STRATHBLANE photographer Martin Shields and Blanefield writer Anne Johnstone have teamed up to produce a new book called Strathblane and Blanefield, Now & Then, to raise funds for local history projects.
Their book revisits the sites of old post-cards and family photographs, uncovering the human stories and some of the surprising links that connect the old images to the modern ones.
Today the name oF Blanefield conjures up a quiet leafy village, popular with city commuters, families and the retired.
A century and a half ago the same name evoked something more akin to William Blake’s “dark satanic mills”.
It was the name of the vast calico printworks that dominated the area with its 160ft high chimney belching smoke.
The 500-strong workforce included 50 children, who were considered such a vital part of the industrial operation that the works owner told a government inquiry that he “should very much object to being obliged to send children to school more than we do now, which is twice a week for four hours”.
The book contains some interesting surprises.
For example, few among the thousands each year who enjoy walking the ‘pipeline’ track between Blanefield and Killearn have any idea that part of it once held a railway, built to carry stone for the construction of the aqueducts that still bring more than 100million gallons of water a day from Loch Katrine to Glasgow, one of the foremost civil engineering achievements of the Victorian era.
Strathblane and Blanefield, Now & Then is published on October 26.
It will be available at Milngavie Bookshop, the Balmore Coach House, Pestle and Mortar Delicatessen, Blanefield, Strathblane Library and from other outlets. Price £12.99 (£10 until December 10).
All profits to Strathblanefield Community Development Trust for further local history projects.