Miners Evictions.
This picture is for illustration purposes only and is not from the actual Eddlewood evictions.

Printed in the Dundee Courier Friday 22 October 1897

Yesterday morning the Eddlewood ejections were resumed.  About eight o’clock about eighty constables drove up under Superintendent Anderson, and were posted at the entrances to the Rows with orders to let no one either in or out. The Strike Committee had previously warned the inmates of what was to happen by sending round the bellman.

Messrs, Gilmour and Robertson were excluded from the Rows at first, but were afterwards admitted. Mr Smellie was also present. The enforcement of the warrants was again entrusted to T. H. Bell and F. Cassells, sheriff officers, and they had with them nearly thirty assistants. They were conveyed by rail to Meikle Earnock Station, and thence to a joiner’s shop adjoining the Rows.

At ten minutes past eight they emerged from the shop, escorted by police, and were slightly hooted. A number carried augurs, hammers, pincers, and other implements for breaking open doors, if necessary. There were seventeen warrants, divided into two sections. The officers cleared a couple of houses simultaneously. No resistance was offered until Nos. 38 and 44 were reached. They were barricaded, and the work of breaking open the doors proved difficult, but was ultimately  accomplished, and the furniture and bedding removed.

From 44 a baby in a cradle was carried out by the officers. The ejected parties furniture was lying in front of the house ready for removal to temporary premises at Cadzow by a lorry provided by the Strike Committee, who expect to provide for 171 persons. A number of other evictions were carried out, one or two of them taking nearly half -an -hour.

The work in the Row was then completed, and the officers left to carry out their work at the village of Meikle Earnock. The officers were escorted to Meikle Earnock by the police, followed by a large crowd, jeering and hooting.

A stand was made in front of a house at the entrance to the village, but on going inside the officers found the man’s wife ill, and did not execute the warrant. Another house had its door firmly fixed with a large stone. On returning to the colliery office the officers had refreshments, afterwards leaving in a special carriage. Mr Smellie and Mr Gilmour addressed the crowd, praising their behaviour, and condemning the law which allowed such scenes.

Agnes Scott’s Monument of Memories Part 4 Printed in the Hamilton Advertiser on the 24 June 1966.


In the late twenties, William (or Bill) Anderson, a grandson of the aforementioned Thomas Anderson, became aware of the health-giving benefits derived from physical training and started a course of gymnastics. Others got curious, then interested, so Bill and his cousin William Allan, at present town chamberlain of Campbeltown,  together with John Neilson and Adam Steel, founded Burnblea physical culture club which met nightly in the Anderson home. Unlike the scouts or Boys’ Brigade, where the leaders were older men, this was a club run by youths for youths, and it proved an instant success.

So many young men wanted to join that the founders commenced a search for premises. Mr Sherret, the butcher who had taken over the farm-steading when Bent farm was vacated by Abie Brownlie, let them have the barn for 5 Shillings per night. Aladdin oil lamps were bought to light the place and bales of hay were used as mats. For the sum od sixpence per meeting, members enjoyed every minute of their strenuous exercise and quite a number became proficient weight-lifters. Part of the fun was a dip in the big boilers of cold water.

The barn was not the choicest of premises, however, and with the ever-growing membership a friend suggested that Anderson contact Mr A K Foulis of Hamilton Estates. Bill did this and permission to use the riding school was granted in 1930. This proved an ideal arrangement and the 150 members met for three hours every Tuesday and Friday evening. For the nominal sum of 10 Shillings per month, lighting, heating and bathing facilities were included.


The lads were delighted with this generous offer and the Boxing Marquis, the present Duke of Hamilton, became their hero.They were well acquainted with johnnie Brown, who sparred with the Marquis, and they now felt they knew the nobleman too. Later they maintained a lively interest in the Duke’s flying adventures, especially his flight over Everest.

A number of young ladies heard of the success of the club and asked Mr Anderson to form a female group. Bill was hesitant at firs, but when a deputation of girls from Gilchrist’s Bakery approached him he was persuaded and so in 1932, with a membership of 30, Hamilton’s first league of Health and Beauty was formed. Members paid an annual subscription of two shillings, plus sixpence attendance fee. An ante-room in the old Town Hall was rented and the ladies met there once weekly. After a few weeks, larger premises were necessary and the Masonic Hall was rented for one evening a week at 12s 6d per night.

Every kind of training apparatus was purchaser and the membership  rose quickly to 120. Social evenings, dances and hiking expeditions brought the sexes together and both clubs had a continued run of success until they terminated, the physical culture club because of the war and the league of Health and Beauty because of the many other interests of the founders.

One fellow, James Lang still has his membership card which he carries around as a memento of the many happy evenings spent in congenial company. A few have a better reminder for they found romance. Bill Anderson and Adam Steel fall into this group, as they married members of the League of Health and Beauty.


Like most of Hamilton, Burnblea Street is undergoing big changes. Police houses have long since replaced Chassels’ tenement and during 1963-65 burgh houses and a new self service Co-operative licence store were erected on the vacant field and on Nicholson’s site. The other tenements  have been ear marked for early demolition and soon all individuality will have been erased from the street. Instead of the once beautiful stone tenements, one shall find new brick and roughcast dwellings; inferior in my opinion, but for the fact that they contain kitchenettes and bathrooms. A few people, however, are reluctant to move when they compare their present rentals with the high rents of the council houses, for therein  lies a problem far greater than the lack of a bathroom.

Hamilton’s Cholera pit.

The Hamilton Cholera Burial site.

A cholera pit was a burial place used in a time of emergency when the disease was prevalent. Such mass graves were often unmarked and were placed in remote or specially selected locations. Public fears of contagion, lack of space within existing churchyards and restrictions placed on the movements of people from location to location also contributed to their establishment and use. Many of the victims were poor and lacked the funds for memorial stones, however memorials were sometimes added at a later date.

The marker stone for the mass cholera burial.

Often the bodies of Cholera victims were wrapped in cotton or linen and doused in coal-tar or pitch before placing into a coffin. Each burial was in a pit 8 ft deep and liberally sprinkled with quicklime. The bodies were sometimes burnt before interment.

As Scottish industry flourished and more people were drawn towards urban areas, overcrowding became a serious problem. The result was overcrowding and slum areas, which were to become the scourge of Scotland’s towns & cities for many years. Conditions in the slums were appalling.

Hamilton was no exception to this illness and by 1831 there were around 10,000 people living in the town and most of the inhabitants of the burgh lived in, or near, the triangle bounded by Muir Wynd, Castle Street and Cadzow Street. There were very few toilets and the few that were here, were shared by hundreds of people, so the cholera epidemic in Hamilton would have spread very quickly.

The bodies of these poor people would have to be buried somewhere, and as the Old Hamilton parish church was quite full and they didn’t want to risk contamination, they dug a cholera pit over the wall to the west of the church yard. The bodies didn’t rest in peace for too long though, as 56 years later in 1881, the Hamilton Bowling club were looking for new ground and acquired the land where the mass grave was and built their brand new bowling green.

Today the Hamilton Bowling club-house now sits on the land where the poor cholera victims are buried and the marker stone has indeed been moved twice from it’s original position but it has been kept as a mark of respect to the poor souls and it sits proudly beside the entrance of the club-house.

Cholera Cemetery.
The Hamilton Bowling Club.

There is an estimated 137 people buried at this site and sadly their names are lost in the mist of time, maybe one day the names of these old Hamiltonian’s will be found through family research and other resources, if they do then I for one would like to see a plaque dedicated to them.

Cholera Cemetery.3
The marker stone that reads: This stone marks the graves of the many poor who died of cholera 1832.



A daud ‘o coal hewed oot the the groun
disna weigh a lot yet helped to make a toon.
Doon and doon the miner, further doon wis he
to hew that coal the miner wis doon upon his knee.

Maister in his parlour room, selling aff the coal
nae thoucht to the miner there struggling doon the hole.
They fancy palaces built yet miners ne’er laid a brick
struggling wi damp and gas an only got the s**t.

The holes jist got deeper the Bings higher rose
nae thoucht to hooses above as deeper doon shaft goes.
Bings arny a bony sicht wi slag an dirt anaw
hooses scattered roon aboot aye suffer from the blaw.

Wains skitter roon the toon an bings ur playgruns tae
mithers seeking oot the kids cry up the bing the day!
Wi gum and slag and coal in bags an slidin doon in trays
fitbaw wis the drug ‘o men the bing the wains richt craze.

We playd in slag an dirt aw day t’licht was stole awa
then in the street licht end the day playn at fitbaw.
Miners didnae aw git hame the bing did no come cheap
we didna know that some ‘o them sleep b’neath oor feet.

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Kit Duddy