TUPHALL FARM & SURROUNDING AREA.
Researched and written by Garry McCallum.
Today, we know Tuphill Road as a street in the Glebe area! But going back to earlier times there was a farm steading called Tuphall. This is where Tuphall Road takes its name.
The farm steading is long gone, and we only have old maps to show us where it used to sit. Today the exact location of Tuphall Farm is on number 60 Tuphall Road, so this one house has more connections to the whole street than any other.I looked at early records of the area and going back as far as 1752, The surrounding areas of Bent, Neilsland & Burnblea do appear on Roy’s map, however, Tuphall farm was either not yet built, or it was not important enough to have been included on Roy’s Military Map (1752-1755).
So, to begin, the name can be split in two, Tuphall or ‘Tup’ is a male sheep, or ram and ‘Hall’ would be the farm steading and taking a guess I would think that as it was called Hall, it could have been a large country house, or a house larger than other steadings in the vicinity. So, a ‘well off’ farmer or laird could have been the first to have built this house.
The farming ground like all other areas of Hamilton was owned by his Grace, the Duke of Hamilton and the first document I find which tells us about Tuphall was on the 16th of January 1791, where a man named Robert Lamb of Tuphall married a lady named Miss Jean Brown of Hamilton, so this is where I began my research.
Tuphall Farm was in good working order and was a dry & comfortable house and it had a Kitchen, Larder & Cellar. On the ground level above the cellar it had a fine dining room, drawing room, two bedrooms and a bed closet. In the attic it had a further two bedrooms and a lumber room, the lumber room was probably used as a third bedroom at one point.
Detached from the main house, the estate had a cottage, four other apartments, offices which adjoined the servant’s houses. It had a Gig-House, washing house, stables and a cow house, a barn and other farm buildings.
The house was surrounded by a large garden which had its very own orchard and the trees were documented as being ‘The choicest of kinds in full bearing’. Out of the steading it also had large grass parks where the cattle would have grazed. It was a whitewashed building and was protected by the road by a row of Beech trees.
The land that belonged to Tuphall was just under 36 acres and it had its very own water supply in the form of a freshwater stream, the stream today has been dried up for over a century and the location of this spring was roughly at the bottom of the gardens of 13 & 15 South Park Road. The house also had its very own well on its grounds. The location of the well, if it still exists, is roughly under the driveway of number 66 Tuphall Road.
The house had just under 12 acres that was kept private and the remaining 24 acres were rented to various people for farming and grazing cattle and in its early years the land surrounding Tuphall farm was used as a stone quarry, this is where the name Quarry Street originates and in the early years it was called Quarry Road.
I found no further evidence of what became of Robert Lamb however, the Robert’s brother William McGavin was the book keeper of a man named David Lamb, who was an American, so perhaps Robert was also an American, who moved back home. On John Wood’s map of 1819 Tuphall is listed on the map and is shown as a house on the outskirts of Hamilton deep in the county and the owner recorded in this year is called Mr McGavin. On the next record which I found was printed on Friday the 13th of October 1826 where the house is being let by a man named Archibald Neilson Esq and in 1829 the said Mr McGavin, or Robert McGavin is still Tuphall’s owner and when I looked to see who this man was I found that he was a Glasgow Merchant & Trader; he married a lady named Barbara Roxburgh in 1801 in Hamilton. In 1829 Robert’s Daughter Margaret married an Edinburgh merchant that went by the name of Robert Clark born 13th January 1905 at Hamilton.
Robert lived at Tuphall House right up until his death where he died on the 23rd of September 1844. Many newspaper reports of the time printed the following:
“At his residence at Tuphall near Hamilton on the 23rd of September 1844, Robert McGavin Esq, Merchant, Glasgow. Mr McGavin who was the last surviving brother of the well-known author of “THE PRODESTANT,” was generally respected as an enterprising merchant and useful citizen.
On the first election following the new municipal act he was chosen for the first district, which he represented in the Town Council with great zeal for several years. At the period of his resignation he received a valuable service of plate from his constituents in token of his services. Mr McGavin was also mainly instrumental in procuring the erection of certain public wells, which have proved a great boon to the inhabitants of the district, the inscriptions thereon bearing testimony to his corresponding philanthropic exertions.”
I also have to say that during the research on Tuphall, I have uncovered an old Hamilton Worthy, whom I have never come across during my previous years of researching Hamilton, so in this story I want to pay my respects to Robert McGavin, who probably saved many lives by overseeing the installation of new public wells for drinking water. Perhaps I will go on the search for these wells in the future.
So, before I move on with the occupants of Tuphall house, I would like to mention the others living on the farm steading. In 1841 there was another family living at the neighbouring Tuphall Cottage. James Henderson who was a Cotton Yarn Merchant was living with his wife and family. Also living here was a retired soldier who was called John Stobie, a man named William Glass who was a bookmaker and a farm servant called Mary Kennedy. These families would most of likely have lived at the cottage, or possibly a room above the stables.
The main house at Tuphall once again is up for let and on the 30th of January 1846 and advert goes out in a national newspaper asking for applicants to apply to Robert McGavin & co based at 9 Cochran Street.
The cottage is now owned by Robert McGavin ‘Jr’ and in September 1847 the steading is advertised in the Glasgow Herald as one of the many orchards in Lanarkshire who are opening the garden to the public for fruit picking.
I found one reference in a newspaper article that mentioned that at one time Tuphall was the home of a man named Alexander Lindsay who was a surveyor of taxes, however, I have not found any other reference to this man.
In 1851 the next document on Tuphall tells us that the estate is now in the hands of the British linen Bank, so the house could have been repossessed.
It was overseen by a man called Samuel Simpson and this man was extremely well known and did deals for many companies, including St. John’s school. He was a land proprietor and he worked for the British Linen Bank for many years, he even had a house on 1 Auchingramont Road which was attached to his job. Samuel Simpson may have been as well known as the powerful Dykes family of Hamilton, and his son had connections to Neilsland House, but for now, this is all I will tell you of this man.
In 1851 the house has a new person living here and was a wealthy man called Peter William Dickson who was an accountant & share broker. This man owned Tuphall farm from 1850 until his death in 1893 and this family were originally from Glasgow but when they moved to Hamilton, they became very much involved in the community and Mrs. Dickson helped at the Hamilton Orphan Charity School. One of Peter Dixon’s sons was a boy named William Dickson won 1st prize in English at St. John’s school in this year. William went on to immigrate to Australia where he saw out the rest of his days.
On the 30th of July 1852 and advert appears in the Glasgow Herald advertising the sales of Tuphall Villa. The full estate including its lands & private spring is being sold off. This was a bargain to the person who bought the house, as it had its own means of generating an income from the rent of the attached houses and not to forget the lands which were being rented out with an annual income of £20.00.
It seems that the sale of estate was for whatever reason was not going to plan and in 1856 Samuel Simpson of the British Linen bank puts out another advert in the Glasgow Herald. The full estate is being told for £1,119 (£119,511.55 in today’s money). Later in the same year the price is reduced as a buyer is still not found. It may have been the case that this was an old-style house which was going out of fashion and may have required maintenance work. This continues to be the pattern for the next few years and yet, there is still no buyer.
In March 1863, an accident happened at the orchard in Tuphall where a young boy named John Mackie, aged 12 was burned on the face & hand. He was the son of treasurer Mackie. The boy was playing in the orchard with some of Mr Dickson’s boys and other kids and they found a keg of gun powder which was probably taken from the Quarry and it caught alight and exploded. The boys had made a trail of gunpowder and tried to light it and when it never caught fire John went to investigate and as he approached the small keg went off and exploded, causing the boys clothes to catch fire. The local doctor who was called Dr Lennox attended straight away.
Around the Mid-1860’s the road leading from Hamilton to the villa was starting to be known as Tuphall Road. Hamilton was expanding and people would have been walking past here to areas such as Bent and other areas such as Meikle Earnock.
When we reach February 1864 Peter Dickson is again still trying to sell off Tuphall and he now has a different approach, he is now advertising for the whole estate to be sold off as one lot, or to individually sell off the adjoining cottage and other houses. If the estate was broken up this would change Tuphall and the estate forever.
In May on the same year, Tuphall’s dilapidated fence which surrounded its land was reported to the police by the committee on nuisances and dangerous buildings, where it was registered as being in an unsatisfactory condition which would require immediate attention to prevent accidents to children and others. Tuphall was indeed becoming rundown and Peter Dickson was finding it hard to find a buyer, so he changes tactics and puts out another advertisement in the Glasgow Herald asking for someone to either rent the estate, or to rent one of the detached houses separate.
Peter Dixon needed to be living closer to his company Dixon Bros Stockbrokers and had to move to Glasgow. He was now working closer to his firm so, he left Hamilton and moved to a house at Elmbank Crescent. He is still trying to find someone to rent the house and it is now sitting empty and again more adverts go out in the local newspapers advertising the house for rent and unfurnished.
On Tuesday the 28th May 1867 a death occurred at Tuphall. A cow feeder named Alexander Frame was passing along the Tuphall Road and discovered the body of a man lying face down in the water at the side of a field called “Burnbell Park”, The dead man was identified as Daniel Walker who was a Baker and had just moved to Hamilton for employment the water where he was found was used as a drinking place for cattle. It seemed that the man had been stooping down and lost his balance and being unable to get himself from the ground, he suffocated. When the poor man was found, there was a whisky bottle lying beside his corps.
The years start to pass and it was the usual thing to see the old house up for let and in 1870 a man named Robert Morton, who was a manufacturer rented the house and a man named Joseph Hamilton was renting the grass parks for his horses and William Scott was renting the cottage. On the 30th of July 1870, a valuable horse belonging to Joseph Hamilton was killed when it was grazing in one of the fields at the Quarry and it fell over a rock and was killed instantly.
The next year on Monday the 31st of July 1871 the old quarry was causing trouble for people and a man named Samuel Muir aged 50 was found lying at the bottom of its steep slope. The only protection that Tuphall Quarry had was a thin hedge at the top and it appears that Samuel had fallen through it and fell about 30 feet. He was found unconscious with blood coming from his mouth. He was taken to the house of his brother in law who lived at Broken Cross and had internal injuries but lived.
The road now known as Tuphall Road was also very unkept and even though the quarry had not been a fully functioning one for many years, the railway contractors still used stone from the quarry to build the many surrounding railway lines and when it rained the road was a total mud bath and sometimes very unpassable by horse & cart.
In December 1872 one of the largest meetings of coal miners ever held in Hamilton took place at the Masons Hall, where an estimated 30,000 miners gathered. The miner’s wages were plummeting, and a second meeting took place at the Tuphall Road Quarry where a further estimated 6,000 coal miners gathered to protest about their pay, never again would the quarry or surrounding land see so many people gather in its space.
The quarry at Tuphall was once again being used and was now leased and overseen by a man named Alexander Hamilton and on Saturday the 27th of September 1873 a serious gun powder explosion took place. A quarryman who was called Andrew Bannatyne was absent from his work, and a labourer had been employed to assist Mr Hamilton in getting out the stone and they had been conducting blasting operations and they accidentally put in an overcharge of powder.
They had prepared a shot, and the word “Fire” had passed round to the other men employed in the quarry, who immediately got to a place of safety till the blast went off, which was hardly reached when a tremendous explosion occurred. This resulted in the fragments of stones flying about in all directions and rock struck the roofs of the houses in Tuphall Road at a distance of 100 yards, shattering windows, destroyed crockery inside the houses and did much other damage. Large quantities fell on the hilly ground to the west of the quarry, usually occupied as a place of recreation for the children in the neighbourhood, but who, fortunately were playing in another direction at the time.
Flying fragments entered through open doors to the imminent danger of the inmates, and one large stone weighing 7lbs, smashed the framework in the window of the house occupied by Sergeant MaCaulay, breaking crockery inside and passing within half a yard from the spot where Mrs MaCaulay happened to be standing. Fortunately, there was no reports of any serious injuries. I do believe that people back then were all quite tough and they would probably have just accepted that this was an accident and I do not think that in today’s world that this would have gone without police intervention and a lawsuit. I did a bit more digging on this incident in local newspaper reports and I did not find any further complaints regarding this matter.
In 1884, the bent coal company started to show interest in the minerals at Tuphall Quarry and it soon became a fully functioning one. In January of the same year the quarry had another man fall into it while worse for wear with drink. The man was called Peter Clyde and he fell over the side of the quarry, fell 40 feet down its embankment and bruised his legs. A workman on the way home from his work heard the groans coming from Peter Clyde then rescued him. and notified Mr William Gowan’s, who then rescued the drunken man.
The years passed a Tuphall House and I found that things were quiet until in June 1891 two exceptionally large bundles of hay were set on fire on the estate. The hay bales belonged to Messrs. Cooper & Co of Glasgow and it was unknown who started the fire; however, children were seen playing on the hay bales before the fire broke out. The hay bales were insured, and a payout was given for the loss & damage of the crop.
In August 1891 new cottages were starting to be built on Burnblea Street (This part of the street was then known as Burnblea Place) and the road that was being constructed ended at the Quarry. This road was deemed unsafe and still very muddy and when you walked down the Burnblea Road and met the edge of the Quarry it was a very steep drop down the embankment. The Bent coal company had dug deep into the Quarry and people were starting to notice how dangerous the open rocky ditch was. It was recorded in a local newspaper that at dusk if one were to be walking down Burnblea Place and walked close to the edge of the Quarry, then one would not have noticed the edge of the Quarry until relatively close to its edge.
On the 5th of December 1893, Peter Dixon died at Tuphall House, he was 81 years old. His death brought the end to an era to the steading and after his death changes were about to happen at Tuphall farm.
Peter Watson Dixon was buried on the 8th of December 1893 at the Bent Cemetery and there was an exceptionally large attendance at his funeral. He was one of the original members of the Glasgow stock exchange and the founder of the firm Dixon Bros (Stockbrokers). He was for five years secretary of the Glasgow Conservative Association and a staunch Churchman.
His kindness to the less fortunate was always greatly received. When on attending his golden wedding, he received from his family a present of £100 and he donated the full amount to the poor of the Cadzow Church, of which he was one of the founders. Peter on his death also left a bequest of £400 for the behalf of the poor in connection to the church. He was so well thought of; that In November 1894, the parishioners of his church erected a memorial cenotaph dedicated to him.
A beautiful brass cenotaph was erected in the vestibule of Cadzow Parish Church, The cenotaph bears the inscription “In memory of Peter Watson Dixon, for fifty years a beloved elder of the Church of Scotland, a liberal benefactor to this Church and a warm friend of the poor and afflicted” The brass was supplied by Mr Cunningham who was an engraver based in Buchanan Street in Glasgow. The Cenotaph which today can still be seen at the vestibule of the Church still sits in place of pride on the wall.
I wanted to find out if the cenotaph was still at Cadzow Church and on Sunday the 15th of December 2019, I paid a visit to Cadzow Church to see if Peter’s cenotaph was still at there, and to my pleasure I found the cenotaph not in the vestibule but proudly positioned on the wall inside the church and for me as a historian, this was a really special moment, for when I read through old newspaper reports and read about an article which was printed 126 years ago and then find the said cenotaph still looking as new as it did all that time ago, then it was a real moment.
I was shown around by one of the Church Elders who was called Heather and Heather took time to have a chat with me about the church. She told me of all the great things that the church does for the community and informed me that things such as the large church hall which can be hired for various events and one thing that really grabs your attention while inside the church is when you enter and look up and then you see the massive brass pipe organ which has now been listed. Built by Foster & Andrew of Hull, the organ was installed in 1889.
I also have to say that I have visited many churches in my time and Cadzow Church is the warmest one which I have attended in wintertime. During my tour of the church, Heather also told me that the church was designed for its acoustics and when you shout loud, or sing, there is a fantastic echo, so if you are a musician and want to record something, then please get in touch with the church. This has been my first time visiting Cadzow parish church which sits on Woodside Walk and if you would like to go for a look around, then please get in touch with them.
Before I move on with the story of Tuphall House, I have to tell you more about the Dixon family and as I told you about Peter Dixon & his wife Jane, who were very much involved in the Hamilton community, then it would be wrong of me to leave out the impact that this family left to Hamilton.
So today, we have the Cadzow Church which is still used for worship and Peter was one of its founders. Peter & his wife Jane had eight children who all went on to do well in life William Adam Dixon immigrated to Australia and joined the Australian Army and Peter Hamilton Dixon, named ‘Hamilton’, as he was the first born in the town became a wealthy ship owner & broker but was sadly later in life admitted to an asylum in Fulham. It was mentioned in his fathers will that Peter Jr was delusional and was frequently violent, he died in 1895.
One of the most important kids who left his mark on Hamilton that I do have to mention is James Steadman Dixon who is remembered today because we have a street named after him. Dixon Street got its name because on this stretch of road and before it was even a through road, there were little miner’s rows which were attached to the Bent Colliery Co. The miner’s rows are long ago demolished and the houses which stand today were built after the demolition of the miner’s houses.
James Stedman Dixon was born at Glasgow on 8 January 1845 and the family moved to Hamilton in 1850, James Dixon attended the prestigious Hamilton Academy school, later attending classes in engineering at the University of Glasgow under Professor MacQuorn Rankine.
He was apprenticed in 1863 to George Simpson, mining engineer of Glasgow, where he was to be made a partner in the Simpson firm in 1869, and on George Simpson’s death in 1871, took over the whole business. In the following year, James Dixon started the Bent Colliery Company which was to become the largest mining operation in the Hamilton area.
In 1890 Dixon expanded his interests by acquiring the mining division of James Dunlop and Co., of Clyde Iron Works, subsequently giving up his engineering business to concentrate on his mining interests which between them were producing some 1,250,000 tons of mined coal per annum.
By 1898 his Bent Colliery business having greatly increased, James was able to give up his interest in the Dunlop concern to concentrate on other interests, becoming Chairman of the Broxburn Oil Company and a director of both the Edinburgh Colliery Company and the Plean Colliery, among other business concerns.
So, back to Tuphall James inherited the Tuphall estate of his father and when I looked at Peter Watson Dixon’s Will, I found that it was written over 22 pages and was one of the largest Wills that I have ever read & transcribed. So I mentioned that James donated £400 to the poor at Cadzow Parish Church and the rest of the estate was divided up between the full family and given away were the family china, shares in the many companies that James invested in, in fact he had money invested in many companies all over Scotland.
The family china was handed down to James’s kids just as it was to him and the Will gives detail of who the china was handed down from, such as a tea set that has been in the family for fifty years and this was given to his sister Sara. Also mentioned was an Indian tea set which belonged to his grandmother and there were portraits and even chests of drawers all given away in his will. (I wonder if any of these family heirlooms are still with the descendants of James? If there is a family member who happens to read this story, then please get in touch!)
On the 8th of January 1895, at the council property committee meeting, the Town clerk submitted draft disposition of the ground at Tuphall which was agreed to acquire from the Duke of Hamilton at a cost of £839.14s.9d.
In the same year (1895) a meeting in the lesser Victoria Hall, a new group of members called the “Burnblea Trust” was formed, and two more acres of ground was purchased on the south side of Tuphall Road and 26 houses were to be built. The Trust was formed by a group of working men who were interested in owning their own homes. Each drew lots for his house, these being built as funds became available. A deposit of £15 was required and payments of at least 6s weekly thereafter. When the houses were built, it would shape how the street would look today.
Hamilton was becoming a much larger town, people wanted to travel about, and the Streets Committee had a meeting In August 1895 to discuss the large mound at Tuphall Quarry. They had the land surveyed and there was an estimate of £83.6s to have the mound leveled out in order to make a path that ran alongside Burnblea Street. Mr Brown who was on the committee objected to the mound being removed. He said that they might widen the Tuphall road as they pleased, but if they took anything off the mound, it would be a serious blunder as it was one of the “playgrounds” in the town.
Baillie Hamilton said that he did not think it was a question of the mound they were dealing with at all. At their last meeting it was quite evident from the discussion that took place that it was the putting of Tuphall Road into proper repair was the question at issue. When the heavy rain came down, the water ran down the road and flooded the houses at the foot of the road. He did not think that more than £30 would be required to repair the road.
In October 1895 at another public meeting about the state to Tuphall road there was a debate as to who owned this road, they were not sure if it was a private road or if it belonged to the town council, but one thing that was agreed was that Tuphall road was the worst road in Hamilton.
Moving on to March 1896, another advert appears in a national newspaper and Tuphall house is back up for sale. This time the newspaper report read, “The valuable property of Tuphall in Hamilton, consisting of 10 acres or thereby, admirably situated for building purposes”.
Things are quiet at Tuphall and the town council are looking to build new streets in the area, so in December 1896 several plans had been passed by the Dean of Guild Court for building in the Vicinity of Tuphall, on streets which were yet to be formed. It was proposed to make one street a continuation of Selkirk Street. The proposal was to form a curve round in a crescent shape and come up again near South Park Road.
A terrace was to be built here which would face the ‘new’ cottages of the Burnblea Trust in the direction of Tuphall Farm. From the crescent, it was proposed to run a street through the grounds towards the quarryhall (Quarryhall was a country house and close neighbour to Tuphall) and a street that would run at the quarryhall boundary at right angles to the present Tuphall Road. There was also plans to build a new road from Bent Road through the vacant field straight through to Tuphall Road and this road was to be named Edward Street, so this was going to be major changes for this part of Hamilton and also changes to the streets in the area, which is familiar to all of us today.
Between 1896 & 1897 Tuphall is sold to a solicitor who went by the name of James c Pollock. In June 1897 an interdict case, at the instance of James C Pollock was served against Thomas Prentice, who was a contractor in Hamilton. James Pollock was trying to prevent Thomas Prentice from using the road leading from the gate of Tuphall House, the property of the pursuer, past the old quarry to the to the private road into the quarry in the Glebe lands, or into South Park Road. The sheriff granted interim interdict and when the case was called at court the defender made no appearance, and the interdict was accordingly continued till further orders of the court. I can only imagine that the man Thomas Prentice was quite a brazen man, as he would have previously had ignored warnings not to enter Mr Pollock’s land and continued to do so.
More court cases followed James Pollock as people were using the old Quarry as a dumping ground and more interdicts were being served on people using the land as a coup and as this happened the town council were also starting to pay attention to Tuphall because the roads were still so bad with mud, it was decided that drainage had to be built around Tuphall Road & Burnblea Street.
As the new drainage was being placed in 1898, the streets committee applied for the erection of double cottages (In the new street of Tuphall Road) which was later approved, and it was in this year that we see the very first houses being built.
The quarry at Tuphall was indeed becoming quite a nuisance where in October 1898 the Bing at the quarry had been burning for some weeks and the stench was starting to annoy residents in the vicinity. The sanitary inspector gave statuary notice to the owner of the quarry to get the fire under control.
There was a lot of interest in the lands of Tuphall and especially the newly formed street of Tuphall Road. In November 1898, Mr John Stewart, a dairyman of Low Bent had plans submitted to the Dean of Guild Court to build a double cottage and dairy.
I do not want to distract from Tuphall, however, on Tuesday the 7th of August 1900 James Pollock was involved in helping the Miners of Cadzow Rows, who were being evicted from their homes, so this is worthwhile mentioning what happened.
THE CADZOW EVICTIONS. SHERIFF OFFICER’S ASSISTANT TIED TO LAMP POST.
Printed in the Dundee Evening Post on Wednesday the 8th of August 1900.
“No visit was paid yesterday morning by the sheriff officers to serve the ejection notices at Cadzow, and it seems that they are determined not to do without active police assistance. Early the morning a comical incident took place, of which the victim was one of the sheriff officer’s assistants hailing from Glasgow. He proceeded towards Cadzow, and, notwithstanding repeated warnings that he would come to grief, he persisted, saying he was going to “make settlement with Mr Gilmour.” When he got the length of Square he was at once recognised.
A crowd quickly gathered, and some women, catching hold of him, tied him to a lamppost, and tore his coat and destroying his hat. After a while they released him, and hustled him down the street, amid hooting and cheering.
The officer made his way the Police Office and was then afterwards escorted to the Glasgow train by a policeman. The time limit for serving summonses expired at half-past ten yesterday morning, and in the ordinary course events the 68 which have been served will be called in the Sheriff Court tomorrow. It is understood also that the Miners’ union have received a piece Land in Tuphall from Mr J.C. Pollok, solicitor, for erection of further huts for the strikers, in addition the ground at Eddlewood offered Mr Caldwell. M.P.”
As you can imagine there was a lot of sympathy for the miners and many people across different working classes wanted to help them.
The town council was pushing ahead with the drainage issues in the area and by August 1900 James Pollock was selling off more of his land and in this year a first new block of 30 houses were under construction at Tuphall Road. The looming eviction of the miners from Cadzow Square was about to take place and James Pollock commenced with building temporary wooden houses withing his boundary of Tuphall.
The Quarry at Tuphall was also used as the first ever place in Hamilton to have its own waste incinerator! In the months of January to August 1902, the town council debated on the need for one of these new machines and this one could have been the very first to come to Hamilton, when I say the first, I must state on an industrial size. Back in 1902 the name given to these large machines was a ‘Destructor’ and its use was for the disposal of dry ash pit refuse and other waste that couldn’t be recycled and when they went through the destructor the waste material then back filled the old abandoned Tuphall Quarry.
On the 21st of August 1902 in the field at Tuphall a union meeting for the Miners demands was being held. It was an extremely hot sunny day and one of the guest speakers was none other than Keir Hardy (A founder of the Labour Party), the others were J Robertson, Hamilton & R Brown, Lothians. When the Hamilton gathering took place, those attending from outside the districts were headed by brass bands and displayed banners. Great enthusiasm prevailed and it was estimated that nearly 10,000 attended.
THE DEMISE OF TUPHALL.
On Monday the 15th of December 1902, strong gale-force winds swept across Scotland and Hamilton had many properties that felt its force. There was flooding reported all over the town and at Tuphall House the flood was severe. The water from the higher grounds came down and submerged Tuphall and its grounds to a depth of several feet. A large quantity of soil was brought by the flood and lodged in its rooms & gardens. The people who were asleep in the house were woken five o’clock in the morning and had to evacuate.
In January 1902, the town council passed a motion to have the disused quarry back filled and the land was to be used as a playground for children. It took only ten months for the work to be carried out and the children’s play park was ready in October that year. The swings etc were supplied by Mr Robert Robin of Castlehill.
The backfilling of the quarry still to this day is as much levelled off as it can be and when driving down Burnblea Street, you would never even have known that a quarry existed and of course, a children’s swing park still exists on the same spot.
One thing that I must mention without getting sidetracked, from the story is that on the month of September 1904, Mr Archibald Turner who lived in Braemar, 7 Tuphall Road received a gold watch and chain, awarded by the president of the USA, who was none other than Theodore Roosevelt.
The watch was awarded for his son Alexander, first officer of the steamer York Castle, for gallantry at sea. The young Hamilton man lost his life on the 21st of February of that year whilst trying to save the crew of the American schooner Willie l Newton, 200 miles from New York. If any of Archibald Turner’s family are reading this, then please get in touch and let us know what happened to the Gold Watch & Chain, is it still in your
family, or does a museum have this? This ‘gift’ is an amazing thing to have and it links Roosevelt to Hamilton & of course, Tuphall Road.
New streetlights were being installed in Hamilton and between 1904 & 1905, the Tuphall area was next to be allocated the Street lamps. Tuphall Road, Selkirk Street, Burnblea Street & South Park Road were allocated a few of the new lamps, but unlike today, there were not as many. The streetlamps were usually located at each end of the street with possibly a couple in between, but the new lamps would have been really welcomed by the residents of the area. Along with the new safety at night that the streetlamps brought, the Tuphall area was getting bigger and as a result, two new police officers were also employed to patrol the Tuphall & Low Waters areas.
A CASKET DEDICATED TO TUPHALL HOUSE.
In September 1907 with the passing of a brilliant fete at Hamilton Palace, the next important social event in the ducal town will be the opening of the new library’ by Dr Andrew Carnegie, through whose generosity the handsome building has been erected in Cadzow Street, the main artery of the town. The occasion will be unique in this respect that two philanthropists, Dr Carnegie and Dr James S. Dixon, will be presented with the freedom of the burgh.
Dr Dixon, who was born at Tuphall House, has given lavishly of his wealth to his native town. In particular he has interested himself largely in beautifying and extending the Public Park of the burgh, which is charmingly situated in close proximity to the picturesque Bothwell Road.
Appreciating the Doctor’s munificence to the of Bothwell, where he resides, to the University of Glasgow, in which at the cost of fully £10,000 he endowed a mining chair, and to his own birthplace, the civic administration of Hamilton have decided to combine with the freedom of the burgh the presentation of a chastely-designed casket.
The casket bars replicas not only of Tuphall House and the Town Hall, Hamilton, but of the historic Bothwell Brig, to the fund for the erection of a memorial on which Dr Dixon as such a generous and ready contributor.
The casket was presented on Tuesday the 17th of September 1907 and was the work of Messrs. Muirhead & Arthur of Glasgow, and it was Celtic in design and ornamentation. It was similar to one which was recently presented in Glasgow to his Majesty the King. On the lid the burgh arms were beautifully chased and on the front panel the motto “Let there be light” with the monogram of the recipient. The casket to Dr Dixon was supplied by a local jeweler, Mr A. S. Wiseman of Cadzow Street, and was a fine model of the silversmith’s art.
The following representations appear on the panels: Tuphall House, the old parish church, Bothwell Bridge & Monument, the Town Hall, and on the lid, there was emblem of industry and commerce, the burgh Arms and inscription.
My next investigation is to find of the said casket is still in existence and if I manage to track it down before I complete the story of Tuphall. Then I will include it.
By September 1907, there was quite a few injuries happening at the Tuphall play park and one was so bad, that a little girl had her teeth smashed and jaw broken & the worst accident was when a boy who had his leg injured at the park later died from the effects of blood poisoning.
A meeting was held by the Town council and Mr John Traill, who was in attendance raised the question of the danger’s attendant on the lack of proper supervision at the park. He even went as far as calling the playpark a slaughterhouse, which was met by much laughter at the table. The meeting ended with the committee promising to make enquiries to see if a park attendant would be needed. In December the same year, the committee agreed that a park attendant was not required to be on site at the playpark. I suppose even as recent as 1907 health & safety was not at the heart of the community. In fact, when I was a young boy, I had safer rope swings crossing the burn at Udston woods.
On the 11th of December 1907, a letter was submitted to the General Purposes Committee and Tuphall House and its lands were up for sale one more time. James Pollock was proposing to sell off Tuphall for the reduced price of £650.00 plus a feu duty of 1s, 2d per pole. The reason for the sale was to accommodate the construction of a new bowling green, which if approved would be a much-welcomed piece of recreation for the residents in the local areas.
James C Pollock continued to be the owner of Tuphall House and yes, the house had seen better days. On the 9th of October 1908 Mrs Pollock gave birth to a daughter at the house. They called her Helen. Helen was the last person to be born at Tuphall. Between 1908 & 1910 more planning applications were being submitted to build houses and tenements on Tuphall and in 1909 a Mr J.D. Lightbody applied to open a grocer’s shop on the corner of Selkirk Street & Tuphall Road, however his application to open the store was refused in April 1910.
After 1908 I find no further evidence of anybody living at Tuphall House. I find evidence of its lands still being in use, which I will tell you about soon. The trail goes cold and I ask if the reader knows of an exact date for the demolition of Tuphall House, then can you please get in touch so that I can document it.
HAMILTON AND THE WAR.
World War 1 broke out on the 28th of July 1914 and there was no family or a friend of a family who wasn’t affected by the breakout. Newspaper articles of the time are taken up with men from the Tuphall area who were either lost or killed in action. Private William Wallace (18) Killed in Action, youngest son of James & Annie – 7 Tuphall Road. Mrs Reilly of Wyllie Street was notified that her husband James was posted missing. John Napier of 12 Tuphall Road died of wounds. This full street would have been grieving during 1915.
There were old stables on Tuphall and at the moment I can’t confirm if they were part of the farm but taking an educated guess, I would say that they were. In December 1916, part of the stables was bought by the gas company and another section was purchased a company who were to erect a small factory for the manufacture of potted meat.
The Town Council in January 1917 started preparing in the old burgh stable-yard at Tuphall, which was just taken over by the gas works. The experiment was on a very modest scale, but even in this small way was very complete. One of the old stables was fitted up in the most approved sanitary style.
The floor was made of cement. The walls were faced with White tiles halfway up and finished with hard wall plaster painted and enamelled. The chamber was well ventilated from the roof, and where the floor and walls meet the sharp corner was neatly turned with cement, so that dirt could find lodgment there.
Artificial light was provided by two 360-candle power lamps. Two copper boilers, each 50-gallon capacity, installed for making potted meat, the heat for this purpose being supplied presently gas jets. Sterilising ovens for the preparation of the meat were placed along one side of the apartment.
In these germ killers the meat was raised to a temperature in which every species enemy micro-organism will be done to death, and the meat will be rendered perfectly wholesome.
The heat raising element here was steam supplied from a boiler. There were various methods for the preparation of diseased meat for edible purposes, but the steam sterilising apparatus seems to give the most satisfactory results. By the application of the steam under pressure, the meat is made quite safe for human food without reducing its nutritive value to any appreciable extent.
Provision were made within the apartment for plentiful supply of cold water, and from a geyser heated by gas there was never a wanting of hot water. At the slaughterhouse all the undesirable portions of the meat were taken away and the remainder was brought to the factory at Tuphall for treatment and preparation into cooked and potted meat. In this, the freibank will provide increased quantity of necessary food and large quantities of meat that is rendered absolutely safe for public consumption.
As the years passed the mention of Tuphall House slips away and the newspapers of the time mainly talk about the residents of Tuphall Road. In June 1926 various newspapers mention a sale at 46 Tuphall Road, where antiques and modern furniture is being sold off. The sale is being carried out by Shirlaw, Allen auctioneers and was instructed by a Mr James Chalmers. Included in this sale are furnishings and household furniture along with grandfather clocks with brass and Enameled dials. This could be reference to Tuphall House but for now, I can’t confirm this.
When I looked over the valuation roll, I found that in 1915, James Chalmers was renting the property at number 46 from a man named Archibald Taylor, who lived around the corner at 3 Scott Street.
Moving through the 1920’s, to the 1930’s, there are many reports in newspapers of thefts, fights and bad activities all performed by men living at Tuphall Road. In most cases the people who are being reported on are living with other families, so possibly renting rooms. There was even one woman, who was charging people to come to her downstairs three apartment house at night and she was charging sixpence per head at the door, the reason for this was for the purpose of dancing!
On the 11th of May 1937 there was a Municipal Building Scheme and tenders were being sent out for the Town Council to erect buildings on a new yard and store for the streets department. The scheme was estimated to be to cost £11,500 and the site of the new yard was to be at Tuphall. On the 10th of December in the same year the plans for the new headquarters for the works department of the Hamilton town council were approved by the dean of guild court. The plans provide for the erection of a number of one-story buildings on a site at Quarryhall Terrace and Tuphall Road extending to two and a half acres. There was to be accommodation for the water, roads and bridges, lighting departments. The cost was still set at £11,500 and the buildings alone were to be built at a cost of £8,000.
In June 1939, houses in Tuphall Road were infested with snails. It had got so bad that the town council sanitary committee had to send in pest control people to eradicate the snails.
Moving on ten years later in January 1949, an appeal went out to tenants form the Hamilton town council asking tenants in the Tuphall & Old Town housing schemes to stop damaging the Chespale fences in their gardens. I wonder what they were using the wood for, firewood perhaps?
On Tuesday the 15th of February 1949, a sad accident happened on Tuphall Road at 8:30pm, where an 81-year-old man who went by the name of John G. Jenkins residing at 7 Burnblea Street was knocked down in the street. He was knocked down by a bus while crossing the street and he died.
I have researched the past 229 years of Tuphall, and you now know that the lands at Tuphall are steeped in a forgotten History. Once owned by the Duke of Hamilton and as we move on through time, thousands of people have used this part of Hamilton from quarrying to miners’ protests and the whole area at one point was only known as Tuphall, named after the farm steading. People such as Keir Hardy have chosen to use this land to host their talks and a president of the USA has sent a gold watch to one of its residents. This part of Hamilton will continue to thrive as a housing scheme for many years to come and I do not see any big changes happen as dramatically as it has done in the past.
Garry McCallum – Historic Hamilton. © 2020