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.
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.
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.
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.