Part of the great Scottish heritage was the various “Bings” that were left following the closure of mines and pits throughout the country. I was born and brought up at the top of Hill Street in Burnbank, better known as the “Jungle” right at the bottom of Earnock bing, as a wee boy I looked on it as my own personal real estate. Many of the coal miners were pigeon fanciers (doo men) and had their loft out the backyard including my own dad which explains a wee bit the following tale.

The poem below was written by
AND WAS DONATED TO WILMA BOLTON. Wilma has kindly shared this for the Historic Hamilton readers to enjoy.
Corrugated iron—wae the ends turned up
Blint— wi stoure and shale
Fifty miles an oor at least
Anither on yer tail

Earnock bing my Everest
The biggest bing aroon
Ah climbed ye every day in life
The tallest in the toon,

Mony’s the time I fell aff the tap
Fae aff yer towr’n heights
Broken taes and fingers
Ah should be deid by rights

Cadzow bing it was’nae bad
But wis’nae near sae steep
Naewhere near the broken bones
Aw’right for grazin sheep.

Dae ye mind wee Wullie doon the road
We put him in a tyre
Ah’m shair it wis aff a Chieftan bus,
An’ fae aff yer very spire,

We gied’m sich a hefty shove
He fell oot haufway doon
He staggert’ roon for hauf an oor
An roon n’ roon n’ roon,

As soon as he could staun at peace
He said “Christ that wiz great”
“Could we dae it agane jist wan mair time”
It wiz clear he could’na wait.

So intae the tyre again he went
This time we tied him in
An wi an even harder shove
We sent him for a spin.
Well “Tottie Minto’s” pigeon loft…
Ah’ ken ye’ve guessed already
It, wiz quite plain for aw tae see,
Even tae blind Freddy

Unhappy circumstances wid unfold
And mibbie even mair
A heid oan crash, a lot a stoure
An’ feathers everywhere

Deid doos deid as dodos
Died in their loft that day
Like road kill they aw’ lay aroon
Ah guess its fair tae say

We thought the wee block doon the road
Wi’ the doos had done his dash
Surprise, surprise, would ye believe,
Fae in amang the trash

A ghostly figure staggert’ oot
An roon n’roon n’roon
He said “Christ that wiz bliddy great”
Ah hope that very soon

“ We dae that agane jist wan mair time”
“This time ah’ll git it right”
at this point ye can guess the rest
its time to say guidnight

Dear Earnock bing where ur ye noo
Wherever did ye go
Scattered to the winds, ah think
Ah’ ken ah miss you so.

Oh Earnock bing my Everest,
It’s time to say fareweel
Ah won’t forget ye ever
Fareweel Fareweel Fareweel!!!!!

(A wee efter thought)
For those of nostalgic persuasion
Ah hope ye enjoyed my heart felt reminiscence
Slidin doon ma Earnock Everest, Oan ma erse…….in verse.

Thomas Matthew Edgar.
Wilma Bolton. 2005.

The case of the stolen cabbages.

STOLE CABBAGES. Lawyer takes Exception to Fiscal’s Question.

“I don’t want to be unfair you. I put the question as straight as I can! Do you swear on your oath in that box that you got these cabbages from George Russell?”

This was the question put by the Fiscal (Mr Robert Weir) in Hamilton J.P. Court on Monday to Charles Bell a miner from Udston Rows, Hamilton, who accused with having 16th or 17th September 1922, stolen Five cabbages from a field in Little Udston Farm.

Accused’s agent, Mr Nat. Cochrane, Hamilton, took exception to the form of this question and said the Fiscal was trying to “catch” Bell. The lawyer thought the question should have been: “Are these the cabbages you got from George Russell, or are they like them?”

However, after some argument, the accused answered “Yes” to the Fiscal’s original question. The case for the prosecution was that the police met the accused (Charles Bell) about 12.30 a.m. on the 17th September on the back road leading to Udston Rows.

He looked rather bulky, and when was searched by the constables he was found have four cabbages inside the lining, of his jacket. When asked where had got them, he said: ‘Take to Hamilton and I’ll tell you.”

His name and address’ were taken, and then the police went to the nearest farm (Dykehead Farm) and asked the farmer if had had cabbages stolen from his field. The farmer made a search but found that none of his cabbages had been stolen. The vegetables were then taken the Little Udston Farm, where roots were found that fitted perfectly into the cabbages found in Bell’s possession.


On the Tuesday night after he was caught the accused stopped by the police and told them that he had got the cabbages from a Burbank man named George Russell. A constable went to Burnbank, and Russell told him that he gave Bell four cabbages out of his allotment about 9:50 on Saturday night on the 16th of September.

The defence was that Bell met Russell in the Empire public house in Burnbank, on the Saturday night, and asked him for some cabbages for Sunday’s dinner. Russell took him to his plot and gave him four cabbages.

On his way, home the accused met two men, Andrew McDade and James McEwan on the road. He sat beside them for about two hours, during which time they drank two bottles of beer which the accused had in jacket pockets. McDade and McEwan said Bell had some cabbages in his jacket when met them. After hearing all the evidence the bench found the charge proven, and Bell was fined £2, with the alternative of going prison for twenty days.

I tried to find out what happened to Charles Bell after his court case, however, I could not track him down, perhaps he didn’t hang around in Hamilton after his trial.

BOTHWELL BRIDGE & BARNCLUITH taken from the Illustrated London News (1882)


Bothwell Bridge, on the Clyde, not far from Hamilton, is renowned for the battle fought, in 1679, between the Covenanters and the Royal forces under the Duke of Monmouth and Claverhouse, in which the latter were the victors.

Old pictures of this battle represent the bridge with high gateway about its centre. The old bridge still remains, though much altered by additions and improvements. Our view will, nevertheless, show the character of the old structure, with its curious ribbed arches. It will be seen that an addition has been made by which the bridge -was more than doubled in its width; the side paths for foot passengers being carried above iron supports to give more space to the carriage roadway above.

This view is taken looking the river from the left bank. The main battle took place on the opposite side, where the high ground slopes down to some flat fields. The town of Bothwell is scarcely a mile to the north, but there are scattered houses now nearly all the way to the bridge.

The grounds of Hamilton Palace begin on the left bank of the Clyde, at the upper side of the bridge, where there is a handsome entrance-gate, ornamented with the cinquefoils of the Hamilton escutcheon; and the bridge, which has been transformed into handsome one, is now a fine feature in the approach to Hamilton on the road from Glasgow.


Near the gate where visitors enter the Cadzow Grounds, is an old residence called Barncluith, which contains a fine specimen of Dutch gardening. They are supposed to have been constructed by a John Hamilton of Barncluith, in 1582. Queen Mary stayed at Hamilton Palace on her escape from Loch Leven, and just before her final defeat at Langside, near Glasgow. At such an exciting moment it is not likely that Queen Mary would pay much attention to the wells or the water supply of the neighbourhood, but her visit was doubt sufficient to associate her name with this picturesque fountain.

The well still seems to be used in 1896, according to the old map of Hamilton. I wonder if anyone can tell me if the well can still be seen at Barncluth today.

Hamilton Grammar School Cruise 1975.


Happy days for some Hamilton Grammar pupils in1975. The pupils left from Glasgow on the SS Uganda and docked into Belfast where they picked up more passengers. They then sailed to Casablanca,Vigo,Lisbon,Madeira and it was a10 day trip. Picture courtesy of Robert McCallum.

Were you on this cruise? Let us know and share your pictures.

The White Knight was Peter Coia!!!

On the 2nd of November, we wrote about the White Knight, who was a mysterious man who paid for a sick child to go to Switzerland to get treatment for a lung problem.

The identity of the White Knight was unknown, however, after publishing our story on the second of November some family members of Rose Whalen (Who was the sick child) sent us some pictures of Rose and also told us about Rose in later life. Thomas Whalen who is Rose’s Brother told us:

“Rose is my sister. She was sent away, ended up for a year, to Switzerland. The ‘white knight’ was peter, Coia. after her cure in Switzerland she was ok but then in 1956 she ended up in shotts sanitarium because she had a shadow in her lung. she married Alex in 1957 and they had boy and 2 girls or a family (twins). Both are still alive and well. I hope this helps and clarifies any info you needed.”

Thank you, peter for sending us this info! Peter Coia owned the cross cafe in Hamilton and he must have been a true gentleman and I can only hope that everyone knew the good deed that he did for little Rose Whalen and her family.

Liz Glancy Clarke who’s mum was also sent to Switzerland wrote to us and she told us her mum’s story, Liz Wrote:

” My mum Emily Green was sent here when she was young for TB. She told me about 10/15 people all with different stages of TB were picked from the area by Hairmyres Hospital for trials for different types of treatments for the disease in Switzerland and she was one of the lucky ones.

Fortunately, although my mum was very ill the only treatment she received was the mountain air which miraculously cured her. Some of the others were hooked up to drips for hours at a time. She used to tell me how when she started feeling better she was allowed out of the sanatorium and she got a wee secret job selling watches to the soldiers.

I have some stunning photos of her with the group from Lanarkshire area that were picked to go so will look them out. When she would tell the stories here eyes would light up. I remember her talking about a tall dark haired handsome man in the photos called Robert Mitchell (I think that’s his name) and a woman called Roseanna McGhee from Motherwell who sadly had a child back home who died while they were in Switzerland.

My mum used to cry her eyes out every time she told how she found Roseanna crying on a bench in the town not knowing what to do but in the end, Roseanna went home early. My mum lived to the ripe old age of 88 and her famous saying used to be ” Did you know I was dying with TB when I was young and I got sent to Switzerland to cure me? … best year of my life” x

Once again, Thank you, Liz, for sharing your memories. The pictures below are of Rose Whalen and Liz’s mum Emily.


Linn House, Burnbank.

Linn House featured on the 1896 map of Hamilton. 

During the mid 19th-century Burnbank road was dotted with Villas and grand houses and one of them was called Linn House. Linn House was situated on 2 acres of land and in it’s time it boasted of fantastic “Views of the surrounding  country”.

Like Burnbank House just across the road, there seems to have been at the time military people living around this area. In January 1855 a Mrs Douglas Pattison died at the house, in her obituary, she was noted as being a ‘Relic’ of the late Colonel George Dodds of the 1st Royal regiment of foot.

In 1859, the villa of Linn House was occupied by a Mr B.W. Dodds and in this year he was selling the property. Linn House which was within the last few years almost entirely rebuilt by Mr Dodds for his own occupancy. The villa was comfortable and commodious, commanding, varied and had exclusive views of the surrounding country; and the grounds extending to about two acres bounded on one side by a burn (The Wellshaw Burn) on which there is a picturesque Linn or Waterfall.

It also boasted of well laid out shrubbery an orchard and a large garden with fruit trees and bushes. There was also a greenhouse situated in the garden.

One of the later owners was a Mrs Lynch, who in  May 1894 was looking to employ a new cook. Twenty-Six years later on the 16th of November 1920, the house gets put back up for sale and the grand building boasts of having 3 public rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 dressing rooms and a nursery. Linn House also had 4 servants rooms, a garage, a stable and the property also had its very own gatehouse wich included 1 room for the gatekeeper and its very own kitchen & scullery. According to the 1925 valuation roll, a joiner called Robert Thomas was now renting the villa.

Linn House subsiding. Picture taken from The Scotsman 21st February 1929.

The grand villa like many of Hamilton’s buildings fell victim to the coal mines deep under its foundations. Linn House would have still been standing in Burnbank today if it wasn’t for the underground workings from the local coal mines. The exact location of where Linn house once stood was between numbers 30 & 36 Newfield Crescent. The screenshot taken from google maps shows the exact location of where the picture of the subsiding house was taken in 1929. I did notice one thing! The gable side of the house in Newfield Crescent has a large crack on it, I would probably say that this was also down to further subsidence from the underground coal mines collapsing.



Remembering the men of Hamilton, killed in service after WW1 & WW2.

I took a walk over to the public park at Bothwell Road on Thursday, to get a picture of the war memorial and unknown to me, there is also a memorial dedicated to the men of Hamilton, who have been killed in recent times.

Robert Thompson..jpg

One of the plaques on the memorial was dedicated to Robert Thompson, who was killed while on patrol in Northen Ireland. Robert was a Whitehill man and he was the son of Robert Thompson SNR and Nettie McNamee.

As mentioned, Robert’s life was brought to a devastating end when on the 27th of July 1980, he was on patrol at Moy Bridge, Maughnahan Road, Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone and was killed by a Remote Control Bomb. Robert was only 26 years old and was survived by both his parents.

Robert Thompson2.jpg

I would like to put a face to the name on the plaque at the Bothwell Park memorial. Below is a picture of Robert Thompson, taken from my own family collection of photographs.



Rose Whalen was a romping 13-year-old schoolgirl. But last September she fell ill with lung trouble. Immediately her family applied for bed for her in a sanatorium. They were told there was a two years’ waiting list. They asked if she could be sent to Switzerland under the school scheme. The answer was she was a year too old.
It seemed Rose would have to stay at home at 2 Backmuir Crescent, Whitehill, Hamilton. Her parents did what little they could to make her happy. But the outlook for Rose was poor. Then one day a man knocked at the door. He said he’d heard about Rose. He asked whether Mr and Mrs Whalen could help to send her to Davos Sanatorium, in Switzerland, if a bed could be obtained. They said they could, but wouldn’t be able to pay the whole cost.
Mr Whalen, a miner, has been ill for some time and unable to work. The man who called was a Hamilton man who is known as the ” White Knight ” because of the good he does in a quiet way. On behalf of Rose, he wrote to London and Switzerland. He brought back news that a bed was available. It would cost, £104 to send Rose to Switzerland for three months.
Rose’s grandfather, uncles, and aunts rallied around and they helped the family to gather £50. When the “White Knight ” heard this, he said, ” Friends of mine will see to the rest.” And they did.
Within a fortnight the sum was complete, and a passage had been booked for Rose on plane from Prestwick.
Now Rose has had three glorious months Switzerland. Her latest letter- home says she’s tiptop and roaming the mountainsides. ” I’ll never forget the people who sent me here,” she writes.
Rose returns home tomorrow, great preparations are being made in the Whalen house for the homecoming. And one person will be in everyone’s mind —the ” White Knight,” who came knocking at the door when everything seemed black.
Rose later married Alexander McLaughlin in Hamilton in 1957. Did you know the Whalen family, or Did you know Rose & Alexander? It would be really good to know the identity of the “White Knight”, that helped little Rose.

Almada Street Now and then.

Hamilton has seen some dramatic changes over the last 30 years and none more so that Almada Street. Almada Street used to have tenements that led from Peackock Cross and all the way down to the Barracks at bothwell road.

Today there are only two surviving blocks of houses that remain in Almada Street, they are situated at the peackock cross side of the street, with the recent corner block of tenements that were called Almada Hill being knocked down to make a garage car park!

The picture below was sent to Historic Hamilton by Andy Alexander & Steven Matthews. There is some debate that the picture was taken around the mind 1970s, however i believe that the picture was probably taken around the mid 1980s, the reason for this is that the Mk3 Escort was introduced in 1980 (white car) and the blue Mk2 Astra behind it was first introduced in 1984.


Back in the 1970s & 1980s this part of Almada Street was thriving. There was also a well known  chip shop at the side of the Crown bar called KFC, this was situated at Saffronhall Lane and if you look just behind the blue fiesta then this is where Safftonhall Lane is situated.

The Crown pub later became Chambers Bar during the 1990s and other pubs like  Ewings & the County were also busy pubs at Almada Street. Chambers bar closed down around 2010/11 and was bought by the current owner  Manio Loia, who had the building extended and refurbished in 2012, he then built the current restaurant and called it Cafe Eataliano which now occupies the former site of the Pub. Prehaps in years to come, this establishment will bring back as many happy memories like The Crown & Chambers did for many people!

The tenements at the bottom of Almada Street were demolished at the end of the 1980s and this is now the site of the Job Center and Hamilton Water Palace. If you look at the no entry signs in the picture, then this is the current entrance to the Hamilton Water Palace and further on down at the bottom of the road is where the Furlongs are situated.

Below is a picture taken last week on Sunday the 3rd January 2015. This was taken approximately at the same spot as the one taken in the mid eighties.


What was your memories of Almada Street in the 1970s & 1980s?