HAMILTON GROCER’S SHOP RAIDED May 1921.

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.

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