Hamilton has seen some dramatic changes over the last 30 years and none more so that Almada Street. Almada Street used to have tenements that led from Peackock Cross and all the way down to the Barracks at bothwell road.
Today there are only two surviving blocks of houses that remain in Almada Street, they are situated at the peackock cross side of the street, with the recent corner block of tenements that were called Almada Hill being knocked down to make a garage car park!
The picture below was sent to Historic Hamilton by Andy Alexander & Steven Matthews. There is some debate that the picture was taken around the mind 1970s, however i believe that the picture was probably taken around the mid 1980s, the reason for this is that the Mk3 Escort was introduced in 1980 (white car) and the blue Mk2 Astra behind it was first introduced in 1984.
Back in the 1970s & 1980s this part of Almada Street was thriving. There was also a well known chip shop at the side of the Crown bar called KFC, this was situated at Saffronhall Lane and if you look just behind the blue fiesta then this is where Safftonhall Lane is situated.
The Crown pub later became Chambers Bar during the 1990s and other pubs like Ewings & the County were also busy pubs at Almada Street. Chambers bar closed down around 2010/11 and was bought by the current owner Manio Loia, who had the building extended and refurbished in 2012, he then built the current restaurant and called it Cafe Eataliano which now occupies the former site of the Pub. Prehaps in years to come, this establishment will bring back as many happy memories like The Crown & Chambers did for many people!
The tenements at the bottom of Almada Street were demolished at the end of the 1980s and this is now the site of the Job Center and Hamilton Water Palace. If you look at the no entry signs in the picture, then this is the current entrance to the Hamilton Water Palace and further on down at the bottom of the road is where the Furlongs are situated.
Below is a picture taken last week on Sunday the 3rd January 2015. This was taken approximately at the same spot as the one taken in the mid eighties.
What was your memories of Almada Street in the 1970s & 1980s?
At one point in time Hamilton had it’s very own brewery! The Brandon Brewery was situated on the east side of Quarry Road, which is now called Quarry Street.
The Brewery was listed as a “Small Brewery” and the gate keeper was called William McKenzie who lived at the Gate house between 1858-1861.
The Brewery was still here in 1913 as it appeared on the map of this year, However the next map that i looked at was an areal photo of the town taken in 1944 and it was no longer there.
The picture above taken from Google Street view is the former site of the Brandon Brewery. So far I have been unable to find any further information on the brewery, however this story will be archived and investigated in the future.
The Angus Hotel was situated across the road from the Avonbridge Hotel and it occupied the piece of land where flats are currently built.
The Twaddle family owned the Avonbridge Hotel and the Angus Hotel was the annex. The family sold the Avonbridge to Mr Martello in the 1980’s but kept and ran the Angus as their main business.
David Laurie worked at the Angus Hotel in the mid 1970’s when Ken Twaddle and his sister Morag ran the business. David was a part time barman and he worked there for extra cash and he told Historic Hamilton that it was a fun place to work!
The building later fell into disrepair and had to be demolished. I wonder if it would give the Avonbridge a run for it’s money if it was still there today.
Terry Bouette sent this picture of St Johns Grammer School somewhere late 40s or early 50s.
Terry Bouette is 3rd from right. Eric Forlow is 3rd from left.On third row right in middle is someone called Patterson. I remember the boy 3rd row third from left whose father was caretaker in Hamilton Mauseleum.
The Laurie family of Burnbank owned one of the towns best and most noticeable businesses. They were the owners of Chieftain Buses that was based at their depot on High Blantyre Road.
In the picture above, back row L-R are James, John & David Laurie. Middle row is David & Margaret Laurie and the kids in the front row are Wilma and Bob Laurie.
The company was started by James Laurie. When he came out of the army in 1918, he started with a taxi and built it up into a bus service.
The family later moved to number 81 High Blantyre Road and then set up a bus depot right next door to their house. The business was thriving and had employed local people to work at the depot, as well as all of the Laurie family who were involved in some way.
David Laurie who is the grandson of David Laurie Snr told Historic Hamilton that “all of the family were involved in some way, driving my dad did along with coach building and my uncle’s did mechanics and driving right up to the 60’s when they sold the business”.
The family depot in Burnbank was a busy place and as previously mentioned, it employed local people who include, Carrie (Mair) Clark who was a conductress on the Hairmyres route, her sister Elsie also a clippie on the Hairmyers route, her brothers Willie and Robert all worked for the Chieftain buses for a number of years.
Robert Wilson, Bob Mair & Robert Clements were a few of the drivers on the Chieftain Buses.
The company ran all the way up to 1961 until it was taken over by the SMT group. The old Chieftain garage became Jamieson’s Builders yard for many years and later was sold to the council and it was eventually landscaped.
Historic Hamilton would like to thank David Laurie for telling us his family’s story & sharing some pictures and also Robert Stenlake for supplying some of the local pictures of the Chieftain Buses.
We would like to hear from you! What was your memories of the Cheiftan Buses at High Blantyre Road in Burnbank. Send them to us at HistoricHamilton@icloud.com
One of the major companies in Hamilton round about the turn of the 20th century was Scott, Stirling & Co!
Scott, Stirling & Co were local coach builders in the town and they were founded in 1862 under the name J & C Stirling. They started off as a small business but quickly grew due to their excellent workmanship and at the time coach building was one of the oldest industries in Hamilton.
In the year 1862 when the firm was established the business advanced rapidly. So mush so, that in a comparatively short period of time, it was found necessary to make considerable extensions, and from an original small shop, the firm now occupies an area of nearly one acre of double storied buildings, elaborately fitted with the most modern wood-working machinery.
Scott, Stirling & Co were so reputable that not only did they build coaches and do repairs in Hamilton, they did work all over Scotland, England & Northern Ireland.
They later built ambulance & fever hospital vans all equipped with the “latest improvised fittings”. They also built spring vans, message vans, bakers vans ans then moved on to light & heavy lorries.
They were noted as stating ” A supply of these vans are always on hand, or can be built at the shortest notice” They could possibly have been the Quick Fit of it’s day in the late 1800s.
Below is an advertisement for the carriage works that was gave to Historic Hamilton by Lesley Fife. There is also a Yellow outline marking where the possible site of the coach works were situated just next to the Hamilton Advertiser building, this was taken from the 1847-1895 map of Hamilton.