Travelling into Glasgow and further afield, residents of Carmyle where quite used to being asked “Where is Carmyle?” when tendering their address. Realisation dawned only when replies such as, “Near Tollcross” or “Opposite Cambuslang” were given. The village, somehow, seemed to be cut off from all the well known areas around the east end of the city of Glasgow, now regionally part of it since decentralisation in 1975. Previously the area was included in the ninth district ward of Old Monklands.
Carmyle lies on the northern banks of the River Clyde, approximately five miles from Glasgow. The main gateway to the village, until quite recently, was Carmyle Avenue, which begins at Hamilton Road, crosses London Road and ends at River Road by the Clyde.
Cross Roads, Carmyle, prior to the new road being built
Two new roads have now been built. The Clydeford Road, which branches off from Carmyle Avenue and leads to Cambuslang, Halfway and Rutherglen was opened in 1974, and the extension of Gardenside Avenue onto Clydeford Road provides wider access to and from the village. Another road is under construction, the M74 extension from Maryville Interchange to a new junction with Fullerton Road passing through Carmyle at London Road. There is a longer term proposal to continue the motorway westwards to The Kingston Bridge. Building for the stage between Maryville and Fullerton Road is programmed to start in March 1992 with a contract period of two years.
The railway was once a popular means of transport for Carmyle residents. In the late 19th century, the passenger trains from Airdrie and Coatbridge used the South Side and Bridge Street termini at Glasgow, until the opening of the low level line through Glasgow Central in 1896, when they were diverted to the latter route by a line from Carmyle through Parkhead to a junction with the low-level line at Bridgeton Cross. However, the station at Carmyle was closed in 1964 and was sorely missed by the people in the village, as the bus service was sparse and irregular. Indeed, local councillors were frequently in confrontation with aggrieved passengers and bus companies. Now, after years of suffering and pressure, Carmyle has three “regular” bus services, to Rutherglen, Mountblow and Auchinairn. Recently, plans have been drawn up to operate the railway station as a halt, which will allow passengers a further choice of routes to and from the village. This railway halt is programmed to open in 1993.
Carmyle Avenue (Prior to new road being built)
We lived next to the railway, and I remember one night there was this unearthly bang, like an explosion, and all the lights went out. Shortly after that, voices were heard shouting and screaming and I ran out to follow neighbours up onto the railway embankment - and what a sight we saw! A train wit/i about 13 wagons, carrying 25ft. steel tubes had catapulted almost 40 feet on the other side of the road leading to the village. Soon, the place was swarming with police, ambulance and fire services. Gas pipes were fractured and electricity cables were sparking. The place was in a turmoil. We had no light, gas or water for a couple of days and as all traffic was diverted, the village was completely isolated.
At times, the loaded goods trains stopped at the sidings next to Inzievar Terrace and some folk used to help themselves from the wagons of coal etc. During the war this type of pilfering was rife and several arrests were made.
In the summer of 1937 we didn’t go to the picture halls on a Saturday night, as the railway ran cheap excursions then. We could go to Saltcoats, Balloch or Largs for one shilling (1/-) return, but Callendar, being a little flirt her, was one shilling and sixpence (1/6d).
After a day out in Glasgow in 1932, laden with parcels and five restless and noisy children, we arrived at Glasgow Central Station just as a train was pulling out. I shouted to the porter, “Is that the Carmyle train?” “Aye, and ~fyou hurry you can just catch it, Mrs.” We managed to board the train and after about ten minutes I dozed off A sudden jolt woke me and I rubbed my eyes and looked out of the window. We were in a station, but nothing looked familiar. Then a young porter passed. “Where are we?” I asked. “Carlisle, Mrs.”
I remember in 1938, a group of us were going down to Wembly for the football match between Scotland and England. We left from the corner (now the “Bookies”) and were led by Willie Gordon playing the bagpipes. Willie was the Pipe-Major in the Boys Brigade, at that time. We marched to the station, decked out in our tartan tammies and scarves. We boarded a train at Carmyle Station, which ran across the Clyde to the Newton Line ,and from there all the way to London.
Station Brae, Carmyle
Within the last decade private housing estates have sprung up at both ends of Carmyle Avenue. Fullerton Park, built on the site of Stewart and Lloyds’ Steelworks at Hamilton Road and the Ardargie Estate at River Road, previously occupied by Morris’ Chair Works and before that the Bleachfield site, have greatly increased the population of the area.
It would appear that the question “Where is Carmyle?” is very rarely asked today. The place has, most definitely outgrown its “village” status defined in the dictionary as “a small group of dwellings in a rural surrounding”.
This extract from Rambles around Glasgow 1850’s by Hugh MacDonald paints a lovely landscape in words”
“Carmyle, with its old-fashioned meal-mill and dinsome dams over which the foamy Clyde incessantly pours. Imagine some score or so of houses - pleasant, though humble dwellings, straggling upward from the river side, intermingled with garden plots and trees, and a picture of the little community is before you…”
NOTES: Updated for 1st March, 2010.
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