Renfrew’s History Bygone Day’s “part two″

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Our next walk would be out the Inchinnan Road, and to observe the number of trees on either side, a far cry from the housing estates, the Blythswood Retail Park, and the Normandy Hotel, which now occupy this site.

On a Sunday afternoon the young locals would parade in their Sunday Best and walk to the old swing bridge and back, the point of the exercise being to “click” or in todays terms find a date. The same procedure was gone through on cold winter evenings but with the added advantage that it was dark.

The more sophisticated who had little interest in such simple pleasures would cross the bridge and turn left at the old Tollhouse to walk the five mile track, this took one around Abbotsinch to the roundabout then back. Since there were no road lights in those days one really knew what the light of the moon really meant. And so back to the bridge and down to the Cartside walk, and after having walked a hundred yards or so, turn back to see the old bridge in the foreground and the belltower of the old Inchinnan Church at the back, a scene once depicted on a picture postcard, you could then continue along past the famous Argyll Stones down to the lighthouse and along the River Clyde to Fishers Walk behind Lobnitz Shipyard, and back into town via Meadowside Street and Ferry Road.

I would now like to turn my attention to the Blythswood Estate, which provided many an adventure or misadventure, but firstly we must cross the tract of ground which gave birth to the Renfrew Juniors Football Club and pause at the railway siding(now a housing estate) where we would pass our time trying to move the trucks, and having an idea In our minds that one of the closed in trucks contained a consignment of sweets and wondered how best to help ourselves, but before jumping the dyke that separated us from the estate we should consider the legal points that puzzled us during our boyish escapades.

That part of the Elderslie Estate, known, and perhaps still is, as the Sheepy Park, seemed to be accepted as a place to play, but to venture on further to Elderslie House which once was an orphanage and owned by Glasgow Corporation, one got that feeling of Trespassing. So it was, that in our humble and legal opinion that only the County Police could deal with us on this estate, and the Burgh Police within the town, and the railway Police when on railway property.

When the Blythswood Estate which unlike the Elderslie Estate was still being lived in, we bad to contend with the most dangerous of all our “enemies”, namely the gamekeeper, so when we jumped over the dyke there was a tense feeling of excitement, and with every step we took we had this sense of foreboding.

You will therefore understand our feelings when once, bird nesting, one lad ventured further than any of the rest of us were prepared to go, it would not have been the done thing for us to retire so we waited at the dyke with apprehension, he returned with a large bunch of daffodils for his mother, proof positive that he had gone through the wood, and on up the drive leading to the “Big Hoose”, by such deeds wore the qualities of leadership displayed.