Historic photos of Kirkmuirhill

Although Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill today are merged, their history viewed them as separate villages. This photo and excerpt from the Glasgow and Lanarkshire Illustrated in 1904 gives the background to the development of Kirkmuirhill up to that date.

Kirkmuirhill village c 1904


Kirkmuirhill is one of those strangely-clustering little villages scattered at various places throughout the country, and whose origin, at first sight, seema a trifle problematic. As a matter of fact, Kirkmuirhill, unlike its younger neighbour, Blackwood, and its more venerable companion, Lesmahagow, is a relic of the stagecoach days.Though situated between Lesmahagow and Blackwood, some considerable distance from the main road between Glasgow and Carlisle, it was not always thus. Up to 1820, the main road passed through Kirkmuirhill, and before the village existed the spot was chosen as a convenient stopping place for the stagecoach from Glasgow in order to make a change of horses. This meant the erection of stables, an inn, and a number of dwelling-houses, and so the village grew. But in 1820, the road was carried in its present direction, and the bridge over Birkwood Burn contains this inscription: "This bridge was built in 1820 by James King from a plan of Thomas Telford, engineer, being part of general improvement of the road between Glasgow and Carlisle then carrying on." On the withdrawal of the stagecoach, the village became gradually inhabited by the mining classes, who now form the bulk of its population of 500. To accommodate the people a Church (United Free) was built in 1868, the present minister being the Rev. Robert Kerr, M.A. The opening up of the railway to Blackwood a few years ago was chiefly to convenience Kirkmuirhill and the surrounding farming class.

Kirkmuirhill Cross

Entrance to Kirkmuirhill from Strathaven Road

Kirkmuirhill Cross

Kirkmuirhill Cross viewed from the road called locally "Main Street". From the white building on the right which was on the south end of the cross roads, the area was referred to as "up the toon".

Streetscene near Kirkmuirhill Cross

Street Scene near Kirkmuirhill Cross around 1900. One woman seems to be scouring her pots for emptying into the sheugh between the pavement and the untarred road. The boys and girls are warmly clad and well shod. Note the length of the dresses of the women. Everyone appears to be interested in the taking of the photograph by the cameraman, no doubt a rare sight around 1900.

south side of Kirkmuirhill Cross

south side of Kirkmuirhill Cross

Two photographs showing the number of cottages and tenements on the south side of Kirkmuirhill Cross which resulted in it being the most heavily populated part of the village.

Kirkmuirhill Post Office

Post Office in Kirkmuirhill

Kirkmuirhill Post Office Left to right: Jimmy Reston, Telegram Boy, Arthur Kirk, Annie Hamilton (Postmistress), Tom Jackson, Mrs Marchbanks (sister of Annie Hamilton), Dan Duncan.

Post Office in Kirkmuirhill in 1950s

Kirkmuirhill Post Office in the 1950s. John Miller took over the post office from Annie Hamilton. John was formerly a miner at the Auchenheath pit, but an explosion resulted in the loss of two fingers on his right hand and ended his days as a miner. In 1927 he married Isabel Macleod and together they ran the post office until 1955 when John died. Isabel stayed on to help the new owners, Mr and Mrs Robert Mitchell, settle in and continued to help them until she became seriously ill in 1963.

Post Office in Kirkmuirhill in 1993

Kirkmuirhill Post Office in Thornton Drive in 1993: Photo: Jim Hamilton

Post Office in Kirkmuirhill in 2017

Kirkmuirhill Post Office and Day-Today Convenience Store in Thornton Drive, 2017. Photo: David Halls

Thornton Road area

John McRae at his smiddy in Carlisle Road

John McRae at his smiddy in Carlisle Road, Kirkmuirhill in 1936. At the side of the building was the date 1826. The smiddy closed in 1955. The first John McRae came from the Highlands and, working his way south, finally ended up in Kirkmuirhill to start a business as a blacksmith. The business was passed from father to son over 4 generations of John McRae. The last John McRae was the father of Jimmy McRae, who together with his sons achieved great success in motor rallying.

Treefield Café

Treefield Café at the corner of Thornton Road and Carluke Road at the time when the Café was run by J and C Ritchie. The date of this photo is not given. The building is still there and is now a convenience store as shown below. Photo: 2017 by David Halls

Convenience Store 2017

Hope Road Kirkmuirhill

Hope Road, Kirkmuirhill looking towards Thornton Road and across to Thornton Drive

Kirkmuirhill Church

Kirkmuirhill Church when pavement repaired

Kirkmuirhill Church when the footpath was being worked on. No date given.

Duncan Pate working at Kirkmuirhill Church

In 1968, Duncan Pate, a time-served bricklayer, volunteered to build a retaining wall at Kirkmuirhill Church and he was amused that his labourer was Mr Lyall, the minister at that time. It was truly done as a labour of service to the church but his efforts were appreciated and a very appropriate and acceptable gift was surprisingly thrust upon him at his home one evening by the minister.

Cyclists in Kirkmuirhill

Cyclists Agnes Hamilton and Barbara Waddell in 1914 on Carlisle Road with Kirkmuirhill Church Manse in the background.


The area on entering Kirkmuirhill from Strathaven is known as the Westend. These two photographs are from Mr Andrew Allan.

West End of Kirkmuirhill in 1920s

The Westend in the 1920s. Railings were removed compulsorily for iron for armaments during the 1939-1945 war. Then there was no pavement on the left. A village pump can be seen.

West End of Kirkmuirhill in 1987

West End of Kirkmuirhill in 1987. The bridge takes the M74 over Strathaven Road.

More Information

Page produced: 01 March 2018. Revised and more photos added 13th May 2018 DJH.