THE LAST TANNERY IN HAMILTON.

The Last Tannery in Hamilton.

The Hamilton Tannery December 1958..JPG

Greenside Skin works, or better known as “The Tannery” was built by Thomas Naismith in the year 1700, and it was a purpose-built Tannery situated next to the old slaughterhouse on Muir Street.

TanneryLocation from Back Row..JPG

The location of Greenside Skin Works, was roughly where the new flats are situated at the side of Back Row. It was a two-storey structure built on the banks of the Cadzow burn and the Tannery stood on this site for 258 years.

Tannery 1904water..JPG

The Naismith’s who owned the Tannery had also owned other properties in Hamilton, one was on Almada Street, which in 1819 it was known as the road from Ayrshire and Glasgow and the second property, was a large house on Church Street, right next to the entrance of the Old Parish Church. In the year 1819 there were also properties on Cadzow Street and Townhead Street that were owned by a William Naismith and a Jason Naismith, however, at the moment I can’t confirm if these people are from the same family.

The Tannery was passed through generations of the Naismith’s up until 1888, where it was sold to a firm of curriers called Gibson and Gillon who were also an established Currier and Leather Merchant who ran their business from 8 Postgate.

The Tannery was eventually sold 4 years later in 1892 to a man from Perth, this man was called William Murdoch and he ran the Tannery business up until 1942 where it was eventually shut down.

William Murdoch married a Hamilton girl called Jeanie Smith-Lochhead who was from Selkirk Street. They lived in Hamilton and William died 7 years after he closed the Tannery. He died at his home Inchyra, 16 Auchingramont Road and he was 91 years old. William had a son who he named John, after his father. John Murdoch lived in Hamilton and he also lived right up to the grand old age of 96, he died in 1997. If one of our readers think that they may be related to John Murdock, who died in this year, then please let us know.

John Murdoch Birth 1900..JPG

The Historic building was left to go to ruin and lo and behold the Town Council bought the building from John Murdoch. Time had eventually caught up with the old Greenside Skin Works and demolition started in December 1958, the old Tannery was no more. People who had known about the Tannery and who also saw it every day did regret the demolition of the building, but that’s the price of progress.

Written by Garry McCallum,
Historic Hamilton.

MURDER AT PALACE GROUNDS.

MURDER AT PALACE GROUNDS, 1950.
Three Hamilton men sentenced to hang.
 
A vicious assault took place at the Hamilton Palace recreational grounds on September the 9th, 1950 where a man later died.
 
At the High Court Trial at Glasgow, four men who are charged with murder, in Hamilton Palace Recreation Grounds, where John Edwin Newall of 6 Cadzow Street, Hamilton, died in Killearn Hospital on September 14. It was alleged that the assault was committed on the evening of Saturday September 9th, when a clash occurred between a gang of about 20 or 25 young men and employees of Bertram Mill’s Circus.
 
The accused are Robert Gallacher, a labourer of 9 Portwell, John McGuire, a machinist of 36 Church Street, Robert McKenna, a labourer of 43 Tuphall Road and Edward McGuire, a labourer of 36 Church Street who are charged with acting together with others unknown and who are also accused of having committed a breach of the peace, seizing brushes and shovels belonging to the circus and adopting a threatening attitude towards circus employees, particularly Noel O’FIynn struggling and fighting and throwing missiles at them and circus vehicles.
 
All the accused pleaded not guilty and John McGuire tenders a special defence of alibi. An additional charge against Edward McGuire alleges that he assaulted John Leonard Wool, staff manager of the circus and attempted to strike him.
Mr H.R. Leslie, K.C., Advocate-Depute, conducts the case for the Crown, and the accused are represented as follows—Gallacher, Mr W R . Milligan, K.C.; John McGuire, Mr C.W. Graham Guest, K .C .; McKenna, Mr C.J.D. Shaw, K.C and Edward McGuire. Mr W Ross McLean, K.C.
 
Mr Cyril Bertram Mills chairman of Bertram Mills Circus, gave evidence to the effect that the circus was being dismantled after the final performance on September 9. A little before 10 o ‘ clock he saw three men fighting, and soon afterwards another two fights. His own men were involved and he called to them to group together and to drop any of the tools they might have been using. He saw a group throwing bricks and stones at a tractor the windscreen of which was broken, and then he saw a group of seven men and a woman kicking a man. The four accused were identified by witness as having been amongst this group Mr J.L. Woolstaff, manager, said he saw a crowd of about 20 men entering the ground in a hostile manner Some had bottles, one picked up an iron stake, and another had a 14-lb hammer with a broken shaft They were looking for a man whom they called “the Belfast Irishman.”
 
Cross-examined by Mr Ross McLean, witness agreed that he had seen Edward McGuire at the circus the previous evening he arrived late when the box office was closed and was refused admission.
 
Constable William Aitchison of Hamilton Burgh Police stated that he saw John McGuire at Hamilton Old Cross at ten minutes past ten on the night of the assault McGuire said, ‘You are going to have a busy night’, and witness told him and others to “Move on.”
At 10:25, after he had been called to the Recreation Grounds, he saw John McGuire and the three-other accused, all of whom he knew well, kicking a man lying on the ground the man whom he recognised, was unconscious, bleeding from the ears, nose, and mouth.
 
The date of the execution was fixed by Lord Keith as 26th November 1950 at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow.
 
DEATH SENTENCE APPEAL.
On the 13th of November, Edward McGuire has lodged an appeal against his conviction on the ground of misdirection of the Jury. It was also announced on Saturday Appeals on behalf of the other two men. Robert Gallacher (23) and Robert McKenna (31), who were also sentenced to death, are expected to be lodged to-day.
 
CIRCUS CRIME: THREE MEN REPRIEVED.
On Saturday the 23rd of December 1950, the three men due to die on Boxing Day for the Hamilton circus murder were reprieved yesterday.
 
Mr Hector McNeil, Secretary for Scotland, has advised the King to commute the capital sentence to a sentence of life imprisonment.
I couldn’t find the deaths for the men, so I am assuming that they all did life at Barlinnie and either died there or were released.

PRIVATE MICHAEL McNAMEE. 35 CHURCH STREET, HAMILTON, WW1. 1918

MichaelMcNamee.
McCallum’s Family Tree.

 

WW1 Soilder.

Over the past few weeks Wilma Bolton has been sending us her Hamilton Advertiser newspaper transcriptions from her collection.

The names of the people mentioned are mostly now out of recent memory to the families involved, however throughout the day we will be posting Wilma’s transcriptions for you to read.

To start things off, Wilma sent me an article on my 2nd Great grand uncle who was called Michael McNamee, and he was killed in action over in France in 1918. Like many young Hamilton men who went to fight in WW1, a lot never came back. I did know a little about Michael McNamee as I have researched him and have most of his details in my Family Tree, however I didn’t have the transcription from the Hamilton Advertiser, so thank you Wilma for sending this to me.

Michael McNamee service Record.
Michael’s Service Record.

PRIVATE MICHAEL McNAMEE.
35 CHURCH STREET, HAMILTON, WW1. 1918

HAMILTON AND THE WAR.— Pte. Michael McNamee, son of Mr and Mrs McNamee, 35 Church Street, has died from wounds received in action of 18th October.

Twenty-one tears of age, Pte, McNamee left his employment in Ferniegair Colliery in June 1915, and enlisted in the Royal Scots. For his gallantry on the field he was awarded the Military Medal. His commanding officer, writing to his parents, says, Pte. McNamee was “a great favourite with both officers and men.

He was a great boy, and thoroughly deserved the honour he gained, as he always showed himself a brave lad, and willing to help others.” Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 7/12/1918 page 4.
(Wilma S. Bolton 2012)

Let us know if a member of your family has been mentioned in Wilma’s transcriptions.

Child accidentally Strangled in Church Street 1914.

Death.
Sarah’s Death Cert.

 

When reading through old news paper articles, you sometimes come across some sad stories and none was sadder than the story of a poor wee girl called Sarah McFarlane who died when she was out playing in the back court of her house.

The Daily Record reported the story on the 4th February 1914 and it read:

“The Hamilton police report a distressing fatality in a back court in Church Street. A rope stretched from a lamp post to a telephone pole is made use of by the tenants as a clothes line. At one end of the line a loop hangs down, and the children have been in the habit of fixing this loop round their waist and swinging on it.

Sarah McFarlane (3), daughter of a miner appears to have attempted to imitate her elder playmates, with the result that the rope slipped upwards and caught her round her neck. Before assistance could reach her death had ensued from strangulation.”

Sarah was the daughter of James & Sarah McFarlane James was from Cambuslang and Sarah from East Kilbride. They had only been married 8 years, they had two other children called James & Mary-Ann. The family like most could have come to Hamilton so that James could gain employment at one of the mines.

The family lived at 39 Church Street, the accident could probably have happened at the back court of number 39 and as you can imagine, this would haunt Sarah McFarlane every time she had to go outside to dry her washing.

I had a look at the 1915 valuation roll and the family were still living at 39 church street! I have left the research at this point as there still may be some descendants of James & Sarah McFarlane living in the town.