With the struggle to eat, the chimney sweep was sometimes “forgotten” and the resultant fire meant the occupier had to appear at Hamilton Burgh Court. William Gray failed to appear and sent this poem instead.

I got up at three the ither morn, That’s as shair as I’m alive,
Tae sort ma fire and try and hae Ma kettle biled by five

I broke the raker up and then Slipped back into ma bed
For tae try anither twa oor’s sleep Tae ease ma aching head.

I wis dreaming of some happy days.When I heard an awfu’ roar, Wi’ a sudden leap I sprang richt Oot o’ bed on tae the floor
Noo, this is true, although Ye micht imagine I’m a liar Fae the bottom o’ my he’rt I cried My God, ma lum’s on fire!

I had nothing bit ma shirt on, And ma he’rt wis achin sore,
And tae mak’ ma misery mair complete A knock comes tae ma door,
When I opened it I gazed upon Two gallant men in blue,
So I whispered tae masel—My heavens! “Wull, yer landed noo.”

Bit tae gie the men their due They hadna very much tae say;
They took doon ma name And then they baith slipped away.
I kent they wid report it tae Some yin a wee bit higher,
And I’d likely need tae suffer For that auld lum gaun on fire.

I have travelled roon the world noo For three score years and mair, And noo this is ma first offence—Nae wunner ma hert’s sair
But I hope they show me mercy, For I’d be far better deid
Than them tae send me for A wheen o’ years tae Peterheid.

Noo the nicht before the trial I wid like ye a’ tae pray,
For the sentence tae be very light On your poet Willie Gray,
And I’ll tak dasht guid care That while I live in Lanarkshire
Nae policeman will ever see Ma lum again on fire.

Written by William Gray. 6/9/1928. Hamilton Herald and transcribed by Wilma Bolton.

I can’t help but think that this is something that Hugh Hainey would have done!!


Over the last few months, there has been a lot of talk on Historic Hamilton about our town centre becoming a ghost town. We have a lot of empty shops and with the soon to be closure of BHS where indeed does this leave us?

Cast your mind back to even 10 years ago! People travelled from afar to come and spend the day in Hamilton, you would come in to the town in the morning meet up with your friends and have a wander around the very best choice of shops. We had a choice of Sports shops we had designer clothes shops, joke shops and long standing independent shops like Bairds.

You would have come to Hamilton and visited one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants and had a bit of lunch or if it was a nice day you would have got your lunch from places like Olivers and sat outside on one of the benches and watched the world go by.

Gateside street and Low waters road still seem to be doing ok with many independent shops staying open and doing well, so what are they doing different? or could it be down to the fact that they are not based in the town centre?

Hamilton town centre is not alone with the closure of shops, this very same thing is happening an many towns across Scotland. The question is, What can we do to inject some life in to our once thriving town centre?

What do you think?


Hiv ye ever met a livin” legend? Well I’ve met some , quite a few,,
Ye never know, fur efter this wee poem, wan o’ them could you,,

A wis asked the other day tae write somethin” aboot Burnbank “
A new some ‘patter merchants ‘so if it stinks it’s them tae thank,

A always wondered where, some guy’s got thir’ wee nicknames, ,
I’ll bet you kin tell me ! So let’s go n” hiv some wee fun n” games,,
Windy Miller, Stoorie Moore, n” best of all that wee Stucky Stirlin”

God this list could go on forever, noo ma brains jist started Birlin”
Dae ye remember Muck Mc Knight? Aye, He always comes

Ask him any questions, n” always right, he’s never wrong? Yil find,,

I’ll jist mention wan mare name, he wis the “Jungles”famous man,
C’mon ye awe know who am talkin aboot, the one n’ only “Tarzan””

If ye kin think aboot anybody, don’t leave yir memories on the shelf,

We want tae know! Alive ur deed , promise, we’ll keep it tae oorself”

Right let c’mon then, who ur they ? Give is awe some wee surprises”



The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey,

Tell us your memories of growing up in Burnbank, or even better have you got a photo that you would like to share?

Who’s that? Ask a woman fae Hamilton!

Who’s that? Ask a woman fae Hamilton!

Who’s that? Awe hur’ she merrit that chancer” wi the baldy hair,
Oh aye! Is mither’ lives in Sempie St, wee aggie” lives up the stair,,
A cannie think? Aye ye kin’ She walks wae lisp, n’ talks wae a limp,,
Who his mither? Naw! that hussy he’s muckin aboot wae, the pimp”

Well who’s she? Och, kin ye no remember that wee guy wae the lugs”
Naw! Ye must remember him,, he looks like wannie them toby jugs”
Och aye” well thats hur faither” they rekin he’s bin a da” tae dozens”
Realy” Aye! Awe fur gods sake its “Fanny,” she’s wannie yir cousins””

Brandon Street and the old Town Hall

The old town hall with it’s steeple still attached.
Wilma Bolton sent us a picture of Brandon Street and the old Town Hall with it’s steeple still attached.
Wilma told us:
“I remember the old town hall well. When I was young my father Jimmy Russell got a job as the caretaker because he was unable to work any longer in the pits.
His chest was really bad and he died age 52 some years later. By then, it was the Hamilton Burgh Police Station and it was literally falling apart from subsidence due to the underground workings.
I used to put a ball on the billiard table and it ran down the table. The floorboards were so rotten that a policeman fell through them and was half in one floor and half in the other. He had to be hauled out.
There were two cells and one of them held Peter Manuel the notorious murderer when he was arrested.. Regards Wilma”
Wilma, you are a true legend and I have enjoyed speaking with you over the last 5 or 6 months. Your knowledge of Hamilton is absolutely priceless. I love the way that you can tell me a story about almost anything that I ask you about, Keep the story’s coming!


A Wish,

A wish a wis back in Hamilton, up there in old South Lanarkshire,
A wish a wis back in ma maws wee hoose, sittin”by the open fire,
A wish a wis back in ma auld school, among awe ma auld friends,
A wish a wis back in ma auld haunts”, where friendship never ends,

A miss the Baths, The Brandon Cafe, The auld “Hamilton Advertiser ”
A miss the auld folk all around, aye aulder but so much” more wiser’,
A miss the wicked sense of humour, and of coarse that witty”banter”
A miss Hamilton, Hillhoose, Burnbank, ok! Sometimes even Blanti’r”

A telt awe ma kids n’ grandkids aboot this place, over n’ over again,
A telt them awe aboot the things a got up tae, when a wis jist a wain,
A telt them aboot all the people there, n” they couldn’t be any prouder,
A telt them tae tell their kids, they say aye ok “shout a wee bit louder”,

A wish a could write a book aboot this place, but whit kin a do or say,
A wish a could mention the special people there,so great in everyway,
A wish a could stop wellin up with pride , every time a hear it’s name”,
A wish is what the heart makes, so I’ll say a wish that a wis Hame”

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey.