Duchess Anne Hamilton was the 3rd Duchess of Hamilton, She lived from 6 January 1631 to 17 October 1716. and she is remembered as “Good Duchess Anne” She was a noblewoman who rebuilt Hamilton Palace and did a great deal to assist in the development of the town by building a school, almshouses, a woollen factory and a spinning school.
Duchess Anne’s Hospital was an old house that stood at the corner of Castle Street and New Wynd, today the site of the Almshouse is occupied by a house across from where the entrance to the Asda car park is. The hospital or Almshouse as it was known was occupied by a number of poor families, it was built around the middle of the 17th century as a hospital and had been occupied up until the beginning of the 18th century where it became disused as a hospital and ever since it had been occupied as a dwelling house.
In the year 1858 there were still 6 or 7 individuals who were receiving 8s per annum from the house of Hamilton in view of a house rent. The slum building was later demolished.
The old Grammar school No longer existing as an independent institution, Hamilton Academy had a history going back to 1588 when it was endowed by Lord John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Hamilton.
The school, then known as the Old Grammar School of Hamilton (not to be confused with the present Hamilton Grammar School) stood near the churchyard adjoining Hamilton Palace until in 1714 Anne Hamilton, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton, great-granddaughter of the Founder, re-located the school to a new building on the newly named Grammar School Square also in the lower part of the town, and presented this to the Town Council of Hamilton.
The Statistical Account of Lanarkshire of 1835 notes of this school building that it “is a venerable pile, near the centre of the town, containing a long wainscotted hall, emblazoned with the names of former scholars, cut out in the wood, as at Harrow.
The old school building of 1714–1848 In 1847 this old school building on Grammar School Square was sold for £253 and survived until its demolition in 1932.
A plaque commemorating the site of the Old Grammar School of Hamilton (which was renamed Hamilton Academy in 1848) was commissioned by pupils of Hamilton Academy and unveiled by the Academy’s rector, David Anderson MC, on 21 March 1932 at a public ceremony in the presence of Academy pupils and teaching staff; the Provost and members of the Town Council, and members of Hamilton Civic Society.