Hurrah for Historic Hamilton, and yir’ stories aboot oor histories’
I love the way ye dig them up, then solve awe them wee mysteries,
The story aboot the break in n’ the dissapearng chicken,
If ye could talk tae the wan that done it, he’d say it wis finger lickin”
Yir’ pages n’ posts are magic, aboot the people n’ awe the places,
It’s great the way ye suss them oot, n’ put names tae thir’ faces,,
For awe the great folk in Hamilton Blanti’r and Burnbank,
For all you’re hard work, you’re the one we’d like to thank,
The story aboot regent centre, n’ the wee man wae the monkey,
I sure remember tha wee guy, ye see noo am turnin’ a hamilton junkie,
I log on you’re page n’ when iv’e looked, that’s it completely hooked,,
Some of the stories people send are so far out you could write a book,
Whit’s this aboot the Polis’ pinchin paint worth very little money,
But the story wis he didnae git done,, is’nt that a wee bit funny,,
I realy love the stories aboot the real people, the auld fashioned folk,
I like the way you put them across, n’ sometimes wrap them with a joke,,
Yir’ always informitive, and always precice, some are nasty, but most are nice,,
So keep goin for awe us oldies, and new new followers yet to come,,
If the proofs in the pudding’. You’re page is the Plum””.
Bob Hepburn was a footballer from Eddlewood. His son John Hepburn tells Historic Hamilton a bit about his dad during his football & time in the Army. John wrote:
“Bob was his family name, but in the Eddlewood community where he was born in 1902, he was known as “Hep”. This nomenclature lasted through his lifetime. Bob attended Low Waters School, and then followed his father and brother into working in Neilsland pit.
He played his junior football with Dykehead Juniors. He then had a short spell with Third Lanark. He went back to playing Junior with Quarter Juniors, and then had the unique experience of signing for Ayr United on a slab of coal down the Neilsland pit.
I believe that was in 1922 and then he went on to play for Ayr for 15 years. He was capped for Scotland against Ireland in season 1931-32. His biggest disappointment was after being selected to play at Wembly was not able to play owing to injury.
Hep was rewarded by Ayr with a benefit match against Manchester United. It was in this game that the late great Frank Swift made his debut for Man United. Hep was very popular in the close knit Eddlewood community, and with a few more local worthies organised and performed in concerts in the community hall.
One of my fondest memories was being carried on his shoulders at the head of the pipe band, in the final Eddlewood gala. I believe Eddlewood missed his gregarious personality when after marital differences with my Mother, he moved to London.
My dad joined the Royal Air Force in ww2 and landed in France on D Day plus 4. He returned to London post war working in De Havilands factory. Dad died in London at age 74 and his ashes are interred Prestwick Cemetery.”
We would like to thank John’s daughter Carol Hepburn-Manseau for taking time to send us her pictures of her Grandad and for writing down her dads story. The photos provided are from a football coupon from a packet of cigarettes which featured Robert Hepburn.
It was reported in the Hamilton Advertiser on Saturday the 5th of July 1862 that, “Stolen on the afternoon of the Sabbath last, between two and four o clock pm from Chanting Grove, Union Street, two hen chickens of the golden Spaniel breed…..Whoever will give information of their whereabouts at the office of this paper, or at the Hamilton police-office will be handsomely rewarded.”
I myself can’t help but think, that those two Golden Spaniel Breed chickens would have made a delicious Sunday dinner for the persons family that stole them.
Mary Ellen Connolly was born on the 25th of December 1875 at James Street in Sligo Ireland, she was the daughter of Michael Connolly (A Baker) & Maria Carr.
Mary lived in Sligo with her parents, 5 brothers & 3 sisters and later moved to 9 Cranmore Street. She was married at the age of 25 to a local man called Patrick McAuley. They immigrated to Scotland in the summer of 1902 and moved to Motherwell where Patrick gained work at one of the local coal mines.
On the 29th of October Mary gave birth to twins Mary & Annie at Fairfield Place in Coursington Street, Motherwell, where they lived for a further 9 years before moving to Glasgow for a short period.
The family then moved to Hamilton where Patrick was working as a railway plate layer and lived at 28 Bailles Causeway. Sadly Mary’s husband Patrick became ill and died of Pneumonia on the 25th of April 1913. Mary gained employment as a laundry worker and moved to 8 Back-o-Barns where she would live the rest of her life.
Six years later, Mary met a widower called James Brunton who was a carter and originally from Peebles, he lived in Hope Street and they had a son in the year 1919 who they named James Brunton. Mary & James later married on Mary’s birthday on the 25th December 1934 at St. Mary’s RC Chapel.
Sadly James died on the 11th of April 1947 and Mary was once again a widower. Mary’s daughter, Mary continued to live in Hamilton and has an extensive family who are the McCallum’s, McNamee’s Poultons & Mitchells. Annie (Mary’s twin) later immigrated to Canada where she met a local man Amos Anderson and they raised a family with two daughters who they named Thelma & Olla. Sadly Thelma Died in 2008.
Olla who is married to Jim Stephens have their own family and still to this day, Olla keeps in touch with her Scottish cousins Janette McCallum,James Poulton & Anne-Marie & Mary Mitchell.
Mary continued to live at 8 Back-o-Barns for the next eight years until she sadly took an epileptic fit on the 18th of March 1951 and unfortunately when this happened she was standing at her fireplace and when she collapsed and her apron caught fire. She was taken to Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride where she died the next day of second degree burns.
Mary was survived by her three children and she was sadly missed by all.
The Higgins Brothers from Cadzow, Hamilton, were great characters who exemplified the courage and hardship of the time in and after the First World War. Miners and fighters all.
They lived in the Miners rows and also lived upstairs from the Ranche Bar, a famed miners pub in Eddlewood. There was 13 of them, including the children! Mary Higgins the mother, was Mary Murphy before she married and was a bleach-field worker in the Paisley mills. Her parents were Irish. Dominick Higgins, the father, came from an Irish family who moved into Hamilton probably at the time of the Irish famine.
They typify the families of the area, resilient, real characters, miners, and Irish. Mary Higgins, my grandmother, also worked at the pit-head and was every bit as tough (with a heart of gold). She moved to Hall Street and then to Arden Court before she died. She was a great character and lived until she was 93. Jim Higgins became British and Empire bantamweight champion in 1920 and won the Lonsdale belt outright in 1921 in a record time of under one year (the win and two defenses) which stood until the nineteen fifties when Peter Keenan missed the chance the to break it, but he didn’t do it, so it was never matched or broken.
It is said he was robbed of a lot of his winnings from his fights by his manager. It is said he sold his Lonsdale belt to an American sailor and is now in the states somewhere. It is unique, because it was the last belt won under the British and Empire Championship (before this was changed to just British). It is said the Higgins’s laid the foundation for boxing in Hamilton and one of the brothers maybe Jim or Terrance set up a boxing club there, where a Joe Gans, father of Walter McGowan learned from Jim Higgins. Jimmy died in his sixties after acting as a bouncer in a bookies shop in the Gallowgate in Glasgow.
Tommy (Mouse) Higgins, a younger brother was also a famed boxer from Cadzow in the 1930s winning many professional and national championships. He was called Mouse because he was under five foot and weighed in at seven stone six pounds. A flyweight, he fought Benny Lynch for the British championship and he was only beaten by points decision, even though Benny was nine pounds heavier. He fought Lynch three times and Benny went on to win the World championship. Harry Lauder was in the Cadzow pits and he may have worked alongside the Higgins’s.
There are newspaper cuttings from 1932 which tells of Harry Lauder taking him under his wing, Tommy becoming his protégé. Terence Higgins lived in Millgate in Fairhill and died at the age of 88. He was a great character, an old tough miner with a great spirit. His mother Mary (Murphy) Higgins sent him a postcard (attached) when he was at the Front in France, during the First World War, it says: “My Dear Son Terence Higgins. Only a Post card from your mother in Hamilton to let you know we all well. Hopping you are the same and hope to God, seeing by the Papers, the Gordons have led the way in this big charge. I only hope to God, my son, you are one of the lively lads and God has spared you to pull your hard Battle through . My Son Terrence May God Guide and Protect you and send you a safe return to you mother. Good night son and good luck and god bless you and I will have for you. Terry night and day so cheer up son and have a good heart and will rite soon again. Hoping to hear from you soon. Kiss From Mother.
This is so poignant because when she wrote the post card she wouldn’t have known whether he was alive or dead.
He came home though, even although he lost an eye! His granddaughter advised that Terry (Higgins) had told his son (David Higgins) that out of ten pals that joined up only two came back Terry Higgins and Terry Murphy (his cousin) both had been shot four times. He said a young man called Kit Rocks was the youngest soldier from Cadzow to be killed.
Terrence Higgins was always proud of the fact that he was the only man in two wars to survive being shot “6 o’clock in the bull” which was the term used to describe a shot between the eyes! That was in 1914, he went back to war and lost his eye after being shot again in 1918!
How many times have you driven down Muir Street and looked over to the back of the Hamilton town house and noticed the large car park. Perhaps you work at the library and park at the staff car park behind the building or do you even live at Back Row?
The Hamilton town house car park looks spacious and has a rectangle shape to it, however this area wasn’t built or designed this way to make space for cars. The land beneath the car park is actually an old graveyard. The tarmac was laid over the graves as the last coffin was laid rest over 100 years ago.
Before Smellie’s Auction House was built there was a United Presbyterian Church of Scotland that was large enough to hold 1050 seats. The church occupied the same area of land as Smellie’s at the corner between Muir Street & Lower Auchingramont Road and the graveyard was situated directly across the road from the church.
It was rumoured that the graves were all moved to the Bent cemetery after they removed the headstones from the graveyard, however there was over 300 graves at the car park and at the Bent there is only one marker stone that could possibly only hold four graves at a maximum.
The only evidence to this day that the graveyard even existed is a marker stone that shows where the burial place is of John J Thomson & Ann Watson who could have possibly been Husband & Wife.
Today I paid my respects to all the people of Hamilton who are currently buried at the old Hamilton graveyard under the car park of the Hamilton Library! The next time you drive past take a minute and spare a thought because this could be your ancestors that are laid to rest here.
We were looking for a picture of the George Lloyd Motorcycle supermarket in Peacock Cross (Which is now a Carpet superstore) as i understood they were one of the largest motorbike suppliers in the UK. We couldn’t track a picture down, however we did manage to hear a little bit about the Bike superstore.
I spoke with Yvonne Hamill who works at the Hamilton Motorcycle services and she did manage to track down a picture, she told us.
“In the picture is George Lloyd who is the one with the white shirt (far right) next to him on the left is Bert Sneddon then next is Hugh Adams only other one that I can recall is on far left who is Billy Strain.
George Lloyd died in 2013 and is buried in the bent cemetery. His business lives on through his wife and kids. This is the works shop the show room was in Cadzow street which became the rococo night club.
They then moved to their purpose build show room at peacock cross which is now a carpet shop. George Lloyd was the biggest motorcycle set up in Europe in the 1970s.
The last apprentice was a guy called David who served his time in the peacock cross hypermarket! He was there till they stopped selling bikes in 1987. Years later we opened Hamilton motorcycles in the 1st lloyds workshop. We opened Hms in April 2003”