Lost Streets of Hamilton – St. John’s Lane.

St. John's Lane 1890.

Rhona Johnstone got in contact with me and asked:
“Hi Garry, Hi, I am doing my family tree and my Gt Gt grandfather’s address on his marriage certificate is No 6 St John’s lane, Hamilton. Can you tell me where this is or was please? I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards Rhona”.

St. John's Lane & James Street.

Rhona, St. John’s Lane & James Street were two streets situated behind Duke Street. They were demolished after the 1940’s, although I can’t give you an exact year. St. John’s Lane consisted of tenements, workshops & garages.

The site of the Duke Street car park now occupies the space that St. John’s Lane once stood & Wyler Tower is where James Street was.
Good luck with your family research and remember to let me know if you uncover a forgotten family story.

Can i also ask the name of your family that you are researching and i will see if i can uncover anything for you?

Garry,

EARNOCK LODGE

EARNOCK LODGE.

1895 Map of the Lodge.

There is an old sandstone house in the street called Jura Gardens and this old house was at one point the only house on this stretch of land, it’s closest neighbour was Earnock Mansion House and before it was given a number or became part of a street at Jura Gardens, it was simply only known as Earnock Lodge.

It was the gatehouse to the Earnock Estate and in its early years; its occupants lived and worked for the Watson family. I was asked by one of my readers on Historic Hamilton to see if I could look into the history of the Lodge for a Mrs Walker who asked if I could find out who lived here as she believed that when she was a little girl around the 1930’s she walked from her house up Wellhall Road to the Lodge to see her uncle George.

I started my research by trying to find out who the occupants were and the first family that I found were a family that went by the name of Bonomy. Now this name is not a name that I have heard of and certainly do not recall researching it.

Isabella Bonomy Testate.1

I found that the house has had a few deaths in it and on the 22nd of October 1900 Miss Isabella Bonomy died there. She was the local schoolteacher and she died of Chronic rheumatism, 7 years; valvular disease of the heart, 2 years; Reynaud’s Disease, 2 months; Cardiac dropsy, 1 year and the poor girl really must have had a hard time of it.

Isabella was the occupier of the Lodge from 1886 to her death in 1900. I also have to note that she was not paying any rent during this time, so perhaps she was being looked after by the Watson family. Her parents were called John Bonomy, who was an estate labourer on the Earnock estate and Christina Lindsay. Both were deceased before 1900.

When I looked a little further into this family, I soon found that her parents also died at Earnock Lodge. Her father in 1886 and her mother on the 1895.

John Bonamy

While researching the Bonomy family I got a bit sidetracked and found a relation to Isabella. John Bonomy who was Isabella’s Nephew was born in Strathaven. In his younger years he was a footballer for Hamilton Academical, who went on to work for the Lanarkshire steelworks in Motherwell, where he worked as a cashier there for fifty years.
He was well thought of by all that he worked with. He died on the 14th of May 1947 at 26 Adele Street in Motherwell. At the time of his death he actually lived a few streets away at 36 George Street.

So, before Isabella had occupied Earnock Lodge her father had previously been the resident. He lived at the house between c1876-1886 and he also was not paying rent but, in these circumstances, as he was the Gardner & labourer for the Earnock Estate, the house would most probably have come with his job. Before he lived permanently at the lodge, he was living down the road at Almada Street. So, John’s death was the second one that I found to have happened at Earnock Lodge. John died on the 14th of December 1886 and his cause of death was heart disease.

John Bonomy Death2

I found no early evidence of the Lodge being in existence before 1875, so it was possibly constructed after this time and if this is correct, then John Bonomy was the very first occupier of the house.

Unrelated to the occupants of the lodge, there was a death that occurred just outside the Lodge, near Wellhall Road, where a lady called Mrs McGrattan was found dead in the street on the 2nd of December 1882. It was documented in a newspaper that she had died of exposure to the cold.

The second death to take place at the house was John’s wife Christina and she died here on the 4th of April 1895.

From 1900 the next person that I found to be living at Earnock Lodge was a man named John Mair and this man’s occupation was a Carter on the estate and once more the house comes with the job and he does not pay any rent. John Mair lived at the lodge with his wife and they lived here from 1900 through to the demolition of Earnock house in 1926.

On Saturday the 6th of June 1907, an accident happened where Mrs Mair and her daughter Mrs Allardyce were walking down Wellhall Road towards Peacock Cross when they were knocked down by a horse and van. Mrs Mair was injured the worst with a cut face and internal bruising and her daughter was in shock. They were carried back to Earnock Lodge to recover.

Why the lodge was not demolished in 1926 is unknown to me, but most likely it was bought and took into private ownership. When the Earnock estate was demolished it left John Mair with no job and no home! When I looked to see what had happened to John, I found that he gained new employment just down the road at Hillhouse Farm, where he got a job working as a shepherd.

Jane Mair died on the 10th of December 1928 at Hillhouse Farm and John died of bowel cancer on the 7th of December 1935 also at Hillhouse Farm, their granddaughter Marjorie Allardyce was the person who registered both deaths.

Today, on the 21st of June 2020 I spoke to Mrs Walker and I was pleased to tell her that her uncle George did live at the lodge. He was the first person to buy it and George also lived here. He bought the house around 1927 and he lived here until at least 1940. He may have lived at Earnock Lodge for many years; however, this is the latest date that I could traced him. George Neilson died at Hamilton in 1975.

Earnock Lodge still stands on the same spot to this day and I am unsure who the current owners are. Perhaps if they are reading this then they can tell me who owned the house from 1940.

Do you know anyone connected to the house? If you do, then please get in touch.

James (Jimmy) McKay 1900-1958

Jimmy McKay.1

Elaine McKay Millar sent us this picture of her granddad. Elaine told us:

“My granddad James (Jimmy) McKay was born in 1900 at 130 Glasgow Rd. Hamilton. At various times, his family also lived at No’s. 170 & 162. His parents both died at 68 Kenilworth Crescent.

I never knew him because he died in 1958 at age 57. He was the eldest of 5 boys and all his brothers also died young. As they were R.C. can anyone tell me which school they would have attended? Also, where could I find an image of Glasgow Rd in the early 1900’s? Thank you”.

 

 

Elaine, I am unsure how much of your family history that you know but your grandfather was born on the 28th of August 1900. Jimmy was the son of John McKay & Bridget McCay, who were both from Letterkenny, Donegal in Ireland.

Jimmy McKay.2

Your great grandparents came to Scotland between November 1899 & August 1900. When your great grandfather John moved to Hamilton he was working as a Railway Platelayer.

Jimmy McKay.3

I am unsure what school your grandfather would have attended; however, the closest schools were Glenlee primary & Greenfield secondary school. Even though he was a Roman Catholic, he may have attended these schools but i cant confirm this.

Jimmy McKay.4.jpg

The chapel that the family would most likely have attended would have been St. Cuthbert’s as this was the closest one in the area.

I do not have an exact picture of 130 Glasgow Road but do have one that was taken in 1900 a wee bit further down the street. The picture below was taken at the tenements of 90-98 Glasgow Road, which would have been a familiar site to your grandfather. These tenements are still standing to this day.

Jimmy McKay.5.jpg

I did also see that someone has researched your family and found a picture of your granddad in his younger years when he was in the army.

I hope that this sheds some light on to your question.

Garry,

Hamilton Volunteer Firefighters, WW2.

Hamilton Volounteer fire fighters-Gillian Brown.

Gillian Brown sent us this picture of the Hamilton Volunteer Firefighters taken during WW2. Gillian told us:

“This is a picture of my grandfather Frank Riddell, middle front row, as a volunteer firefighter during WWII.

Unfortunately I don’t know anything about the volunteer firefighters, but my grandfather had a sweetie shop, Riddell’s, on Townhead Street after the war which has been pictured before on your site”.

Do you recognise any of the men & women in this picture? If you do, then please get in touch.

PAT’S ICE CREAM VAN.

Pats icecream van picture from Billy Berekis

PAT’S ICE CREAM VAN.

In this picture we have L-R, Andy Anderson, Morris Anderson and Billy Berekis.

The man in the Ice Cream van is called Pat and from what i have heard is very well liked. David Cairns wrote on the Meikle Earnock Facebook page ” That he’d sometimes get oot the van and play Fitba with us and throw out a big bag of sweeties as he took off in the van. Just a good man”.

What are your memories of Pat’s Ice cream van?

THE EDDLEWOOD BOATING POND.

THE EDDLEWOOD BOATING POND.

Eddlewood Boating Pond from Billy Berekis on the Meikle Earnock pageWM.1.

Billy Berekis kindly shared these pictures of the Eddlewood boating pond and yes, that’s correct folks, Eddlewood did have one.

Eddlewood Boating Pond from Billy Berekis on the Meikle Earnock pageWM.

In the picture we have Billy Berekis himself along with his friend Steven Forrest. The pictures were taken in 1970 and the boating pond closed around 1973/4.

Do you have any pictures of the Eddlewood boating pond that you would like to share with us? If not, why not share your memories of it.

The Ranche holiday club 23rd July 1927.

The Ranch holiday club. WM. Picture courtesy of Cat Ann Burns.

One thing that I often find hard is for people to look out their old photographs to share on Historic Hamilton. There must be thousands of pictures all across the world tucked away in albums, drawers up the loft etc.

Cat Ann Burns has sent us this real snap shot in time and in the picture are Hamilton men who were the local clientele in 1927.

The lads must have been saving for this holiday for a long time as they took time to make a plaque and pose for this picture. They are all extremely well dressed in their suits and dressed to impress.

Do you have any old pictures that you can share with us? if you can, then please send your picture to the page or by email at: HistoricHamilton@icloud.com

Philips Factory.

 

As Philips Factory has now closed and soon there will be houses built on its land, we thought that we would share our pictures of the factory.

Harry Govers, who has been a long serving employee for many years has been kind enough to donate the old pictures of Philips Factory to Historic Hamilton which we will digitise and preserve for future generations to see.

The first batch of pictures that we have published shows some former employees of the once large factory which stretched across Wellhall Road.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the names of the people in the pictures, but perhaps you can help us put some names to faces?

I would like to thank Harry for kindly donating the Philips Factory pictures to Historic Hamilton and in the coming weeks, we will add the rest of Harry’s pictures to our website.

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.

Burnbank Blitz.WM

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.

William PennycookWM.

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.

“SEARCHLIGHT”

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

ALYSON LUNN.
Strathaven.
Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 27/4/1940. Page 4.