ( or ; Scottish Gaelic: Baile an t-Saoir) is a town and civil parish in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, with a population of 16,900. It is bounded by the River Clyde to the north, the Rotten Calder to the west, the Park Burn to the east (denoting the boundary with the larger adjoining town of Hamilton) and the Rotten Burn to the south.

Blantyre was the birthplace of David Livingstone, the 19th-century explorer and missionary, and because of Livingstone's work, the second-largest city in Malawi is named after it.

Mine disaster

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. 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.

Nearby towns and cities


In August 1983, a democratic non party political pressure group was formed in Blantyre called Blantyre Youth Council, which aimed to represent young people's views in the town and actively engage young people in campaigning for better facilities. The youth council contributed over the next few years to developing youth involvement in the local volunteer centre and community council. BYC set up a youth enquiry service for young people and a Claimants Union which advised young people and adults. The youth council conducted a series of public meetings for youth throughout the town and conducted a survey amongst the town's youth which demonstrated a need for more and cheaper facilities for young people. The full-time Youth Enquiry Service Base was in the Elizabeth Scott Centre (now Terminal One). In 1984, as part of their "Working with young People" policy, Strathclyde Regional Council created Blantyre Youth Development Team against initial opposition from Blantyre Youth Council who saw no need for an officer/adult led organisation in a town with an active and successful youth council. Blantyre Youth Council eventually agreed to disband however and support the youth development team on the principle that it was to be youth led. At an early meeting, the youth development team unanimously agreed to support a motion calling for the organisation to concentrate its energies on creating a youth centre in the town. The YDT gained charity status in 1997 and created the Terminal One youth centre. It provides services to the young people of Blantyre and North Hamilton including music tuition, multimedia artistic tuition, recording studios, youth clubs, excursions and self-development programmes. It is funded by South Lanarkshire Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Blantyre/North Hamilton SIP.

David Livingstone

Livingstone-Lion sculpture, Blantyre
Livingstone's famous encounter with the lion at Mabotsa is the subject of a bronze sculpture in the grounds of the David Livingstone Centre. It was designed by Ray Harryhausen who was married to one of Livingstone's descendants from the American branch of the family.

Blantyre's most famous son is the 19th century missionary and explorer David Livingstone. He is acknowledged as the first European to see the "Mosi-oa-Tunya" (Tokaleya and Tonga: "the Smoke that Thunders") which he named in English the Victoria Falls after the then British sovereign Queen Victoria. His birthplace and childhood home is now a museum at the end of Station Road, on the banks of the River Clyde. The Centre includes a museum dating from 1929 (now run by the National Trust for Scotland), a playpark, a cafe, a shop, an African Garden and several workshop studios. An adventure assault course also existed there before a young man died in 1995.

Mandala (the largest city and commercial centre of Malawi, one of the territories Livingstone explored) is more commonly named Blantyre in recognition of the link created by Livingstone during the colonial era.



Blantyre presently has a football club competing in Scottish Junior Football Association competitions, Blantyre Victoria, known as the Vics. They won the Scottish Junior Cup (the highest achievement in junior football) in 1950, 1970 and 1982. Their home ground is called Castle Park.

There is another football club in the town, Blantyre Celtic. The original club went out of existence in the early 1990s; however, in 2010 they reformed as an amateur team.


The town of Blantyre 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". They operated their own track at Airbles Road in Motherwell in 1930 and this was known as Paragon Speedway. The Blantyre Crowd also operated a more professional version on the same site in 1932. 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.


Recently, Blantyre Skate Park has received a lot of business as the youth company Radworx has been operating within it as well as some other skate parks. The skate park contains a 4 ft (1.2 m) spine section as well as an 8 ft (2.4 m) halfpipe, alongside a 6 ft (1.8 m) counterpart. There is a 2 ft (0.6 m) mini-bowl and a credible street section which contains two fun boxes as well as a 5-set.

Redlees Park

During World War II, an Anti-aircraft battery and associated camp for military personnel known as the 'Whins' or 'Blantyreferme' was set up on open land off the Blantyre Farm Road between Newton and Blantyre. The camp was used as emergency accommodation after the conflict, but the huts were later demolished. However, some of the AA battery buildings survived into the 21st century (albeit heavily vandalised in some cases) and were incorporated – along with a former clay quarry nearby – into the landscape of Redlees Urban Park developed by the local council.


  • Primary schools (2019-20 pupil roll in parentheses):
    • St Blane's PS (220)
    • St Joseph's PS (300)
    • High Blantyre PS (244)
    • David Livingstone Memorial PS (268)
    • Auchinraith PS (295)
  • Secondary schools:
    • Calderside Academy (1253)
    • John Ogilvie High School (Burnbank) (1027)
  • Special Educational Needs:
    • Kear Campus (43)
  • Higher Education:

Notable natives or residents

  • John Brown, footballer (Rangers)
  • Martin Bulloch, drummer (Mogwai)
  • Stuart Christie, anarchist
  • Brian Connolly, musician
  • John Fallon, footballer (Celtic, Lisbon Lions)
  • Ryan Fletcher, actor
  • Ken McKinlay, speedway rider
  • Jim Mullen (businessman), CEO Ladbrokes PLC
  • Philip Murray, American trade union leader
  • Maureen Rooney, trade unionist
  • Steven Smith, footballer (Rangers, Portland Timbers, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock)
  • Ian Stewart, former Labour MP for Eccles.
  • William Bauchop Wilson, 1st United States Secretary of Labor

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