Jeanne made Blackpool a home to many

Jeanne McLair
Jeanne McLair

A former Bellshill woman, described as one of the old guard landladies from the 1960s and 1970s, has died in her adopted home of Blackpool in Victoria Hospital.

Jeanne McLair was born in Bellshill as Jeanne Nielson, and grew up in the Glasgow tenements.

She moved to Bellshill as a schoolgirl. She was a girl guide in the town and became captain of her company.

Jeanne went on to work in Paton’s chemist shop. It was at this time that she met and married her lifelong love Jim McLair who worked in Belmos and was a captain in the Boys’ Brigade. It was a partnership of sharing right from the start as Jeanne would organise dances in the town and Jim played drums in the band.

The couple married and had one son, Lindsay. They took the bold step of moving to Blackpool in 1955 when they purchased a boarding housein St Chad’s Road. Jeanne’s grandmother moved from Scotland to help her run the guest house while Jim worked at the Unit Tool Company which was his ‘daytime’ job, spending many evenings playing drums at the Brunswick Club.

They saved hard to be able to buy the Astoria Hotel in Albert Road in 1960. They determined to run the hotel in the best professional manner and both attended college - Jim did a bar and cellar course while Jeanne gained a City and Guilds in cooking. She went on to gain a fellowship of the Institute of Hospitality, only the second woman in Blackpool to achieve this.

It was a happy establishment and the couple would entertain their guests in the evenings, with Jeanne singing and Jim playing drums.

The church was important to Jeanne throughout her life and she joined St George’s URC Church where she was a member of the choir, church secretary and an elder. A celebration of her life was held in the church following her funeral at Lytham Crematorium in Lancashire.

Jeanne and her husband were members of the Blackpool Scottish Society - Jim was president in 1969 and Jeanne held the post in 1977.

They sold the Astoria Hotel in 1980 and bought Dishdolls Restaurant, with Jeanne in reception, Jim in the bar and Lindsay as chef until the couple retired in 1983. Jeanne and Jim were presented to the Queen at Preston Guildhall in 2002.

Jeanne, who was 89, is survived by Jim and Lindsay.