For those of you who do not already know me, my name is Garry McCallum, and I am the founder of Historic Hamilton. I was born in 1978, to parents Janette McCallum and Gus Sillars. I was brought up in Burnbank, and in my younger years, I predominantly lived on various streets around the Jungle. The streets where I lived, will sound familiar to most of you, these include Donaldson Street, Gordon Terrace, Milton Terrace, Livingston Street, Farm Terrace, Russell Street and Reid Street, which was the last house I lived in with my mum.
When I was a young boy, the Jungle was my playground and as well as playing around the streets there, I loved nothing better than hanging around at Udston Woods with my friends. We had rope swings over the burn and used to run across the green pipe with ease. We also went down to Carters Woods and had adventures down there too.
In my teenage years, I was a fanatic of the 1990s Rave Scene and attended most of the Big Raves like The Rezerection and Judgement Day events. I was a stage dancer at the Source under 18s, the Barrowlands, as well as the Heavens, which were held at the Motherwell Civic Centre, and I also danced on stage at the Rezerection. I was a bit of a rebel and appeared on most of the Rezerection videos and one of my claim to Fames was when I attended a Rezerection event in Edinburgh, where me and my mates started climbing up the centre pole in front of 5,000 Ravers and dancing on it 30 foot above people’s heads – as you can imagine, the police stopped the music half way through DJ Marc Smith’s set and told us to get down so, kitted out in our Rave Suits, with the black and white smiley face on the back, all decided to jump down before we all got lifted.
Later, I became a DJ and I really had a passion for this. I featured in an M8 Magazine, New Generation club DJ, and played in various places including Room at the Top in Bathgate and The Ice Factory in Perth. I did this for around five years and ran club nights at Room at the top. I decided to put this life behind me when my first son was born, for me, it was time to calm down and do the family thing.
I met my wife Emma in 1999 and we got married in 2002. We now have three boys which we named Daniel, Ryan and Caiden. I currently work as a Sales Executive for a large telecommunications company and really enjoy my work.
In 2009, I caught a bad strain of pneumonia and I was in Wishaw hospital for a month and spending a week in High dependency it was touch and go, which really worried my family. When I got out of Wishaw hospital I spent another two months at home recovering and to keep me sane I had to think of something to do, so I decided to research my family history.
I was always intrigued by my own family history, which I knew nothing about until I started to look back into my family’s past, where I uncovered a world of stories which included tragic deaths, murders and even a family member who took on the Duke of Argyle when she was evicted from her home. This story made headlines in Dunoon in the year 1867 and a few years ago I appeared with this story in the History Scotland magazine.
Since a very young age I have had a huge interest in the history of my hometown of Hamilton. Writing about Hamilton does take up a lot of my free time, but I like nothing more than uncovering an old forgotten Hamilton story or finding out about family history of former Hamiltonian’s.
In 2016 I was contacted by David Farrell (DJ Romeo) who worked on the People’s History Show on STV and I was asked to appear on the popular TV show to do a talk on the Hamilton Baths. Although it was short notice (To be on TV the Next day) I did manage to do the show and really enjoyed telling the nation about Hamilton’s old swimming baths. I have also had my stories from Historic Hamilton published in the History Scotland magazine’s website which was fantastic and before that I had a section written about me in my local newspaper, The Hamilton Advertiser, which in turn they published my story on the Daily Record’s website.
I hope that you like what I do on Historic Hamilton and that it brings as much joy to you, as it does to me when I write a story.
Garry L McCallum