Watson Street, Burnbank.

WATSON STREET, BURNBANK.

Watson Street map 1892-1914.

There are many streets in Hamilton which are long gone, and the names have been lost in the mist of time. One of these streets was called Watson Street.

Watson Street was a street situated off Whitehill Road in Burnbank. It consisted of 8 tenements Which housed 4 on each side of the Street and it included 1 Shop. The tenements were built between 1875 & 1885.

The tenements in Watson Street were 3 storeys high and in 1915 the shop in the street was rented by John Lees, and he ran the shop as a confectioner. This would have been the wee shop in the street that sold tins of food and day to day household goods.

The valuation rolls listed the houses on one side as 1-23 and 2-24. The shop was situated at number 9-11.

Apart from John Lees, all of the men in 1915 who lived in the street worked as Coal Miners, so it is possible that they all worked at the same colliery.

In 1915 the Rent for a house in Watson Street was between £6 & £7 per year depending on what house you lived in. The shop was rented at £10 per year.

The Shop at Watson Street changed hands between 1920 & 1925 when William Clarke is the new tenant and he is running a greengrocer, however, this was short-lived, as in 1930 a Mrs Grace Harvey is now renting it. Grace continued to run the shop up until at least 1935.

So, Watson Street in Burnbank was a working-class Street and from its construction and even up until 1935, all the working men who resided in the street were all either coal miners or they worked in connection to the coal mines.

In the local area, there was Greenfield, Earnock, Cadzow & Whistleberry Collieries which all surrounded Burnbank but they all started to close when the coal seams were exhausted. On the 1st of February 1935 Greenfield Colliery, Burnbank, became the last pit in Hamilton to shut permanently.

This would have affected almost all of the families living at Watson Street. Most would have found work in other areas and would have moved away.

Watson Street 2015.

The old tenements were eventually demolished to make way for the new industries that were springing up in the area. New flats were built across the road, which was to be known as Sing Sing, so it is possible that a lot of the tenants were relocated across the road and on the site of Watson Street a new factory was built by the M.E.A.

If you are wondering where Watson Street was, then it is where the entrance to Copperwood Crescent is.

The Tenants in 1915 were:
Numbers: 17 Margaret Allan. 13 Thomas Hailstone.
18 David Bett 21 Andrew Hamilton.
7 Dennis Burns 10 William Hamilton.
3 William Carleton 5 Daniel Hassan.
19 John Clark 15 James Hoey
6 Joseph Divers 20 Thomas Hunter
8 David Downie 2 Patrick Kearney
4 John Green 1 John Kelly
9-11 John Lees (Shop) 14 John Macluckie.
23 Jane Maxwell. 12 Alice Smith
16 Thomas Tolland. 22 Robert Weir
24 James Williamson.

Sing Sing

 

SING SING.
SingSing.1
The mayor Reid along with some residents including Mrs Foley and her daughter Irene.The baby boy that Mrs Foley is holding was later tragically killed on the railway line.

The flats at Whitehill Road, or better known locally as Sing Sing, was a street in Burnbank, however, to the residents it was more like a separate community. The flats ran from Burnbank to Whitehill and  Sing Sing was said to have taken its name from the Correctional Facility in Ossining in New York.

Some people who lived outside Sing Sing often said that it was a scary place to walk past and it was noted that the police would never go to the flats without back up, however, many of the families who  lived here had fond and happy memories of the flats and they all looked out for one another. Some of the people and families known to have lived at Sing Singe were Rab McGhie, Big Liza, Carol Hughes, pearl Anderson, Betty Whitelaw, Dennis & Rose Cassidy, Anne Farmer, Maggie McNamee, Dane Rodger, the Poultons, the McCluskey’s, the Cannons, the Foley’s, the  Haley’s, the Steele’s, and the Aitken’s.

Sharon Allan was born at Sing Sing, Tilda Jack lived at number 72 and Arthur Belk used to have his window open wide and was renowned for music blaring which could be heard by people when  walking over from Burnbank to  Whitehill, Arthur’s  mum was big Liza. Other characters who lived here were Shug n his barrow, Rex and Ann Pan. Most of the families living at Sing Sing were connected to each other in one way or another.

There were sad things too, tragically the young boy Foley was playing between the wagons (just as most of the kids did)  when they were shunted and he got caught between the bumpers and was killed outright, everyone was warned to keep out of the railway but no one could the keep the kids away from the tracks and the burn as the tunnel under the railway was a short cut to the public park.

During the Second World War Burnbank suffered at least one attack by the Luftwaffe, when a bomb was dropped near Sing Sing at the railway works on the Whitehill Road, however, I believe that the flats were not affected by the bomb.

The families were eventually moved and re-homed from the flats and  Sing Sing was finally demolished in 1973,  and the excuse that was given to the residents was that the council was wanting to widen the road and extend the bridge over the railway, the railway bridge used to have a foot path at the side, like the bridge over just up from the portakabin next to the express way in Blantyre.

James poulton.
James Poulton in the Army.  

I spoke with a former local resident James Poulton who is a relation of mine and James told me:

“The people in it were great to get on with but the police were not welcome, the place was one big family and a lot of crooks stayed there but everyone got on and it was a great place for the children with the railway and a burn at the bottom of the drying green everyone who stayed there would have gone back given the chance the place was a community everyone knew             everyone else and a lot were connected in one way or another”

What was your memories of Sing Sing?