Historic Hamilton is now 2 years old and we have reached another milestone on the Facebook page. We have now reached an incredible 13,000 likes! Thank you to Greg Morrison who is from Ayrshire who was our 13,000 subscriber.

The success of the Facebook page is down to you and we would like to thank you for your continued support.

Please keep sending us your old family pictures, stories & Ancestry requests and in turn, we will continue to write about Hamilton and document it’s people and uncover forgotten stories lost in the mist of time.

Thank’s for spending time with us.

Historic Hamilton.

Doherty’s Pool Team 1992

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In the picture, we have Doherty’s Pool Team league cup winners. C.1992. In the picture is Alexander “Axe” Murphy who was captain receiving the winner’s cheque. One of the other team players in the picture is Tam Kelly (Yellow Cardigan) Sadly Axe Murphy passed away on Saturday. Do you recognise anyone else in the picture? If you do let us know.

The picture is courtesy of Alexanders Grandson Terrence Murphy.


Old Neilsland House1

On Wednesday the 3rd of September 1902 The Hamilton shooting case, which caused quite a sensation at the time of its occurrence, came up for disposal before Lord McLaren, in the Glasgow High Court. Justiciary Buildings, Jail Square. This Shooting had taken place on the Third of July 1902 at the Old Neilsland House.
The accused was a pleasant looking servant girl called Janet Laird, who was 20 years old and was smartly attired in a blue costume, and had felt her position keenly, and wept bitterly while she sat in the dock. She was charged with having, on 3d July last in Neilsland House, Hamilton, occupied by Colonel Rutherford, discharged a breech loading gun, (A Shot Gun) charged with cartridges containing powder and pellets at Alfred Annette, who was an officer’s servant, with intent to murder him.
Mr Morton, who appeared for accused, tendered on her behalf a plea of guilty assault with intent to do serious bodily harm. This plea was accepted by Mr Dove Wilson who prosecuted. The Accused, he said, was about 20 years age, and went into domestic service with Colonel Rutherford, commanding the 71st Regimental District, 28th May that year, bearing good recommendations from her previous mistress.
The only other servant in the house was Alfred Annett and after Janet entered Colonel Rutherford’s service her habits became somewhat idle and dirty, and this led to friction between her and the other servant, who had occasionally to some her work. Eventually Annett complained to Colonel Rutherford and the complaint was made about June 27, however, Colonel Rutherford seemed to have postponed his decision to dismiss Janet until the 3rd of July where Colonel Rutherford sent for the young woman and dismissed her from his service, giving her a month’s wages in lieu of notice.
The Colonel left that evening do some regimental duties, and shortly after his departure Annette, who from the evidence did not appear to have been on good terms with the Janet Laird, went into a small room to write some letters. He sat down with his back to the door, which shortly afterwards was opened by Janet, who said: “You have done me harm; I will now do you harm.” At this time, Janet Laird had in her hand a double-barrelled Shotgun which she had taken from the wall Colonel Rutherford’s bedroom.
The gun was not loaded it the time, but three cartridges happened to on the table, and Janet had evidently taken them. As soon as she had spoken she discharged the gun, and from the position of the chair in which Annette sat, it was little short of marvellous that he was not killed on the spot with the pellets from the cartridge just missing him. His face, however, was marked with powder.
Mr Morton said that the case was in some respects as sad a one as had ever engaged the Court. Although he could not set up plea of Insanity there was doubt that Janet was distinctly weak-minded from the time she entered Colonel Rutherford’s service until she left.
It would have come out in evidence that Colonel Rutherford himself came to the conclusion that Janet was not right in her mind, not that was insane, but that she was weak. He then gave instances of some extraordinary things that Janet had done while at Hamilton and argued that they seemed to point to the fact that Janet was somewhat erratic in her behaviour.
On the morning of the affray, she gave one the silly little laughs which were characteristic her. She was not in a temper and did not appear like one to commit a crime. It was quite clear that she was not at all a person of ordinary mental capacity, and the Colonel although he did not say as much to her, had evidently formed that conclusion also.
The gun had two cartridges, but after firing the first cartridge she threw down the gun and ran off. Janet had never been in trouble before and the Judge thought that the ends of justice would be met with a short sentence.
Lord McLaren in sentencing the accused said that he was sorry to see a respectable girl like Janet to be in court. He was willing to give all the weight he could to what had been said in her favour. If the case had gone to trial, and she had been found guilty of assault with intent to murder, he would have dealt seriously with Janet. But as it was, it was a case for substantial punishment. Lord McLaren could not take it that the gun went off by accident, but it had been discharged with intent to do mischief. In these circumstances, he sentenced her to Six Months Imprisonment. Janet was carried off to Jail in a sorry state.
It was also noted that some of Janet’s friends were prepared to take care of her when she got out of prison. She had already spent the past two months in jail.
How things have changed since 1902! Today if you tried to kill some with a double-barrelled shotgun, you would most certainly get life in prison and not just six months. I wanted to know what became of Janet Laird and Alfred Annett so I decided to go and see what I could find.
Alfred was born around 1876 at Banbury, London. He was the son of James & Charlotte Annett; his father was a butcher in London. He came from a large family and in 1881 he was living at Islington, London. He joined the Army in 1894 and this is possibly where he met Colonel Rutherford. At some point between 1895 & 1902, he left the Army and gained employment at Neilsland House working as Colonel Rutherford’s servant.
After the shooting incident, a year later in 1903, Alfred married Janet McGregor in Hamilton. In 1905, he later moved to 27 Kirk Road in Cambusnethan where he is now working as a Postman. In this marriage, he had 5 children.
Between 1906 & 1907 Alfred moved back down to England he settled at Sunbury in Middlesex. He died on the 17th of January 1952 at Sanbury.
Unfortunately, after the court case, the trail go’s cold and I can’t find any further info on Janet Laird.
** The word Slovenly is what your great aunt Mabel might call you if you came to high tea without a necktie. It means “messy or unkempt,” but is a word you probably won’t hear messy or unkempt people using. This is not a word often used in modern day.



Scotland provided 26,335 of the quarter-of-a-million men who registered throughout Britain last Saturday under the Military Training Act provisions. The age group, the fourth to register since compulsory military service was introduced comprised the following:
(1) men who have reached the age of 20 since December 1, 1939, but before January 1, 1940 (i.e. those born between December 2, 1919, and December 31, 1919, both dated inclusive) and
(2) men who have reached the age of 23 since December 31, 1938, but before December 2, 1939, (i.e. those born between January 1, 1916, and December 1, 1916, both dates inclusive.
Of the 26,335 registered in Scotland, Lanarkshire provided 3119. Enrolments at the various county Employment Exchanges were as follows (the figures of contentious objectors being given on parenthesis): Uddingston 137 (3) Shotts 254 (4) Cambuslang 235 (12), Motherwell 540 (13), Larkhall 306 (5) Airdrie 329 (12) Hamilton 420 (10), Coatbridge 391 (5), Wishaw 520 (9).
The total number of conscientious objectors was 66 or slightly over 2 percent. In the December registration of the 20-22 age group the total registrations were slightly less, 2966, while the conscientious objectors numbered 52, about 1.6 percent.
Among those registering last Saturday 453 preferred the Navy, 32 the Marines, and 11 the Navy or Marines, while 130 expressed a preference for Air Flying, 458 for air-ground service and 25 air flying or ground service. The remainder preferred Army service. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 24/2/1940. The article was Transcribed by Wilma Bolton and sent to Historic Hamilton.


Back Row.JPG

The following story was printed in The Hamilton Advertiser on the 21/1/1933 and was transcribed by Wilma Bolton.
Another old landmark in the town is fated to disappear within the next few days. A start had been made with the demolition of that angle of building behind the Public Library long known as Fore Row and Back Row.
For nearly 150 years these two rows of houses have been a conspicuous object, overlooking the Common Green from their loft perch, and as seen from Cadzow Bridge in these latter days, contrasting unfavourable with those palatial villas which adorn the slightly higher reaches of Cadzow Burn.
The fues for these houses now being removed were given off round about 1782. The superior was then John Campbell, of Saffronhall, Hamilton and some half- a-dozen pieces of ground were separately feud. In the fue disposition then granted in favour of the various feurs the ground is disponed with the liberty and privilege “of passing upon foot by the front of the said houses through a part of my said other ground to and from the Burn of Hamilton for water according as I shall lay off a road for the purpose, said passage to be shut up upon Sundays, and an hour after sunset every other day.”
Cadzow Burn was then a stream of some considerable utility in the town recourse being had to it not only for washing purposes but for domestic supply of drinking water. When the Fore and Back Rows were built, the site would be well on the outskirts of the town, and as dwellings, they housed in some instances citizens of status and substance.
In the Fore Row are three very characteristic Scottish houses with their steep roofs, stone skews and circular moulded club skews. But the house at the corner of Muir Street is particularly interesting. Architecturally it is an interesting little gem, with its projecting quoins, rusticated arched doorway, well-proportioned windows, stone cornice, Scottish dormer windows and stone ridge. The front wall has been cemented at some later date, but, in its original state when the stonework was exposed it must have been a very attractive and imposing front.
There is no date on but it appears to have been erected in the early eighteenth century. The design is not unlike the Parish Church which may indeed have provided the builder with some inspiration.
Latterly these 150 years old dwellings were adjudged to be wretched hovels, only fit for removal. A new block of Corporation houses is to be built on the site and the Dean of Guild as already approved of the plans.
Considerable improvement will be affected in Church Street by the demolition of the range of former dwellings between the two common lodging houses there—Greenside and Hamilton Home. Plans have been prepared for a new lot of houses on this site consisting of a block facing the street, and a hostel at the back overlooking the Common Green.
This will almost complete the very substantial scheme of improvement which wiped out the New Wynd, and which transformed Grammar School Square, Back o’ Barns and the Postgate.
Thus steadily is old Hamilton falling a victim to the modern conceptions of public health and housing.


Greenfield Rows..JPG

On Saturday the 15th of April 1922 a charge of defrauding the Labour Exchange was preferred against James Todd, a rivet-maker, residing Greenfield Rows, Hamilton.
The Fiscal explained that the offence here was that the accused had concealed from the authorities at the Labour Exchange the fact that for two days had been working in the rivet works.
Accused James Todd told the Judge “I was under the belief that could work and make 20s a week without interfering with my right to the dole.”
Sheriff Stodart told Todd, I see no reason of a sentence £3, or twenty days’ imprisonment.
It is unknown to me what option James Todd had taken.
I wonder if this kind of punishment would deter able-working people from signing on in modern day Hamilton!

The Dowds & Monaghan Family of Eddlewood Rows.

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The Dowds & Monaghan Family of Eddlewood Rows.

Peter Dowds sent us this fantastic picture of children from the 1930s, who lived at Eddlewood Rows and asked Historic Hamilton to look at the family history of his grandparents.

Here is what we found:

In the middle of the photo is Peter’s auntie, Bridget Monaghan with her
arms around Peters mother Mary Monaghan. Peter told Historic Hamilton that he doesn’t know who the other children in the picture are.

Thomas Monagahan1

Peters mum Mary was born in 1920 and his auntie Bridget was born on the 23 July 1913, in the family home of 22 Eddlewood Rows at 5:00 am. Peter’s grandparents on his mum’s side were Thomas Monaghan & Nora Meaghan from Belmullet, Co, Mayo in Ireland and were married on the 8th February 1907, in their home town of Belmullet.

They emigrated to Scotland just after they were married and shortly after their first child Thomas, was born. Thomas, who was Peters uncle, was born on the 26th May 1908, at 11 Brown Street in Hamilton. Thomas’ father had gained employment and was working doing odd jobs as a general labourer. Peters auntie Sabina was born in 1910 also at the family home of 11 Brown Street.

Bridget & Mary (who are in the group picture) were 2 of 6 children. All the family & relatives settled in Eddlewood, Meikle Earnock and Quarter Road. Peter spent his younger years in Hamilton and he used to work for McKeon’s the “bookies”, he worked in Castle Street, Almada Street, Cadzow Street and in Paisley shops. He later joined the Lanarkshire Police and was posted to Baillieston.

He then moved to England for a few years and eventually left England and emigrated to Hong Kong where he joined Royal Hong Kong Police. After 9 years’ service, Peter emigrated once again, this time over to New Zealand and became a citizen of New Zealand on the 16th December 1974 where he now has settled with his family.

Going back to Hamilton, the houses in Eddlewood Rows consisted of two rooms with 2-bed recesses in each room which had drawers under them for storage. There was a coal range in one room and a fireplace in the other. The toilet was in the entrance way before the entry to the main part of the house. There was a copper and mangle in the communal wash house with communal clothes lines facilities. If you were the right height as a kid and you were running or walking in this area at night you were liable to get choked or nearly decapitated if someone had forgotten to take down their clothes line, Eddlewood Rows as all mining communities in the 1930s weren’t very well lit up at night! There was also a communal “midden” in the same area.

Thomas Mohanan2

Some of the family surnames that lived at Eddlewood in the 1930s are listed below, they would have more than likely been the parents of the children in this picture.

John Marshall, Robert McCrum, John Henry, James Haughim? Thomas Martin, James McInnes, Alexander Crookston, John Lindsay, Robert Rodger, Harry Gray, Archibald Craig, John Cadenhead, Archibald Kerr, James Addis, William McDowall, William Wilkie, Joseph Addis, Thomas Monaghan (Peters relative), Allan Wilkie, James O’Donnell, Robert Patterson, James Wilkie, Daniel McCarthy, Edward McKenna, William Maxwell, John Riddell, John O’Neill, Alexander Hodge, Michael Fowler, John Neill.

I asked Peter what he could tell me about his dad’s side of the family and Peter told us that the family were Dowd’s and lived in the road that run down the side of the old gasworks in Hamilton, he told me that they were the gas works on the left coming down from Eddlewood.

I did a bit of digging and I found that Peter’s dad (who was called John) was born in Glasgow and married his mum Mary on the 26th of October 1940 at St. Anne’s Chapel in Hamilton. At the time they married, Peter’s dad was living at 4 Burnside Lane across from the Gasworks, his mum was living at 62 Eddlewood Rows with her parents.

Peter also didn’t know his grandmother, as she had passed away when he was very young, however, I managed to find her. Peter, your grandmother died when you were 5 years old on the 7th of August 1948 at her house in 4 Burnside Lane. She died at 11:00 am and the cause of death was Myocardial Degeneration (Heart Disease). Your uncle James was the informant of her death. A strange coincidence, but at the time your uncle James was living at 15 Farm Terrace in Burnbank, my own grandparents lived at 17 Farm Terrace and may have possibly known your uncle James as they would have been neighbours.

Cecellia Dowds Death 1948 Hamilton.jpg

On his dad’s side, Peters grandparents were Peter Dowds & Cecilia McAtasney and his grandfather Peter was a Coal Hewer. In 1940, they were living at 4 Burnside Lane. His grandparents were a family from Maryhill in Glasgow and were married on the 18th of July 1908 at Maryhill. When they married, his grandfather was living at 46 Kelvin Street and his grandmother was living at 8 Park Place, she was a Paper Mill Worker in Glasgow.

When I looked back further I found that Peter’s great grandparents on his dad’s side, were John Dowds (also a Coal Miner who had died before 1908) and Elizabeth Donnelly. On his gran’s side, his great grandparents were called James McAtasney (a General Labourer) and Mary McGowan.

I also managed to track down another family member for Peter, I found a Helen Fitzpatrick Armstrong and I asked who she was, Peter told us: “My Uncle Peter Dowds married a lady called Helen Armstrong. After he died she sort of vanished from our lives. If it was the same person then she would have been a “good” age.”

Peter, I have found that your auntie Helen Armstrong died in Dunoon in 2008 aged 81. She was born in 1927. This connection has reference to Dowds & Fitzpatrick but as her death certificate will have to be ordered I can’t give you the full details. This Helen was also Born in Hamilton.

We would like to thank Peter for sending us his old family photos.

Do you have an old photo or want to find out what happened to a family member? Send us your pictures and requests and we will look into this for you.