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Four prosecutions against Hamilton shopkeepers, at the instance of John Millar, who was the inspector for the burgh of shops act were disposed of in the Hamilton Sheriff court on Tuesday the 24th of February 1915.
Two were for keeping the premises open for the transaction of business after seven o’clock at, night, and two were for being open on Christmas Day after one o’clock in the afternoon. The prosecutions were conducted by Walter Henderson. Deputy Town Clerk.
The first case called was that of John Woods who charged with keeping his shop at 216 Low-waters open after seven on, Friday, January 19th contrary to the Butchers and Fleshers Closing Order.
He pleaded guilty, and Mr Donald C Orr, Writer explained that the case was a very narrow one. While the woman in the shop had been served 10 minutes after 7 o’ clock, she had actually entered the shop before the closing hour.
The Sheriff asked if a shopkeeper was not entitled to serve a customer who entered his shop before the time of closing. Mr Henderson replied in the affirmative but added that what Mr Orr stated was not his information.
The customer had entered the shop 7.12, and when a constable, who had followed, asked the shopkeeper if he knew what tame was. He had replied a quarter past seven. Henderson added that there had been some trouble in the district because two or three shopkeepers were keeping open after hours.
The Closing Order had been obtained at the direct request of the butchers themselves, and it was rather an expensive business issuing such Order. Sheriff Shennan remarking it was unfair to the other shopkeepers remain open after hours, imposed fine of £1, with the option of five day’s imprisonment.
William Andrews, another butcher of 226 Low-waters, pleaded guilty to a similar offence the same date. Mr Orr having been heard on behalf of the respondent had the same penalty of £1 or five days imprisonment was imposed.
James Marshall of 599 Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, who was the manager to William Marshall & Co, boot makers in Quarry Street, Hamilton, was charged with keeping open on Christmas Day after one o’clock, contrary the Shops Act and the Burgh of Hamilton Non-Exempted Shops Order.
Mr J. Edmonds, writer. Hamilton, tendering a plea of guilty for respondent, stated that he was a manager for a firm which had shops in many towns including Hamilton. The weekly half-holiday was Wednesday, but at Christmas week the respondent had overlooked the fact that Hamilton was an exception for that week, having decided to open on Christmas Day.
Margaret Boyd or Orr admitted to having her shop premises 142 Low-waters open after one o’clock Christmas day. Mr Ritchie, a writer, explained that while respondent should have been closed at the libelled for the sale of toys and knick-knacks, she had the right remain open for the sale of aerated waters, papers, and confections.
She was in the act of selling a sixpenny doll to a girl when an officer entered, and, on pointing out her mistake, she once took back the doll and gave the girl back her money.
The Sheriff (with a smile) stated the respondent was entitled to be two-thirds open. Mr Ritchie even more; I think she had a seven-eighths opening. (Laughter in the court). The Prosecutor admitted that this was not a flagrant case, but still the respondent had not the Closing Order notice exhibited in her shop. A modified fine of 6s was imposed.


Police Recover Goods and Make Arrests.

Bob MacTaggart
On Friday the 20th of May 921, the premises of Mr Alexander Proudfoot-Begg, who was a licensed grocer on Low Waters, Hamilton, was broken into late on Friday night or in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The booty comprises salmon, 37 lbs. of cheese, bottles of port wine, sherry, claret, beer, 20 lbs of butter, and £5 in money. According to the information supplied by the police, a considerable portion of the booty was recovered.

During the week after it happened, Chief Constable Clark reported that attempts to enter shops in Hamilton have been frustrated by the vigilance of the police. Soon after the occurrence was referred to, Constables Docherty and Walker, they were early on the scene, and, after a smart round-up, they apprehended two men, who were before the Court on Monday the 23rd in connection with the affair.

The two accused, who have been remitted to the Sheriff, are Joseph White (28), miner, 158 Low Waters, Hamilton, and Robert MacTaggart, junior (31), miner, 121 Low Waters, Hamilton. The charge against them is that of breaking into the licensed grocery premises mentioned and stealing the provisions and money enumerated.

It turns out that Robert or Bob as he was better known was indeed no stranger to trouble and this was not a one-off incident. Five years later, on Friday the 27th of May 1926, there was a fight which had taken place at The Ranche Pub.

This fight is still known of today, as it involved many police officers and of course Robert MacTaggart. It was nearly five years to the day of the break-in at the Grocers where ‘Bob’ MacTaggart had a few too many pints and had been challenging people to a fight out in the street and being already barred from the Ranche, he had it in his head that he was still going to go in and have a pint.

The owner had called the police and Bob was apprehended, but as the Ranche was a tough working Man’s Pub the regulars did not like what they were seeing and tried to free Bob from the custody of the police and then a mass riot broke out involving around 100 men. This was also watched by many hundreds of men outside.

More back up was needed and police officers from Hamilton and Blantyre were called for assistance. The riot act was read and there were many arrests, this included Bob MacTaggart, who received a six-month prison sentence.

Several years after the riot Bob McTaggart with his wife and children emigrated to Canada where he lived until he was in his seventies and died after losing a leg in a lift accident.

With thanks to Alan McTaggart for sending us a picture of Bob McTaggart.

Alan told us: here is a picture of Cadzow St Anne’s football team 1910-1911 a young Robert”Boab”McTaggart is standing back row 3rd from the Left-hand side this is a photo my late father Robert McTaggart had hanging in his house he was the owner of Croftwood store and was well known by many as “Big Rab” or “Boab” hope you find this interesting. Alan.


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.

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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.