The Village of Chryston - North Lanarkshire - Scotland
Chryston
Moodiesburn The large area of land now housing a population of over 6,000 is a far cry from the humble hamlet of the 17th-18th centuries known as "Mudiesburn". Its origins are unknown. It stood as it does now on one of the main roads linking the west with the east and no doubt was a useful place for travellers to rest '! on their journeying. In 1841 the population was 220 persons from 35 occupied houses, which were sited to the east of the present cross- roads. Over the next 30 years there was little change, but towards the end of the century the inhabited houses fell below 30 and the population to under 150. At that time many of the male workers were fireclay miners or sand quarry men. Recorded then too was the establishment of a lodging-house (inn). This house still stands and is part of the modern hotel and leisure centre on the site. After the turn of the century further building took place west of the junction, followed in 1928 by three council houses facing the main road and later two in Avenuehead Road. In 1921 Mr Walter C. B. Christie of Bedlay gifted space for the recreation ground. In the thirties the village had two shops and two petrol filling stations. Gradually the houses on the north side were vacated and demolished, and now only those on the south side remain of the original village. The growth of the present Moodiesburn commenced in the thirties with the erection of the timber houses of Gartferry, so named as they occupied what was part of the estate of Gartferry House. Built in the early part of the 17th century this was used as a Jointure House by the Robertons of Bedlay. The estate charter dates back to 1588, when it was part of the extensive possessions of the church. It changed hands several times over the years. The house was vacated in the late 1920s and demolished. Its site is now occupied by the Library and the Pivot Community Education Centre, which were opened in April and August 1976, respectively. Glenmanor Avenue marks the course of the original avenue. On its gates were inscribed the Latin words Subiunti Pax, to greet the incomer, and Exiunti Salus the departing guest. Opposite the timber houses a number of pre- fab houses were erected after the war; these were in later years demolished to allow further housing development. Prior to then housing alongside Glenmanor Avenue was completed and a shopping area established. In the years following the area towards old Moodiesburn was taken up for housing and also that on the east side of Stoneyetts Road, a total of about 1,400 houses. Licensed premises and further shops were also built. Education needs were met by the establishment of Glenmanor Primary School in 1965 and in the same year St Michael's Primary - which occupied the old village school at Bridgend until the opening of the present St Michael's building in 1969. Private housing development commenced in the seventies alongside Gartferry Road and has continued at intervals since then. At present 350 houses are in course of erection on the south side of the road (1993). To meet spiritual needs Chryston Parish Church erected a hall in Blackwood Crescent, Moodiesburn. It was opened and dedicated on 5th May 1969, and is used extensively for services, and by organisations for young and old of the community. The Pivot Community Education Centre, opened on 30th August 1976, is the main community education facility in this part of Strathkelvin. The weekly programme of activities ranges through all the age groups from toddlers and pre- school to senior citizens. There is no lack of variety. Sports listed include football, hockey, badminton, boxing and karate. In addition there are keep-fit and slimming clubs. Adult training is also undertaken and advice given on legal matters. The centre is used for varied meetings and is a focal point for the community. Bridgend Bridgend was originally a hamlet. Its inhabitants were mainly the employees of a mill on the banks of the Bothlin Burn (from which it received water power). In the 1830s it was a lint mill but over the period 1855-1904 it was converted to a corn mill. It was owned or tenanted over that time by the partnership of White and Cruikshanks. This gave rise to the cluster of houses being commonly referred to as "Cruikies Town". Until 1885 the mill was a valuable property and profitable concern but thereafter it gradually declined and was abandoned around 1904 and eventually demolished. The development of the area came with the sinking of coal pits by James Nimmo & Co. in the early 1900s. The company built houses for their workers, 104 in number, mainly of one room and kitchen type, each having an inside toilet and a scullery. They were brick-built with damp-proof courses, wooden floors and good ventilation; water supply was also laid on. The Kirkintilloch Herald in its issue of 21st July 1920 described Bridgend as an "up-to-date modern colliery village". In 1923 the Auchengeich Miners' Welfare Hall was opened, providing a centre for all social activities. Five years later an outdoor bowling green with adjoining tennis courts was laid. In addition quoits, whippet racing, cards, football, cycle racing, choirs, ambulance and sewing classes occupied the young and old of the village in their leisure hours. The colliery ambulance team excelled at their work and won many competitions. Ironically the industry which gave the village its existence also brought its demise. On 18th September 1959 a disaster at the colliery, when 47 miners lost their lives, brought an end to mining at Auchengeich. Within six years the families had moved out of their houses in the rows, some to local new housing and others further afield. The houses fell into disrepair and were demolished. In the lounge of the surviving Welfare Social Club is hung a painting of the colliery, commissioned in 1976 as a constant reminder of the disaster. In addition, there is a striking memorial by the roadside, just east of the hall. where each year a service is conducted in honour of the dead. These reminders also serve to recall this close-knit community of Bridgend and its tragic end.
The Story of Chryston
by Neil Kidd
Old Moodiesburn looking west towards traffic lights
The Pivot Community Education Centre and Library
Auchengeich Disaster Memorial