Whenever I think of Hame”” Hamilton”comes into my mind,
The people and the places, they are of a very special kind,
The place has changed so much, over all these many years,
Sometimes, just one wee memory, brings back happy tears,
I spent my youth in this great place, with “happy, happy days,
That’s where my life was shaped, in oh so many many ways,
Not so much the place, but all the people who made this town,,
For passion pride n’ friendship,” Hamiltonians” hold the Crown””
(A Very special toon’)
The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Haney.
Memories of ma maw””
It’s not funny n’ no much joy, if youv’e got sisters, n’ you’re the only boy,,
Wan day they ganged up, they thought they’ed play a wee joke,,
The day they awe decided a wid look realy good, in oor mary’s auld frocke”
Oh ye’le make a loveley wee lassie wis emma’s cries, puttin mascara on ma eyes
They fluffed awe ma hair, n’ stuff, a shouted that’s enough, isobel dabed on a powder puff,,
Oh look at him he looks realy cannae” mary said a know whit let’s caw him fanny”;
Ma da came in ,he near went through the roof, a think he thought a wis a poof’
By this time a wis in a tizzy, ma aunty said he’s no wanny them hienz beans izzy?
Me mam seen a wis in a state, mams know cause mams are realy great,,
Come on she say’s, look at his face yiv gone too far, here son try this trainin Bra””
Very F’n funny Ha, Ha, Fn, Ha,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
June Barbara Hewitt contacted Historic Hamilton and she wrote:
“I received so much wonderful help before I was hoping someone could help me with another puzzle. This is on behalf of a cousin who lives in Australia. We are both hoping for more information about a death.
The particulars are Hugh Logan Cotton Weaver died June 16th 1858 10 Postgate street Hamilton. Death caused by a wound to the throat. Died about 32 hours after infliction of injury. Attended by doctor Wm Stockwith? Hamilton. Last saw him about two hours before his death.
Buried Hamilton Parish Churchyard. Information from Thomas Dykes Esq? Procurator Fiscal. Registered July 5th 1858. We both thought it was a suicide but our question is “If Hugh had taken his life would he have been buried in sacred ground and is there any information in the papers of the time? Thank you for your patience.”
June, I did some further research on this Barbara and it was sadly suicide. Hugh was known to have been “In a temporary state of insanity” at the time he made an attempt to kill himself. I have a question, you stated that his name was Hugh Logan? However, when I looked at his death certificate, the given name was Hugh Kerr, does this make any sense to you? I also found a report, that was printed in the Hamilton Advertiser on the 19th of June 1858 (Page 2) and the given names was Hugh Carr, however, this could be down to the person giving incorrect information to the reporter who covered the story.
Here is a transcribe from the 1858 story on Hugh:
“MELANCHOLY SUICIDE, Early on Tuesday morning, Hugh carr, a weaver to trade, in a state of temporary insanity put a termination to his life by cutting his throat with a razor. The unfortunate man did not go through the operation completely, although the wind-pipe was cut entirely through. He lingered in a very precarious state for about a day, and all efforts to save life failed. deceased was well-known in Hamilton amongst a large circle of acquaintances and has left a wife and family to lament his untimely end.”
Hugh was married to Magdalene and they had at lease 3 children between them, they were William, Magdelene & Hugh. Magdalene doesn’t seem to have married again after her husband’s death and she later moved to 25 Campbell Street and gained employment as a housekeeper.(1851) She later moved to 45 Chuch street with her daughter Magdalene, Daughter Margaret and her Grandson Hugh (1871) I don’t see any trace of the family in Hamilton after the 1871 census.
Thomas Dykes who was mentioned as the procurator fiscal was one of three well-known brothers in Hamilton, His Brothers were Dr William Dykes of Woodview House, Burnbank Road & Dr John Dykes of Woodside House, Woodside Walk, Dr John who was a Naval Doctor and was tragically killed when he was hit by a train at Whifflet station in Coatbridge in 1863.
It is noted that Hugh was laid to rest in the Old parish Churchyard! I have attached a Plan showing where the churchyard graves are located and I can only see one lair opened around this time and this is the same family one then he is buried at Lair 323, This lair was opened in 1832 by another Hugh Kerr,could this possibly be his father? I don’t have Hugh’s parents details, as the informant who registered the death did not supply the registrar with the names. If he was indeed buried inside the grounds of Churchyard, then this would have been at the minister’s discretion.
I have also paid a visit to the old churchyard today and I have taken some pictures for you, these headstones are the ones shown on the map. As the headstones are 184 years old, they are really worn away, I didn’t have a crayon and paper, or I would have taken a rubbing for you.
I love doing family research and sometimes, things just land on your lap when you are not looking for it. During yesterday’s research on the murder of James Tyrell, There were three entries on the death certificate that I downloaded, The first two were James and his Grandmother Janet, but the third one was a relation of mine that I never knew about.
The third entry was Patrick Daly who was my 1st cousin 3x removed. Patrick sadly died in infancy at the age of 1 years old when he caught the measles and then pneumonia.
Patric’s parents were Charles Daly & Agnes McNamee, Charles was a coal miner from Rutherglen and Agnes was from Hamilton. At the time when little Patrick died, the family were living at 3 Young Street.
MURDER AND SUICIDE IN HAMILTON. On Saturday evening a painful sensation was caused in Hamilton when it became known that a named Mrs Wilkinson, aged 53, had a fit of insanity killed her grandson, James Tyrell, aged six years, and afterwards taken her own life.
Six years ago she was dismissed from lunatic asylum as cured and while in the last three years or so she has from time to time shown symptoms of a return of her old malady, it was not considered necessary to put her under restraint.
On Wednesday last she was in Glasgow, and seemed bright and well, on Thursday, there was a change in her condition, and when, about three o’clock in the afternoon, she proposed to go to her son-in-law’s Hugh Tyrell, who is assistant to Mr Lynas, pawnbroker, there, and who resides at Gloucester Place, Burnbank Road, her son said, he would go with her.
She consented, and the two left her house in Chapel Street, Hamilton. At the hour stated, on reaching Mr Tyrrell’s house, she became excited, and after being inside for fifteen minutes, left, stating that she would be back in a little while.
She appears to have gone in the direction of the Catholic School, in High Blantyre Road, which the boy attended, and between whom and his grandmother there is said to have been warm attachment.
Meeting the child on the road she induced him to accompany her. She took the direction of Udston, and at Mr Dunn’s farm asked the road to Auchintibber. She was told the way, but instead of following it, struck through the fields and reached the highway near Hillhouse Cottage without crossing the railway.
She turned in to Townhill Farm, and was spoken to in passing through the farmyard by a servant girl, her future course was down the back road towards Earnock mansion- house, and she and the boy were last seen passing the laundry in the direction of Earnock Glen, all further trace of their movements being lost.
Towards night the absence of the boy from his home gave rise to serious apprehensions on the part of his parents, but all their efforts failed to find any trace of him. Next day an organised search was instituted. The old woman and the boy were traced to the back of Earnock Colliery, but here the clue failed, and nothing further concerning their whereabouts could be ascertained.
On Saturday morning, acting upon instructions received from Chief-Constable Millar, of the burgh police, Sargent Clark, Burnbank, made a search in the vicinity of the Earnock estate, taking with him two assistants.
They entered the gate leading to Earnock House and a search of the woods proving fruitless, they proceeded up the burn in the glen, and towards afternoon, they found the two bodies lying in the water.
Mrs Wilkinson’s throat was cut, and she had her little grandson clasped to her breast with his face towards her. There was a wound in the boy’s throat, but not sufficient, it is said, to cause death, and the supposition is that he was drowned. A razor was afterwards found near the place where the bodies were found, the handle and the spring of the blade tied tightly together with the old woman’s boot-lace, as if to afford her fuller control of it. How she came by the razor is a mystery, but it is thought probable that she may have purchased it in Glasgow on the Wednesday. The bodies were conveyed to Hamilton.
Today, I learned the sad news that the former Trades hotel has been demolished. This was one of Burnbank’s landmarks that has dominated the Limetree area since it was built.
When I was younger, I can remember playing at the side of the Trades hotel at the Whiskey Barrels. Today when i was taking pictures of the site, I spoke with Janette McCallum, who was telling me that she can remember the Old homeless men hanging around the front of the building talking and smoking.
Another thing that makes things worse, is that all of the large sandstone blocks that could have been reclaimed and used again has also been destroyed and smashed to bits! This is another little bit of Burnbank, and Hamilton’s history that has been robbed from us.
I am sure that there are still a good number of people around who will remember the co-operative van which for many years parked on waste ground beside the first council houses on the left hand side of Millgate Road. It was a mobile shop, sold all sorts of groceries, was staffed by Charlie Miller and universally referred to as Charlie’s Co van. My Aberdonian mother Peggy Russell used to send me up to buy potatoes and Charlie would weigh them on large scales using big brass weights and then transfer them into the old leather shopping bag she kept for potatoes. On arriving home Peggy inspected the contents to see how much “dirt” the bag contained. If there was too much dried earth attached to the potatoes, she would remove it and send me back up to the van to ask Charlie to give me the same weight in potatoes. Mortified I was and would have done anything but go back up. I looked everywhere but his face when passing on her message, but in retrospect, I don’t blame her, for the potatoes were more or less straight from the fields and could be covered in dried clay with the odd heavy stone mixed in for good measure.
Charlie also sold uncut plain bread which he would remove from a batch of loaves still joined together just as they had been when they came out of the oven at the Co-operative bakery at the corner of Auchincampbell Road. Peggy’s instructions on leaving our prefab was always the same “don’t let him give you an end loaf”. The “end loaf” was the ones at each end of the batch and no one liked them. Her instructions passed on, Charlie would pull the loaf off from the middle of the batch and hand it over for me to wrap in a clean dish towel. The hands which weighed the potatoes also handled the bread. It’s a miracle there wasn’t an epidemic every other week, for I suspect that there were no hand washing facilities in the primitive van and coupled with the fact that it was parked not twenty feet from a swamp moving with flies, the whole scenario was to say the least unhygienic; but that was the way life was then. I suppose because we were exposed to so many illnesses we built up a natural immunity, but serious infections could strike at any time and one summer we were finally all banned from the swamp due to an outbreak of polio. I have to say that Charlie was well respected and I remember him as a nice cheery man.
The site of the van would have given today’s public health department major problems, for it was parked on what appeared to be remnants of the Fairhill colliery pit waste bing, the bottom of which was only feet away from a slimy swamp, complete with grasses, bulrushes and God only knows what else. Childhood memories can remain with you for ever and I can vouch for that, for I am never likely to forget the day when I was about seven years old and happily paddling barefoot in the swamp when I found a dead pike at least 3 feet long with a mouthful of teeth so big and sharp I had nightmares for weeks. I’m sure that it would have had a lot worse than nightmares if the pike had still been alive.The odd dead dog or cat in the water was not an unusual sight either.
This swamp was a mecca for local children and to access it from Millgate Road you had to slide at least thirty feet down a banking of pit waste and dumped rubbish to get to the water, but oh how we loved it. We had a lot of fun there during the spring and summer months. The rising temperatures in early spring wakened large numbers of hibernating frogs and toads and brought them back in their hundreds to their ancestral spawning grounds and the swamp then became a moving mass of amphibians of all shapes, sizes and colours. The frogs laid their eggs encased in clumps of jelly close to the shore and the toads laid long strings of eggs and wrapped them around the pond weeds further out in the water. We would watch with great interest as the round black frogs eggs safely protected by the gelatinous spawn changed into a comma shape and then the commas would then developed into tadpoles. You could see the commas moving and pulsing as the embryonic frogs tried out their developing muscles.To begin with the tadpoles were legless as they swam about the swamp, but as they grew, they developed back ones. The first one to spot a tadpole with back legs felt really chuffed with themselves. Later on they grew front legs and when their tails started to rot and disappear we would have thousands of miniature frogs and toads swimming about the water. It took about twelve to sixteen weeks for this transformation to take place.
Mrs McAlpine, our much loved infant school teacher at Low Waters Primary always welcomed the first jar of frogs spawn into her classroom and she would place them into a fish tank. It was in this classroom that we could watch close up the miracle of the natural developmental cycle of these extremely interesting little creatures. When the tadpoles became tiny frogs we always returned them to the swamp. One year we left it a bit late and on returning one Monday morning we found small frogs hopping over the desks and classroom floor and we gathered them up and returned them to the swamp when school was finished for the day.
Unfortunately, it is rare to spot a frog nowadays, due to the loss of their natural habitat through redevelopment. At one time they were a common sight. The last time I saw frogs was about a quarter to eleven one night when I was driving home over the “back roads” after a busy shift at Hairmyres Hospital. Just after I turned off of Newhousemill Road into Muttonhole Road, I had to stop the car because to my absolute delight, the road was brightly lit by a full moon and moving across it en masse right in front of me were hundreds of frogs newly wakened from their winter hibernation and migrating towards the old reservoir to start their spring breeding cycle. I have to admit I just sat and enjoyed this wonder of nature and when the last of the frogs vanished into the night I finally drove off. I felt so privileged to have witnessed it. For me that night, I was in the right place at the right time.
Charlie’s Co van has long gone and where it stood are two new houses. The swamp has been drained and turned into a football park and the burn now flows unseen and unheard through large concrete pipes deep down in the earth. However, the story does not finish there. One day during the 1970s (approx) the park became the scene of a major emergency when some of the local boys took it into their heads to lift the manhole cover and climb the forty or so feet down the ladder to the water, reputedly to see if they could find any trout. A woman living across from the park witnessed them going into the manhole and stood at her window waiting for them to reappear. As time passed, she became seriously concerned for their safety and quite rightly dialed 999. That call brought every emergency service in the town up to Millgate Road.
There were police cars, ambulances and firemen wearing breathing apparatus. A large crowd of people had gathered both inside and outside the park, among them the mothers of the boys who were out of their minds with worry. Fearing the worst, the women were absolutely distraught as they watched the firemen descend the manhole. The band of underage explorers were thankfully brought back to the surface uninjured and as they emerged one by one into the sunshine, they must have thought that they were having a nightmare, for facing them were lines of emergency personnel; half of Fairhill was staring at them and worst of all was their sobbing mothers. “Oh ma wean” said the mother of the first boy who emerged from the manhole and she ran and clasped him to her breast much to his embarrassment because his pals were watching. Each mother reacted more or less the same; except for one, Teresa, who frantic with an explosive mixture of blind fear and pure relief made a dive for her boy and just for a moment, it looked as if she was going to have a swing at him. I can see it in my mind’s eye as clearly as if it was yesterday and it still makes me laugh. She was some Teresa, everyone liked her. It was certainly a day never to be forgotten. …..