A landmark birthday

Jessie Loftus is joined by Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy as they admire the view.
Jessie Loftus is joined by Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy as they admire the view.
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A MOTHERWELL landmark last week celebrated its golden jubilee.

The town’s first multi-storey Clyde Tower was opened on June 21, 1962, by permanent under-secretary of state for Scotland Thomas Galbraith MP.

This was part of the Conservative Government’s slum clearance and replacement building plan which saw people all across the country decamped into new modern homes or in some cases whole new towns.

The Times & Speaker met resident Jessie Loftus, who moved to Clyde Tower 50 years ago with her parents Thomas and Isabella.

Now at the age of 80, she still lives in the same top floor flat.

Jessie said: “We were living in a tenement in Woodburn Street when we found out we had been chosen to be decanted to Clyde Tower.

“We were absolutely delighted as it would be our first house with its own bathroom, having previously had to share an inside toilet with three other families.

“I still love being here, most of my neighbours work so it is very quiet and on a clear days I still enjoy being able to see for miles.

“I remember when we first moved in my mother standing at the kitchen window and just staring at the view for ages, completely ignoring everything around her - it was just such a change for us all.

“I think the only thing my mother didn’t like was the clear glass in the panels between the living room and kitchen as she didn’t think it seemly that the pulley could be seen.

“But after we got them replaced with frosted panels she was quite content.”

Jessie, is one of five of the original tenants still living at Clyde Tower, and admits life has recently got even better for her as a North Lanarkshire Council tenant.

She said: “There was some issues with leaks, but a new pitched roof sorted all that out.

“The tower had a caretaker until very recently when he was replaced by the new warden team, which came as a bit of a surprise as we hadn’t been told.

“However, after years of having to clean the stairs I was delighted to discover they now do it, so they are very welcome.

“In all honesty I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Clyde Tower was closely followed by Avon and Calder Towers, all named after the three rivers which flow into Motherwell.

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy grew up in the shadow of Clyde Tower in Mabel Street and visted Jessie to reminiscence about a time when the area was covered in allotments before they made way for the towers,

He said: “I’m not quite old enough to remember Clyde Tower actually being constructed, but I know that at the time they were seen as being state-of-the-art housing.

“A solution was needed to address the problems of the slums and getting a place in a tower was very sought after, the very fact Mr Galbraith opened it shows just how important this programme was to the Government of the day.

“Unlike Glencairn Tower, the likes of Clyde, Avon and Calder have shown how multi-storeys can work and I’m really delighted that Jessie has clearly enjoyed her 50 years living in Clyde Tower.”