Betting has been a popular pastime with many Hamiltonian’s and before the days of bookmakers shops, the ‘Pitch ‘n’ Toss was carried out behind shops, parks & disused land. However, in 1954 the men started to move away from gambling in the open air and the illegal bookmakers were cashing in on a lucrative business which had now become a more organised trade!

On the 3rd of 1954, three men were at court after being caught operating one of Hamilton’s most popular betting premises. John Nallen from Eddlewood was the proprietor of the shop at 5 Cadzow Lane which he had been using as a betting house.

His two accomplices were called John McMenemy of Low Waters Road & Thomas McGilvray of Tuphall Road, both admitted giving assistance in the conduct of betting arrangements on the premises.

This betting establishment was so popular amongst the local men that not only did the three bookies get caught, there was an astonishing 42 other people caught in the shop, all eagerly trying get a win from the popular race which was taking place that day. The police seized more than £16 and a number of betting slips.

The fiscal explained that the police had suspected for some time that the premises were being used for a betting house and when they raided it they found the 45 people inside. The police seized a total of £16 14s & 9d as well as the quantity of betting material.

The provost Mrs. Mary s. Ewart imposed a fine of £10, or 60 day’s imprisonment on John Nallen, which at the time was quite substantial while John McMenemy & Thomas McGilvray were each fined £5 or 30 days in jail.

Thirteen of the punters, who had admitted previous convictions for gambling were each fined £1, while the remaining 29 were each fined 10s. The rest of the money found on the premises was fortified.

It seemed that the judge wanted to make an example of the tree men in 1954 and by then the illegal gambling shops were not uncommon anywhere in Scotland let a lone Hamilton and every town had them. In fact it was so popular amongst people that gambling was made legal in the UK in 1960.


On Saturday the 18th May 1935 there was great alarm among the tenants in High Blantyre Road & Rodger Street in a congested part of Burnbank just up from the Cross, where a fire had broken out at the property of 1 Rodger Street.

The outbreak was discovered by a pedestrian, who saw smoke issuing from a house occupied by a man named James Baird Jnr. A contingent of the Lanarkshire Fire Brigade was speedily on the scene, but the firemen were handicapped by the lack of a nearby water supply.

The fire got a firm hold, and the houses belonging to Mr James Dunsmuir and ex-Parish councilor Baird, father of the occupier of the other house, where badly affected.

Before the flames were subdued extensive damage had been done to the Bairds house, while the other houses were on the ground floor and adjoining were badly damaged by smoke and water.

Rodger Street was a continuation that was directly across the road from Purdie Street in Burnbank and the location is where the Ann Court flats are now built.  At the time of the fire in 1935 the street was just up from the bustling Burnbank Cross and the old tenements were knocked down at some point after 1953 and probably to make way for the new flats. In 1935 there were two tenements and a house in the street number 1, 3 & 5 and at the end of the small street, there was a playground with a little hall.

James Baird Jr was a coal miner and after the fire he continued to live on at Rodger Street. I found no records of what became of him after the fire and if any of his descendants are reading this post, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

World War 2 1939-1945.

WORLD WAR 2 1939-1945
Written by Wilma Bolton.


Despite the carnage of World War 1, the 1930’s brought war clouds gathering again over Europe and on the 3rd September, 1939, Britain once more declared war on Germany.

As the country mobilised for war, notices appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser informing the civilian population on issues such as gas masks, the blackout, evacuees, rationing and registering for National Service. The intimations page also underwent a change in content when the headings, Deaths on Active Service, Missing in Action and Prisoner of War were added.

May and June 1940 saw 338,226 troops rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. Many Lanarkshire soldiers were killed or captured during this evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces, or when fighting with the rear guard protecting the troops on the beaches. Among the soldiers being evacuated were Eddlewood brothers Owen and Charlie Lawless. Owen was killed in action. Charlie survived and fought throughout the duration of the war.

Two High Blantyre brothers, Robert and Jim McCulloch of Stonefield Crescent were also among the survivors. Unable to re-embark at Dunkirk the brothers who were in different units, both managed to reach Brest where they were picked up by one of the hundreds of vessels involved in the rescue. They were overjoyed when they met on board. Robert was lucky to be there, a wallet tucked into in his breast pocket had stopped a piece of shrapnel which undoubtedly would have killed him.

During the nights of the 13th-14th and 14th-15th March 1941, German bombers flew over Hamilton heading for Clydeside. The sky was lit up by searchlights and the town echoed with the noise from the local anti-aircraft guns firing at the planes, as they flew overhead. Aided by the light of a full moon, the bombers discharged a cargo of 105,300 incendiary bombs, bringing death and destruction to Clydebank.

Within two hours of the air raid starting, a large convoy of Hamilton first-aid ambulance and rescue vehicles, fire engines and mobile canteens left for the blazing town. Among the rescue teams were highly trained First Aid Party (F.A.P.) personnel including John Anderson, house factor; Andrew Adams, Portland Place; Gus Le Blonde, Scott Street; John Henderson, lorry driver, Portland Park; Paddy King winding engineman, Arden Road; Guy Lang, newsagent, Morgan Street; Johnny Logan, Alness Street and Bob Roxburgh, optician. It was to be four days before they returned home. Three men from the rescue teams were injured; Samuel Wright and Frank Bebbington received crushing injuries when bombed buildings collapsed on top of them and John Paul received a serious knee injury.

Blantyre also sent a substantial number of rescue personnel in a convoy of eighteen vehicles, nine of which were destroyed during the bombing. Among the rescue teams was Thomas Limerick a former miner and trained first aider from Bairds Rows. Two of the Blantyre rescue team were injured. Vincent McInerney suffered a compound fracture of his arm and David Paterson sustained serious back injuries.

On the 16th March, seven hundred Clydebank refugees arrived at Hamilton and were transported to sixteen previously earmarked rest centres at churches and halls throughout the town. Most of them had lost everything they owned and arrived with only the clothes they stood in.

Among the many families to take refugees into their homes were the McCrums of 54 Mill Road, Hamilton. Mrs Isabella McCrum had been helping with the refugees at Low Waters School where she worked as a cleaner. On returning home, she informed her husband Robert that all the refugees had been found accommodation with the exception of one family of five adults; a mother, three daughters and a son who did not want to be split up. Feeling sorry for them, they went to the school and brought the family back to their home. This family, the Langs, were to stay with the McCrums for the duration of the war. They were living in two bedrooms; one of them normally used by the McCrum girls who were hastily moved down into the living room to sleep. The other bedroom had been used by the four McCrum sons who were away fighting with the British army. One of them John; a Gordon Highlander fought at El Alamein and was wounded by shrapnel in Sicily but survived his injuries. George, a paratrooper also survived the war as did Robert, who fought with Wingate’s Chindits in Burma, but William, a Royal Scot, was killed fighting in Burma.


There were many local soldiers engaged fighting the grim battle against the Japanese in Burma. Another one was Cameronian, James Spiers one of three Earnock brothers, all of whom were regular soldiers fighting for their country. James was killed in Burma and has no known grave, Alexander, a Seaforth Highlander was captured at St Valerie while defending the soldiers being evacuated from Dunkirk. The third brother John, fought in Europe with the Cameronians. Both men rose through the ranks, Alex to become a Major and John a Captain.

On May 5th a bomb fell on the railway sidings behind Whitehill Road, Burnbank. Luckily there were no casualties.

The country was stunned when on 24th May; H.M.S. Hood was sunk with the loss of 1,417 men. Three young Hamilton sailors, William Pennycook, John Mullen and John Kirkland were among the dead.

In October,May Baillie a young Hamilton nurse, survived 8 days in an open raft after her ship was torpedoed 700 miles from land. She married two weeks after returning home.

Also in October, Lance-Corporal Jimmy Welsh, 6 Neilsland Drive, Meikle Earnock found himself in the thick of the fighting at El Alamein. During the bombardment he heard a sound which brought a lump to his throat. Rising and falling above the thunder of the guns he could hear the pipes of the gallant 51st Highland Division playing the soldiers into battle. The battle of El Alamein was won, resulting in the retreat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps and eventually the surrender of 250,000 German and Italian troops in North Africa.

By November the Government was calling on all “patriots” to give up disused articles of copper, pewter, zinc, lead, brass, bronze, aluminium to make munitions. Collection points were arranged and the people started clearing out their unwanted ferrous metal. The children of Russell Street, Hamilton helped, by having a door to door collection for scrap. Every piece of scrap paper was also collected and recycled.

All over Lanarkshire, people organised back door concerts, whist drives and other forms of entertainment to collect money for the war effort. Prisoners of war were not forgotten. Weekly lists appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser naming contributors to the Red Cross Prisoner of War Fund for food parcels and clothing.

Many local men were decorated for outstanding bravery and among them was Second Officer John Inglis of Burnbank who was awarded the George Medal in December 1942 for his courage when his ship was attacked by enemy aircraft.

1943 saw a turning point in the war and the country was now on the offensive instead of the defensive and winning major victories.

Sunday 26th October was designated “Battle of Britain” day and ceremonial parades and thanksgiving services were held all over the county. The same week saw the repatriation of 790 prisoners of war and civilian internees. Among the men repatriated were James Steel and Matthew McDonald from Burnbank and George Hall, Graham Avenue Eddlewood. Welcome home parties were held for all three men.

In February 1944 there was great excitement in Burnbank when Mrs Lily McGauchie proprietrix of a newsagents shop telephoned the police about a suspicious customer. It was just as well she did; he turned out to be an escaped German prisoner of war.

Among the mighty armada crossing the channel on D-Day June 6th were many of Lanarkshire’s sons. The Death on Active Service columns in the Hamilton Advertiser told of the high price of freedom being paid by local families. Among the dead were Earnock man Brian Cameron and Arthur Russell from Blantyre.

September saw the lights go on again after blackout restrictions were relaxed. This delighted the local children, many of whom had never seen the streets lights on.

In December the Home Guard held a “Stand Down” parade in Hamilton, three months later on May 7th 1945 the war in Europe ended and Hamilton celebrated with flags of all shapes and sizes flying from buildings and windows. Banners were thrown across streets, fairy lights were connected up and by nightfall the town was a mass of colour. Thousands of people danced in the streets and fires were lit on the top of Earnock and Neilsland bings.


At Larkhall there was cheering and singing around a bonfire at the “Old Cross,” after the official announcement that the war in Europe was over. Music was provided by Larkhall Home Guard Pipe Band and reels were danced at Charing Cross. In Blantyre the celebrations lasted three days, with bonfires, music and dancing.

The war with Japan continued for three months after V.E. Day but at midnight on August 15th, Larkhall folk were wakened by the sound of Trinity Church bells ringing out the news that the war with Japan was over. The bells were soon joined by hooters and sirens all loudly announcing the welcome news. By half past twelve bonfires were blazing all over town and spontaneous street parties were being held in Hamilton Road, Hareleeshill, Old Cross, Raploch Cross and Strutherhill.

Thirty minutes after the midnight announcement of the Japanese surrender, victory fires were lit all over Hamilton. The Old Cross was thronged with delighted citizens who danced eightsome reels to the music of pipers. Eventually most of the crowd made their way to the Council’s open air dance floor and danced the night away to the music of Tommy McLaren’s dance band.

In Blantyre’s Morris Crescent, there was a fireworks display using fireworks formerly employed in A.R.P. exercises. In High Blantyre, an effigy of the Japanese Emperor was burnt on one of the celebration bonfires after it was paraded throughout the village by children shouting “we want Togo” and all over the village, street parties were held to celebrate the end of the war.
Ⓒ Wilma S. Bolton. 2018.


A pencil of light hovered over the sky,
The moonlight revealed each passer-by,
Slowly the beam travelled westward, then
Clear-cut as crystal, compelling as youth,
Between two tall houses, then over the
Roaming the skies with a careless ease,
Touching as lightly as the wind on the
Who would have thought it was searching
for death!

Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 27/4/1940. Page 4.

We are looking for your old Pictures!

Hardy Family..PNG

HI Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garry McCallum.


Harry Paton Evans.


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

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

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

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

Hamilton folk.

Linda McFarlane

Linda McFarlane sent us one of her family pictures. Linda told us:

“Ma wee story behind this photo!

A few months ago my cousin was back over here on holiday from Australia so we went to visit our auntie and a few of our cousins so naturally the old photos came out and I was so thrilled when this one appeared as I myself am now in my sixties and this was the very FIRST photo I have ever seen of my dad as a child
Left to right My Auntie Ann Martin,
My Granny Mary Kerr Martin,
& My Dad Malcolm Kerr Martin from Fairhill.”

Thank you Linda, your picture is now in our Hamilton Folk album.

Do you have a family photo that you would like to share? Please feel free to send them to us at Historic Hamilton.



1888 Map of Cornhills Farm..PNG

The surrounding areas of Quarter today, are as they were a hundred years ago, with many little farms doted around the green fields of the southern end of Hamilton. Cornhill Farm is an old Hamilton farm which has been standing on the same spot since before 1855.

Connected to this farm, was an old right of way path which would have been used by people wishing to walk from Quarter through to the western side of Hamilton at Meikle Earnock, Torheads and further afield. The old right of way would have been used by miners walking to and from their place of work and travellers wanting to walk back from this side of the parish in Eddlewood, Annsfield & Quarter.

This old right of way was eventually closed off to the public and on Friday the fifteenth of December 1899, an unnamed angry rambler wrote to the Editor of the Hamilton Herald Newspaper (now the Hamilton Advertiser) to voice his concerns of his favourite walkway being closed.

An old Right of way - Hamilton Herald.

The anonymous reader wrote:
“Sir, – Through the columns of your valuable paper allow me to call public attention to the closing of an old right of way, which has been used as a public road for upwards of 70 years. This old road branches off at what is known as the Strathaven railway bridge, through part of Mackie’s farm and on to Cornhill farm, making a nice “short cut” to Hamilton water works. Now, it’s a great pity that we should lose a nice country walk, to be shut out and compelled to walk on a dusty toll road toll-road on a nice summer’s day. Does any of our parish councillors know of this? If so, why is it allowed? I hope that our councillors will see to this and have it re-opened unless there is a reason for having it closed. I fail to see whatsoever. I am yours etc. – RIGHT OF WAY, 1899.”

Cornhill farm in its early years was owned by the Duke of Hamilton. In 1855 James Hepburn was the farmer who was leasing the steading and he was paying an annual sum of £110, which in 1855 was a large amount, in fact today in today’s money he would have been paying an annual rent of £11,748.23 or £979 per month.

Also attached to this farm was a little house, or building called ‘Neuk’, this little building was situated away from the farm and was built on the bottom of the farmers field and sat high up above the crags of the Cadzow Burn. Perhaps, this was a farm laborer’s house, or cattle shed for winter, it is unknown.

I have recently been on the site of this old Neuk and there are still old sandstone blocks lying scattered on the ground. When this was demolished, the stone was clearly not taken for the stone to be reused. Next to this site is a stone structure built into the Craggs of the Cadzow burn, so there may have been at one point an old bridge crossing the burn. The Cadzow Burn during heavy rainfall flows fast and this part of the burn can be really dangerous, perhaps in old days, this may have been an old Toll bridge? Was the house a Toll house that once connected to the old right of way?


This old right of way may have been at one time a recognised as a byroad, or path used by travellers not wanting to venture into Hamilton, or by travellers not wanting to be seen by anyone in the busy town. If you look closely at the old 1888 map of Hamilton, you will see that next to the Neuk, there is a path crossing the Cadzow Burn. This path is further upstream than the stone structure that his built in to the Craggs.

On Tuesday the 10th of September 1907, three miners were charged at Hamilton Sheriff Court with poaching on the farmland. Alexander Hamilton, John Hughes & Joseph Salisbury were caught on the 28th of August 1906 shooting on the farm. They were found guilty and each had the choice of paying 17s each or the alternative of ten days imprisonment.

Not much has been written about this farm over the years, not even with thefts, or poachers there doesn’t seem to be much that went on. This is certainly a good thing for the farmers who have occupied or owned this steading, but one thing that I am happy with is that the farm has been a working farm from when it was built and still to this day.

Former right of way. WM.PNG

Today Sunday the 18th of August 19, I took a drive over to the old right of way and then visited Cornhill farm. I knocked on the door and I spoke to the owner Jim Waddell, whose family have been living in the farm for close to 100 years. Jim told me that as a boy he can remember the old well and remembers another one further up. He also told me that there was a bridge crossing the Cadzow Burn but it was before his time. I chatted with Jim and his wife at the farm for around 30 minutes and he told me that that the farmers at Whitecraigs used to come across the burn to the well to fetch their water. This was where they all got their water as it was the only source back in the old days. Jim then told me that the farm helpers and ploughmen used to get oats and a can of water from the well and they used to cook this for their lunch.

Top of Hill WM..PNG

Old Right of way road on Farm Hill. WM18-08-19.PNG

So, I could have spoken to Mr Waddell all day and I was curious about the previous owners of the farm, so I decided to go over old records to see what I could find. I looked back as close as I could to try to trace this farming family. In 1940 I found that a James. A. Waddell was the owner of the farm, however, his address as Drumfin, 6 Whinfield Avenue in Prestwick and the Tenant was Thomas A. T. Waddell. I went back a little further and then found that Thomas was leasing the farm from James from between 1930 to 1940. In 1925 James was the owner and occupier of the farm. From 1925 to 1940 the also had its own plantation attached to it and there was a rent being paid for it.

When I looked back to the 1925 valuation roll, I found that James and Thomas were listed as joint owners of the farm and interestingly, they also had the rights to the site of a club house belonging to the curling pond. It seems that there were a few curling ponds on the south side of Hamilton, where in this area about two miles further west, Sir John Watson also had a curling pond at the Tallyho on Torheads lake. Curling at the wintertime seems to have been a popular pastime for many an old Hamiltonian.

The farm was purchased from the Duke of Hamilton between 1920 and 1925, during this period the Duke was packing up the palace and leaving Hamilton to move out to Strathaven and this is when he started to sell off most of his lands.

When the Duke still owned Cornhill farm, he had tenant farmers who worked his land. In 1915 I find that the tenant farmer was called Robert Frame and this man was the farmer on Cornhill from at around 1864 to 1890. Robert Frame was born in Hamilton c1814 and he married Lillias Rae Reid in 1841. Robert died at Cornhill farm on the 15th of June 1890 and his son Robert took over the running of the farm. So, like the Waddell family, the Frame’s were long time farmers of Cornhill.

Old PenWM

The next record that I found was in 1854, where the sitting tenant of the time was a man named James Hepburn. This man farmed on Cornhill form at least 1854 to around 1861. The very first farmer that I could trace was a man named James Pollock and in 1841 he was working on the farm.

Today, i wanted to learn a bit more about the old right of way path which was closed to the public many years ago and when looking in to this, I now want to know more about Cornhill Farm and its tenants.

More to follow on the history of Cornhill Farm.



Gibson Family Tree.

Peter Gibson, or better known to us as Freddie Kruger (Facebook Name) Asked if I could look into his family history. Peter here’s what I found.

To start, if you are getting confused as to who I am referring to, then please have a look at your family tree above to use as a guideline. Your ancestors were scattered from around mostly Lanarkshire and you only have one family line which has been in Hamilton for a good few generations, however, I will come back to this as the story unfolds.

I firstly started with your direct bloodline and researched the Gibson side of your family. Your father Edward was born in Hamilton on the 13th of November 1942 to parents James & Mary Ann Gallagher.

Your Grandfather James was born at 8:00 pm at 78 Windsor Street in Burnbank, a street that no longer exists and he married your Grandmother Mary Ann on the 6th of June 1941. They married at the Burnbank parish Church. At their wedding the best man was Walter McGowan (Possibly a relation to the Boxer) of 28 Sempie Street and Mary H Anderson of 12 Bryan Street. James worked as a Colliery Labourer and later a general labourer and he seemed to be a labourer most of his working days. When he married, he was living at 26 Milton Street. Your grandparents later moved to 48 Shawburn Street. Your grandfather had two brothers and two sisters; Isabella, Peter, Jeanie & John. Your grandfather died in Hamilton in 1975, he was 58 years old. I will come back to your Grandmother once I tell you about your Gibson side of the family.

Andrew Gibson Birth WM.PNG

Your Great grandparents were called Andrew Gibson and Isabella Matthews. Andrew was born on the seventh of September 1887. He was also born at Windsor Street (Number 8). He continued to live at Windsor Street until at least 1911. He married your great grandmother Isabella on the 29th of November 1907. They also married at 20 Windsor Street; this is where Isabella lived. When they married. James & Helen Gibson were the witnesses. Your Great Grandfather worked all his days as a coal hewer. Andrew died at 8:15 pm, on the 21st of July 1966 at Stonehouse Hospital. The cause of death was generalised arteric sclerosis. His son Cunningham Gibson was the person who registered the death.

Andrew Gibson death 1966.jpg

In your Gibson family line, your great grandfather was the first person to be born in Hamilton. When I looked at your 2-x great grandparents I found that they were a family of coal miners from Ayrshire. Your 2 x great grandparents were called Peter Gibson & Janet (Also Known as Jean) Hutchison. Peter was born c1838 at Kilwinning in Ayrshire. Jean, or Jane as she was known was born in Galston c1855.

They married on the 28th of July 1871 in Jane’s hometown of Galston. They were both like many in this period of time illiterate and they signed their names with an X mark. Peter was thirteen years older than Jean when they married. They moved to Hamilton at some point between 1871 & 1887 and would have come here to work in one of the many coal mines which were being sunk around this time.

Your 2-x great Grandfather Peter died on the 4th of October 1895 at 10:20am. He sadly died at the Hamilton Poorhouse. His cause of death was Typhoid Fever. Your great uncle William Gibson was the person who registered his death. When your 2 x great grandfather died, the family lived at 82 Windsor Street. If you are asking why he died at the Poor House, then it doesn’t mean that it was because he was homeless or an inmate there. These were days before the NHS and if a family couldn’t afford to pay expensive doctors’ fees, then they would have been admitted at the poorhouse hospital and usually this was a last resort for a family to admit one of their own.

Going back another generation, your 3-X Great grandparents were also from the Kilwinning area and their names were William Gibson & Helen Barbour. Peter when I research families, I usually just go as far as Hamilton, and as we are straying quite far out, this is where I stopped my research on your Gibson line. I have however managed to trace 205 years of your Gibson family line and I hope that this gives you some answers on your family line rather than more questions.

Andrew Gibson and Isabella MarriageWM

So, moving back to your great grandmother she was called Isabella Matthews. Isabella was born in Edinburgh c1888 and she was the daughter of Johnathan Matthews & Isabella Agnews? (I have put a question mark against this maiden name as I am unsure if this is correct and it could be Agnew.)

The family did not live in Edinburgh for long and this was due to the job that your 2-X great grandfather did. He was a Blacksmith Journeyman and would have travelled to where the work was and having no fixed smithy, he wasn’t tied down to one place. So, your grandmother Isabella was born in Edinburgh in 1888 and I next find a record of her living with her parents in Glasgow, where in 1891 the family are living in 63 Commercial Road, this was in the Hutchesontown district of Glasgow, or better known as the Gorbals. The family next appear in the 1901 census where they are living at 122 Naeburn Street, still in the Gorbals area. Your 2-X great grandparents were English, Johnathan born c1863 & Isabella c1862. The trail does go cold here for your 2 x great grandparents and I could not trace them any further on the English Censuses and I am unable to tell you what became of them.

James Gibson and Mary AnnWM.PNG

So, I’m now going to backtrack a bit and go back to your grandmothers’ side of the family. Your grandmother was called Mary Ann Gallagher and she was born around 1905. When she married your grandfather, she was living at Burnbank. Her parents and your great grandparents were called Edward Gallagher & Sarah Ann O’Brien McGuigan. Now, with these surnames, I bet that you can guess where this family originated from? I will get to that in a second.

Edward Gallagher, or Ned as he was known was a laborer who lived in Hamilton. Now, he is a bit of a mystery as I can’t find anything on him before he was married. Perhaps, the family moved from Ireland after 1911? (1911 is when I could really trace him on a census).

Edward married Sarah Ann on the 1st of April 1921, and they married at St. Joseph’s Chapel in Blantyre. The witnesses were called Bernard Bonnar & Mary Flannagan. Now, I must let you know here, that we have a family connection through this marriage! Sarah Anne O’Brein McGuigan was the sister in law of my 2nd Great Grand Aunt. My Second Great Aunt was called Margaret McNamee, who married John McGuigan. Also, Bernard Bonnar & Mary Flannagan, who were the witnesses of your grandparents wedding are both in my family tree.

It was here that I got sidetracked with my own family tree, as I had not researched this section in my family since 2013. So, I uncovered more information on my own family tree and had spent some time working on this. Peter, I have always said that everyone in Hamilton, who’s parents were brought up in Hamilton are connected to each other in one way or another. I will be adding your family tree on to mine in due course and when I work it out, I will tell you exactly what our family connection is.

So, Back to Edward & Sarah Ann. When they married Edward lived in 43 Church Street in Hamilton and Sarah Ann lived at 4 Ross Row in Blantyre (Cross Row was part of the Tenements at the Blantyre Works – demolished in 1930). Both sides of this family were all coal miners and even Sarah Ann worked at the local colliery as a Pithead Worker.

Edwards parents who were your 2x great grandparents were called Robert Gallagher & Margaret Hamilton and Robert was born on the 25th of November 1868 at 23 Muir Street. Roberts father was an educated man, as he actually signed for his son’s birth, rather than marking the paper with an X mark. The surname on various documents which I found started off as Gallagher and then as I researched further back it becomes Gallacher, but for the purpose of this story, I will keep it spelled as Gallagher.

In 1871 your 2 x great grandparents were living at 8 Castle Wynd in and then in 1891 I found that they had moved to the better area of Barrack Street. Your 3 x Great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Susan Ginn. William was born c1845 at Bellshill & Susan was a Hamilton girl and was born in c1845.

William Gallagher Death 1878

Your 3-x great grandfather William died at the age of 46 at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, your 2 X Great Grandfather Edward was the person who registered his death. When he died his residence was 34 Leechlee Street. William and Susan had at least seven children.

I managed to go back another two generations on this side of your family and your 4x great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Maria Kelly, both born in Ireland at the turn of the century. William died in Hamilton 25th of November 1885. Your 5 x Great grandparents were called William Gallagher & Susan McCue and I never found any evidence of them coming to Hamilton, so I would assume that they had never moved from Ireland.

Your 3x Great Grandmother’s was called Susan Ginn and she was born in Hamilton c1836 and side of the family were also all from Hamilton. Susan Married William Gallagher on the 7th of August 1853, also in Hamilton. In 1841 the family were living at New Wynd. Susan’s dad was working as a Laborer. She was one of 4 children in the family. If you look at your tree, you will find that William Ginn married Catherine Nugent and from this branch of your family, it also originates from Ireland, so again your 4 x great grandparents were Irish.

Mary Ann Flanagan WM.PNGMoving on to the next section of your family, your great grandmother as I mentioned above was called Sarah Ann O’Brein McGuigan and she was born on the 15th of January 1900 at Duncan’s Buildings in Burnbank.

Sara Ann was the daughter of Charles McGuigan & Mary Ann Flanagan and here I am happy to say that I have a picture of your 2nd Great Grandmother. (Please see Below) Doesn’t she look like a happy wee soul? Do you see a family resemblance in this picture? Let me know.

As I mentioned, Mary Ann Flanagan is also where my family connection lies. Mary Ann was born on the 27th of March 1865 to parents Owen Flanagan & Ann Milligan. Your 3rd great grandfather Owen was also a Blacksmith, and again lived in Ireland.

She married your 2-x great grandfather Charles McGuigan on the 16th of May 1887 at Baillieston.
After I found their marriage cert, I couldn’t trace them again until 1901, where I found them living at Greenside Place in Blantyre.

Margaret Gibson Burial record.

Mary Ann eventually died at Hartwood Hospital in Shotts on the 23rd of January 1935. The cause of death was Influenza and the person who registered her death was one of the Clerks. It is really sad for people with mental disabilities back then. There was no real medication and when their families eventually could not cope, then they were admitted to the Asylum. In most cases once this happened, they also lost contact with their family.

On your Mum’s side of the family we have your grandparents who as you will know were called Thomas McFarlane & Marion Martin Boyle and they married on the 31st of December 1938 at St. Cuthbert’s chapel in Burnbank. I also must say Peter that you have real strong roots in Burnbank, where most of your direct ancestors were born, lived and worked here.

Edward Gibson death 1988

When your grandparents married Thomas was living at 69 Mayfield Road and Marion at 54 Udston Place. Your grandfather was working as a General Labourer and your grandmother was like many young girls of the time working as a Domestic Servant. The best man & woman was John McNulty of 25 May Street & your great aunty Jeanie Doyle of 54 Udston Place.

Your great grandfather on the McFarlane side was called Patrick McFarlane and he was a coal miner and then in his latter years a night watchman. Patrick was born on the 3rd of February 1877 at Springburn and your great grandmother was called Margaret McGeeghan and she was born c 1885 at Cambusnethan.

Mary Ann Gallagher Death.

Your 2 x great grandparents were called John McFarlane & Sarah McCluskey, John born in Ireland & Sarah born in Paisley. They married in 1874 at Paisley.

On your Great grandmothers’ side (Margaret McGeeghan) her parents were called Thomas McGeeghan & Abbie Owens. Thomas was from Airdrie & Annie from Old Monklands (Now Coatbridge). Your second great grandmother Annie died at Burnbank in 1914.

On the Doyle side of your family and your 2 x great grandparents, they were called John Doyle & Agnes Durham. They married at Cambusnethan in 1872 and also a family of coal miners.

In your last family line which I researched, if found that your great grandmother was called Margaret Higgins. She was the daughter of Martin Higgins & Helen Moran. She married your Great grandfather Thomas on the 6th of June 1902 at St. Joseph’s in Blantyre. The witnesses were called James Gourley & Agnes Doyle.

1911 Cenus Burnbank..jpg

She died on the 10th of April 1959 at her house in 37 Douglas Crescent in Eddlewood. Your 2 x great grandparents were called Martin Higgins & Helen Moran. They were originally from Holytown and were also a coal mining family.
Peter, your family like most families in Hamilton and who have at least one or two generations which have been living in the town all mostly had the same occupation and then can be traced back to the same country.

During the mid-eighteen hundred’s, through to the early nineteen hundreds, people from Ireland flocked to Hamilton to gain employment in one of the many coal mines which were being sunk all over the place. As so many people were looking for work sadly, they were exploited and were paid a pittance for their had days toil.

The coal miners of Hamilton had very harsh lives and some were not even so lucky as to have been paid any money at all, as they were trapped in a vicious circle of getting credit form the local colliery owned shop which in turn they had to get their food on credit and then on pay day, pay their wage back the shop.

Peter, when you start to research a family tree, it can be very addictive and when your start you get the passion for it and as in my case, I have been researching for over ten years, it becomes a really great hobby.

You have so much more to uncover in your family history and even though what I have written is nine pages long, I must tell you that I have only just started to lay out the groundwork for you. Like I tell all the people who I do research for, I would ask that you, take a bit of time and take up the hobby of family research. It can be quite addictive.




Our website.

We have transferred our website over to a new host and this is to make searching more user friendly for everyone. This way our visitors can go to one place instead of two; to find what you are looking for.

The new host is a bit more complex to work and as the weeks and months go on, i will be updating the new website as i learn how to use it.

Unfortunately, our old guest book has been lost during the migration, so can i please ask you all to take a minute or two stop by our new website and leave a comment.

Thanks in advance.

To find us simply just type in www.Historic-Hamilton.co.uk


Martin Family Tree.

A friend of the family Janis Martin was talking to my mum and she said that she would like to know more about her family history. Janis told me that her grandfather was born in Germany and that on another side of the family were a family of butchers in Hamilton.

Janis here’s what I found.
I started with your grandfather who was called Frederick Crahner and as you already knew he was German. I found that he was born on the 14th of August 1878 at Württemberg. He was born to parents John Frederick Crahner who was an Inn Keeper & Barbara Pfannkuck. I found little on your Great grandparents and it is unclear if they came to Scotland along with your grandfather.

Your grandfather did however move to Scotland along with his brother John Frederick Crahner and they moved at some point before 1893. It is possible that your great grand parents moved to Scotland as the brothers were quite young, but as I stated I found no records or documents of them being here in Scotland or the UK.

Petty Theft.

Frederick was a hard-working man he had many jobs throughout his lifetime and the first job that I found him doing was working as a labourer. He was 16 years of age and on Monday the 21st of January if found an article in the Greenock Telegraph & Clyde shipping Gazette, where he plead guilty at the Greenock police court of stealing a jacket from the property of a man named Hammond. He was given the choice of either 5s or three days in Jail. It is unclear as to what option he had taken.

The next record which I find on Frederick is when he was 22 years old and he got struck on the face by his angry employer. This was also reported in the Greenock Telegraph. At the time he was working as a van man steering a horse and cart. I will come back to Frederick after I tell you about your grandmothers’ side of the family.

I have to tell you that his brother John Crahner was not a law-abiding citizen. I found many newspaper accounts of him being at court. Some of his crimes which he committed were forfeiting a breach of the peace fine in May 1893 and he went to jail for three days and another charge that he had was in March 1915 where he did time in jail for battering his wife.

Your grandfather met your grandmother at Greenock and her name was Janet McLachlan Orr and she worked as a shop assistant. Janet was born around 1887 at Dumbarton. They married on the 2nd of August 1912. The wedding took place at the United Free Church and the witnesses were James Orr & Jeanie Bell. I found it strange that Frederick did not ask his brother john to be his best man! Perhaps there had been a fall out with the two brothers?

Your great grandparents on your grandmothers’ side were called John Orr & Agnes McLachlan. John was born in Ireland around the year 1840 and his parents who were your 2 x great grandparents were called John Orr, who worked as a farm labourer & Mary Dempsey. The trail goes cold for this side of your Orr family and I believe that they did not move to Scotland with your great grandfather.

Your great grandmother Agnes was born at Leith in Edinburgh around the year 1846. Your great grandfather John had at least three different jobs which included a boatyard labourer, Riveter & Boiler Maker. In 1861 when he was working as a boat yard labourer, he was living at Port Glasgow and lodging at Black Bulls Close with a lady called Martha Hamilton.

He met your great grandmother Agnes McLachlan at Port- Glasgow and they married on the 2nd of January 1865 in the same town. They continued to live at Port Glasgow until 1880 where they then moved across the water to Dumbarton. They lived at 144 High Street in Dumbarton and lived at the same address until about 1901. Between them they had Six sons & Four Daughters including your grandmother Janet.


I did manage to find a picture of one of your great aunts, who was called Elizabeth Orr and she was your grandmothers’ sister. This lady married a man named Walter McDonald and this side of your family later moved to Shettleston.

Your great grandfather John Orr died on the 2nd of March 1906 at 11 Meadowbank Street in Dumbarton. He was 66 years old and the cause of death was a haemorrhage.
Your great grandmother Agnes McLachlan died at the same address seven years later on the 6th of August 1913. Her cause of death was liver cancer.

Going back another generation on your great grandmother Agnes’s side, her parents were called Michael McLaughlin & Margaret Snipe. These were your 2 x great grandparents of the McLachlan family. They were a family of Sail weavers and this is why I believe that your great grandmother was born at Leith, your 2 x great grandfather would have been working at the docks mending sails and he would have went where the work was, hence he moved from the west coast to the east coast and back again.

Michael McLachlan was also born in Ireland c1801 and again this line of the family shows that you have strong Irish roots, most people in Hamilton can trace their roots back to Ireland, my family included. Michael lived at Leith from 1841 where I found him living with his wife at James lane and he moved the family from Leith to Port Glasgow between 1846 & 1847.

In 1861 I found him living at Princes street in Port Glasgow.
Michael died at is home in 13 Princes Street Port Glasgow on the 5th of March 1873. He died at 6:50pm and he was 72 years old and the cause of his death was bronchitis. His son James was the person who registered his death. I have no other information on this part of your family and the reason for this is because your 2nd great uncle James did not have any information on who his Irish grandparents were. The only info which I have on Michael’s parents is that his father was also a sail maker.

Margaret Snipe Birth.

Your 2x great grandmother Margaret Snipe was born on the 22nd of March 1801 at Port Glasgow. Her parents were called William Snipe & Mary Muir. She had five other siblings. Other than this fact I couldn’t really find much on her. Her death is also a bit of a mystery and for now I can’t give you an answer on where or when she died and all that I can tell you is that she died before her husband Michael in 1873.

Margaret Snipes parents who were your 3 x great grandparents were married on the 19th of April 1900 also at Port Glasgow. Their names were William Snipe & Mary Muir. William was born around 1783 at Port Glasgow & Mary Muir was born around 1776 at Inchinnan.

I did manage to go back another generation to your 4 x great grandparents on Mary Muir side. They were called Matthew Muir & Janet Orr! And yes, this means that you have two sets of Orr in your bloodline. Are you confused yet?

So, I said that I would go back to Frederick Crahner!
So, as I explained to you, he married your grandmother Janet in 1912 at Greenock. In 1915 I found him on the valuation roll of that year and it is around this time that he changes his German name from Crahner to the more British version of ‘Crainer’. It is this name that has passed down to you before you married Jim.

As you will know, WW1 broke out on the 28th July 1914 and everybody was suspicious of a German person living in the UK. Your grandfather moved to Scotland at a very young age and it would be doubtful if he even still had a German accent, however, to avoid conflict people did change their name and after all, your grandfather probably did not even feel that he was in anyway a German citizen.

Your aunty Agnes when she was born was registered as Agnes Crahner and she was born in 1913 at Greenock and between this year & 1919, your grandparents leave their life at Greenock and they move to Dalserf.

Dalserf would have been a little Eden compared to Greenock with its picturesque houses and rich landscape next to the Clyde, it would have been the perfect location to raise a family. The reason as to why Frederick moved so far from Greenock is unknown! I do have a feeling that it could have been to do with his brother. When you research people, you read through documents and certificates and sometimes this paints a story in your mind and I just get the feeling that Frederick & John never saw eye to eye. However, this is just my opinion and as there is no actual evidence of this, then we will never know the true facts.

15 Market Street Rear 1935.

In this picture is 15 Market Street and it was taken in 1935. 15 Market Street is where your great uncle John Frederick Crahner lived when he married his wife. Its not very often that you uncover a picture like this, but your grandfather would have known about this house and perhaps visited it. One note that I also have is that your grandfather was also not the best man at his brothers wedding, which again leaves me to think that the two brothers didn’t get on?

I said that Frederick’s reason for moving to Dalserf could have been something to do with his brother! His brother John Crahner lived for a brief period in Motherwell. I found John Crahner and his wife lodging with the Burt family. They lived at Grieves Land on Argyle Street (An old street now demolished) and John was working as a butcher.

On the 13th of December 1919 your dad John Orr Crainer is born at Dalserf. Your grandparents are living at 11 Greens buildings and your grandfather is working as a coal miner. Between 1920 & 1930 your grandparents move to Hamilton and they are living at 1 Arthur Street. He lives at Arthur Street to at least 1939 and it is in this year that I find Frederick’s enemy alien exemption form. Even though Frederick had lived in Scotland he was still vetted by the government to prove that he wasn’t a spy for the Germans.

Alien Form..png

Hamilton was now home for your grandparents and they continued to live in the town for the rest of their years. They later move to 5 Bothwell Street and Your grandmother Janet Orr dies on the 17th of February 1959 at Hairmyres hospital. She died at 09:10 am and the cause of death was Bronchitis & Pneumonia. Your grandfather registered her death.

Oakbank Hospital.

Your granddad fell on hard times after the death of your grandmother. Grief-stricken, he seems to get lost in his ways and eventually his is living at the Model on 7 Birdsfield Street. The model as most people will know was a bed for a night that helped homeless men.

Your grandfather becomes ill and is sent to Stonehouse hospital where he dies aged 89. The cause of death was cardiac failure & deep vein thrombosis. Your father registered his death.

Janis, you had an older sister which I believe you knew about? Your older sister was born at the Oakbank Hospital on Maryhill Road. The address for this was 63 Possil Road and it was situated at the Maryhill side.

Your sisters name was Mina Crainer and she was born premature on the 1st of February 1951. Sadly, she died 1 hour later. Your father registered her death. At the time when this happened, your parents were living at 13 Windsor Street in Glasgow.

Your mum Euphemia was born on 3rd of January 1928 and your grandparents were called John McTavish & Wilhelmina Spiers. Your grandfather was born c1892 and he was born in the miner’s rows at Greenfield. Where your house sits just now is on the same land as where the miner’s rows once stood! What a strange coincidence that you live there now!

Your grandparents were married on the 31st of December 1913 at the Manse in Bothwell. There best man & bridesmaid were called William McTavish (Your great uncle) & Ids Spiers (Your Great Aunt).

They both lived at Bothwellhaugh, which as you will know is the old mining village that Strathclyde country park now occupies. Your granddad at the time lived at 33 Brandon Place and your grandmother 11 Haugh Place.

Your Great Grandparents on the McTavish side were called Thomas McTavish & Euphemia Davidson. Thomas was born to parents John McTavish & Helen Smellie. He was born at Cambusnethan on the 2nd of April 1865. Thomas moved with his parents to Hamilton between 1865 & 1881 and his father gained employment at Greenfield Colliery, so you have two generations of your family who worked and lived where you currently are now. Your great grandfather and his father were coal miners.

Thomas McTavish left Scotland and he went to Virginia, USA where he died in 1969 at the ripe old age of 104. It is unclear if he ever returned to Scotland for a visit.

John McTavish & Helen Smellie..jpg

Janis, I found this picture (See below) and the people in the picture are your 2 x great grandparents John McTavish & Helen Smellie. I can see a resemblance to you in John. John was born on the 28th of December 1830 in Motherwell. He was a coal miner and later lived in Ann Street, Burnbank and then Greenfield. He died at 13 Greenfield Road and the cause of death was senile decay.

Your 3 x great grandparents on the McTavish side were called Tavish McTavish & Mary Margaret McNichol. Tavish was a Watchman & Gatekeeper (Possibly at the Palace?) Your 4 x Great Grandparents on the same family line were called Peter McTavish & Janet Menzies. This family line takes you back to the year 1786 as peter was born on the 1st of January of this year in Perth.

John McTavish Marriage certs..jpg

Your 3rd great grandparents on the Smellie side were a family of weavers from Hamilton. They lived at 9 New Wynd.
Janis for now this is just a quick draft of your family story. I hope that you have found this interesting and in due course I will add to it in more detail. Let me know if you have any questions. Garry,