Historic photos of Burnfoot, South Lanarkshire

Map showing Burnfoot

Most modern maps do not show Burnfoot. This modern Ordnance Survey Opendata map does. It is between Kirkmuirhill and Auchenheath on the B7086 kirkmuirhill - Lanark road, where the road crosses the Birkwood Burn and River Nethan


View of Burnfoot across the bridge over the River Nethan. The date of the photo is not given but it has to be before 1927. The flood in 1927 destroyed the bridges (see below) and the Nethan Bridge was rebuilt without the buttresses shown in this image.


A similar view in December 2017. The house between the two bridges remains, but the building beyond the second bridge has gone.

Flood-damaged bridges in Burnfoot

A photograph from a national newspaper showing the damage to the bridges over the Birkwood Burn and River Nethan at Burnfoot after the cloudburst in Lesmahagow Parish in 1927 which caused flooding.


The same angle in December 2017. The nearest bridge is over the Birkwood Burn which must be the chasm seen in the previous photo, The other bridge (River Nethan) was also badly damaged but the extent is not apparent in the previous photo.

Birkwood Burn at Burnfoot

The Birkwood Burn (shown here in Dec. 2017) has normally just a modest flow, so it must have been some torrent to destroy that bridge.

Fruit Growing

The fields near the Nethan were used for fruit growing.

Strawberry Fields

Extensive strawberry fields at Burnfoot before disease struck in the 1920s. Workers can be seen pulling the berries (poor quality image).

Gooseberry picking

Gooseberry bushes. The workers pulling the berries are (left to right) John Clelland, Tommy Simpson and Bob Frew.

Other buildings in the hamlet.

The other buildings were on the hill going down to the bridges.

Hill down to bridges

Lochanbank Cottage

Lochanbank Cottage, Dec 2017. At one time, there was a sweetie shop in one of the rooms.

Birkwood Burn at Burnfoot

The old house on the bend (Dec 2017 then undergoing repairs). This house was notable in that the flats in it were reached from three different levels without stairs as the house was located on a sharp bend on a hillside.

The Clellands were an important family in Burnfoot. Tam Clelland, a fruit grower, lived with his wife, daughter and two sons on the middle floor of the house above. Two of his children taught at Lesmahagow High School - Wull ("Chief") taught science whereas the daughter, Nancy, taught maths. It was Nancy ("Wee Nancy") who achieved the most fame and notoriety as a teacher. She was regarded as a good teacher but had a bit of a reputation as a tyrant. She had a sharp tongue and could invoke fear in some of her pupils. She was not averse to using a belt on pupils if necessary. She lived in that house all her life until later she had to move into Waterside Residential Care Home, where she was seen as good fun and loved by her carers some of whom had been taught by her.

Nancy Clelland

Nancy Clelland MBE. Nancy taught at Lesmahagow High School for 34 years. She became Principal Mathematics Teacher before retiring. Here she is seen after receiving her MBE at Holyrood Palace in 1980. This was not only for services to education but also to the voluntary sector

Prepared: 01 March 2018 DJH. I would like to thank all the people who put comments on the Lesmahagow Facebook page which enabled me to understand better the history of Burnfoot and Nancy Clelland. A special thanks to Nan Kirk.