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It has been said that the invention of the steam locomotive and railways was the key to taming the Wild West and made possible the expansion and population of the cities. It undoubtedly had a secondary effect, to create an additional transport industry - the Taxi.
How else could we get from our homes to railways and airports, to begin a trip while laden with baggage. This was not a story desperately necessary to be told here on this website until I found the picture shown above.

The photo is valuable on a number of levels. The building on the left is the premises of the Orrock sisters who ran a successful photography studio in Carluke until the 1930's and this photo was probably taken between 1890 and 1900  At the far side of the shop behind bushes you can see a large glass greenhouse or conservatory which the ladies might have used for a daylight studio.
The premises were on Station Road just by the junction with Kirkton Street where nowadays there is a three-way traffic light at the corner. You can just see the Railway Inn on the far side of Kirkton Street.  Later in the century their photo business was moved to Cairneymount Road where it still stands today and is used, and has been for many years, as a wee general store.
The greenhouse may in fact have belonged not to the Orrock studio but to Tommy Grossart who owned the big house at the corner. He was a tailor and the big house was called Kirktonbank. Some of the outbuildings in the picture were used by Grossart as part of his tailoring business and there exists a picture of Carluke Horticultural Society taken in front of the greenhouse.
In the 1891 census, Agnes Orrock is found as living in Carnwath Road as a photographer aged 21. By the 1901 census she is in Cairneymount Road living next door to the new studio premises.

Presumably the ladies have brought out a large tripod and a plate camera to take the picture of the pony and trap, which might have required an exposure of up to a minute with the horse and driver needing to stay quite still during the exposure,
Up at the Railway Inn two onlookers with bicycles have also stood watching, no doubt fascinated by the palaver happening on the street.

So why was the picture being taken and was this a taxi of its day?
I don't know, but take a closer look. The horse has been well groomed and the cart is spick and span, with all its hardware gleaming. On closer inspection there is a printed card hung over the oil lamp on the deck. I think the driver and his cart have been to an agricultural show and taken part in a contest or a "Concours d'Elegance"  before coming here to have its picture taken. The original photo is pin sharp all over, a credit to the camara lens and the photographer.


White competition card attached to the oil lamp


Footnote: While the census dates tell us when and where Agnes Orrock was living, it is surprising to see telegraph lines in the picture if it was taken in 1900 just at the time she moved from Carnwath Rd to Cairneymount Rd.  The earliest phone lines in Glasgow were around 1906 so the actual date of the picture may mean they kept the shop in Station Rd for longer. By comparison, few homes in Carluke had domestic electricity until around 1920-1930. We are still unsure of these dates and any information would be welcome.

While we are here, Carluke now has a number of taxis in the town, so here they are in case you need one.
AAA Taxis   22 Violet Gdns, Carluke   01555 770247
Andys 9 Greenknowe Dr, Law, Carluke  01698 352383
Cruz Taxis  24 Charles Cr, Carluke  01555 772074
Flash Cabs 16 James St, Carluke  01555 751999
GFT Minibus & Taxi Hire 17 Unitas Cr, Carluke 01555 750889
Go Taxis Unit 1,2 Harestanes Ind Est, Braidwood  01555 777777
Go Taxis  22 Barmore Av, Carluke  01555 752500
Rocket Taxis 11 Langshaw Cr, Carluke 01555 773318
Walker's Taxis 101 Yieldshields Rd, Carluke  1555 751044

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Created before 2012