This fantastic picture of Burnbank was sent to us by Alan Watt. It was taken by Alan’s grandfather in who was called Matthew Watt.
The picture was taken in 1971 and you can see the old Victorian buildings on the left hand side which stood before the Red Road and Burnbank centre was built.
Have you got any old pictures of Hamilton that you would like to share? Please send them by PM, or by email.
PETER GIBSON FAMILY TREE.
Peter Gibson, or better known to us as Freddie Kruger (Facebook Name) Asked if I could look into his family history. Peter here’s what I found.
To start, if you are getting confused as to who I am referring to, then please have a look at your family tree above to use as a guideline. Your ancestors were scattered from around mostly Lanarkshire and you only have one family line which has been in Hamilton for a good few generations, however, I will come back to this as the story unfolds.
I firstly started with your direct bloodline and researched the Gibson side of your family. Your father Edward was born in Hamilton on the 13th of November 1942 to parents James & Mary Ann Gallagher.
Your Grandfather James was born at 8:00 pm at 78 Windsor Street in Burnbank, a street that no longer exists and he married your Grandmother Mary Ann on the 6th of June 1941. They married at the Burnbank parish Church. At their wedding the best man was Walter McGowan (Possibly a relation to the Boxer) of 28 Sempie Street and Mary H Anderson of 12 Bryan Street. James worked as a Colliery Labourer and later a general labourer and he seemed to be a labourer most of his working days. When he married, he was living at 26 Milton Street. Your grandparents later moved to 48 Shawburn Street. Your grandfather had two brothers and two sisters; Isabella, Peter, Jeanie & John. Your grandfather died in Hamilton in 1975, he was 58 years old. I will come back to your Grandmother once I tell you about your Gibson side of the family.
Your Great grandparents were called Andrew Gibson and Isabella Matthews. Andrew was born on the seventh of September 1887. He was also born at Windsor Street (Number 8). He continued to live at Windsor Street until at least 1911. He married your great grandmother Isabella on the 29th of November 1907. They also married at 20 Windsor Street; this is where Isabella lived. When they married. James & Helen Gibson were the witnesses. Your Great Grandfather worked all his days as a coal hewer. Andrew died at 8:15 pm, on the 21st of July 1966 at Stonehouse Hospital. The cause of death was generalised arteric sclerosis. His son Cunningham Gibson was the person who registered the death.
In your Gibson family line, your great grandfather was the first person to be born in Hamilton. When I looked at your 2-x great grandparents I found that they were a family of coal miners from Ayrshire. Your 2 x great grandparents were called Peter Gibson & Janet (Also Known as Jean) Hutchison. Peter was born c1838 at Kilwinning in Ayrshire. Jean, or Jane as she was known was born in Galston c1855.
They married on the 28th of July 1871 in Jane’s hometown of Galston. They were both like many in this period of time illiterate and they signed their names with an X mark. Peter was thirteen years older than Jean when they married. They moved to Hamilton at some point between 1871 & 1887 and would have come here to work in one of the many coal mines which were being sunk around this time.
Your 2-x great Grandfather Peter died on the 4th of October 1895 at 10:20am. He sadly died at the Hamilton Poorhouse. His cause of death was Typhoid Fever. Your great uncle William Gibson was the person who registered his death. When your 2 x great grandfather died, the family lived at 82 Windsor Street. If you are asking why he died at the Poor House, then it doesn’t mean that it was because he was homeless or an inmate there. These were days before the NHS and if a family couldn’t afford to pay expensive doctors’ fees, then they would have been admitted at the poorhouse hospital and usually this was a last resort for a family to admit one of their own.
Going back another generation, your 3-X Great grandparents were also from the Kilwinning area and their names were William Gibson & Helen Barbour. Peter when I research families, I usually just go as far as Hamilton, and as we are straying quite far out, this is where I stopped my research on your Gibson line. I have however managed to trace 205 years of your Gibson family line and I hope that this gives you some answers on your family line rather than more questions.
So, moving back to your great grandmother she was called Isabella Matthews. Isabella was born in Edinburgh c1888 and she was the daughter of Johnathan Matthews & Isabella Agnews? (I have put a question mark against this maiden name as I am unsure if this is correct and it could be Agnew.)
The family did not live in Edinburgh for long and this was due to the job that your 2-X great grandfather did. He was a Blacksmith Journeyman and would have travelled to where the work was and having no fixed smithy, he wasn’t tied down to one place. So, your grandmother Isabella was born in Edinburgh in 1888 and I next find a record of her living with her parents in Glasgow, where in 1891 the family are living in 63 Commercial Road, this was in the Hutchesontown district of Glasgow, or better known as the Gorbals. The family next appear in the 1901 census where they are living at 122 Naeburn Street, still in the Gorbals area. Your 2-X great grandparents were English, Johnathan born c1863 & Isabella c1862. The trail does go cold here for your 2 x great grandparents and I could not trace them any further on the English Censuses and I am unable to tell you what became of them.
So, I’m now going to backtrack a bit and go back to your grandmothers’ side of the family. Your grandmother was called Mary Ann Gallagher and she was born around 1905. When she married your grandfather, she was living at Burnbank. Her parents and your great grandparents were called Edward Gallagher & Sarah Ann O’Brien McGuigan. Now, with these surnames, I bet that you can guess where this family originated from? I will get to that in a second.
Edward Gallagher, or Ned as he was known was a laborer who lived in Hamilton. Now, he is a bit of a mystery as I can’t find anything on him before he was married. Perhaps, the family moved from Ireland after 1911? (1911 is when I could really trace him on a census).
Edward married Sarah Ann on the 1st of April 1921, and they married at St. Joseph’s Chapel in Blantyre. The witnesses were called Bernard Bonnar & Mary Flannagan. Now, I must let you know here, that we have a family connection through this marriage! Sarah Anne O’Brein McGuigan was the sister in law of my 2nd Great Grand Aunt. My Second Great Aunt was called Margaret McNamee, who married John McGuigan. Also, Bernard Bonnar & Mary Flannagan, who were the witnesses of your grandparents wedding are both in my family tree.
It was here that I got sidetracked with my own family tree, as I had not researched this section in my family since 2013. So, I uncovered more information on my own family tree and had spent some time working on this. Peter, I have always said that everyone in Hamilton, who’s parents were brought up in Hamilton are connected to each other in one way or another. I will be adding your family tree on to mine in due course and when I work it out, I will tell you exactly what our family connection is.
So, Back to Edward & Sarah Ann. When they married Edward lived in 43 Church Street in Hamilton and Sarah Ann lived at 4 Ross Row in Blantyre (Cross Row was part of the Tenements at the Blantyre Works – demolished in 1930). Both sides of this family were all coal miners and even Sarah Ann worked at the local colliery as a Pithead Worker.
Edwards parents who were your 2x great grandparents were called Robert Gallagher & Margaret Hamilton and Robert was born on the 25th of November 1868 at 23 Muir Street. Roberts father was an educated man, as he actually signed for his son’s birth, rather than marking the paper with an X mark. The surname on various documents which I found started off as Gallagher and then as I researched further back it becomes Gallacher, but for the purpose of this story, I will keep it spelled as Gallagher.
In 1871 your 2 x great grandparents were living at 8 Castle Wynd in and then in 1891 I found that they had moved to the better area of Barrack Street. Your 3 x Great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Susan Ginn. William was born c1845 at Bellshill & Susan was a Hamilton girl and was born in c1845.
Your 3-x great grandfather William died at the age of 46 at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, your 2 X Great Grandfather Edward was the person who registered his death. When he died his residence was 34 Leechlee Street. William and Susan had at least seven children.
I managed to go back another two generations on this side of your family and your 4x great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Maria Kelly, both born in Ireland at the turn of the century. William died in Hamilton 25th of November 1885. Your 5 x Great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Susan McCue and I never found any evidence of them coming to Hamilton, so I would assume that they had never moved from Ireland.
Your 3x Great Grandmother’s was called Susan Ginn and she was born in Hamilton c1836 and side of the family were also all from Hamilton. Susan Married William Gallagher on the 7th of August 1853, also in Hamilton. In 1841 the family were living at New Wynd. Susan’s dad was working as a Laborer. She was one of 4 children in the family. If you look at your tree, you will find that William Ginn married Catherine Nugent and from this branch of your family, it also originates from Ireland, so again your 4 x great grandparents were Irish.
Moving on to the next section of your family, your great grandmother as I mentioned above was called Sarah Ann O’Brein McGuigan and she was born on the 15th of January 1900 at Duncan’s Buildings in Burnbank.
Sara Ann was the daughter of Charles McGuigan & Mary Ann Flanagan and here I am happy to say that I have a picture of your 2nd Great Grandmother. (Please see Below) Doesn’t she look like a happy wee soul? Do you see a family resemblance in this picture? Let me know.
As I mentioned, Mary Ann Flanagan is also where my family connection lies. Mary Ann was born on the 27th of March 1865 to parents Owen Flanagan & Ann Milligan. Your 3rd great grandfather Owen was also a Blacksmith, and again lived in Ireland.
She married your 2-x great grandfather Charles McGuigan on the 16th of May 1887 at Baillieston.
After I found their marriage cert, I couldn’t trace them again until 1901, where I found them living at Greenside Place in Blantyre.
Mary Ann eventually died at Hartwood Hospital in Shotts on the 23rd of January 1935. The cause of death was Influenza and the person who registered her death was one of the Clerks. It is really sad for people with mental disabilities back then. There was no real medication and when their families eventually could not cope, then they were admitted to the Asylum. In most cases once this happened, they also lost contact with their family.
On your Mum’s side of the family we have your grandparents who as you will know were called Thomas McFarlane & Marion Martin Boyle and they married on the 31st of December 1938 at St. Cuthbert’s chapel in Burnbank. I also must say Peter that you have real strong roots in Burnbank, where most of your direct ancestors were born, lived and worked here.
When your grandparents married Thomas was living at 69 Mayfield Road and Marion at 54 Udston Place. Your grandfather was working as a General Labourer and your grandmother was like many young girls of the time working as a Domestic Servant. The best man & woman was John McNulty of 25 May Street & your great aunty Jeanie Doyle of 54 Udston Place.
Your great grandfather on the McFarlane side was called Patrick McFarlane and he was a coal miner and then in his latter years a night watchman. Patrick was born on the 3rd of February 1877 at Springburn and your great grandmother was called Margaret McGeeghan and she was born c 1885 at Cambusnethan.
Your 2 x great grandparents were called John McFarlane & Sarah McCluskey, John born in Ireland & Sarah born in Paisley. They married in 1874 at Paisley.
On your Great grandmothers’ side (Margaret McGeeghan) her parents were called Thomas McGeeghan & Abbie Owens. Thomas was from Airdrie & Annie from Old Monklands (Now Coatbridge). Your second great grandmother Annie died at Burnbank in 1914.
On the Doyle side of your family and your 2 x great grandparents, they were called John Doyle & Agnes Durham. They married at Cambusnethan in 1872 and also a family of coal miners.
In your last family line which I researched, if found that your great grandmother was called Margaret Higgins. She was the daughter of Martin Higgins & Helen Moran. She married your Great grandfather Thomas on the 6th of June 1902 at St. Joseph’s in Blantyre. The witnesses were called James Gourley & Agnes Doyle.
She died on the 10th of April 1959 at her house in 37 Douglas Crescent in Eddlewood. Your 2 x great grandparents were called Martin Higgins & Helen Moran. They were originally from Holytown and were also a coal mining family.
Peter, your family like most families in Hamilton and who have at least one or two generations which have been living in the town all mostly had the same occupation and then can be traced back to the same country.
During the mid-eighteen hundred’s, through to the early nineteen hundreds, people from Ireland flocked to Hamilton to gain employment in one of the many coal mines which were being sunk all over the place. As so many people were looking for work sadly, they were exploited and were paid a pittance for their had days toil.
The coal miners of Hamilton had very harsh lives and some were not even so lucky as to have been paid any money at all, as they were trapped in a vicious circle of getting credit form the local colliery owned shop which in turn they had to get their food on credit and then on pay day, pay their wage back the shop.
Peter, when you start to research a family tree, it can be very addictive and when your start you get the passion for it and as in my case, I have been researching for over ten years, it becomes a really great hobby.
You have so much more to uncover in your family history and even though what I have written is nine pages long, I must tell you that I have only just started to lay out the groundwork for you. Like I tell all the people who I do research for, I would ask that you, take a bit of time and take up the hobby of family research. It can be quite addictive.
With the recent events that have taken place at the Burnbank Shopping Centre, George Buchanan is trying to get enough signatures to make changes to this once vibrant hub.
Burnbank Shopping Centre has a history going back many generations as being a family friendly hub for the whole community. Unfortunately Burnbank is facing difficult times at present and has done for some time now. Please lend your support and your voice by signing this petition to help bring about significant and lasting change for the betterment of everyone and see Burnbank return to its former glory!
George Buchanan along with other Burnbank shopkeepers have raised these concerns with Cllr Davie McLachlan and others. A suggestion was put forward to reopen the “Red Road” to allow traffic back through, disrupting unsavoury loitering and enabling better access for regular shoppers. This was taken by Davie to the council and is now being considered.
Please sign this petition to support this course of action.
James Gordon (Private) Highland Light Infantry 12th (Service) Battalion.
James was killed on Saturday the 25th of September 1915 on the opening day of the battle of Loos. He was 19 years old.
He was the son of John & Jane Gordon and they lived at 2 Albert Buildings, Burnbank and later residing at 34 Argyle Buildings, Burnbank. Private Gordon has no known grave and is commemorated on Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France Panel 108-112.
William Syme Adam. (Quartermaster Sergeant) William was killed in Action on the 23rd of March 1918 at the Battle of St. Quentin (21-23 March) during the German Spring Offensive.
He was 29 years old and part of the 43rd Brigade 14th Division. He was born 13th December 1888 at James Street, Hamilton and was the second son of William Adam & Jane Lamb.
Before the war, he was a Teacher in Motherwell and was married to Marion B Murray. He had two children.
WORLD WAR 2 1939-1945
Written by Wilma Bolton.
Despite the carnage of World War 1, the 1930’s brought war clouds gathering again over Europe and on the 3rd September, 1939, Britain once more declared war on Germany.
As the country mobilised for war, notices appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser informing the civilian population on issues such as gas masks, the blackout, evacuees, rationing and registering for National Service. The intimations page also underwent a change in content when the headings, Deaths on Active Service, Missing in Action and Prisoner of War were added.
May and June 1940 saw 338,226 troops rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. Many Lanarkshire soldiers were killed or captured during this evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces, or when fighting with the rear guard protecting the troops on the beaches. Among the soldiers being evacuated were Eddlewood brothers Owen and Charlie Lawless. Owen was killed in action. Charlie survived and fought throughout the duration of the war.
Two High Blantyre brothers, Robert and Jim McCulloch of Stonefield Crescent were also among the survivors. Unable to re-embark at Dunkirk the brothers who were in different units, both managed to reach Brest where they were picked up by one of the hundreds of vessels involved in the rescue. They were overjoyed when they met on board. Robert was lucky to be there, a wallet tucked into in his breast pocket had stopped a piece of shrapnel which undoubtedly would have killed him.
During the nights of the 13th-14th and 14th-15th March 1941, German bombers flew over Hamilton heading for Clydeside. The sky was lit up by searchlights and the town echoed with the noise from the local anti-aircraft guns firing at the planes, as they flew overhead. Aided by the light of a full moon, the bombers discharged a cargo of 105,300 incendiary bombs, bringing death and destruction to Clydebank.
Within two hours of the air raid starting, a large convoy of Hamilton first-aid ambulance and rescue vehicles, fire engines and mobile canteens left for the blazing town. Among the rescue teams were highly trained First Aid Party (F.A.P.) personnel including John Anderson, house factor; Andrew Adams, Portland Place; Gus Le Blonde, Scott Street; John Henderson, lorry driver, Portland Park; Paddy King winding engineman, Arden Road; Guy Lang, newsagent, Morgan Street; Johnny Logan, Alness Street and Bob Roxburgh, optician. It was to be four days before they returned home. Three men from the rescue teams were injured; Samuel Wright and Frank Bebbington received crushing injuries when bombed buildings collapsed on top of them and John Paul received a serious knee injury.
Blantyre also sent a substantial number of rescue personnel in a convoy of eighteen vehicles, nine of which were destroyed during the bombing. Among the rescue teams was Thomas Limerick a former miner and trained first aider from Bairds Rows. Two of the Blantyre rescue team were injured. Vincent McInerney suffered a compound fracture of his arm and David Paterson sustained serious back injuries.
On the 16th March, seven hundred Clydebank refugees arrived at Hamilton and were transported to sixteen previously earmarked rest centres at churches and halls throughout the town. Most of them had lost everything they owned and arrived with only the clothes they stood in.
Among the many families to take refugees into their homes were the McCrums of 54 Mill Road, Hamilton. Mrs Isabella McCrum had been helping with the refugees at Low Waters School where she worked as a cleaner. On returning home, she informed her husband Robert that all the refugees had been found accommodation with the exception of one family of five adults; a mother, three daughters and a son who did not want to be split up. Feeling sorry for them, they went to the school and brought the family back to their home. This family, the Langs, were to stay with the McCrums for the duration of the war. They were living in two bedrooms; one of them normally used by the McCrum girls who were hastily moved down into the living room to sleep. The other bedroom had been used by the four McCrum sons who were away fighting with the British army. One of them John; a Gordon Highlander fought at El Alamein and was wounded by shrapnel in Sicily but survived his injuries. George, a paratrooper also survived the war as did Robert, who fought with Wingate’s Chindits in Burma, but William, a Royal Scot, was killed fighting in Burma.
There were many local soldiers engaged fighting the grim battle against the Japanese in Burma. Another one was Cameronian, James Spiers one of three Earnock brothers, all of whom were regular soldiers fighting for their country. James was killed in Burma and has no known grave, Alexander, a Seaforth Highlander was captured at St Valerie while defending the soldiers being evacuated from Dunkirk. The third brother John, fought in Europe with the Cameronians. Both men rose through the ranks, Alex to become a Major and John a Captain.
On May 5th a bomb fell on the railway sidings behind Whitehill Road, Burnbank. Luckily there were no casualties.
The country was stunned when on 24th May; H.M.S. Hood was sunk with the loss of 1,417 men. Three young Hamilton sailors, William Pennycook, John Mullen and John Kirkland were among the dead.
In October,May Baillie a young Hamilton nurse, survived 8 days in an open raft after her ship was torpedoed 700 miles from land. She married two weeks after returning home.
Also in October, Lance-Corporal Jimmy Welsh, 6 Neilsland Drive, Meikle Earnock found himself in the thick of the fighting at El Alamein. During the bombardment he heard a sound which brought a lump to his throat. Rising and falling above the thunder of the guns he could hear the pipes of the gallant 51st Highland Division playing the soldiers into battle. The battle of El Alamein was won, resulting in the retreat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps and eventually the surrender of 250,000 German and Italian troops in North Africa.
By November the Government was calling on all “patriots” to give up disused articles of copper, pewter, zinc, lead, brass, bronze, aluminium to make munitions. Collection points were arranged and the people started clearing out their unwanted ferrous metal. The children of Russell Street, Hamilton helped, by having a door to door collection for scrap. Every piece of scrap paper was also collected and recycled.
All over Lanarkshire, people organised back door concerts, whist drives and other forms of entertainment to collect money for the war effort. Prisoners of war were not forgotten. Weekly lists appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser naming contributors to the Red Cross Prisoner of War Fund for food parcels and clothing.
Many local men were decorated for outstanding bravery and among them was Second Officer John Inglis of Burnbank who was awarded the George Medal in December 1942 for his courage when his ship was attacked by enemy aircraft.
1943 saw a turning point in the war and the country was now on the offensive instead of the defensive and winning major victories.
Sunday 26th October was designated “Battle of Britain” day and ceremonial parades and thanksgiving services were held all over the county. The same week saw the repatriation of 790 prisoners of war and civilian internees. Among the men repatriated were James Steel and Matthew McDonald from Burnbank and George Hall, Graham Avenue Eddlewood. Welcome home parties were held for all three men.
In February 1944 there was great excitement in Burnbank when Mrs Lily McGauchie proprietrix of a newsagents shop telephoned the police about a suspicious customer. It was just as well she did; he turned out to be an escaped German prisoner of war.
Among the mighty armada crossing the channel on D-Day June 6th were many of Lanarkshire’s sons. The Death on Active Service columns in the Hamilton Advertiser told of the high price of freedom being paid by local families. Among the dead were Earnock man Brian Cameron and Arthur Russell from Blantyre.
September saw the lights go on again after blackout restrictions were relaxed. This delighted the local children, many of whom had never seen the streets lights on.
In December the Home Guard held a “Stand Down” parade in Hamilton, three months later on May 7th 1945 the war in Europe ended and Hamilton celebrated with flags of all shapes and sizes flying from buildings and windows. Banners were thrown across streets, fairy lights were connected up and by nightfall the town was a mass of colour. Thousands of people danced in the streets and fires were lit on the top of Earnock and Neilsland bings.
At Larkhall there was cheering and singing around a bonfire at the “Old Cross,” after the official announcement that the war in Europe was over. Music was provided by Larkhall Home Guard Pipe Band and reels were danced at Charing Cross. In Blantyre the celebrations lasted three days, with bonfires, music and dancing.
The war with Japan continued for three months after V.E. Day but at midnight on August 15th, Larkhall folk were wakened by the sound of Trinity Church bells ringing out the news that the war with Japan was over. The bells were soon joined by hooters and sirens all loudly announcing the welcome news. By half past twelve bonfires were blazing all over town and spontaneous street parties were being held in Hamilton Road, Hareleeshill, Old Cross, Raploch Cross and Strutherhill.
Thirty minutes after the midnight announcement of the Japanese surrender, victory fires were lit all over Hamilton. The Old Cross was thronged with delighted citizens who danced eightsome reels to the music of pipers. Eventually most of the crowd made their way to the Council’s open air dance floor and danced the night away to the music of Tommy McLaren’s dance band.
In Blantyre’s Morris Crescent, there was a fireworks display using fireworks formerly employed in A.R.P. exercises. In High Blantyre, an effigy of the Japanese Emperor was burnt on one of the celebration bonfires after it was paraded throughout the village by children shouting “we want Togo” and all over the village, street parties were held to celebrate the end of the war.
Ⓒ Wilma S. Bolton. 2018.
A pencil of light hovered over the sky,
The moonlight revealed each passer-by,
Slowly the beam travelled westward, then
Clear-cut as crystal, compelling as youth,
Between two tall houses, then over the
Roaming the skies with a careless ease,
Touching as lightly as the wind on the
Who would have thought it was searching
Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 27/4/1940. Page 4.