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.

The Seagrave family.

The Seagrave family.
Celeste Landeros contacted us to see if we could assist with her family research. Celeste said:
“Hello Garry, I’m so excited to find your FB and website, historic Hamilton. I am planning a family heritage trip to Scotland this summer and have been researching our family’s past in preparation. My grandmother, Bridget “Betty” Seagrave was born in Burnbank in 1911 and immigrated to Scotland by herself in 1929.
We have very little information about her father, William C. Seagrave and her mother, Ellen Hall. There is a William Seagrave, age 25, in the 1901 census, living with the London family in the Albert Buildings. He is listed as a “pit worker,” presumably with Earnock. After that nothing. My grandmother’s marriage registry lists her father as having been born in Armah, Ireland.
My great grandmother, Ellen Hall, was born in Glasgow and the 1871 census lists her as living with her parents, both from Armah, on the notorious Muse Lane, that was “cleared” around that time. Her parents immigrated to Philadelphia but appear to have left her behind at age 2. She next shows up in the 1891 voter rolls in Glasgow, living on Whitevale — where I understand there was lodging for young ladies. How did she end up in Burnbank? How long did she live there? How did she meet William Seagrave? When did she pass away?”
Celeste, I see from what you have gathered during your research that you have got most of your family documented. The small questions of ‘How’ & ‘Why’ can sometimes never be answered but through extensive research the clues that you stumble across sometimes point you in the right direction to help find your answer. Did you know that today there are still members of the Seagrave family who live in Hamilton and they may be descendants of your great grandfather?
I will try to fill in some blanks for you and I started with your great grandfather William C Seagrave. I found that he died 21st of October 1948 and when he died, he was 76 years old. He died at 41 Bothwell Road in Hamilton and this may tell us that the family were not in any kind of financial position to pay for a doctor. 41 Bothwell Road was the address of the Hamilton Combination Poorhouse and when people were admitted it was usually a last resort, my great grandfather also died at the Hamilton Poorhouse.
Before William was admitted to the poorhouse, he was living with his daughter Margaret at 34 King Street, Burnbank, Hamilton. This house still stands to this day and hasn’t changed much since 1948. Your great grandfathers’ parents were called Edward Seagrave who was a General Laborer & Anne McDermott.
Your great grandmother Ellen Hall had passed away before 1948, so I then went looking for her death certificate and I found that Ellen died ten years earlier on the thirteenth of September 1938. She died at 34 King Street and her son A. Seagrave was the person who registered her death. Ellen’s parents were called Andrew who was a Tailor Journeyman & Mary Boyle.
William & Ellen married in Glaslough, Monaghan in Ireland on the 14th of August 1901. Their daughter Margaret was then born on the 28th of October 1915 at 7 Greenfield ‘New’ Rows. This house would have come with William’s job as a coal miner.
When I looked at the 1911 census, I found that both William & Ellen were born in Ireland and perhaps this is why they married in Monaghan, it could have either been where both lived before coming to Hamilton, or at lease where Ellen lived as traditionally the bride gets married in her home town.
On this census the information tells us that up until this point there was 6 children born and that two had died. The 1911 census also gives us an insight to their travel. A daughter Mary was born in Burnbank, Hamilton in 1903, their son James was born in Ireland in 1905 & Bridget was born in Burnbank, Hamilton only a month earlier.
Celeste, you had mentioned that you found Ellen on the 1871 census living in Glasgow. I have found no evidence of her being alive in this year! The 1911 census has her age as 19, however, I believe that this has been a mistake and it should have been recorded as 29. Also, on her death cert her age is 58 making her birth year c1880.
The reason why William & Ellen moved to Hamilton is unclear, but I suspect that they moved here not long after getting married. It is more than likely that they moved to Hamilton for William to gain work at Greenfield Colliery where many men from Ireland worked. I also have to add that during my years of research, there have been many families move from Monaghan to Hamilton for work at one of the coal mines, so perhaps William knew someone from his village who already worked here?
Celeste, I’m sorry that I can’t give you the answers that you are looking for, but please do let us know about your trip when you come over to visit us in the summer and as I mentioned at the start of this post, there are still members of the Seagrave family who live in Hamilton and perhaps one of them might get in touch.

Burnbank 1971.

Burnbank 1971 Alan Watt..PNG

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.




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.

Andrew Gibson Birth WM.PNG

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.

Andrew Gibson death 1966.jpg

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.

Andrew Gibson and Isabella MarriageWM

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.

James Gibson and Mary AnnWM.PNG

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.

William Gallagher Death 1878

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.

Mary Ann Flanagan WM.PNGMoving 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.

Margaret Gibson Burial record.

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.

Edward Gibson death 1988

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.

Mary Ann Gallagher Death.

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.

1911 Cenus Burnbank..jpg

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.



Revive Burnbank Shopping Centre.

Hi everyone,


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 Gordon.

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 Adams

William Adams 1888-1918.

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.

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.

Burnbank Blitz.WM

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.

William PennycookWM.

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
for death!

Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 27/4/1940. Page 4.


Carr Family Tree WM.

This month we asked our readers if they would like help with their ancestry and we had a few replies. We were contacted by Ann Cassidy who was looking for information on her father’s family who lived in Hamilton and Ann wrote to us and said:

“Hi Garry, I have recently found out that my Grandmother is buried in the Wellhall Road cemetery. I would really like to find out more about my father’s side of the family, who lived in Burnbank and Hamilton. My Grandmother’s name was Mary Gallagher, I think she was born in 1895…She married William Carr. My Grandmother was only 38 when she died in 1933. My Grandmother’s parents were Mary Ann Gallagher and Francis Gallagher.”

Ann, here is what I found.

Your grandparents were indeed called William Car & Mary Gallagher. They married on the 8th of November 1913 at what was called the Roman Catholic Chapel, I would suspect that this was St. Cuthbert’s.

William Carr & Mary Gallagher MCert.

William was twenty years old and Mary was eighteen and the witnesses were Dominik & Mary Gallagher.
At the time of the wedding your grandfather was living at 145 Glasgow Road in Burnbank and your grandmother living at 1 Grammar School Square and both grandparents were working.

Your grandfather, like many Hamilton men in this decade, he was a coal miner and your grandmother was working as a colliery brass picker, the role of a brass picker was working at the pithead above ground removing the coal from dirt and rocks. Sometimes this job could be just as dangerous as working underground as the conveyor belts did not have any safety rails and often women were dragged to their deaths and caught in the machinery. So, as they both worked at a colliery, it is possible that they met at work.

After they were married your grandparents got their first house together at 126 Glasgow Road, so, another possibility is that they both worked at Greenfield Colliery as this was just a short walk away from the house at Glasgow Road. They continued to live on the same street up to 1925 where they then moved to number 141.

As you know, your father Michael was born around 1930 and your grandparents later moved to a new house at 3 George Street in Burnbank Your grandmother had taken ill with pneumonia and she was so sick that she was taken to the infectious diseases hospital at Udston (Udston House) and on the 5th of July 1933 the illness killed her.

Your grandfather continued to live at 3 George Street and on the 1st of March 1938, he re-married to a lady called Elizabeth Bradshaw, who was a 35-year-old widower. For now, this is as much as I can tell you about your grandfather, so perhaps you could fill in the gaps with what happened to him later in life.

Before I move on to your fathers’ side of the family, I will tell you who your great-grandparents were on your Gran’s side of the family. Your grandmother Mary Gallagher was born at 110 Muir Street on the 11th of September 1895 and her parents were called Francis Gallagher & Mary Ann McGuire.

Your great Grandfather Francis was a Plasterers labourer and both he and your great-grandmother were originally from Newton Stewart. They married there on the 1st of August 1886.

So, as you asked about your father’s side of the family. Your grandfather William Carr was born at 11 Farm Road, Greenfield. He was born on the 11th of June 1893 and he was the fifth child in the family, his siblings were Patrick, John, Margaret & Michael. Your great-grandmother signed William’s birth certificate with an X, so she was illiterate, and this was not an uncommon thing back in 1893.

William Carr Birth.

Your Great Grandparents were called Michael Carr and Mary Tomaney. When William was born your great grandfather was living at Greenfield and as your great-grandfather was a coal miner is likely that he worked at Greenfield Colliery.

Your great-grandparents seemed to go back and forth between Hamilton and Springburn and I would take a guess that this had something to do with Michael’s employment and as of now, I can’t give you an answer to why he moved back and forth so many times. There is also some confusion as to where your great-grandfather Michael was born. I can’t actually find his birth certificate, however on the 1861, 1871 & 1891 census they all state he was born in Hamilton.

Michael was born to parents who were called Patrick Carr & Mary Bryce, this was your 2 x great grandparents and they originally came from Ireland. They moved to Hamilton before 1858 and again the Springburn connection is here, as they moved between Springburn & Hamilton. Your 2 x Great Granddad died at 14 Low Waters Road on the 6th of August 1886 and unfortunately the man who was the informant of the death did not know the name of Patrick’s parents, so the Carr trail stops here.

I did manage to find out where Mary Bryce died. She died on the 15th of August 1886 at the City Poorhouse at St. Rollox in Glasgow and from this document I found that your 3 X great grandparents were called John Bryce who was a fisherman & Nelly Garragh.

Your 2 x great-grandparents, Michael & Mary Married on the 8th of January 1886 and when they married Michael was living at 54 Windsor Street and Mary was living at 112 Watson Street. The family later moved to 9 Albert Buildings at Earnock Colliery and this is where Michael died.

He died on the 15th of January 1899 the cause of death was Cardiovascular disease. His brother in law William Tomaney was the informant of his death.
Your great-grandmother remarried a man named Charles Cairney in 1902 and together they had a son named Charles. They lived at 61 Windsor Street after the marriage.

Staying with your great-grandmother, she was born in Bellshill c1868 and her parents, your two x great grandparents were called James Tomaney Margaret Mullen.

This is as much as I can tell you about your family Ancestry and I hope that it has shed some light on your family. Your family mainly had a strong connection to Burnbank and like many families in Hamilton, we can all trace our family tree going back to Ireland.

Almada Hill


Almada Hill Sandstone.

Almada Hill in recent years has been known to us as the tenements that used to sit on the land now occupied as a car park for the Douglas Park showroom. Before the tenements were demolished the address for Almada Hill was 139-153 Almada Hill, Almada Street.

The name Almada Hill was not a new name given to the tenements on Almada Street, in fact, this name comes from a much older building that was situated just off the main road.
The original Almada Hill was first known as Almada Hall and was constructed in 1812 and like all the buildings of this time, it was built with sandstone and lime.

The person responsible for building Almada Hill was a Doctor that went by the name of John James Hume. Dr Hume purchased the land on the 14th of May 1811, the Hume family were a very well-respected family of doctors and there were many generations of them practising in Hamilton before Dr John J. Hume.

1812 Map Almada Hall.

Almada Hill, or Almada Hall as it was known in 1812, when constructed was built on the outskirts of Hamilton and out in the countryside, its closest little village was Burnbank and when built the road that we know as Almada Street was known as the “road from Ayrshire & Glasgow” and wasn’t even named Almada Street, so it is possible that this is where the street takes its name from. The next title was recorded on 5th June 1839 in favour of Helen Hume and others, the description therein states, “and houses built thereon”.

Later in the nineteenth century, it was owned by one of the Dykes brothers. The Dyke’s brothers were a family of solicitors & doctors who in their day owned many of the grandest houses in Hamilton.

Anne McEwen WM.

Almada Hill in the nineteenth century was built on a hill that would have had a great view looking over Almada Street and further afield, it was a handsome house with a garden and ornamental grounds to the front. So, going back to the owner, the house was let out by the Dykes family and in 1861 the house was rented to a woman called Ann McEwen who was the widow of Robert McEwen and this man was a wealthy East India shipping merchant. Anne was a lady from Edinburgh but had lived in London and Singapore.

At the moment it is unknown as to why Anne chose to live in Hamilton as I can’t find any connection as to why she was here, although in this period there were one or two Glasgow shipping merchants living nearby in Burnbank, so perhaps it was suggested by someone in this circle of friends who were already living here.

Anne leaves Almada Hill & Hamilton and moves to London before 1864. This is the last time in which we see this family having any connection to Hamilton.

The house is now rented to a man named James Beith Struthers, who seems to be a friend of the Dykes family. James Struthers was a wine and spirit merchant and he married a Glasgow girl called Rebecca Simpson and later marries for a second time to Mary Ann Harrison, again his time at Almada Hill is a short one. He moves on and dies on the 20th of November 1913 at 145 Main Street, Kirkton, Blantyre. James’s son who was called James Beith Harrison Struthers continues to follow in his father’s footsteps and works as a Spirit Merchant.

The building itself sat on one acre and a quarter of land and if not on ground level would have at least have one floor above. It had a porch at the front of the house which looked on to the pathway large enough for a horse and carriage to fit. It did not appear to have stables but did have outhouses and it also appears to have its own water pump in the back garden. The rear of the property was open fields used for grazing cattle which remained untouched for the duration of the building’s life.
Almada Hill was sold to a Solicitor that went by the name of Alexander Watt. The house is sold off between 1864 & 1871.

Almada Hill 1858

Alexander Watt was born in 1836 at Midlothian, Edinburgh and he studies in Edinburgh and marries Margaret Fleming in Blythswood in 1863. Alexander sets up his business in Hamilton around 1871 and continues to live at Almada hill. He is involved very much in the Hamilton Community and is a member of the Hamilton Burns Club.

In 1894 the Clyde coal company were extracting coal from beneath Almada Hill’s foundations. The underground workings could have had an impact on Almada Hill and like many of Hamilton’s buildings, it would have affected it in some way. Alexander around this time is looking to sell up and the extraction of coal may have been the reason as to why he wanted to move from Almada Hill.

The house is on the market for over a year and in various advertisements, they state that the house has not been affected by underground workings. Alexander Watt left Almada Hill in June 1900 and since then, the house lay empty until purchased by the town council.

In 1901 there is fear of a smallpox epidemic and Hamilton was not fully equipped to deal with such an outbreak. In February 1901 the town council was looking to purchase a new site for a temporary smallpox hospital. Almada Hill was shortlisted and a special meeting was set up by Provost Keith to discuss the purchase.

The people involved in the discussions also included Bailies McNaughton, Pollock, MacHale, and Hay. Also, at the meeting were councillors Louden, Smellie, Duncan, Tainsh, Anderson, Hamilton and Cassells, with Messer’s Pollock & Kilpatrick.
The object of the meeting was to consider the proposal to purchase the property of Almada Hill for the sum of £1,700, which for a house of this type was a bargain.

Bailie Hay, as Convenor of the Sanitary Committee, said the state of matters was this, that they were presently very much hampered for accommodation at the hospital, and were likely to be still more hampered in the event of an epidemic of smallpox taking place in the Burgh.

The Committee had accordingly inquired as to what would be required in the way of additional accommodation, and the result of their investigations culminated in the proprietor of Almada Hill being seen with a view to the disposal of the property. They had been offered the property for £1700, and Bailie Hay considered that they were getting it very much cheaper than it could have been bought by a private individual.

It had occurred to the Committee that Almada Hill might be a suitable place for the isolation of persons who had come into contact with smallpox patients, and it was proposed now that the property should be utilised in that way. He did not wish to shrink the fact that, in an event of a serious epidemic, they might almost require to use the premises for the accommodation of patients.

Plans had already been submitted to them for a temporary wooden building, which would give them twelve beds and the cost of this hospital would be between £500 & £600. It was a building which could, in no sense, be a permanent one, and in all probability would require to be burned when the epidemic had subsided.

In purchasing Almada Hill, they put themselves in possession of a site which could be utilised for many public purposes. It was a building which could be temporarily used as a hospital, or, if unsuitable for that, it would be advantageous for isolating parties who had come in to contact with smallpox cases.

Treasurer Keith understood that the Local Government Board had indicated that such a place was essential in a working-class community like Hamilton.

Apart altogether from the immediate requirements of the burgh, this site was moderately cheap. It could be used by the municipality, or it might be sold for the purposes of a technical school or similar institution. Everything considered, the property was moderately cheap, and Bailie Hay and the Sanitary Committee were to be congratulated in bringing the matter before the Council.

Mr Loudon asked to what extent the minerals had been extracted at the building.

Bailie Hay – One third has been worked out.

Mr Loudon – In that case, the building is quite safe.

In reply to a further question by Mr Loudon as to what provision at present existed to cope with an outbreak of smallpox, Bailie Hay explained that just now there were a great many cases of scarlet fever in the hospital, but he had been in communication with the Medical Officer, who informed him that two small rooms could be acquired to accommodate four patients pending other arrangements being made. But there was no provision whatever for isolation, and that, according to present-day medical science, was an important matter.

Mr Cassells asked if the proprietor of this building had been approached as to whether he would lease or let the building for the purposes of isolation. Bailie Hay stated that he will not let or lease the property. Mr Watt has really been in treaty for some time with two other people anxious to secure the premises.

Mr Cassels, on the ground that the proposal was premature, moved to the previous question. He considered that £1700 was an extraordinary price to pay for the premises. He maintained, further, that the building was absolutely useless. As a representative of the Second Ward, which Ward was not represented on the Sanitary Committee. He objected to this Proposal being sprung upon the Council without more time being given to the members to inquire into the various details.
Mr Tainsh, in seconding, said that he had been simply astonished at some of the actions of the Sanitary Committee within the past two or three months. This was one of the most extravagant proposals he had ever heard of.

Mr Duncan asked if the convener had examined the house.
Bailie Hay replied that the late storms had to a certain extent injured the house, but it had since been repaired and made water-tight. As an evidence of that, he had simply to state that most of the proprietor’s furniture was presently in the house.

Mr Loudon said, as a representative of the First Ward, he did not at all like the idea of selecting the site for an isolation house or hospital right in the midst of a populous and residential district.

The price asked was high, but that after all was only relative if it was found absolutely necessary to have such a place and that this was the only such place that could be got suitable for the purposes contemplated. But he should like first of all to be satisfied that there was not the slightest risk of contagion to those residing in the locality.

Bailie Hay explained that the Local Government Board had to be provided with plans, and he thought Mr Loudon might rest assured that so far as human means could go nothing would be done that would in the slightest degree be hurtful.
Mr Loudon – Then they may not approve of this.

Bailie Hay – That is so, but I do not think there is the slightest likelihood of their not agreeing to an isolation house.
Bailie Pollock said, from the nature of the discussion, it seemed that although they purchased this property, they would still require a temporary hospital in the event of an outbreak of smallpox. That being so, and seeing the figure mentioned for the site was so high because any person who knew the house knew that it was not worth the stone and lime.
Bailie Hay – It is not a brick house, so it must be worth stone and lime. (laughter).

Bailie Pollock – Well, it is not worth old material. He thought there were other means of isolating people over and above the method proposed, and he for one could not see his way to support the proposal of the committee.

The council then divided as follows:- For purchasing the property – Provost Keith, Bailies Hay, MacHale, and McNaughton, Treasurer Keith and Messrs Hamilton, Anderson, Smellie and Duncan – 9: for not purchasing the property – Bailie Pollock and Messrs Loudon, Tainsh and Cassells – 4.

The committee’s recommendation to purchase Almada Hill at £1700 was thereupon declared carried. The house gets put to use straight away and by March 1901 there were three outbreaks of Smallpox in Hamilton, the third was a plasterer’s labourer from Church Street.

The man was moved to the county hospital in Dalserf and his wife and four children were moved to Almada Hill which was now being called the reception house. A fourth woman also from the same stair in Church Street contracted Smallpox in April of that year and her husband and children were admitted to Almada Hill.

The epidemic started to spread throughout different parts of Hamilton and at a fast pace. Three children, the oldest being fourteen all from the same tenement in Low Quarry Street became ill and they were transported to Stonehouse Hospital, while their families were sent to Almada Hill.

The smallpox epidemic seemed to have passed and soon Almada Hill was not so much in the headlines, well that was until September 1901 when two boys both aged fourteen who were called William Connor and William Walker were fined 7s 6d or five days imprisonment for stealing grapes from the Vinery at Almada Hill.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Hamilton was in need of a new town hall and library and the focus was now turned once again to Almada Hill. Meetings were held and at the early stages of the talks, it was thought that Almada Hill could be an excellent site as it was close by the railway station at Peacock Cross and not to mention situated between Burnbank and the rest of the burgh. Mr Dixon of the Bent coal company also offered a site at the corner of Orchard Street and Union Street and after a consultation, it was found that due to the underground mine workings, the site would be unsafe to build on.

After more meetings, a site at Cadzow Street was also suggested and plans went ahead for a new Municipal, town hall and library to be built on Cadzow Street.
Almada Hill was now an old building on an acre and a quarter of land and to claw their money back in some way, the council had to use it for something. The town council did consider letting the property once more as a house, however, this was until the electric lighting committee was in need of a site for its new electric lighting station and a section of the land was sold off to the Electricity board.

In March 1904 the Hamilton Burgh are starting to sell more of the Land at Almada Hill and they put out an advertisement and in September of the same year Almada Hill is shortlisted once again to be the site of the new council chambers and again a site in Brandon Street was agreed.

This was to be the beginning of the end for the house once called Almada Hill. Tenements on Almada Street were erected in 1905 and they took the name Almada Hill and this is what kept the name of the old country house alive.

The property eventually was acquired by the Magistrates & C. of Hamilton, a part of which was sold by them to the South West Electricity Board in 1950. If I were to give a rough date as to when Almada Hill was eventually demolished then it would be between 1950 and 1954, and at the moment, there are no known surviving pictures of the old house.

We would like to know if any of our readers are old enough to remember a property being situated on the Almada Street electricity site. If you do remember, then please tell us your memories.