Before the advent of out of town shopping most villages were pretty much self sufficient with tailors, cobblers etc. In the section on Lochwinnoch is a copy of the "Lochwinnoch Official Guide", unfortunately it is not dated but given the businesses that are listed it is probably dated around 1935 and it gives a flavour of the range of businesses that traded in the village. In fact at one time there were 4 bakers, 4 butchers, a fish shop, 8 or 9 grocers some with delicatessens, drapers, shoe shops and cobblers, a sizeable Co-op presence in both High Street and Main Street, several sweet shops, gents and ladies outfitters, 2 paper-shops, 3 garages one of which had a new car showroom, taxi and bus hire, a blacksmith, builders and joiners and plumbers yards, a painter’s shop, a cinema, furniture and a soft drinks factory, a dairy, two working farms (actually within the village!) a Foyle’s library shop……and much more. In fact, you could still have your coffin made and funeral arrangements carried out by a village firm!
As on previous pages by clicking on the link (underlined word) you will be taken to a map or other relevant item. Clicking on the photograph will enlarge the image and provide further information about it.
Lochwinnoch had its own gas works and the first pair of photographs are of a gas works invoice dated 6th Nov 1882 and some of the men that worked at the plant. The map showing the location of the gas works is dated 1856.
Among its proud industrial heritage was a claim that Lochwinnoch had the largest curlingstone works in the world. The second pair of photographs show the works and an invoice from John Keanie dated 5th March 1912. The factory was located between the High Street and Muirhead Street.
The next set of photographs has an invoice from the son of John Keanie - Alexander - dated 1923. Keanie was always associated with Johnstone however he started in Lochwinnoch. His business is decribed as builder and contractor. The driver of the Keanie lorry is Wattie Bishop.
This set also has an invoice from the other well known local builder - Robert Connell dated 1927. The invoice refers to the business being located at Calderhaugh. In the linked map it is last building on the left of the group marked Calderhaugh Cottages. In 1930 the business moved to Calder Street and that is the building shown adjacent to the invoice. That photograph was taken in 1978.
The fourth photograph is of the Barytes processing plant located at Muirshiel. In the section on the infrastructure used to harness the power of the Calder this plant is shown from the river side. A video interview in 1999 with Tom Sprought the manager of the mine is in the Articles and Video section.
Other sources of employment included being in service to the local gentry or better off families. Given the size of the group in the top left photograph they were probably employed at Castle Semple. There was still significant employment on the land prior to mechanisation. And of course this meant a lot work for a smithy. Top right is a photograph of the smithy that was located at the junction of Newton of Barr and the new bridge. The last photograph is of James Spiers slaughter house workers. This was located off Calder Street.
And of course no section on employment would be complete without reference to Struthers. Top left is Bill Struthers, next is the "magic brews" room followed by the production line. Bottom left is an early delivery lorry with Cathie Cockburns father Will at the wheel and Jim Struthers. They are delivering to the Royal Hotel on New Street in Dalry. Finally a photograph of the large selection of drinks sold by the company.
It must also be remembered that Struthers also ran an automobile business at Newton of Barr. That building is now home to a number of sporting pursuits. In keeping with a lot of previous Lochwinnoch businesses the garage went on fire in 1967 ! Well, truth to tell it actually exploded. Still remember the bang.
And finally every village needs its barber and in Lochwinnoch you could have a more traditional cut from Willie Storrie or something more adventurous from Ian Gilmour. Calum Duncan recognised the young lad as his son Billy - I understand both models are still in therapy ! Only joking.