Lost houses of Hamilton.

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.

World War 2 1939-1945.

WORLD WAR 2 1939-1945
Written by Wilma Bolton.

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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.

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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.

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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.

We are looking for your old Pictures!

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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.

Quarry Street 1885.Above is a picture of Quarry Street taken around 1885. This picture is a real snap shot in time, the house on the left that is tucked behind the tenements is no longer there. Also the little cottages on the right are long gone. Notice the old gas lamp on the right.

Picture courtesy of Paul Veverka.

Chapel Street c1900

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Above, is a fantastic early picture of Chapel Street in Hamilton. in the picture are a group of men standing together having a bleather. To the right are some shops and what may be one of the two Public Houses, which were situated on each end of the street.

During the turn of the century, Chapel Street like Quarry Street was a busy street which had Public Houses, billiard rooms, work shops, grocer shops & bakery’s. It even had a brass foundry and not to mention the tenements where people lived.

It was finally demolished and the Gateway shopping centre was built and still stands today.

Picture courtesy of Wullie Blake.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Written by Garry McCallum
Historic Hamilton.