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

St. John's Lane 1890.

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

St. John's Lane & James Street.

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

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

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



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

Barnes Family Tree.

Barnes Family Tree.

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

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

James Stirling and Rose Annie Stapleton Marriage 1902.WM

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

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

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

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

Rose Anne application for Poor releif.

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

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

Mary Anne Harrington Poor releaf.

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

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

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

James Stirling Death 1921

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

21 Elgin Road

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

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

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

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

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




1895 Map of the Lodge.

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

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

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

Isabella Bonomy Testate.1

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

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

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

John Bonamy

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

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

John Bonomy Death2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you know who is in the picture?

John Lowell


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

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

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

James (Jimmy) McKay 1900-1958

Jimmy McKay.1

Elaine McKay Millar sent us this picture of her granddad. Elaine told us:

“My granddad James (Jimmy) McKay was born in 1900 at 130 Glasgow Rd. Hamilton. At various times, his family also lived at No’s. 170 & 162. His parents both died at 68 Kenilworth Crescent.

I never knew him because he died in 1958 at age 57. He was the eldest of 5 boys and all his brothers also died young. As they were R.C. can anyone tell me which school they would have attended? Also, where could I find an image of Glasgow Rd in the early 1900’s? Thank you”.



Elaine, I am unsure how much of your family history that you know but your grandfather was born on the 28th of August 1900. Jimmy was the son of John McKay & Bridget McCay, who were both from Letterkenny, Donegal in Ireland.

Jimmy McKay.2

Your great grandparents came to Scotland between November 1899 & August 1900. When your great grandfather John moved to Hamilton he was working as a Railway Platelayer.

Jimmy McKay.3

I am unsure what school your grandfather would have attended; however, the closest schools were Glenlee primary & Greenfield secondary school. Even though he was a Roman Catholic, he may have attended these schools but i cant confirm this.

Jimmy McKay.4.jpg

The chapel that the family would most likely have attended would have been St. Cuthbert’s as this was the closest one in the area.

I do not have an exact picture of 130 Glasgow Road but do have one that was taken in 1900 a wee bit further down the street. The picture below was taken at the tenements of 90-98 Glasgow Road, which would have been a familiar site to your grandfather. These tenements are still standing to this day.

Jimmy McKay.5.jpg

I did also see that someone has researched your family and found a picture of your granddad in his younger years when he was in the army.

I hope that this sheds some light on to your question.


Hamilton Volunteer Firefighters, WW2.

Hamilton Volounteer fire fighters-Gillian Brown.

Gillian Brown sent us this picture of the Hamilton Volunteer Firefighters taken during WW2. Gillian told us:

“This is a picture of my grandfather Frank Riddell, middle front row, as a volunteer firefighter during WWII.

Unfortunately I don’t know anything about the volunteer firefighters, but my grandfather had a sweetie shop, Riddell’s, on Townhead Street after the war which has been pictured before on your site”.

Do you recognise any of the men & women in this picture? If you do, then please get in touch.


Pats icecream van picture from Billy Berekis


In this picture we have L-R, Andy Anderson, Morris Anderson and Billy Berekis.

The man in the Ice Cream van is called Pat and from what i have heard is very well liked. David Cairns wrote on the Meikle Earnock Facebook page ” That he’d sometimes get oot the van and play Fitba with us and throw out a big bag of sweeties as he took off in the van. Just a good man”.

What are your memories of Pat’s Ice cream van?



Eddlewood Boating Pond from Billy Berekis on the Meikle Earnock pageWM.1.

Billy Berekis kindly shared these pictures of the Eddlewood boating pond and yes, that’s correct folks, Eddlewood did have one.

Eddlewood Boating Pond from Billy Berekis on the Meikle Earnock pageWM.

In the picture we have Billy Berekis himself along with his friend Steven Forrest. The pictures were taken in 1970 and the boating pond closed around 1973/4.

Do you have any pictures of the Eddlewood boating pond that you would like to share with us? If not, why not share your memories of it.