CRICHTON’S OF HAMILTON.

CrightonsWM

Crichton’s shoes have been an established business in Hamilton since the store first opened in 1952 and it has been selling quality footwear ever since. The store over the past 65 years has saw off competition from the big named shops and is still a thriving business in the town.

Clifford CrightonWMMay Crichton was the person who opened the shop in 1952 and it has been kept in the family passing down to son & grandson. The family come from Cambuslang however most of their lives were spent in Hamilton. When May eventually retired, the business was passed down to her son Clifford Brain and he was already an established and well-known business man in Hamilton, he lived in the town with his wife Isabel and two sons Alistair & Gordon.

 

Crichton’s are integrated into the Hamilton community and they like to do their wee bit for people in the town and they have a tradition that not many people know about.

Mrs HoldenWM

 

The family have been serving Tea & Coffee to a group of men from the British Legion for over 25 years. This started off to be quite a gathering but, over time, the group sadly has gotten smaller. This has been important to the men who are still able to attend. They have a meeting on the Saturday before Armistice Day before they off for their Parade. Crichton’s have fully supported this, and it is a special day for the shop as well as for the men.

Alistair Brian WM2

 

One display at Crichton’s that many people will remember is the old rocking horse. The rocking horse was a significant part of the shop and many kids used to come in and have a play on it, sadly the shop’s owners have no surviving pictures, so if any of you can help us out, then let us know?

Crichtons WM.

Niki Donnelly, who works at Crichton’s has kindly sent in some old pictures of former staff members, you may see some old faces from the past.

 

So, are you looking for some new shoes? Why not come to Hamilton next week and come into the shop and have a wee look around!

 

The current owner is called Gordon and he is the grandson of May Crichton. This family business which has served Hamilton for the past 65 years has many repeat customers, and why? Well it’s because when you walk into the shop, you will get some good old-fashioned customer service that the big shops don’t have anymore.

 

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Burnbank’s Noises.

Burnbank’s Noises!

When it get’s dark and I am

on my own I still hear noises

from my old home in Burnbank.

But I can’t hear the trains in

the shunting yard, I left my

home when times were hard.

In Bertram street we could keep

the beat as the bolt work hammer

could be felt in the street. Carpet

workers would be at the door if

you sang or danced they

shouted more!

But I can’t hear the trains in the

shunting yards, I left my home

when times were hard.

I still hear the diesels beside the

bridge, listen for the chieftains

as my brothers did while the

rubber smells, the gaffer yells

will you cut that tread.

But I can’t hear the trains in the

shunting yards where we gleaned

the coal when times were hard.

You could hear the screams of

rats down in the tank, when we

threw down rocks as we climbed

the bank. Foundry noises split

the air and if you walked too

close you could smell it in

your hair.

But I can’t hear the trains in the

shunting yard, where we sought

out breakages when times were

hard. When the works on strike

or your dad got his cards.

Yes I left home when times were

hard but late at night when the

quietness comes, I swear I can

still smell the factory lums

in Burnbank.

Written for Historic Hamilton by

Kit Duddy

kitspoems

The Caretaker’s Cottage of the Mausoleum.

Researched & written by Garry McCallum.
Additional notes and research kindly donated by Linda Kaden & Walter Smith.


Mausoleum Construction.Alexander the 10th Duke of Hamilton displayed his wealth in many ways and none so more than in the form of building himself a chapel and family crypt in his back garden. The mausoleum was so grand, and it covered such a large area that the Duke had to employ someone to look after the mausoleum and its grounds.

During the construction of the Masonic chapel, the Duke had to also build a house for his new caretaker so around 1858 the construction of the caretaker’s cottage got underway.
During its time as a functioning job-attached house it had at least four caretakers who got the house with the job, however, the first man to take up this post, and to be employed as the mausoleum caretaker, was a man named Arthur Nisbet. Arthur was born in Hamilton, in the year 1801, and he was the son of John Nisbet who was a general labourer and Marion Hamilton.

He was married to Barbara ‘Rome’ Currie. Barbara was the daughter of William Currie who was a Cotton Weaver and Marion Morris.

I am assuming that the family must have lived a happy life! They previously lived in Dalserf and then lived at Larkhall where Arthur was working as a cotton handloom weaver. They had four children who were called John, Marion, William & Elizabeth.

The family first appeared at the cottage when they were recorded on the 1861 census. Arthur, his wife and his daughter Marion (Known as Minnie) were staying here and along with the residents at the keeper’s cottage, all the staff at the Hamilton Palace appeared on the same page.

Happiness was about to be short-lived for the family when Arthurs eldest son John became ill and had to bring his own family, which included his wife and three young children to come to live at the Mausoleum Lodge.On the 14th of July 1863 John sadly died, he was the first person to die at the Caretakers Lodge and as you will read further on, you will see that more deaths were to follow.

Tragedy struck the family again as only three years later and nearly to the same day as his father on the 16th July 1866 Arthurs grandson died at the caretaker’s lodge, he was only 10 years old and he died of Scarlatina Maligna.

In 1871, Arthur appears on the census return as ‘The Keeper of the mausoleum’ living at Mausoleum Cottage. He not only lives in the small house with his wife but his daughter Minnie, (Dressmaker) Grandson William and Granddaughter Elizabeth are also living at the cottage.

The run of bad luck strikes again on the cold winters morning on 8th of January 1874 as Arthur’s wife Barbara who was the third person to die at the Mausoleum Lodge passed away and the cause of her death was pneumonia. Barbara had been suffering this illness which lasted for 7 days.

Arthur must not have been a superstitious person as he continued to live at the lodge, most people would assume that the house was unlucky with all of the deaths that had happened, but things started to look up for him as his daughter Marion was about to be married.

She had met a man from Larkhall who went by the name of James Anderson. James was an inspector of the poor at Dalserf and his address was 34 Union Street at Larkhall. The couple married quite late on in life, as Marion was 45 and James was 56 but nonetheless, they must have loved each other, so on the 10th of June 1878, they were married at the Mausoleum Lodge by Thomas Simpson, who was the minister of the United Presbyterian Church.

James Anderson & Marion Nisbet Marraige 1878.

It is not documented if Marion continued to live with her father after she was married but Arthur Nisbet continued to work for the Duke until finally on the 6th of March 1879 Arthur also died at the Lodge. He reached the grand old age of 80 and his cause of death was recorded as senile decay. He served the Duke for 21 years. His son William was the person who registered his death, the Mausoleum Lodge now had four people who had died under its roof.

There was now a vacancy for a Caretaker of the Mausoleum but who could fill the shoes of Arthur Nisbet? Arthur’s son William took up the post shortly after his father’s death, the Duke may have had a say in this as many of the Duke’s of Hamilton’s staff were generations of the same family who worked at the Palace.

William Nisbet WM

William had been previously married before he met his second wife Mary, he lived in Larkhall and was married to a lady called Janet McGregor and between them they had 4 children, who were called Arthur, Jane, Barbara and Elizabeth. Their first son Arthur died 10 days after he was born, and the other three children were born healthy, but on the 6th of April 1867 Janet died at the age of 26.

William re-married at Woodend Cottage on Bothwell Road on the 19th of March 1869 to a lady who was from Hamilton called Mary Haddow.

William continued to live in Larkhall with Mary before he took up the post of caretaker and between them they had a son, who they also named Arthur and again this son died of bronchitis on the 6th December 1870. In these days child mortality was high. Undeterred by the two previous deaths William & Mary went on to have three more children which they named Mary, Arthur & Marion. William was determined to have a son named after his dad!

In 1881 William is living at the lodge with his three children Elizabeth, Mary & Arthur. On the census return Elizabeth’s occupation is a Domestic Servant, so it’s possible that she was working in the Palace at this time.

His wife Mary on the night that the census report was taken was visiting William’s sister Marion and her husband James at 34 Union Street in Larkhall.

William & Mary were expecting a new addition to the family and on the 20th of July 1882 a daughter was born premature, she was named Janet, but the curse of the Mausoleum Caretakers Lodge struck again, when she died only 13 days old. This was now the fifth person and from the same family to die in the house.

Janet Nisbet Death WM

In 1891 they continue to work and live at the Lodge and history seems to be repeating itself where like William’s father, he also has his grown-up family living with him at the lodge. Jane is living here with her daughter Janet after being widowed. Mary, Arthur & Marion are here too.

Between 1891 and 1905 life seems to be going ok at the Mausoleum Lodge, there are no recorded deaths. William Nisbet must have enjoyed the work that he did, where on Friday the 2nd of September he won 3rd prize for the everlasting bouquet in the Lanarkshire flower show.

The 12th Duke of Hamilton died on the 16th of May 1895 and his successor was his son Alfred Douglas-Hamilton. The Hamilton Palace and its lands and servants all had new owners. Times were changing with the turn of the century, but the lodge was to hold one more wedding where on the 17th of August 1906 William’s daughter Marion married her cousin who was called Maxwell Muir Bryce.

William Nisbet continued to work at the Mausoleum Lodge until his retirement. He worked right up to 1911 where he appeared on the Census living with his wife and he also had his grandson George Henderson living with him. When he retired and continued to live in Hamilton, he moved to 64 Dalziel Street in Burnbank. He died on the 7th of March 1912 and the cause of death was pneumonia. His son in law Maxwell Bryce who lived at Saffronhall Crescent was the informant of his death.

William Currie Death 1912

When William retired and left the keepers cottage he was the last of the Nisbet family to have a connection with the Duke of Hamilton.

The Mausoleum Lodge now had new residents, Thomas Kerr was employed as the new groundkeeper for the Mausoleum, he moved in with his wife Violet Annie at the end of August 1911. They lived here with their children.

The happiness of the new home and job was to be shattered very quickly when there was a tragic accident which happened only three weeks after they moved in.

A sad tale occurred on Saturday the 16th of September 1911. Mrs Violet Kerr, wife of the keeper of the Mausoleum at Hamilton Palace, died at one o’clock Saturday morning from injuries sustained by explosion of gas in her house late the previous night.

Her husband had gone out to post a letter, leaving in the house his wife and two children, aged respectively two years and six months. After making some calls, he returned home between ten and eleven, and entering the house a painful scene confronted him. His wife was lying on the stair, leading from the kitchen the coal cellar. Her clothes were practically burned off, and her body was scorched in a terrible manner.

He lifted her into the kitchen, and ran for assistance, Mrs Kerr was still conscious, and was able to say that when she was going down to the cellar fetch coals something went up in a blaze at the gas jet on the stair. The elder of her two children, a bright little girl, was with her, but Mrs Kerr had the presence of mind to push the child down the stair when the explosion occurred. In this way the girl escaped the flames which enveloped her mother.

The younger child was asleep in a perambulator in the kitchen, and was uninjured. Mr and Mrs Kerr are a young couple, who only entered upon duty at Hamilton Palace three weeks ago, having previously lived at Caledonia Road, Glasgow.

Thomas Kerr continued to live at the Mausoleum Lodge and he remarried again to a woman called Frances Helen Bangham. They had two children who were born at the Lodge. The children were named Thomas & Henrietta. Thomas being born in the year 1915 and Henrietta born in 1925.

In 1915, the Trustees of the Hamilton Palace agreed to permit the colliery company to work the underground coal seams immediately beneath the Hamilton Palace and the Mausoleum, which resulted in the surrounding areas sinking to an extent of some 20 feet from its original level and taking the buildings with it. However, while the main palace building eventually became so damaged as to be uneconomical to repair, the excellent workmanship and the heavy dove-tailed stones of the Mausoleum resulted in the complete building sinking more or less vertically and the binding of the stones was such that only one vertical crack has appeared in the complete structure.

This sinking, however, resulted in the crypt section of the Mausoleum being subject to flooding, caused by the annual overflow of the River Avon on its junction with the River Clyde between Hamilton and Motherwell, and for many years the crypt section of the Mausoleum was closed to the public, only being reopened on 10th May 1971.

As I previously mentioned, times were indeed changing at the Hamilton Palace, the palace remained the seat of the Hamilton’s until 1920 when it became uninhabitable owing to the extent of the deterioration and damage caused by the underground extraction of coal.

It was, however, used as a temporary hospital for naval personnel during the First World War, by which time the Hamilton family had moved to the town of Dungavel in Strathaven.

The Hamilton palace which was first constructed in 1695 was eventually fully demolished in the year 1927, it was the end of an era for Hamilton. All that was left of the Hamilton families legacy at the palace grounds was the Mausoleum and the mausoleum keepers cottage.

The little house next to the Mausoleum must have now felt like a lonely place to live. When the Palace was there, people would have passed the cottage every day but now it was isolated, and the area would have been very quiet. Thomas Kerr continued to live at the Mausoleum Lodge until his death. He died there on the 8th of July 1947, he was the Sixth and final person to die in the house.

One thing that I have to note, was the title of Thomas’s occupation on his death certificate. He was no longer referred to as the keeper of the mausoleum, he was titled as a ‘park ranger’.

With the recent flooding and the underground coal mines the Mausoleum and the cottage were in danger of following the same path as the Hamilton Palace. At some point in the 1960s, the cottage had subsided so much that Thomas Kerr had to be evacuated and rehoused. He was rehoused at the newly built Mausoleum cottage which was built at the foot of the hill next to the golf course. These houses are still here to this day and are privately owned.

Mausoleum Cottage.
The role of Keeper of the mausoleum was eventually made redundant when Strathclyde regional council took over the maintenance of the of the whole area. As the old Mausoleum cottage was left to rot, all the care and attention was directed to the Mausoleum itself.

Strathclyde regional council did a great job of maintaining the Mausoleum – one notable bit of maintenance that was carried out was when the glass dome had to be replaced. The original glass dome remained in place until July 1971 when it was replaced by Perspex which was lowered into position by helicopter.

This repair and replacement was necessitated owing to damage caused by birds pecking at the putty securing the original glass dome, in order to get at the linseed oil content of the putty, thus breaking through the original seal and permitting the entrance of the elements which would have caused damage the building.

Dome being replaced in 1971.WM.

At the start of this story I quoted “Masonic Chapel” Alexander, the 10th Duke of Hamilton, was Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland during the years 1820/22, and although the mausoleum was not designed or intended to be a building of purely Masonic significance, the many instances in which symbolic Masonic teachings have been incorporated throughout the construction cannot fail to impress the Masonic visitor, or be merely a coincidence.

In September I was contacted by Alex Johnstone who, at the time was a park ranger at Strathclyde Park. Alex told me some invaluable information on the old mausoleum cottage. The following words are from Alex:

“ In the early 1980,s i was privileged to work on the bowling greens tennis courts and Hamilton municipal golf course during my time working there along from memory along with one or the park rangers i entered the old caretakers cottage to clean it out then there was subsidence inside as when you entered you walked down a slope and went below to a floor below where the founds had subsided at one end and your feet forced you to slide from one end of the floor to the other so please beware if you or anyone enters the building.

Keepers House1 (2)

At that time Joe Smith was park manager, Ronnie McCormack was assistant park manager. the park rangers who i knew and worked alongside during winters were Eric Dunsmuir head park ranger, Robert (BOB)Reid, George Elliot, Tom McGregor, Campbell Bryant and Matt Mitchell.

Again, from memory some of the stuff we took out of the cottage was placed in a pre fab at the Bothwell haugh end of Strathclyde park some of the bits and pieces we took out may still be there it lay adjacent to the M74 across from the ash football parks.

From what i remember all the furniture had been removed and we took pick handles, spades, axe heads and bits of lathe drill bits. As i went inside the building i can remember turning left and going down some steps to the underground part then coming back up and clearing theough the ground level part, the building was in complete darkness, so we were using torches.

Keepers House. (2)

There is no problem using any of the info i give you in any articles you do. Seeing the state of the place this morning it is in a very sad state for our heritage, back in the 80,s there was a squad of men in huts beside the municipal golf course and every week the grounds were cleared of litter and both sides of the mausoleum were well maintained by the squad.

The grass cut both sides of road, paths regularly weeded and I remember when back then, the Winters were bad and as there was very little work could be done in any parks or football fields so the squads were sent down by the foreman with chain saws etc to keep the entry road to the innkeepers cottage clear for entrance from emergency vehicles and park security staff and all the rubbish taken away and dumped in coups.

In the late 70,s Harry Kerr was the guide for the Mausoleum and he stayed at No 2 Mote Hill the cottage beside the golf course and next door in No 1 was Wullie Sloane the golf course green keeper who i worked with under Hamilton district council before we transferred to Strathclde region as Strathclyde park had taken over the running of the complete Hamilton side of the palace grounds.

The Keepers House.

From memory Harry Kerr retired around 1976 to 78 and Wullie Sloane around 1980 around just after then was when i went into the cottage with Ronnie Mc Cormack and the park rangers and cleared out the remains taking most to the prefabs and some bits to our units at Strathclyde park in the water sports centre in Motherwell.

The park was run by the region until North Lanarkshire took over the running of the Motherwell side of the park and the Hamilton side was taken over by South Lanarkshire and from then on is when the Mausoleum and grounds have went sadly backwards.

Due to ill health i left the park in 1984 but still love to go a wander.

Where you have marked on the photo is exactly where we emptied all our finds back then were placed at present who has the keys to that prefab I have no idea but as i sometimes see Eric Dunsmuir in Burnbank on my travels if and when i see him i.ll ask him if he can help me any further also next time i am down that way will drop in at John Turnbull the ex Park manager s house ( 2 Mote hill ) in the 90,s house and ask him if he possibly knows any more.

While i was down this morning met a South Lanarkshire employee talking to him he was a building inspector his job to check safety of buildings he had a camera and as i left was going in the direction of the innkeepers cottage.

As i am unfamiliar with countryside laws nowadays at one time then the countryside commission gave out grants for renovations on old buildings could this possibly be a way forward of a clean-up or could it not be done on a volunteer basis like what happened a few year back in Parts of Chaterhault.

All the best, Alex”

Today there is a group of people who are taking a stance and are putting pressure on South Lanarkshire Council to take more care of the Mausoleum and the Mausoleum Cottage. people such as Walter Smith & Robert Reid are currently in talks with SLC and I am sure that most of you will agree that the keeper’s cottage must not be left to deteriorate any further. The Keepers cottage should be given the same status as the mausoleum and could be a great asset to the people of Hamilton.

Today the little cottage sits in the woods and is surrounded by overgrown shrubbery, but if you look beyond this, then you will see that this can be cleared very easily. All that would be needed would be a JCB to scrape all of this shrubbery and weeds and the cottage would be once more on proud display sitting side by side with the grand mausoleum.

I ask South Lanarkshire Council to consider this one thing? For the time being, can you please fix the roof, secure the building and make it watertight and at least for now, can you make it a focal point and part of the Mausoleum. The architecture of this house cannot be lost, this is our history and our inheritance from the Duke of Hamilton. It will cost less than the price of building a new car park to make the cottage safe and secure for us all to enjoy.

Historic Hamilton. © 2017

THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND IN CADZOW STREET TO CLOSE AFTER 115 YEARS IN THE TOWN.

Royal Bank Of ScotlandWM

THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND TO CLOSE.
 
It has been announced that the Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 62 of its branches throughout Scotland. Our branch which has stood in Cadzow Street for 115 Years has been confirmed as one of these branches. The new age digital world of online banking has brought the demises of high street banks and for this reason, Cadzow Street will lose an old familiar shop.
 
Hamilton Cadzow Street branch opened as an office of the National Bank of Scotland in October 1902. Hamilton at that time was already a thriving and important town with a population of around 7,600 people. Serval successful decades of coal mining brought considerable wealth to the area, as shown in the numerous fine buildings which were erected in Hamilton and particularly in Cadzow Street around the turn of the twentieth century.
 
The bank agreed to open a branch in the town at the request of William Dykes Loudon who was a local solicitor and town councillor, who believed that Hamilton could provide enough banking business to support another branch, in addition to the several which were already open in Hamilton.
 
National Bank of Scotland had been founded in Edinburgh in 1825 with more shareholders than any other bank in Britain. By the beginning of the twentieth century, it was operating around 125 branches in Towns and Villages throughout Scotland.
National Bank’s Hamilton branch first opened on the 20th of October 1902, with William Loudon himself as its agent. In its early years, the branch operated from Hamilton’s Masonic halls, originally near the bottom of Cadzow Street and Lower Auchingramont Road.
 
Just as William Loudon and the Bank’s directors had expected, the new branch was an immediate success. It was located in a thriving area of the town, with trams beginning to run along Cadzow Street in 1903, and the impressive new Municipal Buildings being opened in 1907.
 
Nevertheless, difficult times were on the horizon when the first world war broke out in 1914, the banking industry found itself facing new challenges. Levels of trade were reduced, money market rates were low, and staff shortages became severe as many Bank clerks of military age enlisted. William Loudon and two members of his staff from the Cadzow Street branch were among 439 employees of the National Bank of Scotland who left their posts to join the war effort.
 
After the war, business returned to normal, but Hamilton itself was changing. The coal mining industry had been severely affected by controls on exports and a shortage of workers during the war, and it never again returned to the levels of productivity that it had experienced at the turn of the century. Numerous Pits in the area were closed during the 1920s and 930s.
 
When the second world war began in 1939 the Banks resumed the special duties which governed their activities in wartime. Five men from the National Bank of Scotland’s Cadzow Street branch left to join the war. Meanwhile, the premises of the branch were also undergoing a change wherein 1942, the bank bought the site of 50 Cadzow Street and set about preparing it for use as a bank branch.
 
In fact, this was not the first time that 50 Cadzow Street had housed a Bank. In the 1860s and 1870s, the building had been owned by the Hamilton branch of the City of Glasgow Bank. This bank collapsed with huge debts and much publicity in 1878, leaving many of its shareholders, including serval citizens of Hamilton financially ruined. (Lewis Potter of Udston House in Burnbank was one of the men who went to prison as a direct result of the collapse of the Bank.)
 
In the early years of the twentieth century, the building had been occupied by a branch of Mercantile Bank of Scotland. More recently it had served as a shop of Peter Wyper & Sons but by the end of the war 50 Cadzow Street had become a bank once more and National Bank of Scotland’s Hamilton Brach was, at last, the sole occupant of premises of its own.
 
The Cadzow Street branch continued to trade successfully throughout the 1940s and 1950s, as new industries moved into the area replacing the old coalmining jobs. New housing was also built around the Town.
 
In 1959, the National Bank of Scotland merged with the Commercial Bank of Scotland, and 50 Cadzow Street branch became part of the National Commercial Bank of Scotland. In 1969 another merger occurred, this time between the National Commercial Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The new bank, with 693 branches enjoyed over 40 percent of Scottish Banking business.
 
The Royal Bank of Scotland now found itself with three branches in Hamilton, all located on Cadzow Street, there was the old National Bank at number 50, a former Commercial Bank Branch at number 88, and the original Royal Bank Branch at number 105. All three branches remained open, although the branch at 88 Cadzow Street was relocated in 1972 to Duke Street, in order to give a better geographical coverage of the town, particularly in the growing shopping area.
 
The branch at 50 Cadzow Street remained in its own premises and in 1980, a cashline machine was installed for the first time. The interior of the premises was also refurbished in the early 1980s and again in the mid-1990, but the exterior remains as much as it did when the branch first opened here in 1902. The branch absorbed the business of 105 Cadzow Street branch upon its closure.
 
Today and 115 years after it first opened its doors for business, Hamilton’s Cadzow Street branch continues to offer a full range of Banking services to our community, but for how long?
Royal Bank Of Scotland1

Hamilton Academy 1965, Class 2D.

Margaret Hewitt WM1

Margaret Hewitt sent us her old class picture of Hamilton Academy 1965 Class 2D.

Margeret told us:

“From the bottom. Can only remember a few names – no boys names.

2nd row from bottom / left to right – ?, ?, Norma Davidson, Jane?, Margaret Syme, ?, ?, ?, Marion Massey, Sheila McKenzie, Margaret Howie, ?

3rd row left to right – ?, ?, ?, Brenda Maher, Margaret Lapin, Patricia Barrie, Margaret Culbert, ?, Denise Arnold, Fiona?, ?

Can you fill out the blanks?

Lanarkshire Steel Works.

Margaret Hewitt WM

This picture was taken at the Lanarkshire Steel Works in Motherwell. Margaret Hewitt who lives in Australia sent this to Historic Hamilton and she told us that her dad at the time lived at Low Waters Road.

Andrew Howie who is the man in the suit is front row and third from the right. He was the foreman, Joiner. He later lived in Hillhouse when the family moved in 1958.

Margeret told us:

“This is the Joiner’s Shop at the Lanarkshire Steelworks in the early fifties. My Dad, Andrew Howie, third from right in front row, was the foreman joiner.
He lived on Low Waters Road and then we moved up to Hillhouse in 58. A lot of the men came from Hamilton.

My dad was born in Townhead Street, Hamilton on 31st December 1915 to William Howie and Isabella Napier. He was the youngest of five children all born within seven years four boys and one girl.

At some point, the family moved to Montrose Crescent and my dad became a champion swimmer. Later in his life, he joined Bothwell Bowling Club and was a member of a bowling team that represented Scotland.

He worked in the Lanarkshire Steelworks for forty years, taking early retirement when it looked like the Shire was closing down. During the war, he was a member of the Royal Marines for two years, stationed in Deal, Kent.

He married my mum in 1940 and they had 61 years of marriage until he died in 2001. They emigrated to Western Australia to be with us in January 1984, leaving Hamilton at minus 20 degrees and arriving in Perth to 44.5.”

Some of the names that we know, Garry, are Alec Mitchell, Bert Chambers and Jimmy Perrie. Not sure which is which.

Do you know any of the other men in this picture? If you do, then let us know.

Walter Wingate, Hamilton’s Poet. 1865 – 1918.

Walter Wingate WM.

Walter Wingate was born on 15 April 1865, in Dalry in Ayrshire, the fourth son of David Wingate, who himself was known as ‘The Collier Poet’, having achieved some local fame for his own poems and songs. While Walter was still an infant, the family removed to Lanarkshire, where he remained for the rest of his life.
 
He attended Hutcheson’s Grammar School in Hamilton and, at the age of 16, went to Glasgow University from where he graduated with honours in mathematics before the age of 20. He was keen to work for the Indian Civil Service, but though passing all the academic tests, failed the physical requirements due to poor eyesight.
 
Countering this disappointment, he turned to teaching, obtaining an appointment in St. John’s Grammar School in Hamilton as mathematics master, a position he continued to occupy until his untimely death at the age of 52. Many years later a memorial fund was inaugurated by the Hamilton Civic Society, and a framed picture of the poet was given to the school in 1932.
 
During his life Wingate contributed poems to the Glasgow Herald and Evening News, to magazines, and to the anthologies of the Glasgow Ballad Club, but never had a book of his own published.
 
In his editor’s note in the collection put together after Wingate’s death, (Poems, published by Gowans and Gray in 1919) Adam Gowans speculates that many of the poems ‘will become familiar and dear to his countrymen.’ Certainly the Scots pieces have: ‘The Sair Finger’ remains a popular recitation piece, along with ‘The Dominie’s Happy Lot’ and ‘Conscience’.
 
A contemporary reviewer in The Scotsman was of the opinion that ‘the Scots verses are racier and more humorous in expression’, while praising the tender meditations on nature in both languages. Wingate’s talent for capturing wayside flowers and their habitat in watercolours was equalled by his ability to paint in words the countryside he so loved to wander.
 
In 1907, Walter had married Agnes Thom, who predeceased him by two years; her sudden death affected him profoundly and may have hastened his own death in 1918. Their two sons were subsequently raised by relatives, including Walter Buchanan, also a member of The Glasgow Ballad Club, who contributed the preface to Wingate’s posthumous collection.