Hamilton’s Sons and Daughters .

Hamilton’s Sons and Daughters

Written for Historic Hamilton by Kit Duddy.

Hamilton’s sons and daughters
settled within it’s nest, take stock
of what surrounds you this is your
lifelong test.

Milestones are carved, deep in
your subconscious there, but monuments to your past will
die while you sit upon
your chair.

Progress is always marching
sometimes it’s not in step,
demolishing our buildings
which in truth we should
have kept.

One way streets are like merry
go rounds when our planners
have their day, I’m sure it’s
just their children designed
it while at play.

If we are to lose our history
then why can’t the world be
told, this is Hamilton Town
our new buildings must be
bold.

Changes are our future as
they were in times gone bye,
why can’t we have a Hamilton
whose beauty makes you sigh.

Kit Duddy.

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Mr Hanna’s Sweetie Shop at Russell Street.

Mr Hannah's Sweet Shop Russell Street Freddie Krukar.

 

Back in the 1950s through to the 1980s, Mr Hannah owned this little sweetie shop that sat on the corner of Russell Street and High Blantyre Road.

Mr Hannah sold Sweets, Tobacco and other little day-to-day things. He would sit in his shop and he loved his pipe and would often be sitting puffing away when you walked in.

He also owned the pidgeon huts just up the road a bit, some of you may remember that the pigeon huts were built on stilts, as they were built on the hill next to the burn that separates Hamilton & Blantyre.

What are your memories of Mr Hannah’s sweetie shop? Do you have an old picture of a building in Hamilton that is no longer standing? If you do, then please send them to us.

Picture courtesy of Freddie Kruger.

Wee Amanda at Butlins.

Amanda Clinton 1985. I find it really funny when I come across pictures of my old pals. This cheeky little Girl is Amanda Clinton, who was aged 5 in 1985.

Amanda of Dean Crescent looked so bright-eyed and full of vitality that the judges had no choice but to award her the first prize in the Wisdom picture of health competition.

Amanda was on holiday at Butlins in Ayr with her Mum and Dad, Angela & Dermot, as well as her little brother also called Dermot.

Do you have any pictures that you would like to share? Send them to us and we will share with everyone on Historic Hamilton.

THE TINKERS OF GREENFIELD IN BURNBANK.

Tinkers.

 

In the mid-1980’s a group of travellers came to Burnbank with their horses, waggons and vans. They were the last known group of Tinkers to come to Hamilton as they were being phased out and forced to live in council houses.

For hundreds of years, Tinkers have passed through not only Hamilton but all over Scotland using old roads and forgotten by-ways. They were also known as the Summer Walkers, as they settled in an area for winter and travelled in the summer days.
There are many different types of travellers, they are Irish, Romany, Gypsies, and Scottish Tinkers and just like the Royal family and British hierarchy, they all keep to their own kind with cousins marrying cousins and a strong family marrying into another.

This group of Tinkers however and for some reason unknown to many never moved on in the summer. They set up their Tinkers Camp at Greenfield and they stayed at Burnbank for longer than most of the residents wanted them to.

In the old years, the Scottish Tinker was welcomed every summer by many generations of housewives and Farmers alike. They were very hard-working people and when they came to town they brought their trade with them.

The men were great Tinsmiths and they made and mended pots and pans, they made spoons and forks and anything that could be used in the kitchen, the men would make these scullery objects.

They also made Baskets and worked on the Farms, so once a year they had repeat customers and the Tinkers wives were great Hawkers, who went around the doors selling their Husbands goods, the Tinker women also earned money by reading palms and selling lucky white heather.

If the Tinker family were in town, then the Farmers welcomed them and either gave them land to pitch their bow tents or in the colder days, they were offered a barn to sleep in.

Anthony McCallum c1900-Hamilton

However, this was in the old days and when you could now buy ladles and kitchen utensil’s cheaper than the cost to repair it, the Tinkers trades went out of fashion. The tractors on the Farms got bigger and there was less need for hard manual labour.
The family of Tinkers who were camping at Greenfield could all have been from the same one, however, it is likely that they were different families.

Most of the Tinkers at the camp were hard-working people, but it was also known that there were thieves among them and from time to time, the travellers clashed with the residents of Burnbank and fighting among them was common.

The police were called to the Tinkers camp many times by Burnbank residents and some of the alleged offences were urinating in the street, noise making at night and many other things. The environmental health board were sent for on many occasions and each time they attended the Tinkers Camp, they were chased off by brute force and dogs.

The Hamilton burgh police were also accused in February 1985 of turning a blind eye to the goings on at the Camp and a headline in the Hamilton Advertiser read “The law has gone soft on Travelling People”. A local councillor got involved to try to have the council disperse the camp but at the time the government had a policy of non-harassment of Travellers, which prevented the Police using their full powers to move the camp on.

The site at Greenfield where the travellers camped was deemed an illegal site, but nonetheless, they were never moved away from it.

So, the residents of Burnbank thought that the Tinkers were there for a long stay! One weekend in the middle of February and without notice, a mass exodus suddenly had taken place! The Tinkers had all packed up and left the illegal Greenfield Camp Site.

Of the 18 caravans pitched there, only four remained, following what was understood to be a dispute between the Traveller families.

The police reported that at the time of their departure, there had been no reports of a disturbance or any crime connected to the dispute, which involved two families.

The future of the controversial traveller’s colony was in doubt and it was not known when the four other remaining caravans were to move. There was also a dispute between Strathclyde Regional Council and the local authority as to who actually owned the land. (I bet today, there would be no argument as to who owned a bit of land, no matter its size!)

There was a proposal put forward to allow the remaining travellers to stay at Burnbank until a new legal campsite became available at Swinhill in Larkhall that Summer.
The district council agreed on the condition that the region provides toilet facilities on the site and when the travellers eventually move off Greenfield, the site had to be fenced off to prevent any of them returning.

The management of the adjacent Lanarkshire Bolt works Ltd also made complaints about the Travellers interfering with the water main in the area and turning the main entrance to their premises into what one executive described as “an Ice Rink” with possible risk of injury to its employees.

So, the last of the travellers finally packed up and left Greenfield and moved on to their new premises at Larkhall, where I’m sure some of them still remain to this day. But they did leave us with the memories of how this old way of living was still in existence even in 1985.

We would love to know what your memories are of the Travellers who lived in Burnbank? Or even better, do you have any pictures?

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.

AWARD FOR ANNSFIELD ROAD NEWSAGENT.

Alex Fotheringham 1985WM.

In 1985 Alex Fotheringham was making news instead of selling it. He was elected, president of the Scottish Council of the national federation of retail newsagents.
 
In 1985 Mr Fotheringham’s family had owned the newsagent’s shop at 20 Annsfield Road for more than 50 years.
 
His new post put him in charge of an organisation which represented the interests of 3,000 Newsagent members throughout Scotland.
 
Mr Fotheringham who was 50 at the time said that his wife Ellen, along with his three grown-up children, Anne, Andrew & Ellenor would be helping out in the shop during his presidential time with the organisation.
 
What are your memories of Alex Fotheringham’s Newsagents on Annsfield Road?