15 YEARS MARRIED TODAY.

Garry & Emma Wedding.1

15 YEARS MARRIED TODAY.

Today is my wedding anniversary!

I would like to wish my beautiful wife Emma, a happy anniversary and here is to the next fifteen years!

My wife and I met at the Hamilton Palace in August 1999 and we got married in a small church at Dolphinton at the edge of the Scottish Borders in 2002.

We had our wedding reception at the Tinto Hotel in Symington and had our honeymoon in Cancun Mexico. We have got three boys Daniel, Ryan and Caiden. Fifteen years married and our wedding day still feels like yesterday.

Do you share your wedding anniversary with us? If you do, then send us your wedding picture and we will post it on Historic Hamilton for all to see.

HAMILTON FOLK.

Garry & Emma..JPG

I am always looking to add pictures of people from Hamilton to this folder and I thought it was about time that I added a picture of myself & my wife Emma.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Garry McCallum and I am originally from Burbank, I run Historic Hamilton and am responsible for all the stories that you hopefully enjoy reading.

As Historic Hamilton is nearly two years old I thought it would be good to put a face to the name that you see and read about.

If you would like to add someone to the “Hamilton Folk” album, then please feel free to send us your pictures and we will share with everyone in the group.

Garry

FIVE HAMILTON MINERS ENTOMBED, ONE BODY RECOVERED.

Neilsland Colliery1.JPG

On Wednesday the 26th of April 1916, a tragic incident occurred at Neilsland Colliery, owned by John Watson and sadly five men were killed. The coal miners went to work not knowing what tragic events were about to happen that day. A party of men were selected to work in one of the old shafts, when one of the worst pit accidents that had occurred in the district for many years took place about midday, when an old shaft at Eddlewood collapsed and entombed the workmen.

The shaft was formerly Eddlewood No. 3, but some five or six years previous, it was filled up, and the coal to which it gave entrance, was worked from Neilsland. On Wednesday five men were employed in driving roads into the Eddlewood ell coal, take out the pillars which still remained in the workings around the old shaft. Their names were:
Hugh Scott, in charge of the party, married, 30 Low-waters;

Robert Robertson, married, 229 Low-waters;

John Shaw, single, 136 Eddlewood Rowe;

Robert Leadbetter, married, 103 Beckford Street;

George Stewart, married, 187 Low-waters.

Robert Brownlie, a shaftsman, who was giving Hugh Scott a hand, had finished his shift and was leaving for the surface. When he got some distance off, he heard a loud rumbling noise, and fearing an accident he sent word to the officials. Mr James Cook, the resident manager, and Mr James Houston, under-manager, who were in another portion of the pit, immediately proceeded to the scene, but found their course barred by an irresistible river of soft glutty debris flowing like a stream of lava through the workings and filling up every available space.

Acting with commendable promptitude Mr Cook and Mr Houston got the men in the other sections warned, to make their escape and they all succeeded in doing so. The five men employed in the old Eddlewood Ell coal were cut off, and from the first, no hope was entertained of finding them alive.

When the flow of material had subsided, every possible effort to reach the missing men was made by the management and many willing hands. About ten o’clock the body of Robert Robertson was recovered. He had apparently been swept forward by the rush of the incoming debris and was well within reach. The body, embedded in mud, bore no injuries death having resulted from suffocation.

When the serious nature of the accident was revealed, Mr Robert McLaren, H.M. Inspection of Mines, and Mr J. B. Thomson, the manager for Messrs John Watson (Ltd.) were communicated with, and were quickly at the scene of the calamity, bringing their experience and knowledge to bear on the work of rescue.
A rescue brigade from Coatbridge was summoned, but owing to the hopelessness of the situation, their services were not used. Mr John Robertson, miners’ agent also visited the scene.

The next day on The Thursday, the huge cavity caused on the surface by the falling in, of the loose filling-up material was several fathoms deep, (12.8 Meters) and the management had it fenced round. Vigorous efforts were maintained both on the Thursday and Friday to discover a trace of the other four men, but without success.

Public Enquiry

On Wednesday, the 7th June 1916 a public enquiry was held and it was stated that the body of Robert Robertson was recovered late on the same day, but the others have not yet been found, though the efforts of the management have been unsparing, and are still being prosecuted vigorously to reach the place where the four workers were caught in the irresistible inflow of washer sludge.

Mr Robert McLaren and Mr McElhanney represented His Majesty’s Inspectorate; Mr Craig, writer, Glasgow, appeared for the coal masters; and Mr Robert Smillie represented the interests of the miners. Duplicate plans of the workings and of the section where the accident occurred were shown during the evidence, followed by all the parties, including his Lordship and the jury.
The first witness was Robert Brownlie, shaftsman, Eddlewood, the last of those who escaped to see the deceased alive.

He had been commissioned to assist the five men now deceased who were employed driving mine through the Ell coal in the vicinity of the old shaft. The men were working in accordance with the regulations that is believing that they were nearing the old shank they were boring the strata to a depth fifteen feet straight ahead and on both flanks, in order locate the shaft and keep clear of it.

Nothing in these bores, as Robert Brownlie said, indicated conditions beyond the normal, the little water issuing from the holes being, in their opinion, but the expected accumulation in the rock. Besides assisting in the bores, witness putting up brattice cloth deflect the air current. His shift being finished about midday, he left the party to proceed to the pithead, the others coming out of their working place to take their “piece.”

He had gone some distance on his way when heard a terrific noise accompanied by the crashing of wood and the overturning of hutches. He realised what had happened, and fled, pushing forward a workman (Penman), whom he met, but to whom he had no time to make an explanation, and shouting on others. Mr Robert McLaren. H.M. Inspector, said it was to Robert Brownie’s coolness that Penman’s life was saved.

In reply to the Inspector, the witness said that he was satisfied there was at least 15 feet of coal between the workmen and the old shaft, but as the roof was soft thought the bursting in may have come from that quarter.

A few other witnesses were examined, including representatives of the management, Mr Robert Smillie said the jury could see their way to add to their verdict that considered it very dangerous practice to fill disused shafts with liquid sludge from the washers, and that the matter should be further looked into, he believed they would doing a service to the mining community by at least making the Government give this matter their attention.

When Mr Craig had set out address the Jury, his Lordship made a suggestion for a rider which met the views of all parties. The, jury thereafter unanimously found that the men had met their death by the sludge from the disused shaft bursting into the workings and overwhelming them, but there was not Sufficient evidence to enable them make a finding the precise cause of the accident.

In accordance with Lordship’s suggestion, added a rider to the effect that there was sufficient evidence to warrant them calling attention the danger which might arise when disused shafts were filled with liquid sludge and the approach thereto of mineral workings.

AGED WOMAN SAVED FROM FIRE & CARRIED FROM BURNING BUILDING.

2011.5 Low Waters Road.

An 84-year-old woman was rescued from a burning building on Monday the 6th January 1936 when four families were rendered homeless in a fire which broke out at 200 Low Waters Road.

The families are Mr and Mrs J. Cocozza and their eight children, of 200 Low Waters Road; and Mrs John Brown and one child; Mr and Mrs William Nicol and one child; and Mr and Mrs Jack Wood, 198 Low Waters Road.

Mrs Wood is 84 years of age, had to be carried from the “building. The property is of one storey, the ground flat being occupied by Mr Cocozza as a cafe and & dwelling-house.

When passing the property about 3 a.m. a police officer saw flames and smoke coming from the front of the shop. He immediately notified Lanarkshire Fire Brigade and then warned the tenants.

Mr Cocozza, who resided with his family at the rear of the house at once awakened his family and shepherded them into the street in their nightclothes, the families rushed from the building with any household goods which they could grasp. In their flight the younger children of Mr Cocozza were in a state of alarm but were all taken to safety by the firemen.

On reaching the house of Mrs Wood, it was seen that she was unable to leave the building without aid, and she was quickly wrapped up and carried out. By the time of the arrival of the brigade, the fire had got a good hold, and the front shop and the house immediately above were a mass of flames.

The fire brigade, however, managed to prevent the outbreak spreading to adjoining property, and damage was principally confined to the shop and the houses directly above. The Lanarkshire Fire Brigade used gas masks, with which they have recently been equipped, and this made it possible for the firemen to reach the seat of the fire quickly, without danger from smoke.

200.1 Low Waters Road..JPG

A pet canary belonging to Mrs Brown was found by the firemen dead in its cage, the smoke having suffocated the bird.

Mr and Mrs Wood were later taken to friends in Glasgow, while the other families found accommodation with relatives. The cause of the fire stated to have been a short circuit in the café electricity system.

One of the houses was totally destroyed, while the shop was extensively damaged, the remaining houses suffered considerably from smoke and water.

I wanted to know what happened to Mrs Wood after the fire, so I did some further research on her. She was the wife of John Wood who was the local Butcher at Low Waters road and Mrs Wood had previously been married & widowed twice before marrying John, she was married to John Green & John Rice who were both Hamilton men. Mrs wood was the daughter of William Gibson a cattle dealer & Elizabeth Pollock.

The shop mentioned at 200 Low Waters Road was rented by Rosaria Cocozza who also owned the shop through the wall at 202. The shops were used as a confectioners & ice-cream Restaurant and a Butcher’s next door. Mrs Margaret Wood may have worked here, as her husband was the local butcher, (his old shop in 1930 was up the hill at 216 Low Waters Road.)

Margaret Wood died three years later of Heart Failure, she died on the 20th January 1939 at her house in 198 Low Waters Road and she was survived by her husband.

 

THE HAMLET OF TOWNHEAD.

townhead-hamlet

The little Hamlet of Townhead was a couple of houses on the lands of “Meikle Earnock” Well known by the name. They belong to J. Urquhart & D. Clarke Esquires.

They would have been two little farm steadings possibly lived in by tenant farmers or Cotton weavers. Little documentation is written about the little cottages, and it is hard to find any information on the people who lived here. I have come across a document from 1858 stating that Thomas Jackson, Factor J. Urquhart Esqr, Fairhill &  William Nimmo, Meikle Earnock are associated with the cottages.

The cottages at Townhead were situated on the land between Brackenhill Drive & Scotia Gardens. Scott Robertson, who is the great-nephew of one of the tenants of Townhead farm sent us some pictures of his Great Uncle Sanny Robertson who lived at the farm, and also a picture fo the farm itself. townhead-farm-1

 

 

 

sanny-robertson

 

 

 

Have any of the residents from Brackenhill Drive or Scotia Gardens noticed any old ruins on the land between your streets? If you have seen any evidence of this, then this is where the old cottages once stood.

townhead-hamlet-1

THE HAMILTON TOLBOOTH 1642-1954

THE HAMILTON TOLBOOTH 1642-1954

Like many towns in Scotland Hamilton had its very own tolbooth. The tollbooth in Hamilton was so grand that some thought it was a church. It was noted that in its day, this jail was one of the grandest jails in Scotland.4

tolbooth-1-5

The tolbooth was erected in the reign of Charles the First, around the year 1642, there is no actual exact date for the construction but the old tolbooth stood as a silent reminder of the days of long ago.
When the tolbooth was still standing in 1941 a newspaper account in the Hamilton Advertiser read “The vicinity of the jail has changed much since 1642, no doubt then it would be the civic centre of the town. Anyone having a look at it today can see evidence that the levels of the adjoining roadway have been raised more than once since its erection.”
The north-east corner had been splayed off and corbelled over when built. This would indicate that at the time of its being built there were other buildings very close to it and the splay on the corner would be made to give room for persons passing through. It would have been one picturesque feature still left of the ‘Old Hamilton’.
The old jail would was at the heart of the town and it sat between the Hamilton Palace and what we now know as the Old Town. To put things in to perspective, the old Jail sat on the land that now occupies the roundabout between Asda and the Museum and the Kids play park on the palace grounds.

Tolbooth1.JPG

Today if the jail was still standing, you could walk down Castle Street and see its imposing tower.
The old jail of Hamilton in 1642 was one of the most ornate buildings in the town and you would think that the men of Hamilton in 1642 must have loved a jail more than they loved a Kirk, but to be fair to our own fellow townsmen of that time, it should be noted that very likely Hamiltonians in 1642 would have no hand in the erection of the Jail. It was more than likely to have been built by foreign hands.
There was a French look about the building, in the time of the Stewarts there was much coming and going between France and Scotland and no doubt French artisans had a hand in the building of the old jail.

tolbooth-1-8

The Tolbooth acted as the most important building in the burgh as it was the council chamber, court house and jail. The town council fitted a clock in 1656 at a cost of £314-13s-8d (Roughly £23,777.47 in today’s money) and four years later, a further £45 was spent on a new Tolbooth bell, weighing 8 stones 8lbs.
In 1666 John Pate who was the town officer, was paid an annual salary of £30 “For keeping of the clock and ringing the bell” On the ground floor of the Tolbooth there were three booths, or shops, which were let annually, providing extra income for the burgh revenues.

Outside the Tolbooth were the burgh stocks where wrongdoers were padlocked by the ankles. In the year 1670, James Hamilton, a merchant, was “to be brought publicly to the market cross, and be laid in the stocks” for striking his parents and uttering “Vile and Unchristian expressions”.

The council chambers which were recognised by many throughout the nineteenth century were built in 1798 and this building joined on to the tolbooth and not only was it the council chambers, it was used as the court house and jail.

Tolbooth Stocks..JPG

On the balcony of the old jail, the prisoners were shown to the abusive public and later on towards the end of the nineteenth century life inside the jail was not always without its comforts; visitors were allowed to bring food and drink and “Merry Parties” were held, with the compliance of the poorly paid jailers. However, for some it was a short last walk to the Gallowshill.

Accounts of life in the old jail make interesting reading. The penalties for what are now regarded as comparatively trivial offences were severe to the point of being vicious. There is a record of a woman “an Egyptian,” being convicted of the theft of wine and sentenced to death. One of her accomplices was ordered to be whipped “on the bare back.”

Capital sentences were carried out at the top of Muir Street, the Gallows being at what was variously known as “Doomster’s Hill,” Gallows Hill,” and the “Deil’s Elbow.” The location was roughly opposite the present site of the Bay Horse.

The tolbooth was the seat of “Justice” for not only Hamilton but for the whole of the old middle Ward of Lanarkshire. In addition, the offenders against criminal law who were dealt with, there was a proportionately large number of debtors. Public punishment was inflicted, and many a prisoner had the terrifying experience of being the target for sundry missiles from an angry crowd.
As stated there appears to have been no restriction on feasting and drinking and it was a commonplace to see bottles handed in and out without hindrance.

There was only one turnkey and hard labour was unknown. Indeed, the jailer seemed to regard his charges as decent fellows who ought not to be imposed upon any more than was absolutely necessary. His “coigne of vantage” was a shop he occupied under the belfry, from where he could see all that was going on.

Debtors in the jail led what was, in the circumstances, quite a jolly life, with eating, drinking, singing and dancing. Accepting their loose confinement with more than resignation, they showed little grief. Perhaps they were relieved whom they owed money.

Prisoners were, on occasion allowed out of the tolbooth for a walk or to attend a funeral. Some must have been favoured by the jailer, for it is on record that one so abused his privilege that the jailer threatened to lock him out if he persisted in returning late!

Figures available for the years 1823-1835 give an idea of the proportion of the prisoners in the tolbooth who were debtors. (The figures do not include all Hamilton offenders, however, as some were dealt with in Glasgow.) In 1823, of the total number of inmates, 45 were criminals and 50 were debtors. The following year debtors numbered the same, but there were five fewer criminals.

From then debtors tended to decline and criminals to increase. Only once in 1831, were there over 100 criminals, the number being 102. Then there were 48 debtors, an advance of 17 on the previous year. The following year saw an increase of six debtors, and a decrease of four criminals, but for the first half of 1835 debtors were reduced to a bare 23, with 61 criminals.

In 1835 it was reported that the building, although handsome in its day, had deteriorated and would “soon all be removed, except the steeple, town clock, and bell.”

Despite the rather farcically lax treatment of some prisoners, however, life in the tolbooth was grim. At long last it aroused public feeling and in 1839 the new court and prison was built in Beckford Street, leaving the tolbooth a rare relic of the days when law was sternly enforced.

Plans for the extensive alterations to the tolbooth and old council chambers in 1860 are still in existence. They show that a new clock face was to be installed and the upper part of the tower to be reconstructed. The plans were drawn up in the Hamilton Palace.

tolbooth-1920s1-6

The first indication of the perilous state of the building was revealed in the summer of 1949 when a Hamilton man, who was examining a plaque fixed to the wall of the tolbooth (The plaque read: Drs Cullen and Hunter practiced in premises across the street) at its junction with the old council chambers fell through the ash footpath when it suddenly subsided. At this point the Cadzow Burn is conducted under the building by a culvert, and examination showed that this was in a very dangerous condition, probably due to mineral workings and also through erosion from the action of the Burn.

No sign of damage to the culvert had been apparent and it was reported to the Town council. Regret was expressed in the town council that the old Jail was doomed, the foundations having been damaged to such an extent by flooding that the building was liable to collapse.

Following this an unsuccessful attempt was made to have the building taken over as an ancient monument, the cost of the repair work being prohibitive. An inspection at the end of 1949 revealed that there were no signs of fracture in the stonework above ground level on the clock tower, although part of the foundation would require to be examined further when the jail was removed.

tolbooth-1952-1

The tower five inches off the plumb in one direction and three inches in another. This did not mean however, that the building was not stable. It was anticipated that it would be possible to retain the tower.

The council made plans to underpin and strengthen the foundations of the tower as it was in a very bad state of repair and it was hoped that the remedial measures which are to be taken would prevent the need to demolish it.

A certain amount of the tolbooth wall was to be left to give the tower support and this was also going to be underpinned.
Messrs John C Burns of Larkhall were appointed the job of demolition of the old council chambers.

They were to carry out the work at the end of January 1951 weather permitted. As part of their contract they were allowed to take the stone, but it was not allowed to use again for building, it was to be used as rubble.

 

When the old council chambers were being taken down workmen discovered in the foundation stone, near a fireplace on ground level a Scroll on which was written, in meticulous and still-legible hand writing: “This Town House was built in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Eight. And in the Thirty-Eight year of the reign of His Majesty, King George the Third.” The scroll also contained the names of the civic dignitaries of the day.

Tolbooth Scroll 1..JPG

It is unknown where this scroll is now kept, Hopefully in the Hamilton Museum.

tolbooth-demolition

Hamilton’s link with the old past comes to an end.
The Tolbooth was finally demolished on the morning of Thursday the 21st of January 1954 when a charge of 25 pounds of gelignite exploded at the base of the old tolbooth steeple and sent it tumbling to the ground.

Its fall was witnessed by scores of people, some of them within the Palace grounds and others at vantage points in Castle Street, Muir Street and even in Cadzow Street. To set the appropriate funeral note, one of the workmen climbed to the belfry and for about half-an-hour until 11:18 a.m. tolled the Bell. As this sound, has not been heard for several years, the attention of many more people than would have watched was attracted.

Those who saw the final touches being put to the preparations for the big bang included the Provost Mrs Mary s. Ewart, The Town Clerk (Mr James Kelly), the burgh surveyor (Mr James A. Whyte), senior police officers and a group of pupils from the Hamilton Academy, who were accompanied by the rector, Mr E. G. MacNaughton, M.A.

After everyone had been asked (and some persuaded) to go beyond the danger limits, a whistle blew at 11:43 a.m. Immediately came the deep-throated roar of the explosion. The base of the steeple, where a number of holes had been drilled to take the gelignite, was shattered instantly and within a few seconds the whole structure had crumbled before everyone’s eyes.

The steeple came to rest exactly where expected, with the weather vane which for so long had topped the proud and once-handsome tower at the foot of a small tree. It had been feared that the rubble might block the course of the adjoining Cadzow Burn and that part of the stone culvert might collapse with vibration, but only a little of the stonework entered the water, and the culvert remained intact. Surprisingly little rubble fell in Castle Street.

When the remains were examined immediately after the demolition, the clock bell was seen nesting among the masonry, and it was still intact. The bell bore the inscription “Thomas Mears, London. 1802.”

Close by were the shattered dials of the clock, with its cogs and wheels scattered around. Clear of the main mass was the weather vane, on which before the explosion a sparrow had alighted for a brief moment.

There was a plaque that was attached to the base of the tower commemorating the fact that Drs Cullen and Hunter practised in premises across the street was removed an hour before the demolition. (Hopefully this plaque is kept safe at the Low Parks Museum)

tolbooth-weather-vane

The bell from the Tolbooth was later earmarked to be installed at the Municipal Buildings (The Hamilton Town House & Library) as the old bell from the Townhouse was sold to a Glasgow firm. It is unknown if this actually did happen, or if the Bell went straight to the Hamilton museum.

tolbooth-location1

Aw the Best for 2017.

historic-hamilton-logo-facebook

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for sending us your pictures, stories & poems over 2016. It has been great reading all of your comments and sharing your memories.

On behalf of myself, my wife Emma & my three boys, Daniel, Ryan and Caiden. We would like to wish you all a very happy new year when it comes.

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book, why not help us write a good one!!!!!!

Garry
Historic Hamilton.