Over the last few months, there has been a lot of talk on Historic Hamilton about our town centre becoming a ghost town. We have a lot of empty shops and with the soon to be closure of BHS where indeed does this leave us?

Cast your mind back to even 10 years ago! People travelled from afar to come and spend the day in Hamilton, you would come in to the town in the morning meet up with your friends and have a wander around the very best choice of shops. We had a choice of Sports shops we had designer clothes shops, joke shops and long standing independent shops like Bairds.

You would have come to Hamilton and visited one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants and had a bit of lunch or if it was a nice day you would have got your lunch from places like Olivers and sat outside on one of the benches and watched the world go by.

Gateside street and Low waters road still seem to be doing ok with many independent shops staying open and doing well, so what are they doing different? or could it be down to the fact that they are not based in the town centre?

Hamilton town centre is not alone with the closure of shops, this very same thing is happening an many towns across Scotland. The question is, What can we do to inject some life in to our once thriving town centre?

What do you think?


A Wish,

A wish a wis back in Hamilton, up there in old South Lanarkshire,
A wish a wis back in ma maws wee hoose, sittin”by the open fire,
A wish a wis back in ma auld school, among awe ma auld friends,
A wish a wis back in ma auld haunts”, where friendship never ends,

A miss the Baths, The Brandon Cafe, The auld “Hamilton Advertiser ”
A miss the auld folk all around, aye aulder but so much” more wiser’,
A miss the wicked sense of humour, and of coarse that witty”banter”
A miss Hamilton, Hillhoose, Burnbank, ok! Sometimes even Blanti’r”

A telt awe ma kids n’ grandkids aboot this place, over n’ over again,
A telt them awe aboot the things a got up tae, when a wis jist a wain,
A telt them aboot all the people there, n” they couldn’t be any prouder,
A telt them tae tell their kids, they say aye ok “shout a wee bit louder”,

A wish a could write a book aboot this place, but whit kin a do or say,
A wish a could mention the special people there,so great in everyway,
A wish a could stop wellin up with pride , every time a hear it’s name”,
A wish is what the heart makes, so I’ll say a wish that a wis Hame”

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey.


Flyer for the Hamilton Coach works.
Flyer for the Hamilton Coach works.

One of the major companies in Hamilton round about the turn of the 20th century was Scott, Stirling & Co!

Scott, Stirling & Co were local coach builders in the town and they were founded in 1862 under the name J & C Stirling. They started off as a small business but quickly grew due to their excellent workmanship and at the time coach building was one of the oldest industries in Hamilton.

In the year 1862 when the firm was established the business advanced rapidly. So mush so, that in a comparatively short period of time, it was found necessary to make considerable extensions, and from an original small shop, the firm now occupies an area of nearly one acre of double storied buildings, elaborately fitted with the most modern wood-working machinery.

Scott, Stirling & Co were so reputable that not only did they build coaches and do repairs in Hamilton, they did work all over Scotland, England & Northern Ireland.

They later built ambulance & fever hospital vans all equipped with the “latest improvised fittings”. They also built spring vans, message vans, bakers vans ans then moved on to light & heavy lorries.

They were noted as stating ” A supply of these vans are always on hand, or can be built at the shortest notice” They could possibly have been the Quick Fit of it’s day in the late 1800s.

Below is an advertisement for the carriage works that was gave to Historic Hamilton by Lesley Fife. There is also a Yellow outline marking where the possible site of the coach works were situated just next to the Hamilton Advertiser building, this was taken from the 1847-1895 map of Hamilton.

Campbell Street4 Campbell Street3 Campbell Street2 Campbell Street1.


Stolen Chickens!!

It was reported in the Hamilton Advertiser on Saturday the 5th of July 1862 that, “Stolen on the afternoon of the Sabbath last, between two and four o clock pm from Chanting Grove, Union Street, two hen chickens of the golden Spaniel breed…..Whoever will give information of their whereabouts at the office of this paper, or at the Hamilton police-office will be handsomely rewarded.”

I myself can’t help but think, that those two Golden Spaniel Breed chickens would have made a delicious Sunday dinner for the persons family that stole them.