PHILIP’S FACTORY TO CLOSE THIS THURSDAY. END OF AN ERA.

On Thursday the 7th of November 2019 Philip’s factory which has employed thousands of people from Hamilton will close its doors for the final time. This iconic building and world known company will be trading from Wellhall Road for four final day’s and has employed men and women from Hamilton for the past 72 years.

Philips 1950s..PNG

Hamilton used to be a manufacturing hub after the coal mines closed and we prided ourselves on having a world known brand based on our town. The last seventy employees will down their tools next week and the building will fall silent.
The amazing Christmas display that has been enjoyed by many generations will no longer be switched on and soon we will have a new housing estate built on its land.

Philips 1962 Map..PNG

This powerful company once stretched across the Wellhall Road and today there is still an underpass going under the road which transported goods to the lorry depot which was sold off in the late eighties to have the Barratt housing estate built.

In its heyday, Philip’s factory once employed over 2,000 people and over the past thirty years the business has downgraded in size before being taken over by Signify and many of the former workforce were all highly skilled people.

Today, I have gathered some pictures from my archive at Historic Hamilton and would like to share some of your stories of working at the factory. I would however like to document even more and If you have any pictures of Philips factory that you can send, then please send them to HistoricHamilton@icloud.com and we will host these on our website which is viewed in Many countries around the world.

In 2016 Historic Hamilton reader Glancy Clark sent us a newsletter from Philips and was printed in June 1969. These letters were called “The Philham Newsletter”. In the letter was a list of activities & events which included School trips to the factory, they followed Employees and told of people visiting the factory. In Glancy’s 1969 letter there was also a note of one special employee who was leaving.

Philip’s very first operator was leaving in June 1969. Her name was Mrs Emily Glancy and she first started with the company in November 1945. Mrs Glancy had worked at Philips for 24 years and in this time, she only worked in two departments. She was one of the very first select bodies to be still working at the factory since it opened. When she started at Philips, she wasn’t married and was called Emily Green and in 1969 she was still known to her colleagues by this name. When Emily first started, she worked at the transformer department and then moved over to miniature lamps in 1950. In October 1963 Emily married her mobile crane driver husband and she was leaving because they were planning on adopting a baby boy on the 28th of June that year. Her friends and co-workers wished her well and hoped that this was the start of a much larger family.

 

Philips Bill Hunter WM..PNG

In 2016 Bill Hunter sent this picture of his late Father in Law, who was called George Service. Bill told us: “This is my late father-in-law George Service worked at Phillips for many years. He developed MS. This is him leaving the factory.”

Charlie Dunsmore added, I worked at Philips ‘K’ building from 1969-1977, first in the ballast gear and then the press shop.

Anne McCarroll also worked at the same part in this tear.
Ann Leach told us “I never worked there but went to many of the Philips Christmas parties. My uncle worked at Philips, best known as Big Bobby Leckenby”.

Debbie McLean told us that her mum worked there in the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s.

Margaret Hewitt said “My auntie, Rene Cunningham worked in the canteen. My uncle, Arthur rafferty worked for London Carriers and our very good friend, Rene Whitehouse did the wages, I think.” “I worked in Phillips during the holidays from Hamilton College – 1968 – 1970. I packed lightbulbs for two years and then made shavers during my last year. Have many hilarious memories of my time there. Poor Grant McKinnon didn’t know what to do with me!!!”

Karen McDade said: “Worked in Philips from 2000 till took redundancy in 2012. Lorna, Tracey, the newsletter looked slightly better by the time we were leaving xx”

Barbara Seaton told us: “My Dad worked at Philips Hamilton from about 1949. Before that he was glass blower at either Philips or Stella in Middlesex. He was the Union Rep at Hamilton in the late 1950’s early 60’s.”

Catherine Patterson told us: “I worked there first i was in A building then moved to M building John C Dunsmore was Charge Hand Jackie Wilson was Supervisor. In Packing. Jean Copland. Linda Charmer’s happy day’s”

Janette Bouette said: “I worked in Phillips as a apprentice in the tool room, from 1951 until 1956. I served two years of national service and returned for 4 more years. My father R.A.F Bouette worked for Phillips in England and transferred to Scotland when Phillips opened. My father was in charge of the test lab.
The time spent as an apprentice was one of the best years of my life and the training, I received served me very well when I emigrated to the United States in 1967.”

Elizabeth Tennant told us: “Worked in Phillips from 1959 to 1966. Bookkeeper/ comptometer operator ….that was in the days before computers !”

 

The pictures above were sent to us in April 2015 by Angela Seagreave and her dad is in the picture. The first one on the left is Angela’s dad who is out in the yard of Philips enjoying a break and in the second picture are in Angela’s words, “The three Stooges! Angela told us: “The three stooges right to left jimmy Madden (Alfie) Tommy Seagrave and Gibby McConville in Philips Factory”.

 

Philips football team Date un known Frank Sweeny.PNG

In May 2019 the late Frank Sweeny sent us this picture of Philips Football team. Frank, who is no longer with us, told me at the time:

“”It was taken over 35 years ago at the Philips Factory on Wellhall road – the team won the Philips European cup in Eindhoven where they played the tournament every 5 years – we beat Philips Blackburn in the final and all the guys in the photo worked at Philips Hamilton.”

In the picture we have: Left to right, Mr Greenwood (director), Tam Bain, Dougie Stewart, Tam Goodwin, Davy Pollock, Wullie McGrorty, Ronnie Stewart, Wullie Glass, Andy Scott, Bob McCallum (team manager), John Barr, Will Carroll,Andy o’ Halloran, Wullie Halbert, Danny Cunning & Frank Sweeney.

Aileen Henderson told us: “Christmas parties were amazing; my two daughters went to them. My husband, Willie Henderson worked there for 44years also my brother, Colin Hunter and my father Jack Hunter…….happy days.”
Audrey Carlin said: “I remember feeding a few of these guys lol. Good memories. This was taken about two years before I started in Philips Factory.”

Philips outing Harry Evans..PNG

This picture was sent to us back on the 24th of August 2019 and it was a Philips outing. The picture was sent by Harry Paton Evans and he 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.” Harry I believe that this could have been either the very first Philips summer outing, or one of the first, so thanks for sending this.

Mags Gillan Wrote: “My Uncle Steve, (John Stevenson) worked for Philips and travelled all over the world. Sadly, he was taken from us too soon. X”

Donald Orr said, “The woman standing to the right of the man in the very dark suit, is my auntie, Betty Orr, a longtime employee at Philips. Worked there till she retired!”

Ann Docherty said: “My mums next door neighbour fae fleming court used to work in there yrs ago..john dyet.. dont no what dept though. Would have been the early 70s….”

 

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In December 2015 Tom Sorbie sent this picture of him standing on the roof of the Philips factory. Tom Told us: “”The photo was taken in 1984, I think. Certainly, no later than 1985 as the photographer got paid off that year. We had been painting the gantry that used to run between H and G buildings and I climbed up beside the clock. No health and safety in those days!

I worked at Philips for many years although I was never actually employed by Philips as it was sub-contractors I worked for (Falcon Contracts and latterly MITIE). I was the factory painter. Attached is an old photo of me posing by the clock which stood on the roof of G building.
Keep up the good work with your great FB site.”

Paul Kane told us: “Worked in the fluorescent tubes building for six weeks summer 1973. Not the five foot line that had just had installed a mechanical rotating piece of kit with a grab arm that would always stick. Health and Safety aye right you just took cover as Jimmy (the line manager) would girl the tubes along the line like javelins. Poor man took a breakdoon that none of the fitters could sort. Happy days.”

Tom Sorbie also told us: “When I finished up at Philips in February this year the painting side of my job had mostly ceased (I’d painted everything there was to paint) and I was mostly helping out with general labouring.
One of my last jobs was to assist in clearing out junk from various rooms/old offices which had to be thrown in a skip. Tons of stuff which lived in the archive room was also taken away for shredding. You have no idea the amount of old Philips photos contained in that room. These photos were of course not for the shredder/skip but were kept. They have a great photographic record and we spent a good hour or two going through them.”

Linda Thomson told us: “I was made redundant from philips after 20 yrs…worked in sodium…best place av ever worked..”

Philips Bob Baird WM

Bob Baird also sent us a picture of his dad at work in Philips and Bob wrote: “My Dad, John Baird worked in the factory for 34 years til 1987. Started in lamps, then boiler house for long time then “the plant” /maintenance. Got a few pictures somewhere.”

Philips.......PNG

Below are the pictures attached to these words. Please share your memories of Philips and if you do have any pictures, then we would like to see them.

Philips....jpg

PHILIPS FACTORY WORKERS 1970.

Allister Hutton Philips Factory 1970..PNG

Above is a very rare colour picture of workers in Block ‘K’, taken in 1970. This picture was sent to us by Allister Hutton (Front Left) and I am sure that you will all agree that this very rare picture is a real snapshot in time.

 
DO YOU HAVE A PICTURE OF PHILIPS FACTORY THAT YOU CAN SEND? IF YOU DO, THEN WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT.
 
Allister told us the following information, but if you see yourself, then please get in touch.
 
From Allister:
 
“Hi Garry, as requested I have attached a colour photograph of Philips Hamilton Toolroom personnel in ‘K’ building during 1970. I served my time in the Toolroom as a Mechanical Engineer with Philips Hamilton from 1966 to 1971, leaving in 1974 to join Martin Black wire Ropes in Coatbridge. I left Martin Black in 1978 to join Shell Exploration and Production in Aberdeen where I stayed for the next 37 years before retiring in 2005 in Banchory.
 
I have tried to identify as many of my ex colleagues as possible in a structured manner, perhaps your viewers could identify the missing names. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
 
Back Row – Left to Right
 
Person with cap and glasses peering over Bob Letham’s shoulder – unknown cleaner.
Bob McCallum ( broad smile in a white coat, shirt and tie ).
John Phillips ( Partially hidden with shirt and tie ).
Danny Creechan ( Smiling with thick black eyebrows ).
Ian Hamilton ( highest person in photo with white tee shirt showing ).
 
Second Back Row – Left to Right
 
Bob Letham of Letham’s buses Blantyre ( tall person in white coat, shirt and tie ).
Person with grey coat and sun on his face and chest – unknown.
Jimmy Gibson ( grey coat, broad smile with Mexican style moustache ).
Alan Lockhart ( roundish face with shirt and tie ).
Person with face partially covered – unknown.
Bert Russell (grey coat, glasses, shirt and tie ).
John Dunse ( big guy with glasses and blue shirt ).
 
Middle Row – Left to Right
 
Jock Richardson ( Short person in white coat, shirt and tie ).
Person with sun on his face with long hair – unknown.
Ian Cuthbertson ( glasses and Mexican moustache and beard ).
Second Front Row – Left to Right
Person with long hair – unknown.
Barry Brown ( grey coat with yellow note book, crew neck sweater, holding onto Philips sign ).
Robert McCartney ( long side burns, moustache, both hands on knees ).
 
Front Row – Left to Right
Allister Hutton ( kneeling with grey coat, blue shirt and hand on vice ).
John Baird ( arms folded next to Philips sign ).
Brian Marshall ( long shoulder length hair, right arm touching Philips sign ).
 
If anyone knows Bob Letham’s contact details I would to speak to him again. Would like to hear from anyone in the photograph.
Regards, “
 
If you would like to be put in touch with Allister, then please send me a PM and i will pass on his contact details.

Famous Voice records a video for Historic Hamilton.

One of our readers is none other than Davie Hutton who is a local business man based in Glasgow, he owns the company Quick Sale and he buys and sells houses.

For our overseas readers and you haven’t heard of him, Davie does his own American style adverts and his voice is heard on the radio every day and he brings comedy to the radio airwaves.


https://www.facebook.com/QuicksaleProperty/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

SAVE OUR MAUSOLEUM.

Hi folks,

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Following on from our pictures of the Mausoleum & Mausoleum Cottage last Sunday, the Hamilton Advertiser contacted Historic Hamilton to help continue their support to save the Mausoleum.

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Tomorrow I will be appearing on page 4 of the Advertiser to keep the momentum going and tell everyone what the Mausoleum means to me. I’m sure that the readers of Historic Hamilton who live all around the world will back us and join the fight to stop the Mausoleum fall in to more disrepair.

To become a member of saving the Mausoleum, please visit the groups Facebook page and fill out a membership form. Or get in touch with the man who started the focus on the Mausoleum, Bob Reid. He can be reached on rangerbobreid@gmail.com.

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Burnbank 1971.

Burnbank 1971 Alan Watt..PNG

This fantastic picture of Burnbank was sent to us by Alan Watt. It was taken by Alan’s grandfather in who was called Matthew Watt.

The picture was taken in 1971 and you can see the old Victorian buildings on the left hand side which stood before the Red Road and Burnbank centre was built.

Have you got any old pictures of Hamilton that you would like to share? Please send them by PM, or by email.

 

THE MAUSOLEUM KEEPERS COTTAGE.

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.

Keepers House 1983 Alan Watt.WM.1PNG.PNG

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.

HAMILTON POETRY FROM 1895.

Published on Friday the 7th June 1895.

This poem which I recently discovered was written by a lady named Lizzy Smith. Lizzy lived in Meikle Earnock village in 1895 and I get the feeling that she was quite the character. I also must admit that in this period, Lizzy’s poem is the first which I have stumbled across which was written by a woman, as most poems seem to have been written and sent to the local newspaper by men. So, she was probably quite a head strong woman.

For me, this poem is a real gem and I am so happy that I found it, because Lizzy not only tells us of what life was like in 1895 but she tells us in the language of the day, how the old Hamiltonian’s spoke and of the people who were alive in this period and we hear old family names being mentioned. So, here is Lizzie Smith’s poem, in her own words.
THE PLOOMANS BALL.

By Lizzy Smith 1895.

In Meikle Earnock’s ancient toon,
Leaves Wullie Smith a cairter loon,
And a bonny day in June,
He met a lass,
Wha, search the country side aroun,
Nae coo’d surpass.

Her beauty, elegance, and grace,
Her bonnie lauchin, winsome face,
Garr’d ither chiels join in the chase,
Her he’rt to win,
But Willie did them a’ ootrace,
And steppit in.

At least he thocht that first he’d been,
But he like plenty mair, I ween,
Was sae in love wi Bonnie Jean,
He couldna’ see,
What ithers a’ alang hsd seen,
She’d twa or three.

He geid her presents o’ the best,
And day nor night he couldna rest,
But thocht himsel uncommon blest,
That thus had got,
His bonnie dear to answer yes,
To share his lot.

And thus wore by the summer time,
And trees and floers were past their prime,
And autumn wi’ its days sae fine,
Had bid adiew,
And grass was wat wi hoary rime,
Instead o’ dew.

Twas then took place the ploomen ball,
Whan fully fifteen couples all,
Were gathered in the spacious hall,
At Chapel Farm,
Which as ye ken, baith young and auld,
Is just the barn.

Twa just to pas the time a wee,
Or else a wee but fun tae see,
Or something else that prompted me,
That night tae gang,
But this is hoo, without a lee,
They got alang.

Gibb Berry, wia lass ca’d Nell,
Thocht nane were as guid’s himsel,
But the truth I was to tell,
I’d say that he,
Doon in the dirt had aften fell,
At mony a spree.

Jock Watson, in his Sunday claes,
As fresh as daises on the braes,
And een as black as ony slaes,
Was there on’ a’,
And aye himsel he tried to rise,
An inch or twa.

For he was swalled wi conscious pride,
And that’s a fact he couldna hide,
And Maggie Rankin by his side,
Was unco mim,
And blushed as sweet as only bride,
And looked at him,

And next a chap, they ca’ him Will,
He’s servin’ up at Cornhill,
He danced and jumped aboot until,
His heid grew dizzy,
And teen joined in wi’ right guid Will,
That winsome hizzy.

But by my sang, he didna think,
As he wi’ Teen that nicht did link,
Pair chap, that he was on the brink,
O’ being jookit;
The stallion man gied her the wink,
And aff they hookit.

Frae Craigenhill there next cam Dan,
An honest and a manly man,
Wi a hizzy o’ the Fifer Clan,
Tho’ somewhat soor,
I think she had made up a plan,
To look aye dour.

Of course for me it widna dae,
To name them a’ in sie a way,
For the truth to tell, its hard to say,
They’d tak’t amiss,
My very life they’d swear to hae,
For writin this.

O’ this discourse I’ve lost the threed,
Bur then it is a lengthy screed,
And sie a Jumble’s in my heid,
O’ mirth and fun,
And then that glorious midnicht feed,
It took the bun.

The time gaed by wi’ mirth and glee,
A’ things were there to catch the e’e,
There was rowth o’ pastries, cakes and tea,
Pankakes and bannocks,
And some they ate sae greedily,
They fyled their stammacks.

A chap who happened to be there,
Got up on tae the barn flair,
And wi’ a voice baith sweet and rare,
Made echoes ring,
Wi’ Norah’s pride o’ sweet Kildare,
Feth he could sing.

But quately speaking, tween me and you,
Twas chappies in the royal blue,
Could shift a pickle mountain dew,
Doon ower their neck,
And everything that cam’ in view,
They took their wheck,

The man wi’ feet was there an ‘,
I’m shair they’re onything but sma,
Twelve inches lang and ither twa,
I’m shair they’d be,
Sis feet as them I never saw,
At ony spree.

And Jean, she sang a sang sae sweet,
To hear her was a perfect treat,
There’s na compeers,
She finished and then took her seat,
Mid deefenin cheers.

And thus, wi mony a dance and sang,
The lightsome hoors they sped aland,
The guid Scotch drink was dealt amang,
The ploomen chiels,
And aye their sturdy legs they flang,
At jigs and reels.

But everything maun hae en end,
And sae maun balls, as well ye ken,
Oor several ways we a’ did wend,
Just as daybreak,
For fear oor maisters we’d offend,
And get the seck.

Then here’s a health to guid John Mackie,
He did his best tae mak; us happy,
He was sae droll and aye sae crackie,
He cheered us on,
When I gang up I’ll tak’ a drappie,
And drink’t wi John.
Meikle Earnock Lizzie Smith.

This poem was probably written just after the party in the barn ended. The barn dance could have been a once a year event that took place in the summer, where the hard working ploughmen had a chance to go out and meet some nice girls and also in turn, the young girls some allowed to go and by the sound of the poem, some that went without their parents knowing.

The barn dance sounded like a community event where old and young enjoyed each other’s company and it could have been a bit like a gala day. So, a day and night out, that all looked forward to.

I wanted to find out more about Lizzy Smith, so I decided to do some research and luckily for me, there was only one person called Elizabeth Smith who lived in Meikle Earnock in 1895 and here is what I found.

Lizzie, or Elizabeth Smith was only nineteen when she wrote this poem. She was born in Glasgow on the 7th of August 1876 to parents Hugh Smith & Mary Sweeny. The family lived at Haggshouse Farm in Kinning Park, Glasgow where Lizzie’s father was working as a ploughman. Her father then moved the family to Blantyre, where he was now working as a greengrocer.

In Blantyre, Lizzie and her family lived at Aitkenhead Buildings and Lizzie worked along with her father as a green grocer’s assistant, but the their time at Blantyre was short lived as they then moved to Meikle Earnock, where Lizzie’s dad was now working back on a farm and working as a cow feeder.

When the family lived at Meikle Earnock, there was another family that went by the name of Cuthbertson and I will come to this soon and let you know why I have mentioned this.
Lizzie Smith was now working most likely at the same farm as her father. Her farther was the cow feeder on this farm and Lizzie, just like she did at the green grocers in Blantyre worked side by side with her father and she was working as a dairy maid. I get the feeling that Lizzie and Hugh had a close father daughter relationship.

On the 9th of December 1898 Lizzie married a Cambusnethan man who went by the name of James Gilchrist. James who was a coal miner worked in various places including Muirkirk in Ayrshire, Ormiston in East Lothian, Tranent, East Lothian and then back to Hamilton. This man’s father was a coal miner just like him and it is unknown why the family lived in mining communities scattered all over Scotland, perhaps his father was blacklisted by the colliery owners, but this is just a guess.

Lizzie Smith Divorce..PNG

The marriage with James produced seven children and sadly two died in infancy, but this was not a happy marriage. On the 11th of June 1913 James files for divorce from Lizzie, now there was probably more to this, but the reason given was that Lizzie was talking of another man while she slept and when confronted by James, she confessed to have been unfaithful.
By the time of the divorce, James was living in Hamilton at 9 Windsor Terrace on Bothwell Street and Lizzie was living at Whitecraighead in Cleland. I found a newspaper report printed in the Motherwell Times on Friday the 13th of June 1913 which stated:

“MOTHERWELL DIVORCE CASE. Betrayed by Talking- in Sleep.

The story of how a woman betrayed herself in her sleep was narrated in the Court of Session on Saturday last. James Gilchrist, miner, Orchard Cottage, Bellshill, sought divorce from wife, Elizabeth Horne Smith or Gilchrist, Whitecraighead, Cleland, by Motherwell, and Thomas Lindsay, mason, ’station Cottage, Muirkirk, was called as the co-defender.

Divorce in Paper..PNG

The pursuer said the marriage was solemnized in 1898, and there were five surviving children. The co-defender had been a lodger in the house. One Sunday in
April 1912, when they were then living at Strathaven, the pursuer heard his wife talking in her sleep.

She was carrying a conversation with someone to whom’ she was heard to say: “This would have to be their last meeting and that it would be better to separate.”

The preceding week had found a letter sent by Lindsay to his wife, in which he said that he was uneasy in his mind. When he taxed his wife, whom he awoke, she admitted having had relations with the co-defender. She subsequently signed an admission, of misconduct. After some further evidence, decree was granted to the pursuer on the ground of the defender’s infidelity”.

After the divorce, Lizzie moved back to Meikle Earnock in Hamilton. Her dad Hugh had died on the 16th of March 1910 at his house in Hollandbush Cottage. If I were to take a guess about one of the reasons as to why Lizzie was not happy in her marriage, then it could have been a lack of compassion from her husband, or perhaps she was so close to her dad that she may possibly of had a bit of depression after his death, however, this is only what could have happened and I do not have any evidence to back this up.

After Lizzie moved back to Meikle Earnock, she met a man named Robert Cuthbertson, who was a widower. It appears that Lizzie and Robert were old acquaintances and they knew each other in their younger years, and it appears that they were childhood sweethearts. Robert lived at Meikle Earnock at the same time as Lizzie when she was living in the village.
They married on the 21st of June 1913 in St. Rollox in Glasgow, the reason as to why they married here is unclear, however, they did continue to live at Meikle Earnock after the wedding. They lived at Croft Cottage right up to May 1921, where they decided to leave Meikle Earnock and indeed Scotland forever.

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On the 21st of May 1921 the couple boarded a passenger ship and left for Sydney, Australia. Travelling with them are Robert’s sons James, Malcolm and his daughter’s Mary & Nancy and Lizzie’s son Hugh. They saw out the rest of their days in Australia and Robert lived to the ripe old age of 89 where he died in Nowra, New South Wales on the 18th of June 1962.

Lizzie died only seven months after her husband passed away. She died at the same place on the 12th of January 1963.

What started of a poem written in a local news paper turned into a story of a strong lady who had her ups and downs in life. Lizzie Smith from Meikle Earnock emigrated to Australia and she now has family connections on each side of the world. I wonder if what we write today will have someone reading about it in another 125 years. Also, I would love to go to a party in a big barn, I wonder if the local farmers around Hamilton still have parties like this? Below is a picture of Lizzie Smith.

Lizzie Smith.Lizzie Smith & James Gilchrist..PNG
Written by Garry McCallum
Historic Hamilton.