Keepers House 1983 Alan Watt.WM

One of Hamilton’s best kept secretes is the Mausoleum Keepers cottage. This beautiful building for most is out of sight and out of mind and is hidden away in overgrown trees.

The building itself is a Historic one and if we don’t try to save it soon, then we will lose it. This old house is part of the Mausoleum and is the last house standing in this area that was here when the Hamilton Palace stood.

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There is a group of people who are trying to save the building, please visit their Facebook page and show your support. The link will be posted separate.

Alan Watt has given us permission to use his pictures of the cottage which were taken in 1983. These pictures were taken just before the council let the surrounding land become overgrown.

We are looking for your old Pictures!

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HI Everyone,

I have noticed an increase in the number of people who have now joined Historic Hamilton, so welcome to the group.

As always I am looking for your old pictures of Hamilton. Do you have an old picture that you can share with us? If you have an old family picture, or any kind of picture from Hamilton, then we would like to see it.

When we share a picture, we have readers from all over the world who view our Facebook page and website, so your picture will be viewed in many different countries.

Also if I can make a story based on your picture, I will look in to your families history, or write something based around your photo, so please have a look in your old albums in the loft or the ones which you have tucked away.

You can send your picture as a PM on the Facebook page, or you can email me direct by clicking the ‘Send Email’ tab at the top of our page.

Again, a very warm welcome to the group. Come from Hamilton? Share your photos and stories here!

Garry McCallum.

Quarry Street 1885.Above is a picture of Quarry Street taken around 1885. This picture is a real snap shot in time, the house on the left that is tucked behind the tenements is no longer there. Also the little cottages on the right are long gone. Notice the old gas lamp on the right.

Picture courtesy of Paul Veverka.

Chapel Street c1900

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Above, is a fantastic early picture of Chapel Street in Hamilton. in the picture are a group of men standing together having a bleather. To the right are some shops and what may be one of the two Public Houses, which were situated on each end of the street.

During the turn of the century, Chapel Street like Quarry Street was a busy street which had Public Houses, billiard rooms, work shops, grocer shops & bakery’s. It even had a brass foundry and not to mention the tenements where people lived.

It was finally demolished and the Gateway shopping centre was built and still stands today.

Picture courtesy of Wullie Blake.

Ramsay’s Buildings – Saturday 24th June 1871.


Ramsay's Buildings.

An incident which resulted fatally, occurred on Thursday 22nd June 1871 at the cooperation gas works in Hamilton where a man named John Sparrow, residing in Ramsey’s buildings was injured, which then resulted in his death. It appeared that the execution of repairs to raise an empty gas holder some feet. John along with three other men were working at one of the three cranes in use for the purpose, when one of the fastenings of the gasholder attached to the chain used for the suspension of compensating weights gave way. The weight crashing to the ground drove the loosened end of the chain outwards, striking Mr Sparrow on the head and fractured his skull.

For the first three days, hopes were entertained of his recovery, but then inflammation set, and he sadly died on the Thursday morning. Mr Sparrow, who was known as an extremely sober and industrious man left behind a wife and a daughter.

I have spent quite a few years now reading over fatal enquiries and during the late nineteenth century Hamilton had more than its fair share of them. This poor man today is probably forgotten about and had no sons to carry his name, so I decided to see who John Sparrow was and what became of his family and here’s what I found.

The first document which I found was in the Hamilton Advertiser archives, where it was reported that John’s eldest daughter had died at her house at 11 Ramsay’s buildings. She died of Scarlet Fever when she was only 14 years old. Now, I must mention here a little bit about Ramsay’s buildings. These were a row of tenements that were built on John Street and they stretched between the junction of High Patrick Street and Haddow Street.
They were damp, had no running water and were rat infested. Ramsay’s buildings were stinking with sewage and it was usually people on really low paid jobs who were unlucky to call this place home. The people who lived on these old John Street tenements were always unwell because they lived here.

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So sadly, little Jane Sparrow died at Ramsay’s buildings and the fact that they lived here could have been a contributor in her catching the disease.

John Sparrow and his wife continued to live at the same house after his daughter’s death. In 1867 John was recorded on his daughters death certificate as a Mill Worker and when I looked at the 1871 census I found out that John was now working at the Hamilton gas works, where sadly he would be dead as the result of his accident in only a few months from now. John would have left the mill and started work at the gas works probably to earn more money and to make a better life for his family.

John Sparrow was born in Hamilton c1928 and he married his wife who was called Janet Naismith. They married in Hamilton on the 6th of June 1852. When john died, he was only 43 years old. He was the son of Robert Sparrow, who was a Cotton Weaver and Janet McDonald. He died on the 22nd of June 1871 at his home, 11 Ramsay’s buildings.

His cause of death was written as a fractured skull. His wife’s brother, James Naismith was the person who registered his death.

I found information from the minutes of the Glasgow committee that in the first week of July, John’s wife was given £20 to pay for the funeral and other expenses. It was also recorded that this payment was a slight expression of sympathy for Janet and his daughter.

The 1871 Census also told me about his wife Janet, she too was born in Hamilton and his surviving daughter who was also called Janet was 16 years old and she had a job working as a silk weaver.

John’s wife Jane went on to marry again and I found that in the year 1877 (She married in the same year as her daughter) she was still living at 11 Ramsay’s Buildings. She was 50 years old and she found comfort in another widower who was called William Lang. William Lang was a joiner who was 56 years old and he lived in the Old Town. They married on the 16th of November 1877 and the wedding took place at 11 Ramsay’s buildings. So, in this house, two sad occurrences happened with the death of her oldest daughter and her first husband but now a happier time with the wedding.
John’s daughter Janet went on to marry a man named James Scott and they married in 1877 and continued to live in Hamilton. She died at the age of 74 at her house 60 Portland Place.

John Sparrow’s name is long forgotten, but I hope that this story keeps his memory alive and I do hope that his daughter went on to have a family of her own and if she did, perhaps some of her grandchildren or great grandchildren will read this and get in touch.

John Ellyson of Lanarkshire


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We were contacted by Debbie Lacy-Anderson who lives in America. Debbie wrote:

“Hi Garry-I was excited to find your page! I am researching my family connection to Hamilton-as my daughter and I prepare to visit in October.

My 11 X G,Grandfather, John Ellyson of Lanarkshire married Elin Hamilton, who from what I have been able to discover her father was Robert Hamilton. Would you be able to point me toward any other resources that would help me confirm this connection? I really appreciate any help you might be able to give! Best, Debbie”.

I had explained to Debbie, that I had never come across this connection to the Hamilton Family. However, as I know that there are many family researchers on Historic Hamilton, i thought that I would ask you guys.

So, during your research, have any of our group members come across a family connection to John Ellyson of Lanarkshire? Or indeed, a connection to this family in America. If you do, then please feel free to get in touch.


Harry Paton Evans.


Harry Paton Evans sent us this picture of some workers of Phillips factory. Harry told us:

“A Philips outing in the late 1940’s, very early 1950’s to Blackpool.

My Dad, Harry Evans was a Works Superintendent and ran one of the main production lines after his War, around late 1949 early 1950’s.”

Do you recognise any of the people in the picture? Let us know.