The Hamilton Poor House.

Poor House Map.

By Wilma S. Bolton ©

In the 1850’s Hamilton, like every other community had residents who for variety of reasons were unable to support themselves and who were forced by their circumstances to apply to be put on the poor roll. Their application would be thoroughly investigated by the inspector of poor and stringent criteria had to be met before the claimant could quality for relief.
Once it had been established that the claimants had no means of supporting themselves, they were given outdoor poor relief which made it possible for them to continue live in their own homes. Elderly residents could also be looked after in Aikman’s Alms House in Muir Street situated opposite what is now the car park of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. There was also Hamilton Parochial Lodging House with room for 57 residents where the poor could be boarded.

The people who were entitled to poor relief were residents of the town who were widows with no means of supporting themselves and their children, the elderly and sick who were unable to work and the unemployed. Initially the poor were given an allowance and had their rent paid for them but the potato famine of 1845-1851 resulted in thousands of starving poverty-stricken Irish families arriving in Scotland and applications for poor relief increased dramatically.

Anyone applying for assistance and who did not meet the necessary residential criteria could be put on the poor roll, but the town of their birth or where they had residential status was charged for their keep. However, it was not unknown for the inspector of the poor to escort claimants back to their own parish, even going as far as deporting women and children back to the town of their birth in Ireland.

In 1860 the Hamilton Advertiser published statistics relating to the occupants of Hamilton Parochial Lodging House. Of the 29 adults present, 5 were blind, 4 of weak intellect, 4 with diseased legs and unable to walk, 11 were bedridden and the other 5 unable to support themselves. There were also 28 resident children in the lodging house who attended the Hamilton Orphan & Charity School in Chapel Street. The formation of the Hamilton Orphan Society in 1809 and the opening of their school in 1849 meant orphan and destitute children were taken off the streets and given an education and taught skills which would help them to obtain employment.

Prior to the opening of the Parochial Lodging House, orphaned or abandoned children were boarded out with “whoever would keep them the cheapest,” but because of this, they were allowed to “grow up in ignorance and beggary. Many old and diseased were also boarded out and were kept in a “very dirty state” again at the cheapest rates the parish could obtain.
The system of support was austere, although extra allowances could be paid for necessities such as compulsory smallpox inoculations, the registration of births, funerals and clothing. There was even a form of legal aid.

However, by the late 1850s, plans had been put forward with a view to the construction of a combination poorhouse where the poor of eight local parishes could stay under one roof. This proposal however was not for the benefit of the poor; it was merely a cost saving exercise due to the increase in the numbers of claimants.

formed objects exposed to the cold wintry weather” and advocated that the trade of “exhibiting ghastly little infants labouring under whooping cough, measles or other infectious diseases” in an attempt to obtain money from passers by should be prevented.

The proposed combination poorhouse caused a great deal of controversy with more people against the idea than for it. The letters columns of the Hamilton Advertiser frequently published correspondence from irate readers on the subject. One very anti poorhouse letter, dated 10th September, 1864, stated the reason for the building of a poorhouse was to discourage people from claiming parish poor relief, but, “to the outcast and truly destitute such an asylum might prove a home, but still a home without liberty.”

The writer, a Strathaven man also pointed out that in Strathaven “it had been noticed and remarked on with pain by many, that a special class on the poor roll has been handed down for many generations, so that the family connection can be traced far back, where pauperhood was deeply rooted—so deeply, that it has been transmitted from father to son as an inheritance through a long line of succession and can be genealogically traced as are the lineal descendents of some of the great aristocratic families of the land.”

Another letter published on 25th October 1862, advocated supporting “honest poverty” at home, rather than “seeing it dragged away bleeding and desolate to a place of captivity” (the poorhouse) and quotes a Glasgow Herald article which states that “the felons of our country in our jails, are treated in every respect far better than the poor inmates of our poorhouses.” The poor he said “were generally natives of the place and had spent their days amongst us and consequently are well known and in not a few instances much respected.” “All their whole crime is, they’re penniless poor” to lock them up would be a “most gross and unqualified barbarity.” The proposed combination poorhouse was he said, an attempt by the “would be rich,” to make honest poverty appear—“what it never was, nor never will be while the bible is the book—a crime.”

The writer vividly described in his letter the removal of a destitute Newarthill family from their home to the New Monkland Workhouse. “The family consisted of a miner, about 40 years of age, suffering from disease of the heart; his wife, a pale half-famished looking creature and three sickly emaciated children, the eldest of whom could not be more than five years old. A donkey cart had been provided for their transportation and into this miserable, jolting vehicle the family were packed and dragged along in this degrading manner to the New Monkland Bastille.” The writer called for a rejection of the plans to build a combination workhouse in Hamilton.

Despite objections, the proposed Hamilton Combination Poorhouse was built at Bothwell Road at a cost of £11,198 6s 3d. The first inmates were admitted in 1867 with no opening ceremony. The shares (beds) were distributed as follows. Avondale, 25; Blantyre, 10; Cambuslang,15; Dalserf, 15; Glassford, 9; Hamilton, 72; East Kilbride, 14; Stonehouse, 10; a total of 170 beds.

For the decent working man, the thought of becoming ill and unable to support his family, brought with it the terror of being locked away in the poorhouse and the reasons why were very obvious. Residents had to contribute to their keep by working in the laundry, cleaning, assisting in the dining hall, working in the gardens, in the pigsty or in the poorhouse factory where the men sawed up old railway sleepers and chopped them into sticks which were then dipped into naphtha tanks to make firelighters. By giving the inmates work the cost of running the poorhouse was kept to an absolute minimum. The life was regimented and to survive, 100% conformity to rules was required. For slight misdemeanours, inmates had their clothes removed and were for a period of up to six or seven days “locked up in the clink” (a room used as an area of detention in the poorhouse) and have their already inadequate diet cut.

In 1924 a scandal rocked Hamilton when an anonymous letter was delivered to the editor of the Hamilton Advertiser complaining of the appalling conditions endured by the inmates of Hamilton Combination Poorhouse. The letter complained of numerous people being bathed in the same water, sick people being forced to work, deplorable food and maggots in the soup. It also went into great detail about the lack of nursing care given to the sick in the two hospital wards. Staffed during the day by one trained nurse to each ward there were no nursing staff on duty at night, only an untrained “inmate warder” who slept in the vicinity of the wards and who attended to the patients only when their shouts managed to waken him out of a sleep. The letter described the horrors of sick and dying patients lying unattended for ten hours during the night and of dead bodies lying in bed in a ward full of patients until the nursing staff came on in the morning. This letter resulted in a Public Inquiry being held into the allegations.

The Inquiry heard of a regime where even staff were afraid to complain about conditions, because if found out, they were instantly dismissed by the Governor. This was the case when a Nurse Charles complained to Hamilton Parish Councillor John C. Kelly about food being unfit for consumption. John Kelly appears to be the only person who genuinely attempted over a period of sixteen years to have conditions at the poorhouse improved. A checkweigher at a Bent Colliery, he was ostracised by local councillors for speaking out against injustice and for not running with the pack. It was also because of Kelly that the issue of the conditions at Hamilton Combination Poorhouse were finally brought to light and the Public Inquiry held. He had written the letter published in the Hamilton Advertiser on behalf of Robert Peters, a former gardener at the poorhouse.

The situation regarding the nursing staff had been under review for eighteen years, but the Combination could not agree on what percentage each should pay to cover the cost of night nurses and “the interests of inmates had been sacrificed for those eighteen years.” When John Kelly gave evidence at the enquiry, he said that “it was the greatest shame in the annals of history” that there was no night attendant or nurse in the hospital. Lack of accommodation at the poorhouse for the extra nursing staff was one of the reasons put forward for the absence of 24 hour trained nursing care. Allegations made by witnesses during the Inquiry, told of how during the night, sick and dying patients cried out for help which never came.

One of the witnesses, Nurse Reid, a former employee of the Poorhouse, told of how “owing to there being no night nurse, she often found patients in a very dirty condition in the morning.” Other witnesses gave evidence of maggots being seen on the bones used to make soup and Mary O’Neil the cook said that soup was made on a Sunday with bones which very often were quite smelly and that the same bones were used again to make soup on the Monday; she also went on to described how the soup was at times filled up with water to make it go further. Soup was also added to stew for the same purpose. O’Neill also said that she would not have eaten the soup because it was “bad.”

Cissie McIvor, an eighteen year old inmate told of how she was kept in the “clink” from “before 10 a.m. till 7 p.m.” She spoke of an old woman (by then dead) who was allowed to lie in bed for four days without her clothing being changed. During the inquiry it was alleged that Cissie got up after hours, sat by the fire reading with the light turned on, when she should have been in bed. She said she only got up after hours to attend to her baby.

The Inquiry found that nursing arrangements for both night and day were totally inadequate and confirmed that the sick and dying did indeed cry out during the night for help which never came and that patients had died unattended. It was recommended that it was “imperative and urgently necessary” for extra trained nursing staff to be employed. It also found that the Governor who had failed to keep a punishment book had no authority to detain inmates under lock and key in “the clink” and the practice was immediately banned.
Attention was also drawn to the fact that inmates had a bath fortnightly instead of once a week as the Combination Poorhouse rules stipulated.

In the matter of the soup, the board ruled that matron allowed “an error of judgement” in allowing the bones to be used twice for making soup. The evidence of the “grubs” found floating on top of the soup was explained away by saying that they were only caterpillars from inadequately washed vegetables, not maggots as suggested and that the matter of its importance had been blown out of proportion. Another recommendation made was that the cold and inadequate Sunday dinner was to have an addition which might make it more attractive—e.g. cheese and coffee or some equivalent.

After the inquiry, the poorhouse settled down again to the purpose for which it was built –removing the poor out of sight from the rest of the town. More nursing staff were employed which resulted in a trained nurse in the wards at night.

On 27th February 1926 the nurses were reported by the Hamilton Advertiser as having penned a letter to the House Committee calling attention to the long hours of their working day 7.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with less than two hours off for meals. They also requested that they could be allowed out till 10.30 p.m. without having to ask for permission. Eventually their working conditions were changed and they were allowed a half day off each week from 1.30 to 10.30 p.m with a whole day off every third week and a weekend off every six weeks. Their working day was reduced by 30 minutes; they were to have 2.1/8th hours off for meals and were allowed out until 10.45 p.m without having to ask for permission.

Following the enquiry conditions at the poorhouse were no longer accepted in silence and fear. The inmates spasmodically went on strike, and generally became much more vocal about the oppressive regime.

On the 11th October 1927 the Hamilton Advertiser reported that the inmates had complained that the new meal being used for making porridge was “softer in character than the old oats” and “quietly took their breakfast but left the porridge untouched.” The Governor requested a deputation of the men attend the Board Room but they refused, asking instead that he came to the day room. Because of their refusal to go to the Governor the police were called to the poorhouse. When the officers arrived, 38 men quietly got into their own clothing and left the institution. Within four days 25 of the dissenters were back.

In November, Mr Ellis the General Superintendent of Poor to the Board of Health, submitted his yearly report on Hamilton Combination Poorhouse to the House Committee of Hamilton Combination Poorhouse. In it, he described how linoleum had been now laid in one of the hospital wards with great success. He told of how the buildings was kept in an efficient state of repair as far as was possible however they were rat infested to an extent that the rats had gnawed through the water pipes. The report was passed by the House Committee with the chairman Mr James Paterson remarking that its contents were “very satisfactory.”
Also in October 1927 the people of Hamilton were outraged when a family from the Irish Free State consisting of parents and six children arrived in the town destitute and were almost immediately admitted to the poorhouse. The father was found a job with a wage of £2, but turned it down and it looked as if they were about to settle in a bit too well at the institution. Eventually, with not a little persuasion, the man accepted the job offer and they all very reluctantly left the poorhouse much to the relief of Hamilton Combination Poorhouse Committee.

On 5th November 1927, 40 male inmates again went on strike complaining of the quality of the food being served to them. Allegations were made that sand was being added to meal used for porridge and sugar and water were being added to the jam. The complaint was dismissed by Hamilton Parish Council after one of their members Mr Meers, commented that the strike had been caused by “one or two highbrows in the poorhouse who had come down in the world and were causing dissatisfaction among others”.

The roll of Hamilton Combination Poorhouse changed with the years especially during the middle part of the twentieth century; the name was also changed to Hamilton Home. In 1948 the Poor Law Acts were abolished and in July of that year Hamilton Home ceased to be a Poor Law Institution and its role instead was to provide “temporary accommodation for persons who are in urgent need thereof” from both the County and Burgh. It also became a reception centre for persons “without a settled way of living.” By September 1962 all of the 80 patients in the sick wards had been transferred to local hospitals and the last inmate left the home in January 1981.

Hamilton Combination Poorhouse remained open for 114 years and during this time, thousands of people whose only crime was poverty passed through the gates of the institution to be hidden well out of sight from the rest of society. For many of them, they were to spend the rest of their lives incarcerated within its walls. Ⓒ Wilma S. Bolton.

* * *


The following list was published in the Hamilton Advertiser on the 8th October 1859 and contains the names of Hamilton’s paupers aged 70 and over who were being supported by the Parochial Board and who died between January 1858 and September 1859. Several of them died at Aikman’s Alms House in Muir Street.


January 6 James Black 77
“ 6 Margaret Mackie 72
“ 7 Widow Kelly 84
“ 12 Mary Rankine 83
“ 28 Widow Spence 75
February 7 David Kennedy 79
March 8 Janet Yorkstone 85
“ 25 Jean Cooper 85
April 28 Widow Robertson 77
May 1 Widow Surgeon 71
“ 19 Jean Hamilton 76
June 14 Widow Smart 74
July 30 Widow Wright 74
August 5 Ann Lang 71
September 29 Widow Bryson 84
October 1 John Telford 78
“ 27 Thomas Curr 94
November 8 Widow Nimmo 77
December 1 James Lammond 71


January 2 Jean Meikle 70
“ 12 Gavin Burns 79
February 3 Widow Woodrow 76
“ 16 Margaret Moffat 70
“ 27 Widow John Barr 71
March 6 Michael O’Donnell 80
“ 10 Widow Tully 87
“ 17 Walter Starke 75
May 9 John Tudhope 84
“ 12 Janet Stevenson 78
June 4 Widow Leggate 81
“ 30 Alexander Wright 71
July 20 Widow Ann Paterson 70
August 19 John McDonald 82
“ 31 Widow James Hamilton.70
September 24 Peter McNaughton 83
“ 29 George Mitchell 70
* * *


Adults of either sex, who were not working and who had not completed, from the date of their last admission, a fortnights residence in the poorhouse.

Breakfast. Meal, four ounces and buttermilk, three fourths pint imperial.
Dinner. Bread Eight ounces and broth one and a half pints imperial.
Supper. Meal, four ounces and buttermilk, three fourths pint imperial.

Adult person of either sex who are working in poorhouse.

Breakfast. Meal four ounces and skimmed milk three fourths pint imperial.
Dinner. Bread, eight ounces; broth one and a half pints imperial and four ounces boiled meat; four ounces unsweetened suet pudding, twice weekly with the meat.
Supper. Meal four ounces and skimmed milk, three fourths pint imperial.

We would like to thank Wilma Bolton for sending us her story of the Hamilton Combination Poorhouse.


Youth in it’s time was ever ment to be spent,
the time and the effort that searching has rent.
Finding each dream and sensations unknown,
in your dotage will be regretted as blown.
Hamilton in the 60S sensations were always around,
the Troc and the bands with no alcohol to down.
Or Equis for chippies and ice cream dreams,
to the Tassie for beer with the thickist o’ cream.
Bailies Causeway for two up win your night out,
or down palace grounds if your in with a shout.
The Hibs club, the Welfares, Blantyre or Fairhill
The Mill Inn or Whisky Well if you’ve had your fill.
Then Pubs with the sing song up the back stairs,
if you think your Caruso just take to the flair.
No Kareoke to cover to cover all your sins,
your voice cannae hack it you know you’ll get binned.
Dances all over the town sometimes even a ball,
country and western or jazz down the town hall.
Cosy corner dancing in the open air,
Chantinghall hotel posing in their chairs.
Youth in it’s time should not be curtailed,
if they lose all that energy we have failed.
Hamilton in the past or Hamilton now,
I’d rather dance here as be staying up the ‘Gow.
The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Kit Duddy

Dr John Dykes.

Woodside House on the 1858 map of Hamilton.

Dr John Dykes was Born in Hamilton on the 27th of June 1786,  and he was the son of John Dykes, who was a captain in the Royal Navy and his mum was Isabella Miller. Dr Dykes was a well-known and much-respected Doctor & surgeon in Hamilton and information provided by the 1841 &  1851 census’s suggests that Dr Dykes could have possibly spent some time working in Edinburgh, or did his training here.

He owned and was living at Woodside House which was just off Woodside Walk in Hamilton and Woodside house was recorded as a ‘Fine dwelling house’ which had a large beautiful garden, the garden and house were surrounded by lots of lovely trees and as; at the time Woodside Walk was quite far away from the centre of Hamilton it would have given one the feeling that one was living out in the country. Woodside house also had a feature that I have not seen before and at the bottom of the garden there was a small pool of water that is recorded as a “Bath”.  The Bath also had a small building next to it and also a set of steps leading down to the water.

The Bath at the bottom of the garden at Woodside House. (1858)

I am unsure as to what exactly this ‘Bath’ was actually used for, it could have been an old well, and looking at the 1858 map of Hamilton it seem to be quite close to the Butter Burn, so I am guessing that it was connected to the burn in some way. I am unsure if it was actually used as a bath, but the stone steps and the small building next to the bath may indicate that it was used for some kind of sanitary purpose. I consulted my friend Paul Veverka, and he thinks that it could be some sort of plunge pool only used in the summer and he also thinks that these were uncommon in Scotland.

I took a drive over to the former site of Woodside House on Saturday the 13th of August 2016 to see if the bath was still there and yes, it is! The bath has been fenced off and also still has a stone dyke wall surrounding it. The water seems to be stagnant and didn’t appear to be running so this could indicate that it is no longer connected to the Butter burn. The bath that was situated at the bottom of the garden at Woodside House is now the car park for the Mercedes-Benz garage on Johnstone Road and Woodside House stood where Woodside Avenue is today. The house may have been demolished after Dr Dyke’s death in 1863, I am led to believe this, as I can’t find any reference to it after this year.

The Bath on the former site of Woodside House. 13/08/2016.
The Bath fenced off for safety. 13/08/2016.

Back to Dr  Dykes…..

Dr Dykes was a naval doctor, and brother to Thomas Dykes Esq, procurator fiscal; and Dr William Dykes of Woodview House in Burnbank Road. He was noted for being a kind and obliging disposition, especially in his gratuitous services to the working classes. He was living at Woodside House from a young age and the House belonged to his parents before a John had inherited it. His mother Isabella died here in January 1822 and his dad had died some time before this. Looking at the 1841 census and john first appears living at Woodside House, he is living here with a Robert Cuthbert who was Born in England, Betsy Cotton who was his House Servant, Ann Cotton who was listed as a Support Worker and a man Called Andrew Pollock age 20.

In 1851 John is still at Woodside with his servant Betsy Cotton and he still has his “Border” Robert Cuthbert living here and this man’s Occupation was a listed as a “Gentleman”. I can’t find any other info on the Robert Cuthbert who lived with John for 10 years.

In 1861 John is now living on his own with a servant called Mary Thomson, it is documented that John wasn’t married, however on his death cert it does seem to indicate that he was indeed married to a Janet Fraser?  This is the last time that john will appear on a Census record.

Fatal Railway Accident Thursday the 19th December 1863.

Melancholy and  Fatal accident on the Monklands Railway, the Glasgow Herald says that on Thursday morning, shortly after nine o’clock, an accident’occurred on the Monklands Railway, near Calder Iron Works, by which Dr J. Dykes, of Woodside, Hamilton, a gentleman about 80 years of age, lost his life.

It would appear that Dr Dykes had been visiting at New Carnbroe, and had left there for the purpose of catching the train at Whifflat Station on the Caledonian Railway, and was passing along the Calder branch of the Monklands Railway for that purpose.

An engine, with a long train of waggons laden with coal and ironstone from Palace Craig to Gartsherrie, was proceeding in the same direction; and the engine driver, on observing a gentleman on the line at once sounded the whistle. Deceased, seeing his danger, stepped onto a side line of rails to be out of the way of the approaching train; but, unfortunately, three coal waggons had to be shunted from the latter end of the train into the same siding.

This was done by the engine driver in the usual way, the fireman shifting the switches,but the impetus which the three waggons received sent them well up into the siding where Dr Dykes was standing and he was instantly knocked down and killed on the spot, the waggon wheels having jammed his neck and head to the ground. (It was reported in another newspaper that “he expired in the course of ten minutes after”)

The deceased was one of the oldest and most respected inhabitants of Hamilton. He was unmarried, and was a hale and hearty old gentleman, but has not, we believe, practised for many years. The deceased by whom his loss will be much felt. (Ref: Caledonia Mercury 21/11/1863)

Woodside House satelite overlay.
Satellite overlay of the 1858 map of Hamilton.

A Bad Day.


A bad day…………………………..52.
General warren ahn hiz kind wae personal effects trundled doon
wae his portable cast iron bath ahn ither things tae comfort him
the baggage train wiz so lang it needed mair protection ahint
ahn Colenso wiz forgone fur lack o’time thiy wur defeated while.
The boer dug in ahn waited thim fur thiy hud awe day fur that
seein fae the spion kop they might ahs hiv weel sent ah paper
fur botha wiz readin bibles ahn said it wiz ah gid sign indeed
ahn pitched ah tent ahn waited fur the imperial government.
Bit thorneycroft ahn his mounted infantry saw it awe unfold
wae awe his generals fawin doon exitin command tae him
ahn nae support fae warren busy wae his bath ahn sink
forgoat tae send thorneycroft wati’r ahn some rations.
Ahn the quartermaster wiz fun oot fur derelict negligence
they held ahint a thousand spades ahn gied ony twenty
wae ah thousand men watchin idly diggin intae rock slate
ahn awe the canned beef thiy threw awa oan the climb up.
Whin the mornin fog hud lifted in thir trench thiy waited still
bit the quartermaster never showed wae ah drink o watti’r
a thousand boer wae machine guns ahn naval shells screamin
ravaged the trench thit thiy dug ahn buried thir remains.
The boer wiz roundin up surrenders bit thorneycroft saw that
ahn ran wae sword tae botha’s men confrontin thim heid oan
tae the 2nd battalion cameronians fell ahn sorted it he thanked
tae live anither day he waited oan fur warrens great command.
Thorneycroft hud entered in his dispatch book he intended whit
noo he wiz ah general fur he wiz promoted oan that deathly hill
telt the runner thit it wiz bettir tae hiv six battalions doon the grun
thin loast thim awe wae the wounded boys lyin oot thir still.
Warren hud ah bath ahn shave ahn turned tae look ootside
ahn saw the tide wiz turnin tae git acroas the swollen river
he took his rubber duck ahn lay it oot tae dry drinkin coffee
thit came fae fortnum ahn masons whit his wife sent oot.
The story nevir ended thir fur some wan hud tae take accoont
ahn tell the queen that the generals deed wae splinterd heids
the adjutant done the joab ahn mentioned it tae warren sayin
If yi hud left yir bath at hame ahn used whit wiz provided sir.
The boer widnae hud haulf the time tae welcome us ahn take
oor naval guns ahn awe it’s shells tae yaz oan us fae colenso
thit smashed oor boys oan thit hill thit wiz undefended ahn sir
ah no ahm no welcome fur writin this oan ah government report.
Bit truth tae tell fur awe yir kind thit hiz such ah joab tae dae
yi could aht least hiv issued spades fur ah thoosand men
ahn empty oot yir cast iron bath sendin thim the watti’r ahn
aye yi wull be judged oan awe this it some future date from
ah jiner fae burnbank ahn passed it oan tae thim thit listen.
The above was written for Historic Hamilton by John Stokjes

Historic Hamilton


Is thur nae end tae the talent uf this wee man Garry” He’s a right wee “celeb”
A see like “incy wincy” he’s started tae put “Historic Hamilton” oan the Web”
It’s awready in the pipeline he say’s, it’ll no be long tae it’s set up n’ oan air”
Ave jist got a wee bit tweakin” tae dae it’ll be ready soon, jist a “wee baw hair”
Well don’t ye worry aboot it Garry” son, we awe know yir no a “Jock the Lum”
So we kin only wait in anticipation, fur the magical things thits gonnae come”
Oh n’ see yir great wee video’s on the markit, I’ll need tae order masel’ a copy,,
Bit the only thing, ma computers near is auld is you, hiv ye got disc thits floppy”
(Keep up the good work)

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey.
This one made me laugh!



On Monday afternoon there was laid to rest in Hamilton Cemetery all that remained of Mrs Ritchie, (Janet Young) a remarkable woman in many ways. She was one of those quaint, delightful characters whom a J.M. Barrie or an Ian MacLaren would have made the most of. Quick witted, clever, and with a keen sense of humour, her friendship was coveted by many kinds of people in different walks of life, and to all she was interesting.
She came from an old Covenanting family, and running through her whole life was that deep seated religious strain which was so characteristic of many of the old stock. He religion was not a bigoted one; it was broad minded and charitable, and on that account her influence for good was always apparent. Amongst those with whom she came into contact she never made any parade of her strong spiritual convictions, but one always left her feeling better for her conversation and companionship. She was a loyal Scotchwoman and an enthusiastic Hamiltonian, in the Ducal Palace she claimed a special interest as many of her folks wrought as tradesmen on the building in the good old days.
Mrs Ritchie lived and died in the town that she loved, and all who knew her will cherish her memory amongst their brightest and tenderest recollections. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 6/12/1902 page 4. Wilma S. Bolton. 2012



HONOUR FOR A LOCAL SOLDIER.— Congratulations to Sapper William McInerney, R.E. on his award of the Military Medal for a little bit of smart work during the advance. Along with an officer he went out to reconnoitre a village from which it was presumed the Hun had been cleared out. But not quite.
The officer and Sapper McInerney ran into 25 of the enemy concealed in a trench, including two officers. They were promptly compelled to cave in, and were marched back as prisoners to the British lines. Sapper McInerney was formerly employed at Cadzow Colliery, he enlisted in 1914 in the A. and S. Highlanders, but was subsequently transferred to the R. E. He has been in France since September 1915.
In November of last year he was wounded, but sufficiently recovered to again take his place in the fighting line, where he has now distinguished himself. His parents reside at 8 Lamb Street, Hamilton. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 26/10/1918 page 4. (Wilma S. Bolton 2012)


Captain W. Dykes Loudon, Commandant B (Hamilton) Company, 2nd V.B. Scottish Rifles, had just received a very interesting letter from two brothers, Private John and Thomas McEwan, former members of his Company. When the war broke out, they applied, through the local depot, to join the Regulars in order to go to the front, but found the regulations were against them.
Nothing daunted, they paid their passage to Cape Town, and their letter, which is as follows, tells its own tale as to their subsequent movements: “Victoria West Camp, Cape Colony 12th Dec., 1899.—Sir—My brother and I arrived in Cape Town on 25th November, and joined the South African Light Horse, a regiment of cavalry raised by the Imperial Government for service against the Boers. We are presently stationed behind the base at Dr Aar to guard the lines of communication and to check any attempt by the local Dutch to assist the enemy.
My squadron (F) patrols a large district, while my brother, who belongs to E, is stationed about 30 miles up country. I was promoted ambulance sergeant a week ago. We get good pay—food, however is scarce—5s a day for a trooper, with 2s 6d extra for rations. The regiment is a very mixed lot, the only qualification being ability to ride and shoot. We have English, Irish, Scotch, Canadians, American cowboys, Australians, New Zealanders, Swedes, French and Swiss in our squadron, many of whom have seen active service in different parts of the world. Our commander is a retired Major of the Blues.
This camp from which I write is a miserable hole—the sandstorms nearly blind us, and we shall be very glad when we advance further up country.” Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 6/1/1900 page 3.
Wilma Bolton 2012.





DEATH OF AN AGED RESIDENT. The Low Waters district has lost “Granny” as the children around the area loved to call Mrs Janet Brownlie, of 10 Corporation Buildings. Born in Bannockburn, she came to Hamilton as a bride of 19 fully sixty-four years ago, and she has resided in Low Waters since that early period in her life. Predeceased by her husband, she is survived by the married members of her family, forty grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. She died on Monday night to the regret of neighbours and many friends and not least the children who constantly had experience of her kindliness and interest. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 7/1/1933 page 6                                      Wilma S. Bolton. 2012




A few friends and well-wishers met last Saturday evening to do honour to Mr Thomas Campbell in the occasion of his leaving Neilsland Colliery to take up a more lucrative position in South Africa.

After a splendid tea purveyed by Mrs Lockhead in her usual good style, Mr David Campbell who presided, in a neat speech spoke of Mr Campbell as an industrious workman, and wished him every success in the land of his adoption. He then called on Mr David Robertson, who made the presentations in an appropriate manner. Mr Campbell in accepting a handsome dressing case, thanked one and all for the kind gift.

Songs and recitations were rendered by Messrs Reid, Brownlie, McInnes, Riddle, Calder, Brown, Robertson, Cochrane, Campbell, Maxwell, Kerr and Russell, and a happy evening terminated with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 20/3/1915 page 4.   Wilma S. Bolton. 2012