The poem below was written for Historic Hamilton
by Kit Duddy.
Jan Stepek ,
Jan Stepek the man wi Tv’s you could buy them for cash have them on Tic, when your mates maw had colour it fair made ye sick.
They started oot wee, mibies a 6 inch screen, the folk on the tele could have been pixies and green. They aw had funny voices like bools in their mooths, great big smiles and white white tooths.
Jan Stepek, Jan Stepek wi a shoap up the street every wan knew him,
an the stock he could keep. He had Grundig an Bush an radio rental when you couldn’t get Caroline it sent you mental.
The shops and memories are all long gone but with Historic Hamilton Garry will make yours go on. So here’s to more memories please write down them all, and send them to Garry and we can all have a ball.
Glenlee House was a rural mansion that was situated at Udston in Burnbank. It stood between two parallel burns, one was at the border with Blantyre and the other ran through Udston.
The house was a fine example of Victorian stature and was not only a large luxurious house but it also showed people how rich the owners really were.
The mansion was built in the mid 1800s and was first owned by Alexander Miller. It was a 2 storey building with 30 rooms and was accessed from Thorntree Avenue, which accommodated a turning point for horse drawn carriages. After going through Thorntree Avenue you passed through two stone pillars at Russell Street – which still stand to this day.
You then travelled along a curved avenue of trees and over a bridge at the burn that runs through Udston and as you came to this bridge, Glenlee House was straight ahead.
The imposing frontage of the 2 storey building with its further two storey glass tower, was set in the centre of an oval lawn. Ivy dressed the large bay windows, a weeping willow tree grew near the entrance door and there was further shrubs and lovely trimmed bushes that lead down the second driveway that took you to the gate keepers lodge.
After 1861 the house was owned by Lewis Potter, an owner of a shipping company, a director of the City of Glasgow Bank and who was famous, not for his businesses, but for his imprisonment for defrauding the bank in 1879. Lewis Potter had been director at the bank since 1858, he and his colleague Robert Stronach, were both found guilty of fraud and each sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
In the year 1878 when Lewis Potter was Jailed, J Clelland, Chairman of the Cunard Steamship Company bought the mansion and owned it for over 20 years. The last recorded tenants in the house were the Burns family, who were connected with the Burns-Laird shipping line, a ships bell hung outside the house during the time that they lived here.
The house was taken over in 1914 just before the first world war by Hamilton Town Council for use as a hostel for Belgian Refugees.
In the 1920s Glenlee House was used as a tuberculosis hospital.
By the mid 1960s the house fell in to decline and was unfit for purpose, so it was taken into private ownership, by Joe Gans, father of Walter McGowan (World Flyweight and British Bantamweight Champion) and was used as a gymnasium where Walter trained for his fights.
In 1971 the last known owner was Jan Stepek who was also the owner of the legendary TV rental shops, he only used the house for storage.
Sadly Glenlee House was demolished in the mid 1970s, partly due to subsidence from the underground coal mines but also because it was run down so badly. Glenlee House was another one of Hamiltons country mansions that had been lost as a result of the underground workings, and today, if it was still standing it would be a credit to Burnbank.