Burnbank House

burnbank-house

Burnbank House was one of the first grand houses to be built in Burnbank and through time, it had many influential people who owned or lived at the house. The land the building sat on is now used as a public park, situated between Whitehill Road & Burnbank Road. An old wall can still be seen from Yews Crescent that I believe was part of the original boundary wall surrounding the lands at Burnbank House. To put things in to perspective, Burnbank House was situated in the garden behind the flats across from the BP petrol station on Burnbank Road.

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Satellite overlay of the 1896 map of Hamilton.

Burnbank House was documented as being a superior dwelling house with extensive gardens attached and it was built around c 1715 and it’s first documented owner was a man called McMath. There is very little information on McMath but he was the owner from 1718 to 1744, where it was later owned by a Robert Hamilton and then being sold jointly to John Dewar an Edinburgh tobacconist & the Rev James Hamilton who was the minister at Paisley, where Burnbank House was noted as being a  “Summer House” out in the country.

 

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John Aiton Horse Tax 1785.

John Dewar sold the house to Bailie, John Aiton of Burnbank on the 20 May 1773 and he owned the house up until his death in 1788. Colonel David Muirhead of the honourable East India Service then bought the house on the 10th of April 1789, however his time at the house was short lived as he died in 1791. His trustees sold the house in 1801 to a wine merchant from Hamilton called Charles Gordon and yet again the house was only shortly owned by Charles for four years, as he in turn sold the estate to Charles Campbell in 1805, Charles was a Glasgow Silk Merchant.

A series of occupants lived at Burnbank House, as Charles Campbell rented it out; Charles would have been probably living at his main house in Glasgow.  The people who rented the house were:  Captain Moodie, Captain Brown a Mrs Campbell (probably Charles’s wife) and a surgeon called William Weir. On the 5th March 1832, during the time when Captain John Brown Esq was living at Burnbank House, his youngest daughter Elizabeth was married there by the Rev William Buchanan, minister of Hamilton to Lawrence Brown Esq of Edmonstone. This must have been a beautiful place to be married within the grounds of Burnbank House along with the stunning gardens and vast open countryside surrounding the house.

The house was finally sold (apart from 4 Acres) to Patrick Stevenson who was another Glasgow Merchant, it looks like the sale of the house is now being kept in the Glasgow Merchant clique. The 4 Acres that were sold off separately, was acquired by a William Nelson, who was a spirit merchant in Hamilton, who seems to have gone bankrupt. The Stevenson’s, Jamiesons and even Peter W Dixon and D.R Robertson, men with great wealth and high respect also had an interest in the land until it was bought by the Glasgow merchant and banker Lewis Potter in October 1859. It was this man’s enterprise more than anything else that was to transform Burnbank and its neighbours – Greenfield and Udston into a thriving community which in its boom years reached some sixteen thousand people.

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Lewis Potter 1807-1881.

Lewis potter at the time was living over at Udston House, not far from Burnbank House. When he bought his new property he had a tenant already living there – Sheriff Veitch, who lived there from 1837 right up to 1861. The house seems to have been sold again c 1874 when Robert Lalston is registered as the owner and he rented it to Major George Hamilton who lived here until 1882. The last tenant to live at Burnbank House was William Clarkson who was living there in 1920, by this time the house was divided and it was agreed that demolition was was to go ahead. Burnbank House was demolished in the 1930s.

 

 

 

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Burnbank House was situated in the gardens behind the Flats at Burnbank Road.
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The former Gardens at of Burnbank House.

Prior to its demolition it seems to have been used as a Hostel, I am unsure if this was official or if the house was inhabited by squatters. By this time, the London, Midland & Scottish railway (L.M.&S) seem to have now acquired the house and surrounding land and the Hamilton Burgh are now wanting to buy the land from L.M&S, to build houses. The Hamilton Burgh buy the ground, extending to 2,292 acres, including Burnbank House, but excluding the Smithy at the corner of Whitehill Road & Burnbank Road, for the sum of £2,000 with certain conditions  as to upkeep of fencing etc. The Hamilton Burgh later built flats on Whitehill Road, which were later known locally as Sing Sing.

I would like to thank the staff at the Hamilton Reference Library for helping me find the information on Burnbank House, as there isn’t much on line that can be found on this once beautiful grand and historic building. Some of the notes were also written by the late William Wallace who was one of Hamilton’s finest historians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holyrood Street Development 1963.

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The brand new Holyrood Street in Burnbank, this picture was taken on 7/5/63.

In the picture is the shiny new block of flats that were just built. I love the fact that there are only two cars in the street and the m.e.a factory to the right of the picture has is still got it’s fence around it and you can also see the Greenfield Bing behind the flats.

Were you one of the first residents to live at Holyrood Street?
Let us know and share your pictures.

THE BING,

THE BING

A daud ‘o coal hewed oot the the groun
disna weigh a lot yet helped to make a toon.
Doon and doon the miner, further doon wis he
to hew that coal the miner wis doon upon his knee.

Maister in his parlour room, selling aff the coal
nae thoucht to the miner there struggling doon the hole.
They fancy palaces built yet miners ne’er laid a brick
struggling wi damp and gas an only got the s**t.

The holes jist got deeper the Bings higher rose
nae thoucht to hooses above as deeper doon shaft goes.
Bings arny a bony sicht wi slag an dirt anaw
hooses scattered roon aboot aye suffer from the blaw.

Wains skitter roon the toon an bings ur playgruns tae
mithers seeking oot the kids cry up the bing the day!
Wi gum and slag and coal in bags an slidin doon in trays
fitbaw wis the drug ‘o men the bing the wains richt craze.

We playd in slag an dirt aw day t’licht was stole awa
then in the street licht end the day playn at fitbaw.
Miners didnae aw git hame the bing did no come cheap
we didna know that some ‘o them sleep b’neath oor feet.

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Kit Duddy

Frank Brogan

Frank Brogan.
Frank Brogan.

From time to time we like to write about people from Hamilton who have been long standing residents of the town. Frank Brogan has lived in Burnbank all of his days and he still lives at his family home in Hill Street where he has stayed from the age of 6.

He is the son of James Brogan & Annie Smith and Franks dad James who was born in Burnbank in 1890 was a professional footballer who played for Bristol Rovers prior to the first world war. James Brogan joined Rovers in 1910, having previously been playing football in Glasgow. He made 106 Southern League appearances at inside forward and scored 24 goals prior to the outbreak of war, and was Rovers’ top goalscorer in the 1912-13 season with eleven goals.

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James & Annie Smith with Franks Brother James and sister Alice.

 

Frank moved to Hill Street with his parents when the houses were first built in 1936 and he went to St. Cuthberts primary school and later went to Holy Cross. When he left school in 1944 he got his first job helping to build Philip’s factory on Wellhall Road, he later moved on to Graces tomato houses in East Kilbride. The next job that Frank did was working over in Rutherglen where hurt his back, after this Frank retired due to his back injury.

When frank was a wee boy his father James was friends with Walter McGowans father Jo Gans and Frank himself was also pally with Jimmy Johnstone. As kids, Frank & Jimmy played football in the back garden for the Hill Street home and Jimmy Johnstone even had dinner at Franks house.

Hill Street Garden.
The back garden of Franks home where Jimmy Johnstone played football.

Frank was the president of Blantyre Celtic, he joined around 1945 and was the first club president, he later went on to do physio at the club. The club later became the Blantyre Vics.

We would like to thank Frank for telling us about his life growing up in Burnbank and for sharing his old family photos.

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A young Frank at his house in Hill Street with his dad sitting on the step.

 

 

DAN DALY 1930-1990

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Jimmy Boyd, Billy Carrigan, & Dan Daly.. This picture was taken at the auld hoose in 1974. Picture Courtesy of Paula Carrigan.

Dan Daly was in his day, one of Hamilton’s most notorious figures; he was liked and loved by many people and also feared by many. If you had a problem, you went and saw Dan and it would be sorted. Dan was a local legend and known throughout Hamilton.

Dan left school and and got his first job working at the Slaughter House on Bothwell Road, he worked there for a while before deciding that he wanted something different. He was a keen boxer and later his boxing talents gained him respect in the streets of Hamilton.

Back in the day there were no licenced betting shops and pitch & toss was rife among the local hard working man, back street gambling was like a release for someone who had just finished a hard week at work. It took someone really ‘hard’ to stop fall outs and make sure that money was paid out. Before Dan Daly, people like Michael McNamee who was a bare knuckle fighter was known as the ‘head tosser’ in Hamilton.

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Michael McNamee the bare knuckle fighter and “Head Tosser”  from Hamilton 1900-1957.

Dan stepped up to the plate and gained respect from the local men in the town and he later ran the Tossing Schools in Hamilton. Dan Daly was only 5’7 in height, however through  his boxing training, he was heavily built and had a very wide chest and big shoulders and arms that were just as big.

He met a local Burnbank girl called Elsie Dunn and they soon got married in 1951, they had 6 kids, Diane, Brenda,Daniel,Irene, Peter & Paul.One story that was reported in the Hamilton Advertiser was titled ‘Notorious hard man head split by wife’ and it was from the time that Dan’s wife Elsie was charged for ‘bursting Dan’s head open’ and knocking him out with a frozen chicken. Dan had been winding her up for the dinner not being ready on time and she hit him over the head with the frozen bird. That old saying comes to mind….Behind every strong man is an even stronger woman……

Dan later became the manager at the Hamilton Hibbs Club, ran the doors, was in charge of the bar and he had his own team of guys that would back him up in any situation. Dan also ran busses to the Celtic games, he was a Celtic man through and through. He later ran the doors at the Double J and was mates with Jimmy Johnstone.

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Dan Daly (In the white Jacket) second from left with a group of unknown lads.
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The old pawn in castle Street across the road from Docherty pub, Now Demolished. In the picture on the left is Dan Daly, and on the right is Paddy Toner, Paddy was an old time music hall entertainer (song, dance, jokes, etc) performed in the old Hamilton Hippodrome, and Motherwell Empire.

One of the infamous stories that circulated was the time that Dan and his mates skidded up in a van, beside a group of guys at the Burnbank flats (where the BP garage is now situated) and they ‘done them in’ with baseball bats, it turned out that they had got the wrong guys and these unfortunate group of lads took someone else’s beating.

As much as Dan was feared, he was a gentleman and he looked out for his family, neighbours & friends and it was not uncommon for Dan to help people out during hardship and times like Christmas.

Hugh Haney was kind enough to share one of his memory’s of Dan, Hugh wrote:

“Dan Daly, whit a man, lots of people only heard stories about this guy, i remember as young lad runnin aboot the toon, my first run in with him was in the two up in Baileys Causeway, underage n’ bein a clever shite” he gave me enough rope, then a quick kick up arse,
sent me home while i still had some winnings left, soon after i thanked him, he would always call me Tiny Tim” you can ask the people of the Auld Toon, Dan had an idea that they should get a double decker bus for anyone goin tae the Auld firm match mixed tae save money, SMT bus , it never left the auld toon because the conductor shouted “Catholics inside, blue noses upstairs ” that bus had tae be towed away! Thir wis hell on, Dan went balistic,
Later i married and my wife was expecting our first child, i was in the Hibs one Wednesday dan asked about how things were ,,,,
I told him the wife wis in Belshill maternity, He dragged me up the street, knocked on the florests windae got a bunch o” flowers put me in a taxi paid the driver, n” sent me tae the hospital,,,to be with my wife Mary, jist some examples of whit a good man he was, But by no means a saint, jist a typical HAMILTONIAN””

Sadly Dan Daly died from a stroke & aneurysm  at the age of 60. When he died, the streets of Hamilton were packed and there were many famous faces at the funeral,including Jimmy Johnstone. He was buried at the Bent Cemetery.

We would like to thank Dan’s Granddaughters Ann Marie & Diane for telling us the story of Dan Daly. What was your memories of Dan Daly?

 

 

Little Udston Farm

Little Udston.
1896 Map of Hamilton.

Little Udston farm was situated right at the end of Hamilton, just next to Blantyre and is not to be confused with the Udston area of Burnbank. The farm was a working one with vast open spaces and a good panoramic view looking over Hamilton. Today the land where Little Udston Farm was situated, is at the top of Hillhouse, undeveloped  between Fleming Way & Townhill Road.

Little Udston Geo.
Satellite overlay of 1896 map of Hamilton.

The earliest record for Udston that I have found so far, is on the 1654 map of Scotland, where it has been written as Utoun and the first house or dwelling was built between 1662 and 1773. By the 1892 Map the larger house no longer appears, so I assume it was demolished by then.

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1654 Map of Scotland.

Little Udston Farm was part of the larger estate of Udston House, which was owned by Lewis Potter. Lewis Potter, who was one of the directors of the City of Glasgow Bank until the disaster occurred, in the recession of October 1878.  He borrowed large sums of money for his land speculation. In the 1878 recession, the City of Glasgow Bank collapsed with debts of over £5 million. The directors were found guilty in January 1879 and Lewis Potter was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.

Lewis Potter.
Lewis Potter 1807-1881.

Udston was a two Farm Steadings belonging to different proprietors & sharing the same name without any distinction whatever. The properties, respectively, of Mrs Jackson & Mr. Sinclair. The road to these Steadings is supported by the Parish to the extent of the Lands of “Udston” belonging to “Udston House”.

In the year  1816 there is a Mr Jackson who is listed as the owner and he was still listed as the owner of Udston in the 11th of August 1846 as there was a story written about him in the Hamilton Advertiser on the (03/08/1918) when he was elected chairman for the collections of poor relief. On the 1816 map there seems to be a substantial house next to Mr Jackson’s name. This would confirm that this was the main Farm House and Little Udston at this time was a small part of the estate.

On the Udston estate there was four farm houses, two at the Little Udston, Udston Cottage and Udston House, Udston House which was further down in what is now the Udston council estate in Burnbank.

Udston House.
Udston House, one of the last surviving country houses that is still in use today.

When the rich coal seams were discovered under the ground at Udston  the little quiet farm became a really busy place with the opening of Udston Colliery and one of the entrance’s was situated right at the front of the farm and later a railway line that was used originally as a mineral line to Quarter, Eddlewood and Neilsland Collieries who transported their coal on it. The line was eventually extended to Strathaven. The Minerals rights were later owned by the trustees of the late William Jackson and now as well as having tenant farmers, William Dixon ltd & The Udston Colliery Company were also  tenants on the farm.

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Haytime at Little Udston Farm ,Burnbank sometime 1918 early 1920s . . The railway and Udston pit Bing is shown in the Background, Picture courtesy of Jim Chochrane.
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Annie Baird Main and her brother Alex Main . Little Udston Farm, BurnBank 1920s Udston Pit Bing and Colliery in the Background. Picture courtesy of Jim Cochrane  (Annie’s Grandson)

 

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Gran Annie Baird Main on the right and Her sister Christina Main. They Lived at Little Udston Farm Burnbank. This photo date from Approx 1930. Picture courtesy of Jim Cochrane.

During the lifetime of the farm there were many tenant farmers that worked the land and the last of the families that lived here was the Mains. John & Robert Main took over the Tenancy between 1905 & 1915 and the family worked her right up until the farm was bought by compulsory purchase  by the council. Robert Main  later moved from  Little Udston Farm around 1930 and they moved to Auchintibber for a while then managed to buy another place Rowantreehill Farm Braehead Forth where he settled.

The council had originally planned to have 2 Apartment houses built on the Udston farm site, however as they believed that this would cause overcrowding and scrapped this idea.

The following report was published in the Scotsman on the 12th December 1934.

Hamilton Housing – No two apartment Dwellings at Udston Farm Scheme.

Following representations by the Department of Health for Scotland , Hamilton Town Council decided last night to accept a recommendation by the Housing Committee that no two-apartment houses be included-in the scheme of 900 houses at Udston Farm site , near Burnbank .

“The Department , in a letter to the Council , which was read at a meeting of the Housing Committee , expressed its strong conviction that it was not desirable to have any two apartment houses in the scheme .

They pointed out that . according to the 1931 Census returns , 63 per cent , of the houses in the burgh are of one and two apartments , and that , in addition , there is always great danger of overcrowding where two-apartment houses are allowed , and that if three-apartment houses were substituted it would greatly facilitate the efforts of the Council to deal with overcrowding ”

In the 1940s/50s, the council built there new 900 home  housing estate on the land surrounding the farm and it is now known as Hillhouse.

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Robert Main Just after they moved from Little Udston Farm around 1930! Picture courtesy of Roberts Great Grandson Jim Cochrane.

We would like to thank Jim Cochrane for sending us his pictures of his Gran & Great Grandfather at Little Udston Farm & also to Paul Veverka of The Blantyre Project for pointing Jim in our direction.

Little Udston Site.
The former site of Little Udston Farm.

DETERMINED SUICIDE (1869)

Udston Woods.
Udston Woods, This could be the possible area that the unknown man hung himself. 

On the night of the 5th May 1869, a man belonging to Udston Farm, Udston, while going through a small plantation lying between that place and Glenlee, discovered a man suspended by the neck to the arm of a tree, and quite dead.

From the appearance presented by the body it was evident that he had made most determined effort to end his life. His head was so near the branch to which he had fastened himself that he could easily have put his hands upon it, but they were firmly clenched to his sides.

He had tied a cotton handkerchief once round his neck, and afterwards reached up and fixed it to the tree, the body was in an easy standing position when found, and strangulation could not have taken place without a determined and protracted effort on the part the unfortunate suicide.

Information was sent to the County Police Office here, and the body conveyed thither. The deceased has the appearance of having been employed in some weaving factory, and on his person were found small strip of paper, marked ” Twister, £3 2d,” a pair of small scissors, a key, and Is in silver and 5,’d in coppers. He appears to about 30 years of age.

Above is Udston Woods and possibly the location of where the unknown man was found. I have tried to find out the mans identity, however there is little to go on. This story is still in my “To Do” list.

Ref: The Falkirk Herald 1869.

Who?

Who?
Hiv ye ever met a livin” legend? Well I’ve met some , quite a few,,
Ye never know, fur efter this wee poem, wan o’ them could you,,

A wis asked the other day tae write somethin” aboot Burnbank “
A new some ‘patter merchants ‘so if it stinks it’s them tae thank,

A always wondered where, some guy’s got thir’ wee nicknames, ,
I’ll bet you kin tell me ! So let’s go n” hiv some wee fun n” games,,
Windy Miller, Stoorie Moore, n” best of all that wee Stucky Stirlin”

God this list could go on forever, noo ma brains jist started Birlin”
Dae ye remember Muck Mc Knight? Aye, He always comes
mind,,

Ask him any questions, n” always right, he’s never wrong? Yil find,,

I’ll jist mention wan mare name, he wis the “Jungles”famous man,
C’mon ye awe know who am talkin aboot, the one n’ only “Tarzan””

If ye kin think aboot anybody, don’t leave yir memories on the shelf,

We want tae know! Alive ur deed , promise, we’ll keep it tae oorself”

Right let c’mon then, who ur they ? Give is awe some wee surprises”

But don’t forget! THAT LEGENDS COME IN AWE SHAPES N’ SIZES””

(GARRY’S SOON TAE BE WAN O’ THEM, GIVE HIM THE C.D.M.)

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey,

Tell us your memories of growing up in Burnbank, or even better have you got a photo that you would like to share?

A WISH…..

A Wish,

A wish a wis back in Hamilton, up there in old South Lanarkshire,
A wish a wis back in ma maws wee hoose, sittin”by the open fire,
A wish a wis back in ma auld school, among awe ma auld friends,
A wish a wis back in ma auld haunts”, where friendship never ends,

A miss the Baths, The Brandon Cafe, The auld “Hamilton Advertiser ”
A miss the auld folk all around, aye aulder but so much” more wiser’,
A miss the wicked sense of humour, and of coarse that witty”banter”
A miss Hamilton, Hillhoose, Burnbank, ok! Sometimes even Blanti’r”

A telt awe ma kids n’ grandkids aboot this place, over n’ over again,
A telt them awe aboot the things a got up tae, when a wis jist a wain,
A telt them aboot all the people there, n” they couldn’t be any prouder,
A telt them tae tell their kids, they say aye ok “shout a wee bit louder”,

A wish a could write a book aboot this place, but whit kin a do or say,
A wish a could mention the special people there,so great in everyway,
A wish a could stop wellin up with pride , every time a hear it’s name”,
A wish is what the heart makes, so I’ll say a wish that a wis Hame”

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey.

THE LAURIE FAMILY OF BURNBANK

 

The Laurie family of Burnbank owned one of the towns best and most noticeable businesses. They were the owners of  Chieftain Buses that was based at their depot on High Blantyre Road.

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In the picture above, back row L-R are James, John & David Laurie. Middle row is David & Margaret Laurie and the kids in the front row are Wilma and Bob Laurie.

The company was started by James Laurie. When he came out of the army in 1918, he started with a taxi and built it up into a bus service.

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The family later moved to number 81 High Blantyre Road and then set up a bus depot right next door to their house. The business was thriving and had employed local people to work at the depot, as well as all of the Laurie family who were involved in some way.

David Laurie who is the grandson of David Laurie Snr told Historic Hamilton that “all of the family were involved in some way, driving my dad did along with coach building and my uncle’s did mechanics and driving right up to the 60’s when they sold the business”.

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The family depot in Burnbank was a busy place and as previously mentioned, it employed local people who include, Carrie (Mair) Clark who was a conductress on the Hairmyres route, her sister Elsie also a clippie on the Hairmyers route, her brothers Willie and Robert all worked for the Chieftain buses for a number of years.

 

Robert Wilson, Bob Mair & Robert Clements were a few of the drivers on the Chieftain Buses.

Former site of the Cheiftan depot.
Former site of the Chieftain Bus depot, now a public Garden.

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The company ran all the way up to 1961 until it was taken over by the SMT group. The old Chieftain garage became Jamieson’s Builders yard for many years and later was sold to the council and it was eventually landscaped.

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Historic Hamilton would like to thank David Laurie for telling us his family’s story & sharing some pictures and also Robert Stenlake for supplying some of the local pictures of the Chieftain Buses.

We would like to hear from you! What was your memories of the Cheiftan Buses at High Blantyre Road in Burnbank. Send them to us at HistoricHamilton@icloud.com