The Laurie family of Burnbank owned one of the towns best and most noticeable businesses. They were the owners of  Chieftain Buses that was based at their depot on High Blantyre Road.


In the picture above, back row L-R are James, John & David Laurie. Middle row is David & Margaret Laurie and the kids in the front row are Wilma and Bob Laurie.

The company was started by James Laurie. When he came out of the army in 1918, he started with a taxi and built it up into a bus service.


The family later moved to number 81 High Blantyre Road and then set up a bus depot right next door to their house. The business was thriving and had employed local people to work at the depot, as well as all of the Laurie family who were involved in some way.

David Laurie who is the grandson of David Laurie Snr told Historic Hamilton that “all of the family were involved in some way, driving my dad did along with coach building and my uncle’s did mechanics and driving right up to the 60’s when they sold the business”.


The family depot in Burnbank was a busy place and as previously mentioned, it employed local people who include, Carrie (Mair) Clark who was a conductress on the Hairmyres route, her sister Elsie also a clippie on the Hairmyers route, her brothers Willie and Robert all worked for the Chieftain buses for a number of years.


Robert Wilson, Bob Mair & Robert Clements were a few of the drivers on the Chieftain Buses.

Former site of the Cheiftan depot.
Former site of the Chieftain Bus depot, now a public Garden.


The company ran all the way up to 1961 until it was taken over by the SMT group. The old Chieftain garage became Jamieson’s Builders yard for many years and later was sold to the council and it was eventually landscaped.



Historic Hamilton would like to thank David Laurie for telling us his family’s story & sharing some pictures and also Robert Stenlake for supplying some of the local pictures of the Chieftain Buses.

We would like to hear from you! What was your memories of the Cheiftan Buses at High Blantyre Road in Burnbank. Send them to us at


  1. My father, Walter Paterson and his brother, Jack, were involved in some capacity with the Chieftain buses – perhaps also their brother in law, Willie Ferguson. I have very little recollection of this period and would welcome any information or memories people may have. Jack & Willie lived at Peacock Cross – by then my father was working as a policeman in Shropshire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The family portrait is my grandparents, uncles, aunt and my dad. My dad was John Laurie, he is in the middle back row. Thank you for this little piece of our family history. I am able to share it with my family. All of John’s family, children and grandchildren and great grandchildren live in Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am your half sister Lynda. Our father told me you were born the year after me. I am not sure if he told you about me but I don’t live in Canada. Christine Laurie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting to see this, my father was John Laurie in the middle back row. I live in France now but used to live in Burnbank years ago. I seem to remember the old premises being turned into the Quincentenary Gardens.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My dad Jimmy Muir was a driver on the Chieftain buses feor many a year from the late 40s up until his death in 1955. He actually died of a heaiith his clippirt attack whilst out on a night shift.That was all I was ever told about his death, such was often the case at the time. I was 7 at the time.
    He was just 45 and it must have been a tough life. He worked full time during the day as a butcher in Motherwell and then back to do shifts overnight on the buses.
    We lived at 28 High Blanyre Road, just 5 minutes walk from Laurie’s garage.
    I have an old photoi of him ith his bus and clippie
    Willie Muir

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Michael Collins Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s