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?


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.



Site of old ruined bridge.

Julie McManus contacted the page as she was looking for some information on her great uncle who tragically drowned as a young man. Julie asked:

“Hi, my great uncle James Wilson sadly died in the River Clyde aged 24(see copy of his death certificate below). He resided at 59 Hall Street at this time. Would anyone remember the circumstances and be able to provide me and my Mum with further information please? Thank you”.

James Wilson DeathWM

Hi Julie, here is what I found.
On Sunday the 11th of June 1950 it was a hot summers day and James along with his younger brother and like many people at the time took to the river to have a quick dip to cool down.

They chose to swim at the old ruined bridge that had been out of service for many years and they were diving into the water from one of the old piers. James was last seen alive by his younger brother as he watched him dive in and never surfaced.

It is thought that James either took cramp in the water or hit some submerged rocks. When James never surfaced, his younger brother went to raise the alarm. People tried in vain to find James that day, however, he was not found.

The old bridge over the clyde..WMPNG

The next day on the Monday, dragging efforts were carried out as they tried again to find James and all efforts were made by searching the river to find his body and it was found.

James was laid to rest on the 14th of June 1950 and buried at the Hamilton West Cemetery. He is buried in this lair along with his mother Sarah, his sister Veronica, John & Mary Hannah, Francis Murphy and his step mum Elizabeth. There is no headstone for the family but only a stone to hold flowers.

This was not the first time that tragedy struck this family as James mother Sarah McAlinden prematurely gave birth to a daughter on the 26th of February 1931 and they called her Veronica. Sadly, little veronica only managed to stay alive for 1 hour. She was born and died at 38 Postgate in the auld town.

James’s mum then died two days later at the house on the 28th of February 1931, the cause of death was pneumonia.
These times were very difficult indeed for this family and I feel sorry for the family and especially James’s father. James’s father did of course find happiness again and he remarried on the 31st of December 1932 to a lady named Elizabeth Callison.

Isaac Wilson death.

To add to the tragedy of this family, James second wife Elizabeth Callison died in 1949. You also told me that James’s half-brother Isaac, who witnessed the drowning also died young when he was only 16.

I looked up his death and found that he was cleaning windows in Killearn where he fell from a ladder and fractured his spine. He later died on the 24th of March 1952 in Killearn hospital; the actual cause of death was pneumonia. I could not find the death for James Snr.

Julie, I do wish that I could have found more info on your great uncle, but this is all that I could find. Perhaps someone will have a picture of him so that we can put a name to a face. Please let me know if you do find any other information.



Bothwell Lunatic Asylum

On the morning of Tuesday, the 30th may 1870, about half-past six o’clock, William Hamilton, a labourer, residing in Almada Street, was suffocated in a well, which he was engaged in sinking, at the new Lunatic Asylum in process of erection at Bothwell.

By Saturday evening the shaft had been sunk to a depth of 57 feet, and it was then covered till following Monday. In the early morning the deceased man was being lowered by a windlass into the well, when, before reaching the bottom, he shouted to the men to stop.

They did so and asked him what he wanted. Receiving no answer, they immediately reversed the windlass and drew him up. They then found that William Hamilton, who, in descending, had been clinging to the ropes with his foot in a kind of stirrup, was now hanging with his head downwards and was found to be quite dead.

Drs. Fairless and Stuart were immediately brought to the spot, but their services were quite unavailing. It is supposed that death resulted from suffocation by the foul air accumulated in the well.

Back in 1870 the health and safety of workers wasn’t put before profit and deaths happened all too often. The story of William’s death is lost in the mists of time and to keep his memory alive, I wanted to find out who he was.

He was born on the 24th of March 1816 at Hamilton and baptised on the 6th of July in the same year. His father was called William Hamilton, who was a local Grocer and his mum was called Sarah Torrance.

He married another Hamilton lady who was called Mary Steven on the 1st of May 1836. William was a gardener who employed 3 men and 1 boy. I last found trace of William on the 1861 census, where he was living at 1 Almada Street, where he was living with his wife and his mother in law.

During my research I also found no evidence of William & Mary to have had any children. His wife Mary lived to the age of 76.

Dressed to impress.

Elizabeth Turney2

Elizabeth Turney sent us this picture of her mother Elizabeth Lang. The picture is taken on Quarry Street on what looks like a nice sunny day.

Elizabeth told us, my mother on the right hand side, with sister in law and niece. The guy on the left is her first husband Frank or Francis Wilson, Professional footballer.

Do you have any old family pictures that you would like to share? Send them to us and we will host them on our website for all to see.


Malcolm Stewart Death Card.
Janalee Bachand recently inherited a box of letters which included her 3-x great grandfather’s funeral notice card and she decided to get in touch with Historic Hamilton. Apart from what she has in the box she knows very little about her ancestry, so I decided to have a look for her. Janalee, here’s what I found.
I started my research with Malcolm and found that he was born on the 12th of January 1823 at Old Monklands which is now called Coatbridge. His parents were called Gilbert Stewart & Mary Johnston. He was baptised seven days after his birth on the 19th of January 1823, also at Old Monklands.
The first document that I find is on the 1841 census where Malcolm is living at a place called Chapelhall which used to be part of the Bothwell parish, now in North Lanarkshire. He was living with his parents and siblings. He is working as a coal miner at the age of 15.
He married your 3-x great grandmother on the 4th of January 1846 at Bothwell and her name was Margaret Stevenson Thomson. Margaret was the daughter of Robert Thomson & Jean Napier.
Malcolm & Margaret next appear on the 1851 census where they are living on Bo’Ness Road at Chapelhall and he is still working as a coal miner. Now I have to say that working as a coal miner was not a very well-paid job and most men who worked down in the pits struggled to feed their families.
The coal mines were very dangerous, and men & boys were often killed while at work, so I found it surprising when I next looked at the 1861 census and found that Malcolm had managed to change career and was now working as a butcher.
Within ten years, he had worked his way out of poverty and now had this fantastic job that would have allowed him to properly feed his family, in fact, he had quite a large family which I will tell you about soon. I have also never come across a man who has worked his way from being a coal miner and is now a pillar of the community which everyone would have known, so this for me is quite unusual.
So, Malcolm & Margaret had 13 children between them who were named:
Jane, 1846-1872. Gilbert, 1849-1938. Robert, 1850-1891. Mary, 1852-1883. Alexander, 1854-1883. Margaret, 1856-1931. Malcolm, 1858-1890. John, 1861-1942. David, 1863-1945. William, 1865-1954. Elizabeth, 1969-1941. Jane, 1873 & Malcolm 1877. Sadly, Malcolm & Margaret outlived five of their kids.
In 1881 the family were living at Docherty’s Buildings on Low Blantyre Road where he was now retired. The family then moved down to Burnbank and in 1891 they lived at Enfield Place; this block of tenements was part of the old Burnbank Cross.
When Malcolm retired, his sons took over the family business and staying in 1891 Robert was in charge of the shop and his brothers Gilbert, John, William & Malcolm were his assistants. I would imagine that the shop was doing pretty well to be employing so many of the family.
Malcolm Stewart Death
So, as you know Malcolm died on the 8th of March 1893. He died of a stroke and his son Gilbert registered his father’s death and took care of the funeral arrangements.
Janalee, your funeral card indicates that your 3-X Great grandfather was buried at the Holytown Churchyard. This is quite far out from Burnbank where he lived in his later years and I can’t give you an answer as to why he was buried here but it is very possible that his dad, Your 4-X Great Grandfather is buried at the churchyard. Perhaps there was a family plot here, or as this was where he lived in his younger years, then he may have felt that this place was home for him.
Janalee, if you do decide to research your family history, then let me know if you come across any pictures of your family and thanks for getting in touch with me at Historic Hamilton.