James (Jimmy) McKay 1900-1958

Jimmy McKay.1

Elaine McKay Millar sent us this picture of her granddad. Elaine told us:

“My granddad James (Jimmy) McKay was born in 1900 at 130 Glasgow Rd. Hamilton. At various times, his family also lived at No’s. 170 & 162. His parents both died at 68 Kenilworth Crescent.

I never knew him because he died in 1958 at age 57. He was the eldest of 5 boys and all his brothers also died young. As they were R.C. can anyone tell me which school they would have attended? Also, where could I find an image of Glasgow Rd in the early 1900’s? Thank you”.



Elaine, I am unsure how much of your family history that you know but your grandfather was born on the 28th of August 1900. Jimmy was the son of John McKay & Bridget McCay, who were both from Letterkenny, Donegal in Ireland.

Jimmy McKay.2

Your great grandparents came to Scotland between November 1899 & August 1900. When your great grandfather John moved to Hamilton he was working as a Railway Platelayer.

Jimmy McKay.3

I am unsure what school your grandfather would have attended; however, the closest schools were Glenlee primary & Greenfield secondary school. Even though he was a Roman Catholic, he may have attended these schools but i cant confirm this.

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The chapel that the family would most likely have attended would have been St. Cuthbert’s as this was the closest one in the area.

I do not have an exact picture of 130 Glasgow Road but do have one that was taken in 1900 a wee bit further down the street. The picture below was taken at the tenements of 90-98 Glasgow Road, which would have been a familiar site to your grandfather. These tenements are still standing to this day.

Jimmy McKay.5.jpg

I did also see that someone has researched your family and found a picture of your granddad in his younger years when he was in the army.

I hope that this sheds some light on to your question.


Hamilton Volunteer Firefighters, WW2.

Hamilton Volounteer fire fighters-Gillian Brown.

Gillian Brown sent us this picture of the Hamilton Volunteer Firefighters taken during WW2. Gillian told us:

“This is a picture of my grandfather Frank Riddell, middle front row, as a volunteer firefighter during WWII.

Unfortunately I don’t know anything about the volunteer firefighters, but my grandfather had a sweetie shop, Riddell’s, on Townhead Street after the war which has been pictured before on your site”.

Do you recognise any of the men & women in this picture? If you do, then please get in touch.


Pats icecream van picture from Billy Berekis


In this picture we have L-R, Andy Anderson, Morris Anderson and Billy Berekis.

The man in the Ice Cream van is called Pat and from what i have heard is very well liked. David Cairns wrote on the Meikle Earnock Facebook page ” That he’d sometimes get oot the van and play Fitba with us and throw out a big bag of sweeties as he took off in the van. Just a good man”.

What are your memories of Pat’s Ice cream van?



Eddlewood Boating Pond from Billy Berekis on the Meikle Earnock pageWM.1.

Billy Berekis kindly shared these pictures of the Eddlewood boating pond and yes, that’s correct folks, Eddlewood did have one.

Eddlewood Boating Pond from Billy Berekis on the Meikle Earnock pageWM.

In the picture we have Billy Berekis himself along with his friend Steven Forrest. The pictures were taken in 1970 and the boating pond closed around 1973/4.

Do you have any pictures of the Eddlewood boating pond that you would like to share with us? If not, why not share your memories of it.



Site of old ruined bridge.

Julie McManus contacted the page as she was looking for some information on her great uncle who tragically drowned as a young man. Julie asked:

“Hi, my great uncle James Wilson sadly died in the River Clyde aged 24(see copy of his death certificate below). He resided at 59 Hall Street at this time. Would anyone remember the circumstances and be able to provide me and my Mum with further information please? Thank you”.

James Wilson DeathWM

Hi Julie, here is what I found.
On Sunday the 11th of June 1950 it was a hot summers day and James along with his younger brother and like many people at the time took to the river to have a quick dip to cool down.

They chose to swim at the old ruined bridge that had been out of service for many years and they were diving into the water from one of the old piers. James was last seen alive by his younger brother as he watched him dive in and never surfaced.

It is thought that James either took cramp in the water or hit some submerged rocks. When James never surfaced, his younger brother went to raise the alarm. People tried in vain to find James that day, however, he was not found.

The old bridge over the clyde..WMPNG

The next day on the Monday, dragging efforts were carried out as they tried again to find James and all efforts were made by searching the river to find his body and it was found.

James was laid to rest on the 14th of June 1950 and buried at the Hamilton West Cemetery. He is buried in this lair along with his mother Sarah, his sister Veronica, John & Mary Hannah, Francis Murphy and his step mum Elizabeth. There is no headstone for the family but only a stone to hold flowers.

This was not the first time that tragedy struck this family as James mother Sarah McAlinden prematurely gave birth to a daughter on the 26th of February 1931 and they called her Veronica. Sadly, little veronica only managed to stay alive for 1 hour. She was born and died at 38 Postgate in the auld town.

James’s mum then died two days later at the house on the 28th of February 1931, the cause of death was pneumonia.
These times were very difficult indeed for this family and I feel sorry for the family and especially James’s father. James’s father did of course find happiness again and he remarried on the 31st of December 1932 to a lady named Elizabeth Callison.

Isaac Wilson death.

To add to the tragedy of this family, James second wife Elizabeth Callison died in 1949. You also told me that James’s half-brother Isaac, who witnessed the drowning also died young when he was only 16.

I looked up his death and found that he was cleaning windows in Killearn where he fell from a ladder and fractured his spine. He later died on the 24th of March 1952 in Killearn hospital; the actual cause of death was pneumonia. I could not find the death for James Snr.

Julie, I do wish that I could have found more info on your great uncle, but this is all that I could find. Perhaps someone will have a picture of him so that we can put a name to a face. Please let me know if you do find any other information.