The flats at Whitehill Road, or better known locally as Sing Sing, was a street in Burnbank, however, to the residents it was more like a separate community. The flats ran from Burnbank to Whitehill and Sing Sing was said to have taken its name from the Correctional Facility in Ossining in New York.
Some people who lived outside Sing Sing often said that it was a scary place to walk past and it was noted that the police would never go to the flats without back up, however, many of the families who lived here had fond and happy memories of the flats and they all looked out for one another. Some of the people and families known to have lived at Sing Singe were Rab McGhie, Big Liza, Carol Hughes, pearl Anderson, Betty Whitelaw, Dennis & Rose Cassidy, Anne Farmer, Maggie McNamee, Dane Rodger, the Poultons, the McCluskey’s, the Cannons, the Foley’s, the Haley’s, the Steele’s, and the Aitken’s.
Sharon Allan was born at Sing Sing, Tilda Jack lived at number 72 and Arthur Belk used to have his window open wide and was renowned for music blaring which could be heard by people when walking over from Burnbank to Whitehill, Arthur’s mum was big Liza. Other characters who lived here were Shug n his barrow, Rex and Ann Pan. Most of the families living at Sing Sing were connected to each other in one way or another.
There were sad things too, tragically the young boy Foley was playing between the wagons (just as most of the kids did) when they were shunted and he got caught between the bumpers and was killed outright, everyone was warned to keep out of the railway but no one could the keep the kids away from the tracks and the burn as the tunnel under the railway was a short cut to the public park.
During the Second World War Burnbank suffered at least one attack by the Luftwaffe, when a bomb was dropped near Sing Sing at the railway works on the Whitehill Road, however, I believe that the flats were not affected by the bomb.
The families were eventually moved and re-homed from the flats and Sing Sing was finally demolished in 1973, and the excuse that was given to the residents was that the council was wanting to widen the road and extend the bridge over the railway, the railway bridge used to have a foot path at the side, like the bridge over just up from the portakabin next to the express way in Blantyre.
I spoke with a former local resident James Poulton who is a relation of mine and James told me:
“The people in it were great to get on with but the police were not welcome, the place was one big family and a lot of crooks stayed there but everyone got on and it was a great place for the children with the railway and a burn at the bottom of the drying green everyone who stayed there would have gone back given the chance the place was a community everyone knew everyone else and a lot were connected in one way or another”
What was your memories of Sing Sing?