UDSTON ROWS.

Udston Colliery, one of Hamilton’s old coal mines which was opened in 1875 was situated on the higher ground at Hamilton. I say Hamilton, however, boundaries change through time and today the location of where the mine was situated crossed over three streets at West Craigs in Blantyre. The exact location of the two coal shafts was where the waste ground is behind the playpark on Westpark Avenue and this would be the reason as to why no houses are built directly above on this land. However, one shaft entrance was directly under the back garden of no 28 Blackcraig Brae.

In my opinion, there should be some kind of plaque or memorial for the 73 men and boys who were brought to the surface here dead and not one miles away at Hamilton town Centre. The exact location of where the miner’s rows once stood is on the overgrown bushy land that is immediately across from the entrance to Davington Drive at the start of Newhousemill Road.

The streets that now stretch across where the colliery was situated are Thorn Avenue (The Bing), Blackcraig Brae (The railway line and Bing and a shaft), Glamis crescent (The Water Tanks).

Perched high up on the hill it offered splendid views across Lanarkshire and further back up the hill a bit was the houses for the miners that came with the job, or tied houses, so when you worked here you got your own little house supplied for you and your family to live in. This area was known as Udston Rows or speaking in old language it was known as Udston ‘Raws’.

Udston Rows was a little community in itself and had its very own school for the miner’s children and as it was so far out of Hamilton believe it or not, it had its very own public house. Which many of the men from Udston would have spent their hard-earned money chatting about their day and discussing everything relevant to them, I for one would have loved to go back in time and listen in on some of their conversations. The little pub at the corner of Udston Rows was also on a great location for the miner’s wives to come and find their men and they did not have far to go when it was time for the nightly round up at home time.

The Colliery was owned by the Udston Coal Company and when it opened in 1875 it was really quite small compared to others in the Hamilton area. It employed approximately 200 men and boys and they worked in three seams of coal and it had a depth of nearly 1000 feet. The workings of the colliery extended for 150 acres and crossed the border of Blantyre, Earnock & Greenfield Collieries.

The last remaining evidence of this little thriving community was removed between 1999 & 2002 when the construction of the West Craigs estate got underway.

There are hundreds and hundreds of newspaper reports of fatalities that happened across the coalmines of Lanarkshire, Hamilton had more than its fair share, but sadly Udston had far more than others. This little coal mine was home to the second worst mining disaster in Scotland where 73 men & boys tragically lost their lives while earning a living at the coalface. The first recorded accidental death at Udston happened on the 22nd of May 1879 where a boy called James Stewart who was only 17 was killed by a roof fall and this boy’s death would be the start of many more to come.

On the 31st of July 1879, the first rule breaker caught at Udston was a man named Neil McNeil a miner from Burnbank who was charged when on the 25th of July that year was caught in possession of a lamp key while working underground. Now why was this such a big deal? If you had a lamp key, then you could open the safety of the glass case on the davy lamp and in turn, if there was any sign of toxic underground gasses or better known as after damp, then you could effectively cause an explosion underground which would kill everyone in the vicinity. It was found at court that Neil had endangered the lives of his fellow coal miners on shift that day.

Having a lamp key was banned while underground and Neil was going to be made an example of, so he was sentenced to three months imprisonment with no option of a fine, this was a harsh sentence as it meant that his wife and children would not have an income for those three months. When Neil returned from prison, his name was also blacklisted by other coal masters and he had to move away from the area to find other employment. Even in July 1879, it was known that Udston Colliery was giving off a lot of gas underground and it was only a matter of time when an accident had occurred, which did happen in 1887.

In October 1879 Robert Ure & David Boreland Proprietor & Manager of the colliery were both fined when they employed a group of women to work at the pithead after 9:00pm. The women were also on the dayshift and were paid for the overtime. They were given the option of a £5 fine for Robert, £3 fine for David, or one month’s imprisonment.

On the 17th of April 1882 a man named Simon Taylor (28) was recorded as being killed at the colliery, however, when I investigated this man’s death, I found that he has been incorrectly recorded as being killed at the mine. He actually died of pneumonia on the 3rd of May 1882 at royal infirmary in Glasgow. I also went on to find that this man’s residence was actually at Dykehead. So, its at least one name that can be removed from this coal mines accident history.

On the Monday the 15th of May 1882, there was an explosion caused by afterdamp at the colliery. Three men were killed and eight were found severely burned. William Archibald (53) Charles Morrison (35) and his son William Morrison (13) were killed by afterdamp poisoning.

On Monday the 26th of May 1884 an accident happened where a mineral train being shunted ran over the brakes man who was called Donald Fraser. He suffered a broken leg and was taken to the Glasgow Royal infirmary.

The next fatality to happen at Udston was when a man named William Rennie who was working as a wagon trimmer was instantly killed when he was caught between two wagons, he was crushed to death.

The miners were underground working for their full shift and smoking underground was banned, this however did not stop a few gasping for a smoke taking down tobacco and matches. In November 1886, a miner called James Lindsay was fined £2, or the option of one-month imprisonment for doing the very thing that was banned. The newspaper reports of the time also tell us that the owners were aware of the explosive gas that was in pit No1. Health & Safety was no longer the point of focus for the managers of Udston as in the same month two other Udston Miners named Wellington & Chandler, were each fined £1-, or seven-day’s imprisonment for firing a shot that was not under the direction of the fireman. At Udston Rows, there was approximately 58 buildings to start and the by 1881 there were 70 and during the time of the 1881 census, these houses consisted of 40 Single & 17 double rows, the double rows kept for the workers with larger families but did come with a higher rent. They were built on the land directly behind Newhousemill Road and when I looked at the 1881 census if found the following families living here:

FAMILIES LIVING IN A DOUBLE ROW HOUSE.

Double Row 1: DAVID MORRISON – Horse Keeper – Born at Campsie, Stirlingshire. His family consisted of his wife Sarah & four sons called James, Alexander, David & Allan & daughter Flora.

Double Row 2: John Winter – Spirit Storekeeper – Born at Kinnoull, Perth. His family was Wife Isabella, Walter (Killed by Explosion in 1887), Isabella, John & Janet.

Double Row 3: Thomas Paterson (Survived the 1887 Explosion) – Underground Fireman – Born at Coatbridge. His wife Ann and son Alexander.

Double Row 4: James Cathcart – Colliery Pithead Man – Born at Hamilton. His family living with him were, Wife Giles, two sons, David & Richard & two daughters Annie & Agnes. He also had a lodger living with him who was called David Fernie.

Double Row 5: Was Vacant on the night of the census was taken.

Double Row 6: William Stalker – Coal Miner – born at Tillicoultry, Stirring. Living here was his large family with his wife Charlotte, his two daughters Margaret, Charlotte. His Granddaughter Charlotte. His three sons, George, John & Hendry.

Double Row 7: Edward Torley – Colliery Oversman – Born at East Kilbride, He lived here with his wife Margaret and his two sons Hugh & Alexander (Killed by Explosion in 1887) and daughter Margaret.

Double Row 8: Unknown.

Double Row 9: Andrew Kerr – Coachman & Domestic Servant – Born at Bellshill. He lived with his wife Janet.

Double Row 10: William Ballantyne – House Joiner – Born in Blantyre. William lived here with his wife Ellen.

Double Row 11: John Bolton – Coal Miner, born at Hamilton. John was one of the survivors of the 1887 disaster. John lived here with his wife Elizabeth, two daughters Agnes & Jessie and son William.

Double Row12: Andrew Rodger – Colliery Clerk – Born at Barrhead. He lived here with his wife Agnes and his stepdaughter Maggie McLarty and their other kids, William & Mary.

Double Row 13: John Madden – Coal Miner, born in Ireland. In this family were his three sons & daughter, who were called John, Bernard, Mary & Andrew. John & Bernard had a lucky escape when they both survived the 1887 pit disaster & Bernard went on to assist with the rescue of the trapped miners.

Double Row 14: Patrick Cain – Coal Miner – Born in Ireland. Patrick lived here with his wife Elizabeth and 3 sons Patrick, Michael & James.

Double Row 15: John Gunion – Commercial Clerk – Born at Glasgow. He lived here with his wife Elizabeth. This family had two daughters, however, none lived at Udston with them. Elizabeth emigrated to Auckland in New Zealand where she married and settled down.

Double Row 16: David Boreland – Coal Miner born at Larbert. He lived here with his wife Mary and their four kids, Robert, James, Ann & Elizabeth. David also survived the 1887 pit disaster.

Double Row 17: Unknown.

FAMILIES LIVING IN THE SINGLE ROW HOUSES.

Single Row 1: Alexander Gourley – Carter – Born in Ireland. He lived here with his wife Margaret and three daughters, Elizabeth, Isabella & Sarah, and son William. They also had a lodger called William Rainey, who was a widow.

Single Row 2: Vacant on the night the census was taken. A miner would have most likely just left employment that day or not long before. They were never empty for long.

Single Row 3: David McKenzie – Coal Miner born at Edinburgh. He lived here with his wife Elizabeth.

Single Row 4: Samuel Meek – Coal Miner born in Ireland. Living with him was his wife Rose and grandson John Rodgers.

Single Row 5: James Ballantyne (Widow) – Engineer & Fitter born at Carmichael.

Single Row 6: William Cathcart (Survived the 1887 disaster) – Coal miner, born at Quarter. William lived with his wife Ellen and daughter Jessie.

Single Row 7: Unknown or unoccupied.

Single Row 8: Unknown or unoccupied.

Single Row 9: Charles Harden – Coal Miner brusher, born in England. This house would have been cramped as Charles lived here with his wife Agnes and five kids, Hugh, John, Ellen, Mary & Amory. The family also had a lodger called James Kirk.

Single Row 10: James Queen – Coal Miner – Born in Ireland. James lived with his family who consisted of his wife Sarah Ann and their children, Mary Ann, John, Elizabeth, James & Maggie.

Single Row 11: Maria Swanson – No Occupation recorded. She lived here with her son Robert Bolton and a lodger called Alexander Hunter.

Single Row 12: James White – Colliery Fireman – born at Blantyre. James lived here with his wife Jane and son William. He also had two lodgers living here with him who were called George Simpson & James Holmes.

Single Row 13: Adam Thompson – Coal miner – born at Coatbridge. Living here was is his wife Ellen and his kids, William, Peter, Mary & Ellen. Adam eventually became destitute and had resorting to scavenging for food. Before he died in 1910, he was receiving poor relief.

Single Row 14: Richard Clyde – Coal Miner born at Kilsyth. He lived here with his wife Janet.

Single Row 15: Thomas Brannan and his wife Margaret. Thomas was a Brickwork Labourer and he was born in Ireland.

Single Row 16: John Muirhead – Joiner – Born at Cambusnethan. He lived here with his wife Janet and son Thomas. John survived the 1887 disaster.

Single Row 17: David Linn – Coal Miner – Born in Ireland. He lived here with his wife Susan.

Single Row 18: Owen Quinn – Coal Miner – Born at Ireland. He lived with his four kids William, Owen, Elizabeth & Ellen.

Single Row 19: Robert Maxwell – Coal Miner – Born at Glasgow. He lived with his wife Margaret and their kids, Allan, Jane, John, Robert, James & William.

Single Row 20: Allan Maxwell – Coal Miner – born at Glasgow. He lived here with his wife Grace.

Single Row 21: Unoccupied on the night of the census.

Single Row 22: Robert Finnie – Coal Miner – Born at Irvine. He lived here with his wife Margaret and a boarder called Thomas McGowan.

Single Row 23: Robert Robinson – House Carpenter – Born in England. He lived here with Wife Mary Jane and his two kids Emma & Robert.

Single Row 24: Samuel Robertson – Coal Miner – Born at Irvine. He lived here with his wife Mary and kids, James, Elizabeth, John & Margaret.

Single Row 25: James Alasoan (Allison?) – Born at Bridgeton – coal miner. He lived with his wife Mary and three kids James, Ellen & Agnes.

Single Row 26: Unoccupied on the night of the census.

Single Row 27: John Bolton – Colliery Engine Keeper – Born at Hamilton. He lived here with his wife Agnes and son John. John was a survivor of the 1887 disaster.

Single Row 28: Nisbet Pope – Joiner – Born at Wishaw. He lived here with his wife Sarah and their four kids, Amy, Christopher, Sarah and James.

Single Row 29: Archibald Muir – Coal Miner – Born at Pollockshaws. Living here was his wife Jennie and his three kids, Mary, Elizabeth, and Janet. He also had his mother-in-law Elizabeth Ferguson living here.

Single Row 30: James Torley – Coal Miner (Unable to work on the night of the census) Born at East Kilbride. He lived here with his two brothers, Felix & Richard, along with a boarder called John Philips. Felix Torley was one of the men killed at the 1887 disaster.

Single Row 31: This would have been a tight squeeze, however, James Barrowman – Colliery Engine Keeper – Born at Dundonald lived here with his wife Mary and six kids, who were called, John, James, Mary, Jane, Isabella & Margaret.

Single Row 32: Andrew Cooper – Coal Miner and former Soldier – born at Stonehouse. He was living here with his wife Mary and two kids, Janet & Andrew.

Single Row 33: Catherine Cain. Catherine was recorded as the head of the household, however on the night of the census she stated that she was the wife of a night watchman. She was living here with her five sons, Patrick, John, James, Thomas & Henry.

Single Row 34: John McLusker – Coal Miner – Born at Cadder. He lived here with his wife Margaret and their five kids, John, Alexander, Margaret, Janet and Sarah.

Single Row 35: John Cowan – Blacksmith – Born at Stevenson, Ayrshire. He lived with his wife Janet.

Single Row 36: Francis Newlands – Coal Miner – Born at Oakley, Fifeshire. Francis lived here with his wife Catherine and their six kids, James, William, Matthew, Mary Jane, Francis Jr & Maggie. In 1901 Francis was in ill health and was living at 11 Thornwood Rows in Uddingston. He went missing from his home. He was later found drowned in the Clyde. His family were devastated.

Single Row 37: Robert Cain – Coal Miner – Born in Ireland. Robert lived here with his wife Agnes and five kids, Patrick, Rose Ann, Daniel, William & Henry.

Single Row 38: Thomas Allan – Coal Miner – Born at Wishaw. Thomas lived with his wife Ann and three kids, John, Mary & Margaret.

Single Row 39: John Maxwell – Colliery pit fireman – Born at Glasgow. He lived here with his wife Jane and five kids, James, Marion, Grace, John & Jane.

Single Row 40: John Tolan – Coal Miner – Born in Ireland. He lived here with his wife Isabella.

After the 1887 pit disaster half of this community were quickly replaced but before the disaster the colliery owners were trying to take the health and safety of its miners more serious. The coal mines across Lanarkshire were still a very dangerous place to work and with men & boys losing limbs, being crippled, burned and even killed at work almost on a daily basis they had to make examples of employees who flouted the laws.

The inevitable did however happen at 09:30am, on the morning of Saturday the 28th of May 1887, when an explosion happened. On this day it was Mordred that there was 220 men working underground.

The explosion was heard from as far away Greenfield Colliery in Burnbank. This brought echoes from the past back to a lot of families when only ten years earlier Scotland’s worst mining disaster happened at Dixon’s pit in Blantyre where approximately 220 men and boys were tragically killed.

The explosion happened in what was called the splint coal seam and there was carnage everywhere and immediately when the explosion happened a sheet of flames shot up the shaft and the wooden frame-built sheds were on fire above the pithead and the wooden shafts which descended down in the dark mine were thought to have collapsed.

The up and down cast shafts of No1 pit and the down cast of No2 pit, where simultaneously blocked by cages that were jammed in the wooden frameworks. In No 2 pit, where the explosion occurred, there were 119 men & boys and in No 1 there were 66. It was then found that the cage in the upcast shaft of No 2 was not jammed and three men were in fact still in the shaft. After a lot of difficulty, the cage was wound up to the surface.

Word very quickly spread and the Wives, brothers, sons & daughters who were above ground on that fateful day darted towards the pit head. Rescue parties from Blantyre and Hamilton ran up to Udston as quickly as they could to help and in fact, there was countless men who offered to assist with the recovery mission. The disaster made the second edition of most newspapers throughout Scotland, Ireland, and England and by 6:00 pm that very same day it was reported nationwide.

One of the men in the cage who was called James McGorky had been killed when he was found dead in the cage and the others were slightly injured. Mr McGavin, the colliery manager, who was on the spot, took the necessary steps to restore communication with the mine workings below, which were obstructed by the slides on which the cage travels being broken at several points. Thirty fathoms down one man was found, who had climbed all the way up from the bottom (A Thanom was 1.8 meters high) And further down the shaft three others were reached. The ell, or upper seam, which is 118 Fathoms from the surface, was soon was soon reached by the exploring party.

By Noon that day 45 men who were working in the upper seam of the colliery had managed to be brought out, one of whom was dead, and the others were suffering from afterdamp* and shock. It was found that access to the lower seam was blocked and that the safety of at least half of the 140 men trapped below was despaired of. *Afterdamp is a toxic mixture of gasses left in a mine following an explosion caused by firedamp, which itself can ignite a much larger explosion of coal dust. On reaching the surface of the pithead, they were wrapped in blankets and after being treated by Dr Robertson, they were sent home to recover. (No NHS in 1887).

Attention was then directed to the trapped men in the main, or middle seam where 46 were found. Their shouts could be heard, but before they could be found it was necessary to do a temporary repair to the shaft.

This stage of the rescue mission proved to be somewhat tedious and after around two hours of tireless work the exploring party were able to reach the main shaft. They found 41 men alive and 5 dead. It was later found the five who were killed would have probably survived had they not run to the lower end of the coal seam, where chokedamp fumes gathered from the lower seams. Other men were saved by their fellow miners when they removed them, unconscious to places of better air.

When the rescue party reached the bottom later on that day, the access was found to be blocked in the lower seam by falls of debris. Messrs. Gilchrist, manager at Earnock; and Park, manager of Allanshaw, two neighbouring collieries, penetrated through the coal seams and into the lamp cabin, and rescued Alexander McLean, who was dreadfully burnt around the face, body and hands, the dead body of a man (Unidentified) was nearby.

In the lower, or splint seam of coal which was around 11 Fathoms below the main seam; it was found that nothing further could be done to reach the seam until they could put in ventilation and repair the shaft, this was now a mission to retrieve the bodies of the trapped miners. There were 75 men & boys working in the splint seam that day which some had managed to escape.

From the said 220 men who were thought to be working at the coal face that day and after an official count, it was found that 184 men had descended down the shafts that morning. From that number 62 bodies were brought up during the first stage of the rescue from the coal mine and 12 were still to be recovered and it was thought that in total, 73 were tragically killed.

At the Udston Rows, every household was affected, and there was hardly a house where one occupant was not killed, in some cases, entire families were swept away! One man who was called John Boyce lost his three sons, his two daughters were left widows, his son-in-law’s brother was killed and also his nephew. There was also around 35 widows and 110 fatherless children. The community of Udston was devastated. The final body to be recovered was a man names Andrew Buddy, who was a Fireman. The disaster touched the hearts of many people across the UK and even Queen Victoria herself sent a Telegram to the people of Udston.

The Udston disaster Relief fund was quickly set up to help the grieving widows and families affected by the accident. By the 1st December 1887 they had reached a total of £11, 010.8s 11d, which was £7000 under where they wanted to be in that year. This would have been worth around £1,455,892.67 in today’s money. Perhaps it was a large sum of money back then, however, no amount could make up for losing a husband, father, brother, son & uncle.

Despite the death count, the coal mining jobs were once again quickly filled and during the course of the next year in various newspaper reports the talk of Udston was overshadowed by the devastating disaster and it was not until 1889 when reports start to appear that talk about other things happening at Udston Rows. Another stupid incident happened when a Burnbank boy named John Harrison was caught underground with a lucifer match and considering what had happened with the disaster, he was in my opinion let off with a slap on the wrists. He was given the choice of either a fine of 10s-, or 7-days imprisonment. I am sure that the judge would have reminded him of the many boys and men killed and that this would have given him something to think long and hard about.

On the 20th of December 1889, another tragic accident happened underground where a miner named Michael Daly was crushed to death by a roof fall, his friend working alongside him had a narrow escape. In February 1890 the local shop keeper at Udston Rows was walking across land from Blantyre and he fell into a disused Quarry. His wife Agnes and three of his kids took the coal company to court as they were believed to be negligent and the family were awarded £235 in damages.

On Friday the 21st March 1890, the negligent owners of Udston brought the end to a notorious criminal. George Black, or sometimes known as Lamberton who at the time was working as a coal miner at Udston and living in the Rows. George was known throughout Lanarkshire and one of his better-known escapes from the law was when he was being transported from Wishaw to Hamilton by the police and he jumped from the top of the wagon over Clyde bridge which crossed the Avon and swam away. The local constable could not keep up with George. However, on this night he fell over the railing of the stair which led to his house at the rows. He was taken to the Royal infirmary in Glasgow but died of his injuries.

Udston Coal mine was still unstable and probably from the explosion which happened. Over the next few years there was frequent roof falls and collapses. And even after Michael Daly was killed production stopped as the pit was deemed unsafe to work. In July 1891 they stopped all work as the shaft at No 2 pit had completely collapsed. There were no recorded casualties, however, this is not to say that no one was indeed injured.

A sad reminder for one woman happened on the 15th of December 1892 when her husband James Dunsmuir was tragically killed while working underground at Udston. He was crushed by yet another roof fall and the weight of the coal that crushed him was rumored to be around 12 tones. What made this death worse was that he had only married his wife three months prior. Also, his new wife had been shadowed by a series of fatalities which started with her first husband James Nelson, who was killed in Dixons Colliery under peculiarly harrowing circumstances and in the Udston disaster, she lost her second husband Hugh Auchterlonie and her two sons to her first husband. To make it even worse for the poor woman, her two remaining sons were at home struck down with fever.

The deaths caused by roof falls continued and the next unfortunate person to be killed was a boy named George Boyd. George was killed on the 5th of December 1903 and he was only 16. His cause of death was a fractured skull.

Another man who was called Henrich (Henry) Bosebeck was killed while at work on the 16th of January 1912, when he was run over by hutches. For a small coal mine, Udston was one of the more dangerous collieries to work in. This family also had more tragedy surrounding it. Henrich was born in Germany and had come to Scotland with his wife for a better life for them and before his death he married his wife Wilhelmine at Blantyre in 1899. The family tragically lost two children, one who boy was called Heinrich and died only a few months old in Udston in 1903 and the second child who was named after Wilhelmine died aged 4 at Udston. Sadly, for Wilhelmine, she was classed as an illegal immigrant and in October 1918, she was due to be deported back to Germany but instead of waiting on being rounded up by the police, she left on her own account. Her two surviving children who were Scottish and born in Scotland had to start a new life in a country which they had never been.

The Udston mines was really unsafe and you would think that with all of these accidents caused by roof falls that all of the men at work would be extra careful with their “Pit Props”, but this was not the case when on the 19th of December 1913 two miners did not follow these health & safety rules. Peter & Thomas McInally who lived at Windsor Street in Burnbank were at work that day, deep underground and on inspection of their work it was found that they had dug out 23 feet of coal and for reasons only known to them, perhaps sheer laziness, they left the full section unsupported with no wooden props. They both denied it, but the evidence against them was simple, there was no props, and this put not only the two men’s lives at risk, but it also put anyone’s life in risk who was working the next shift! They were both given the option of a 15s fine, or four days in prison.

By the time WW1 started, the stories in newspaper reports are not of miners breaking rules, but it was written about the men of Udston Rows being killed in action. There were many young men from the area who jumped at the chance to get out of the pits and the thought of being taken away from the rows and over to a different country was really appealing to most. If only they knew what lay ahead of them, they would have opted to stay.

The first recorded casualty of WW1 who was from Udston Rows was a miner named Patrick Kyle, this family lived at 57 Udston Rows. Patrick was in Z Coy of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and he died of wounds on the 8th of August that year. He had enlisted on the 16th of January and was sent to the Dardanelles in June. Prior to joining the Army, he was employed in the lamp room at Udston and it was said that he was very well respected by his fellow workmen. He left his wife (Ellen Hannigan) and six children.

Another death by a roof fall happened on the 25th of September 1916 where a miner named James Gourlay was killed. He was 35 years old. James was working as a machine-man in No 1 pit and he had been clearing the wheel at the rear of the machine with a fellow work man. Next there was a shout and when James was found, he was lying under a large stone which was thought to have weighed a ton. He was married and at the time of his death he was living at Bute Terrace in Blantyre.

By August 1919, the coal mine was still turning a profit unlike other collieries which were being exhausted and closed down. The net profit recorded was £2,351, which added to the £11,900 brought in giving the colliery a disposable balance of £14,251. For now, the coal company were still going to keep the place running, but for how long? When the company was reviewed only one year later it was in the red and the accounts for the past 12 months recorded a loss of £15,732 and a surplus of £7,487 brought forward was converted into a deficit of £8,245. The future of the coal mine was not looking so good.

Udston Colliery stopped production in March 1922 and even though there was plenty of coal still beneath its lands it laid off its 250 strong work force leaving the miners and their families destitute. In a cost cutting exercise, the remaining coal was to be dug out from Greenfield Colliery in Burnbank. The miners were left with no option but to apply for poor relief.

In the whole Blantyre district, things went from bad to worse for all the miners in the area. Blantyre at the time once boasted of being the largest mining district in Scotland and after the closure of Udston the other mines followed suit and what followed was hardship, distress, and considerable poverty in the area. Craighead Colliery had just been dismantled, Udston was in the course of being dismantled and then the inevitable happened and then the 4th of the Blantyre collieries which belonged to William Dixon Ltd was in the course of being abandoned.

During the disastrous coal dispute of 1922, the colliery was the subject of a special enquiry when something mysterious happened at the pit bottom, which caused considerable damage to the shaft and pit bottom. After the damage, there was no hope of the colliery ever opening. The pump rods were withdrawn from the shaft, the pithead frame was taken down, and the shaft was to be filled up. Over 1000 men were getting poor relief from the parish council or the Labour bureau and following suit, just as wee see in today’s world, the shop keepers started to fall on hard times as no one had any money to spend.

The Udston Coal Company never hung around with breaking up the business and in June the same year, they started breaking up the colliery assets and sold everything at auction, they sold machinery, wagons, and anything else which could be removed from the colliery. They even offered to ship the machinery out by rail free of charge.

Now the Udston Rows were completely cut off from everyone and the little village had become a glum place to live. Families who were unfortunate enough to be unemployed continued to live at the Udston Rows and the little Dykehead primary school still continued to teach the remaining children.

In February 1938, the Lanarkshire Education Committee were now considering closing Dykehead Primary School at Udston. At one time the little school had 200 children on the school roll, and in February 1938 there was now only 4, one of whom was actually under school age.

When Udston Colliery was in full operation the little village which sat off the road between Hamilton and East Kilbride had 80 houses, and it was one of the most prosperous mining villages in the west of Scotland. Following the general strike in 1926, the colliery fully closed down and gradually the miners moved away to other districts. Around 1936, the houses started to fall into disrepair and were never repaired, so they slowly became condemned and the families were transferred to the new housing scheme at Eddlewood.

In February 1938 only three houses were still occupied but the families were soon to be moved on to new houses elsewhere. A small committee of the education committee had been appointed to report on the position, and it was understood that the parents had been asked to decide which school they wished their children to attend. The schools offered were Glenlee Primary and greenfield, both in Burnbank. A sanction of the education department was obtained in order to allow the transfer of the last three pupils.

In the last years of Udston Rows being a community, there was various newspaper reports on its residents and most were for court appearances for petty crimes. It was a close nit community and more than often problems would have been sorted man to man and out of the courts. There would probably have been more issues that went unreported that there was that did get reported.

The land at Udston today has one privately owned house that stands at what would be the edge of the Rows. It is hard to believe that at one time, this little part of Hamilton was once a thriving community with its own school, public house, and store. Hundreds of people pass the site of Udston rows every day and If you never knew about its history, then it only looks like empty land. If only we could hear whispers of the poor but happy miners who lived their lives here, it would certainly tell us a few stories.

Researched & Written by Garry McCallum – Historic Hamilton. © 2020 & Info on some of the miners deaths, Ref; Black Faces & Tackety Boots by Wilma Bolton and also from various national newspaper reports.

HECTOR’S VIGIL IN DESERTED VILLAGE (15th January 1939).

Everyday Hector, the dog, comes out and sits at the door to watch and wait for children he knows, but who he will never see scamper from the school again.

He also used to wait for the butcher’s van which used to bring him his bones, but this will happen no more. In January 1939 he was the only dog living in the derelict mining village of Udston which in 1939 was just outside Hamilton’s boundary.

On the 15th of January that year the last family, the Boyd’s, moved away to a new house which was found for them over in Eddlewood. Within a few weeks of this picture being taken the wind and rain found its way into the Boyd’s old home, as it had into the other deserted houses of the two hundred folk who once lived in this little thriving hamlet just outside Hamilton.

When the mines from which Udston drew its living closed, the people of this little community continued to live on for seven years, hoping that the mine would be re-opened, which never happened. With the dying of hope they all moved away from Udston. Most of the residents moved on down past Muttonhole Road, down Strathaven Road and into Eddlewood.

Little Hector at the time belonged to the barmaid who used to live and work in the village pub and the poor wee dug never realised what was happening at the time, so he continued to sit and look up, then look down the village’s one street.

The newspaper reports of the time tell us that little Hector continued to sit and keep his vigil looking out for the butcher and his pals at the local school right up to May of that year and even though the village was deserted, the pub had license which ended in May, so perhaps Hector had the company of his barmaid owner and perhaps she continued to keep the little village pub open for any thirsty miners or for the passing trade to E.K.

LANARKSHIRE CONSTABULARY WAR MEMORIAL

The following information on the Lanarkshire Constabulary War Memorial was sent to Historic Hamilton by George Barnsley who is the chair of the Lancashire Police History Society.  
LANARKSHIRE CONSTABULARY WAR MEMORIAL
On Tuesday the 30th of December 1919, the Lanarkshire Constabulary War Memorial was unveiled in the front yard of Police Headquarters in Beckford Street, Hamilton.
The memorial took the form of a Celtic Cross on a Pedestal of Overtown Granite measuring 15 feet in height. The sculptor was Mr. James Buchanan of Station Road, Carluke and Keith Street, Hamilton.
On one side it bears the inscription "Lanarkshire Constabulary the Great War 1914 to 1918 in Memory of the Fallen Comrades" along with the names of the 24 Police Constables who had lost their lives in that War.
The unveiling ceremony was performed by Lord Newlands, Lord Lieutenant of the County. He was accompanied by Sir Robert King Stewart, Convenor of the County, Sheriff Principle Mackenzie, Sir T.F. Wilson of Glasgow, Colonel Stevenson, Chief Constable of the City of Glasgow Police and the Reverend John L. Tulloch.
Chief Constable Despard and a large number of officers from the Constabulary were on parade for the ceremony.
Lord Newlands said that the war record of Lanarkshire Constabulary was a particularly magnificent one. Their casualties amounted to over 50%.
Chief Constable Despard read the names of all the officers that had fallen, whilst the Lanarkshire Constabulary officers, from each of the divisions of the force stood to attention.
Lanarkshire Constabulary Pipe band played a Lament following the dedication ceremony which was performed by the Reverend Tulloch. The pipers were:
• Sergeant John Rogerson
• Constable William McIntosh
• Constable John Gray
• Constable John McPhedran
• Constable Allan McPhedran
• Constable Archibald Johnstone
• Constable Adam Redpath and
• Constable Robert Morrison
WW2
The advent of WW2 brought further tragedy to the force with 10 police officers of Lanarkshire Constabulary killed during the conflict. To mark their sacrifice, the opposite side of the memorial now bears the inscription, " 1939 to 1945 in Memory of Fallen Comrades" displaying the names of Constables who fell in the Conflict. In 1953 the memorial was re-dedicated in a ceremony attended by the police and local dignitaries.
Unfortunately, over the years the memorial was not very well looked after and became concealed and more or less forgotten behind a large hedge.
RENOVATION
In 2008 a member of the Retired Police Officers Association (Scotland) (RPOAS), Lanarkshire Branch, informed the Branch Committee of the discovery of the Memorial in what is now Car Park No 8, of Hamilton Sheriff Court. In reporting the find the Committee learned that the names of the memorial had faded and the Branch took action to have the War Memorial refurbished and the names restored.
The matter of the state of the Memorial was raised with the Sheriff Clerk's Office at Hamilton resulting in it being renovated in time for the Armistice Service on Sunday 8th November 2009 at which time there was a service of re-dedication. 
The Service was conducted by the Police Chaplain in the presence of a contingent of Strathclyde Police Officers, members of the British Legion (Scotland) and the Salvation Army, along with members of the Sheriff Court and of course the RPOAS Lanarkshire Branch Committee.
Additional were provided by the Strathclyde Police Benevolent Fund to aid the further restoration to former glory to the names of Lanarkshire Constabulary's ‘No Longer’ Forgotten Heroes.
Since 2009 a service has been held at the memorial, on Armistice Day, attended by serving and retired police officers, families, sheriff court staff, Lord Lieutenant, Sheriff Principle, British Legion and others to remember the fallen.

The following information on the Lanarkshire Constabulary War Memorial was sent to Historic Hamilton by George Barnsley who is the chair of the Lancashire Police History Society.
LANARKSHIRE CONSTABULARY WAR MEMORIAL
On Tuesday the 30th of December 1919, the Lanarkshire Constabulary War Memorial was unveiled in the front yard of Police Headquarters in Beckford Street, Hamilton.
The memorial took the form of a Celtic Cross on a Pedestal of Overtown Granite measuring 15 feet in height. The sculptor was Mr. James Buchanan of Station Road, Carluke and Keith Street, Hamilton
On one side it bears the inscription “Lanarkshire Constabulary the Great War 1914 to 1918 in Memory of the Fallen Comrades” along with the names of the 24 Police Constables who had lost their lives in that War.
The unveiling ceremony was performed by Lord Newlands, Lord Lieutenant of the County. He was accompanied by Sir Robert King Stewart, Convenor of the County, Sheriff Principle Mackenzie, Sir T.F. Wilson of Glasgow, Colonel Stevenson, Chief Constable of the City of Glasgow Police and the Reverend John L. Tulloch.
Chief Constable Despard and a large number of officers from the Constabulary were on parade for the ceremony.
Lord Newlands said that the war record of Lanarkshire Constabulary was a particularly magnificent one. Their casualties amounted to over 50%.
Chief Constable Despard read the names of all the officers that had fallen, whilst the Lanarkshire Constabulary officers, from each of the divisions of the force stood to attention.
Lanarkshire Constabulary Pipe band played a Lament following the dedication ceremony which was performed by the Reverend Tulloch. The pipers were:
• Sergeant John Rogerson
• Constable William McIntosh
• Constable John Gray
• Constable John McPhedran
• Constable Allan McPhedran
• Constable Archibald Johnstone
• Constable Adam Redpath and
• Constable Robert Morrison
WW2
The advent of WW2 brought further tragedy to the force with 10 police officers of Lanarkshire Constabulary killed during the conflict. To mark their sacrifice, the opposite side of the memorial now bears the inscription, ” 1939 to 1945 in Memory of Fallen Comrades” displaying the names of Constables who fell in the Conflict. In 1953 the memorial was re-dedicated in a ceremony attended by the police and local dignitaries.
Unfortunately, over the years the memorial was not very well looked after and became concealed and more or less forgotten behind a large hedge.
RENOVATION
In 2008 a member of the Retired Police Officers Association (Scotland) (RPOAS), Lanarkshire Branch, informed the Branch Committee of the discovery of the Memorial in what is now Car Park No 8, of Hamilton Sheriff Court. In reporting the find the Committee learned that the names of the memorial had faded and the Branch took action to have the War Memorial refurbished and the names restored.
The matter of the state of the Memorial was raised with the Sheriff Clerk’s Office at Hamilton resulting in it being renovated in time for the Armistice Service on Sunday 8th November 2009 at which time there was a service of re-dedication.
The Service was conducted by the Police Chaplain in the presence of a contingent of Strathclyde Police Officers, members of the British Legion (Scotland) and the Salvation Army, along with members of the Sheriff Court and of course the RPOAS Lanarkshire Branch Committee.
Additional were provided by the Strathclyde Police Benevolent Fund to aid the further restoration to former glory to the names of Lanarkshire Constabulary’s ‘No Longer’ Forgotten Heroes.
Since 2009 a service has been held at the memorial, on Armistice Day, attended by serving and retired police officers, families, sheriff court staff, Lord Lieutenant, Sheriff Principle, British Legion and others to remember the fallen.

The following information on the Lanarkshire Constabulary War Memorial was sent to Historic Hamilton by George Barnsley who is the chair of the Lancashire Police History Society.
LANARKSHIRE CONSTABULARY WAR MEMORIAL
On Tuesday the 30th of December 1919, the Lanarkshire Constabulary War Memorial was unveiled in the front yard of Police Headquarters in Beckford Street, Hamilton.
The memorial took the form of a Celtic Cross on a Pedestal of Overtown Granite measuring 15 feet in height. The sculptor was Mr. James Buchanan of Station Road, Carluke and Keith Street, Hamilton
On one side it bears the inscription “Lanarkshire Constabulary the Great War 1914 to 1918 in Memory of the Fallen Comrades” along with the names of the 24 Police Constables who had lost their lives in that War.
The unveiling ceremony was performed by Lord Newlands, Lord Lieutenant of the County. He was accompanied by Sir Robert King Stewart, Convenor of the County, Sheriff Principle Mackenzie, Sir T.F. Wilson of Glasgow, Colonel Stevenson, Chief Constable of the City of Glasgow Police and the Reverend John L. Tulloch.
Chief Constable Despard and a large number of officers from the Constabulary were on parade for the ceremony.
Lord Newlands said that the war record of Lanarkshire Constabulary was a particularly magnificent one. Their casualties amounted to over 50%.
Chief Constable Despard read the names of all the officers that had fallen, whilst the Lanarkshire Constabulary officers, from each of the divisions of the force stood to attention.
Lanarkshire Constabulary Pipe band played a Lament following the dedication ceremony which was performed by the Reverend Tulloch. The pipers were:
• Sergeant John Rogerson
• Constable William McIntosh
• Constable John Gray
• Constable John McPhedran
• Constable Allan McPhedran
• Constable Archibald Johnstone
• Constable Adam Redpath and
• Constable Robert Morrison
WW2
The advent of WW2 brought further tragedy to the force with 10 police officers of Lanarkshire Constabulary killed during the conflict. To mark their sacrifice, the opposite side of the memorial now bears the inscription, ” 1939 to 1945 in Memory of Fallen Comrades” displaying the names of Constables who fell in the Conflict. In 1953 the memorial was re-dedicated in a ceremony attended by the police and local dignitaries.
Unfortunately, over the years the memorial was not very well looked after and became concealed and more or less forgotten behind a large hedge.
RENOVATION
In 2008 a member of the Retired Police Officers Association (Scotland) (RPOAS), Lanarkshire Branch, informed the Branch Committee of the discovery of the Memorial in what is now Car Park No 8, of Hamilton Sheriff Court. In reporting the find the Committee learned that the names of the memorial had faded and the Branch took action to have the War Memorial refurbished and the names restored.
The matter of the state of the Memorial was raised with the Sheriff Clerk’s Office at Hamilton resulting in it being renovated in time for the Armistice Service on Sunday 8th November 2009 at which time there was a service of re-dedication.
The Service was conducted by the Police Chaplain in the presence of a contingent of Strathclyde Police Officers, members of the British Legion (Scotland) and the Salvation Army, along with members of the Sheriff Court and of course the RPOAS Lanarkshire Branch Committee.
Additional were provided by the Strathclyde Police Benevolent Fund to aid the further restoration to former glory to the names of Lanarkshire Constabulary’s ‘No Longer’ Forgotten Heroes.
Since 2009 a service has been held at the memorial, on Armistice Day, attended by serving and retired police officers, families, sheriff court staff, Lord Lieutenant, Sheriff Principle, British Legion and others to remember the fallen.

POLICE RAID BETTING HOUSES IN HAMILTON (1954).

Betting has been a popular pastime with many Hamiltonian’s and before the days of bookmakers shops, the ‘Pitch ‘n’ Toss was carried out behind shops, parks & disused land. However, in 1954 the men started to move away from gambling in the open air and the illegal bookmakers were cashing in on a lucrative business which had now become a more organised trade!

On the 3rd of 1954, three men were at court after being caught operating one of Hamilton’s most popular betting premises. John Nallen from Eddlewood was the proprietor of the shop at 5 Cadzow Lane which he had been using as a betting house.

His two accomplices were called John McMenemy of Low Waters Road & Thomas McGilvray of Tuphall Road, both admitted giving assistance in the conduct of betting arrangements on the premises.

This betting establishment was so popular amongst the local men that not only did the three bookies get caught, there was an astonishing 42 other people caught in the shop, all eagerly trying get a win from the popular race which was taking place that day. The police seized more than £16 and a number of betting slips.

The fiscal explained that the police had suspected for some time that the premises were being used for a betting house and when they raided it they found the 45 people inside. The police seized a total of £16 14s & 9d as well as the quantity of betting material.

The provost Mrs. Mary s. Ewart imposed a fine of £10, or 60 day’s imprisonment on John Nallen, which at the time was quite substantial while John McMenemy & Thomas McGilvray were each fined £5 or 30 days in jail.

Thirteen of the punters, who had admitted previous convictions for gambling were each fined £1, while the remaining 29 were each fined 10s. The rest of the money found on the premises was fortified.

It seemed that the judge wanted to make an example of the tree men in 1954 and by then the illegal gambling shops were not uncommon anywhere in Scotland let a lone Hamilton and every town had them. In fact it was so popular amongst people that gambling was made legal in the UK in 1960.

FIRE SCARE AT BURNBANK (1935)

On Saturday the 18th May 1935 there was great alarm among the tenants in High Blantyre Road & Rodger Street in a congested part of Burnbank just up from the Cross, where a fire had broken out at the property of 1 Rodger Street.

The outbreak was discovered by a pedestrian, who saw smoke issuing from a house occupied by a man named James Baird Jnr. A contingent of the Lanarkshire Fire Brigade was speedily on the scene, but the firemen were handicapped by the lack of a nearby water supply.

The fire got a firm hold, and the houses belonging to Mr James Dunsmuir and ex-Parish councilor Baird, father of the occupier of the other house, where badly affected.

Before the flames were subdued extensive damage had been done to the Bairds house, while the other houses were on the ground floor and adjoining were badly damaged by smoke and water.

Rodger Street was a continuation that was directly across the road from Purdie Street in Burnbank and the location is where the Ann Court flats are now built.  At the time of the fire in 1935 the street was just up from the bustling Burnbank Cross and the old tenements were knocked down at some point after 1953 and probably to make way for the new flats. In 1935 there were two tenements and a house in the street number 1, 3 & 5 and at the end of the small street, there was a playground with a little hall.

James Baird Jr was a coal miner and after the fire he continued to live on at Rodger Street. I found no records of what became of him after the fire and if any of his descendants are reading this post, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Lost Streets of Hamilton – St. John’s Lane.

St. John's Lane 1890.

Rhona Johnstone got in contact with me and asked:
“Hi Garry, Hi, I am doing my family tree and my Gt Gt grandfather’s address on his marriage certificate is No 6 St John’s lane, Hamilton. Can you tell me where this is or was please? I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards Rhona”.

St. John's Lane & James Street.

Rhona, St. John’s Lane & James Street were two streets situated behind Duke Street. They were demolished after the 1940’s, although I can’t give you an exact year. St. John’s Lane consisted of tenements, workshops & garages.

The site of the Duke Street car park now occupies the space that St. John’s Lane once stood & Wyler Tower is where James Street was.
Good luck with your family research and remember to let me know if you uncover a forgotten family story.

Can i also ask the name of your family that you are researching and i will see if i can uncover anything for you?

Garry,

PICTURES FROM MY READERS.

One of the hardest things that I find, is for people to share their pictures with me, however, Christine Dodd got in contact with me on the Historic Hamilton Facebook page as she found a box of old family photos that were of no sentimental value. She had asked if I would be interested in them as they would most likely get thrown in the bin and as always, I collect anything that’s Hamilton related, including old family pictures.
When any of my readers sends me anything that is Hamilton related, whether it be a book, an object or picture, then I am more than happy to take it and look after it. I have quite a large Hamilton collection which consists of books, objects and of course old pictures of Hamilton and its people. I received Christine’s pictures a few weeks later and they are now safely stored away with my collection and over the next few days, I will post these on my website, so that they will be kept for future generations to see; Christine wrote:
“Hi Garry,
I have been sorting through some of my mum’s belongings and have found a lot of photos mostly from the 1930’s and 40’s which belonged to her cousin who lived in Hamilton. I have scanned some of them and attached them here. There’s quite a lot and I didn’t want to start posting them all on the Historic Hamilton Facebook page so thought you might want to have a look & just post what you think would be of interest. I’d also be happy to pass on originals if you know anyone who would be interested as most are of no sentimental value to me, there are only a couple I want to keep. I just hate throwing photos out as I always think they are of interest to someone so I’ve been scanning them all and contacting people who might like to have them (have already posted some in Low Waters school page and sent some to the Young Farmers group too. My husband thinks I’m mad and thinks I should’ve stuck them all in the recycling 🙂
Where there is information on the back, I have put this as the photo’s name. My gran’s maiden name was Massey and the photo of Harry Massey is my great uncle, William & Mary Massey are my great grandparents but beyond that I don’t know who most of the people are.
The ones of High Park Crescent I have put a question mark against as only one of them says this on the back. Another of them says Eddlewood Place but it is clearly the same houses, so I don’t really know which is correct.
Please let me know if you would like the others sent on to you. There are only another 10 or so.
Regards,
Christine”.
Eddlewood Place WM1
So, Christine, I did quite a lot of studying of your old pictures and also looked over the old maps of Hamilton and I believe that I have found where the confusion lies with the name Eddlewood Place & High Parks Crescent.
To start, what the photographer was doing was taking pictures around their house where they lived, as most of your pictures seemed to be around this part of Hamilton, including Eddlewood, Strathaven Road and also in the fields overlooking Hamilton.
Now, Eddlewood Place no longer exists, and it was a row of houses which around 1915 was owned by a spirit merchant who was called James Bryson and its location was immediately behind High Parks Crescent and also the row of houses were just down the road from where William Massey lived at 156 Strathaven Road.
So, in one of your pictures you have supplied a great picture of Eddlewood Place and possibly could be the only one in existence and the picture was taken from the wall at Eddlewood House. If you could see further to the right of this picture, then High Parks Crescent would be just behind it.
Eddlewood Place map 1913..WMPNG
So, to give some justice to your pictures, I looked at your great grandparents William & Mary Massey, who as you know lived up at Thornyhill Cottage on Strathaven Road, the address was later given a door number and from the 1930’s it was known 156 Strathaven Road.
I had a look at your family’s history, and I found that you great gran was called Mary Brown, her parents were called James Brown & Flora Kinlock She was brought up in Quarter and she lived at 71 Darngaber Rows. When she married, she was working as a domestic servant. Your great, great grandfather James was working as a Colliery engineman. James brown was born at Dalserf around 1838. Your great, great grandmother Flora was born at Bonhill in Dumbarton around 1831. Mary had eight other siblings who were called James, Thomas, Alice, Alexander, Ellen, Janet, Agnes & Flora.
William & Mary Massey-Date Unknown.
Your Great grandfather William Massey was born in Ireland around 1863 and his parents were called John Massey & Martha Davidson. William was living down at 201 Low waters Road when he married. He had six other siblings called Mary, Elizabeth, Martha, Agnes, John & David. William and his parents moved from Ireland and over to Hamilton between 1863 & 1866. His father was also a miner, so it is likely that they moved to Hamilton to gain work in the col mines.
William & Mary married on the 11th of March 1892 at Mary’s house 71 Darngaber Rows. They were married by the Rev George Blair, minister for Quarter and their witnesses were William’s brother John & Mary’s sister Janet.
After your great grandparents married, they got their own house in 1895 and they moved to a flat above the public house in Limekilnburn. I have to note that this flat and the pub were both owned by James Bryson ,the spirit dealer who also owned Eddlewood Place in 1915, so it’s possible that William may have did some work for the spirit dealer, there certainly seem to have known each other. William was still working as a coal miner and he was paying a yearly rent of £5.
Massey Family.
In most cases coal miners did not earn a lot of money but this was not the case for your great grandfather as he bought Thornyhill Cottage and in 1905, he is recorded as the owner. He did have a tenant living here with him, a man named Thomas Gold, so perhaps this was how he earned an additional income. The man Thomas Gold could have been a friend of the family, as he lodged with your great grandparents right up to at least 1925, so quite a long time for a lodger to be living with a family. The cottage would have been really cramped, as Thomas Gold lived here with his daughter Mary and two sons Thomas & Arthur, he was a widow.
Your great grandparents had eight children, who were called Flora, John, James, Martha, William, Harry, Alexander & Mary. Below is another one of your pictures that shows Harry Massey, your great uncle with a Clydesdale horse, this picture was taken at Eddlewood Farm (previously Hasites Farm)
Harry Massey.
Christine, in some of your pictures that you sent, you had the family Bryson in them and I have looked at this and there could possibly be a marriage between one of the Massey family or if this was not the case, I found that in 1940 there was a widow called Jeanie Bryson, who lived at 221A Strathaven Road, perhaps if there was not a marriage connection, then they were certainly close neighbors.
The Bryson & Massey family were close enough to be going on outings with each other. I also have to note that the Bryson family lived at Eddlewood Place and on the 12th of April 1917 a James Bryson aged 76 died here, could this be the same Jim Bryson that you have in your picture? I get the feeling that the Massey family were very close one, and your pictures are fantastic, I will post the rest of your pictures with no names attached below. I feel that I have given you a small insight into the early tears of your family and I want to speak about another picture that you have sent.
The picture showing a half-built house, I believe is the construction of 53-59 High Parks Crescent I have compared the picture to a recent image of Google street view and the doors and windows match up. If you look at the picture further down the street you can see Eddlewood Place. Again, I believe that this may be the only picture in existence showing the construction of High Parks Crescent.
Cponstruction of High Parks crescentWM
Another picture we have Agnes Ballantyne, now the name Ballantyne has been a long-established family of Dairymen and you have once again supplied me with a great piece of family history.
Agnes Ballantyne was the daughter of Andrew Ballantyne Janet Lindsay and she married William Brown in 1907, do you know if the William Brown is a relation to your family? At the time when they married Agnes was living with her parents at 19 Glebe Street.
Agnes Ballantyne-Bent Farm-From Christine Dodd.
This picture of Agnes would have been taken approximately around 1903 and she looks roughly about the age of fifteen or sixteen. She looks as if she is about to go milking the cows with a bucket in one hand and her stool in the other a bygone tradition that was used all over Hamilton in her era.
Once again Christine, thanks for taking the time to send your pictures to me, they will be looked after for many years to come.
Garry,

Barnes Family Tree.

Barnes Family Tree.

Margaret Barnes contacted the page to ask if I could help her with her family history. She had very little info to go with and could tell me who her grandparent were and Margaret told us:
“Hi, I’m trying to do my family tree and wondered if you could help? My father was born in Hamilton 1902 and lived in Gateside street, his father left when my father was about 8 he was an only child, he never spoke about his father but I managed to get my grandmother’s marriage certificate her address was Almada street, and my grandfather’s was ‘Greenhome Farm”? Have you any idea where that was,? Googled it says it was a tannery?

After my grandparents split, him and my grandmother moved to tollcross, and she got a job as a servant I have written references she got. The story goes that my grandfather died in cowdenbeath a pauper. My father never spoke about his father, I know my grandmother was pregnant with my father and had to get married and she was Catholic and he was protestant, and nobody seems to know much about the marriage only that it was all hush Hush!!
Hope you can help. Margaret Barnes”.#

James Stirling and Rose Annie Stapleton Marriage 1902.WM

So, I started with the information that you had given me, and I got the marriage certificate of your grandparent’s marriage. Your grandparents were called James Stirling and Mary Annie Stapleton and when they married James was 24 and Rose was 25. The one thing that immediately stood out for me was that both the witnesses were related to your grandmother!

They were called James & Mary Stapleton, now why was this unusual? Well in most typical weddings the people who are getting married usually have their own best man or bridesmaid and you don’t see very often both witnesses that are related to one side of either the bride or groom. James was a coal miner and Mary worked as a domestic servant.

So, to answer your question about where James lived; well at the time he was living at Greenside Home. Greenside Home was a lodging house that was situated in Church Street and it was the type of place that you would live if you were homeless, It was not as bad as the Hamilton Poorhouse, as some of the people living here did support themselves, however, they were referred to as “Inmates”.

It was not a very glamorous place and you would pay for the bed for a night. The people who tended to live here were alcoholics, thieves, and rough ones and, in many cases, when this name of the home pops up in newspaper reports, its for thefts, or people dying in the building. Now this is not to say that your grandfather was a thief, or a drunk, he may just have fallen on hard times and that could be why he was living here.
I found that your grandparent’s marriage did not last for too long, where in December 1904 your grandmother sadly applied for poor relief. It appears that your grandfather abandoned his wife and child.

Rose Anne application for Poor releif.

James deserted from the family and on the 14th of December 1904 Rose, or Annie as she was known as applied to get help from the parish of Dalziel and the outcome probably was not what she was looking for. In fact, instead of getting money from the poor relief fund, they offered her on the 30th of December an admittance to the poorhouse. I can only imagine that the pregnancy out of wedlock must have put a strain on your grandmother and your great grandparents. This could be the reason why the family did not assist her, or perhaps your great grandparents had financial struggles of their own.

Being admitted to a poorhouse was a last resort for anyone as it was a horrendous place to be and certainly would have been really a frightening experience for your dad, as he was only 2 years old.

Mary Anne Harrington Poor releaf.

At this moment, I can’t tell you if she did get admitted to the poorhouse but if you want to find out the exact details of what went on in the marriage, then once lock-down is over, you can visit the Mitchell Library in Glasgow who hold all of the parish poor records for Scotland.

It was at this point during my research that I found that it was not the first time that your grandmother had been offered admittance to the poorhouse! I found that when she was only 4 years old her mum also applied for poor relief and in this instance, your great grandfather does not seem to be present.

Mary Anne Harrington Poor releaf.1
The application states that your great grandfather also deserted his family and that he himself was admitted to the poorhouse 5 or 6 years ago. Once again, if you can please visit the Mitchell library where you will find every exact detail on this. Sadly, the next year in 1884 your great grandmother again applies for more poor relief and was once again her and the kids are admitted to the poorhouse.

James Stirling Death 1921

I did trace your grandfather’s death and in 1921, he still had no home of his own. He sadly died alone at a lodging house. I found that he died on the 20th March 1921 at 21 Elgin Road, Cowdenbeath. The cause of his death was Syncope.

21 Elgin Road

I did find that he had a brother who was called Matthew, so perhaps he moved to Cowdenbeath to be closer to family; but one thing that was noticeable on his death certificate was that he was recorded as still being married to your grandmother, so even after all the years that they were apart, he still classed his self as a married man.

I looked to see what had become of your grandmother and when I next found her on the 1911 census, I was pleased to see that she was supporting herself. In fact, she and your dad were living in their very own house. They lived at 109 Causewayside Street at Tollcross, Baillieston. She was working as a Charwoman, or in todays meaning, she was a house cleaner or Housekeeper. This was also the occupation of her mother.

Your grandmother continued to live at 109 Causewayside Street for the rest of her days and on the 21st of June 1955 she died at her house. She also was listed as being married to your grandfather and your dad at the time was living just up the road at 130 Causewayside Street and he was the person who registered your grandmother’s death.

Margaret, it is unknown why your grandparents came to Hamilton, however their time here in the town was short. As the wider family lived in places outside Hamilton, I have ended my research here and secondly I know that you are actively researching your family, so I will leave the rest for you to uncover.

I hope that what I have found for you answers some questions and I have set out a path for you to continue your research. Please do get in touch if you find anymore information on your family which connects it to Hamilton and I hope that you have fun researching your family in the coming days, weeks & months.

Garry,

EARNOCK LODGE

EARNOCK LODGE.

1895 Map of the Lodge.

There is an old sandstone house in the street called Jura Gardens and this old house was at one point the only house on this stretch of land, it’s closest neighbour was Earnock Mansion House and before it was given a number or became part of a street at Jura Gardens, it was simply only known as Earnock Lodge.

It was the gatehouse to the Earnock Estate and in its early years; its occupants lived and worked for the Watson family. I was asked by one of my readers on Historic Hamilton to see if I could look into the history of the Lodge for a Mrs Walker who asked if I could find out who lived here as she believed that when she was a little girl around the 1930’s she walked from her house up Wellhall Road to the Lodge to see her uncle George.

I started my research by trying to find out who the occupants were and the first family that I found were a family that went by the name of Bonomy. Now this name is not a name that I have heard of and certainly do not recall researching it.

Isabella Bonomy Testate.1

I found that the house has had a few deaths in it and on the 22nd of October 1900 Miss Isabella Bonomy died there. She was the local schoolteacher and she died of Chronic rheumatism, 7 years; valvular disease of the heart, 2 years; Reynaud’s Disease, 2 months; Cardiac dropsy, 1 year and the poor girl really must have had a hard time of it.

Isabella was the occupier of the Lodge from 1886 to her death in 1900. I also have to note that she was not paying any rent during this time, so perhaps she was being looked after by the Watson family. Her parents were called John Bonomy, who was an estate labourer on the Earnock estate and Christina Lindsay. Both were deceased before 1900.

When I looked a little further into this family, I soon found that her parents also died at Earnock Lodge. Her father in 1886 and her mother on the 1895.

John Bonamy

While researching the Bonomy family I got a bit sidetracked and found a relation to Isabella. John Bonomy who was Isabella’s Nephew was born in Strathaven. In his younger years he was a footballer for Hamilton Academical, who went on to work for the Lanarkshire steelworks in Motherwell, where he worked as a cashier there for fifty years.
He was well thought of by all that he worked with. He died on the 14th of May 1947 at 26 Adele Street in Motherwell. At the time of his death he actually lived a few streets away at 36 George Street.

So, before Isabella had occupied Earnock Lodge her father had previously been the resident. He lived at the house between c1876-1886 and he also was not paying rent but, in these circumstances, as he was the Gardner & labourer for the Earnock Estate, the house would most probably have come with his job. Before he lived permanently at the lodge, he was living down the road at Almada Street. So, John’s death was the second one that I found to have happened at Earnock Lodge. John died on the 14th of December 1886 and his cause of death was heart disease.

John Bonomy Death2

I found no early evidence of the Lodge being in existence before 1875, so it was possibly constructed after this time and if this is correct, then John Bonomy was the very first occupier of the house.

Unrelated to the occupants of the lodge, there was a death that occurred just outside the Lodge, near Wellhall Road, where a lady called Mrs McGrattan was found dead in the street on the 2nd of December 1882. It was documented in a newspaper that she had died of exposure to the cold.

The second death to take place at the house was John’s wife Christina and she died here on the 4th of April 1895.

From 1900 the next person that I found to be living at Earnock Lodge was a man named John Mair and this man’s occupation was a Carter on the estate and once more the house comes with the job and he does not pay any rent. John Mair lived at the lodge with his wife and they lived here from 1900 through to the demolition of Earnock house in 1926.

On Saturday the 6th of June 1907, an accident happened where Mrs Mair and her daughter Mrs Allardyce were walking down Wellhall Road towards Peacock Cross when they were knocked down by a horse and van. Mrs Mair was injured the worst with a cut face and internal bruising and her daughter was in shock. They were carried back to Earnock Lodge to recover.

Why the lodge was not demolished in 1926 is unknown to me, but most likely it was bought and took into private ownership. When the Earnock estate was demolished it left John Mair with no job and no home! When I looked to see what had happened to John, I found that he gained new employment just down the road at Hillhouse Farm, where he got a job working as a shepherd.

Jane Mair died on the 10th of December 1928 at Hillhouse Farm and John died of bowel cancer on the 7th of December 1935 also at Hillhouse Farm, their granddaughter Marjorie Allardyce was the person who registered both deaths.

Today, on the 21st of June 2020 I spoke to Mrs Walker and I was pleased to tell her that her uncle George did live at the lodge. He was the first person to buy it and George also lived here. He bought the house around 1927 and he lived here until at least 1940. He may have lived at Earnock Lodge for many years; however, this is the latest date that I could traced him. George Neilson died at Hamilton in 1975.

Earnock Lodge still stands on the same spot to this day and I am unsure who the current owners are. Perhaps if they are reading this then they can tell me who owned the house from 1940.

Do you know anyone connected to the house? If you do, then please get in touch.

Do you know who is in the picture?

John Lowell

 

Diane Lowell sent us this picture of her dad John, (Man at the back with the cigar) and she was asking if anyone knew who was in the picture. Diane told us:

“My dad John lowell standing at back with cigar .
I believe it was a farewell get together as Archie Kane ,Ian Kane ( not related) and Jackie McCaig were immigrating to Canada , also in picture was Frankie Callaghan and Maurice Coll ( my uncle) and I believe it was in the Cadzow Welfare as they all came from that area .
Maybe someone will recognise family members x”

Do you recognise any faces? Let us know if you do or know where the venue was.