Auld Pals,,


Auld Pals,,

Written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey.

A wis gonnie tell ye a story aboot auld “Hillhoose” the fifty feet n’ the strawberry bing,
Bit jist as a wis writin it doon a gote a chapp it the door n’ that changed everything,
There wis a an auld pal stawnin there, a wee guy thit a hivnae see fur nearly fifty years,
The reason am tellin this is cause it’s youre fault “Historic Hamilton” fur bringin happy tears,,
A worked wae him in ” Liptons” In Hamilton, bit the wee manager wis always in a sulk,,
Ye know wannae them wee numtys’ he didnae like me wan bit, n’ hid a face thit curdled mulk,
“Am sick of yous’ twos’ carry oan” wae yir music blarin’ “yir seperatin” then, a bitter pill,,’
Willie, youre stayin in this shop wae me, n’ you, aye, you “yir gittin deported tae Bellshill”
He came doon tae see me cause his sister hid seen ma wee rantins’ on yir great site,
Him n’ “Mary Doll” n’ ma kids, hid gote the gither oan that “FACEACHE” n’he turned up friday night,
Am no kiddin’ when a say that surprised wisnae the word, ma hert jumped up, n’ a couldae swally”
Efter awe the years n’ some sheddin of tears thanks tae you a seen ma auld pal WILLIE MCINALLY,


JOHN McAULAY 1903 – 1946.

JOHN McAULAY 1903 – 1946.

Written by Garry L McCallum – Historic Hamilton.

Mharie Hughes contacted us as she was looking for information on her grandfather. Mharie wrote:

“Hi loving the site …. old pictures are great! Our family are looking for information/pictures of our late grandfather, sadly he passed away many years ago but none of our family have ever seen a photo of him.

My dad died 1981 and he himself never seen any pictures of his dad! Would you oblige us by asking your members if anybody has any memories or photos of our papa, he was named John McAulay known also as PEACHY was married to MAGGIE CALLISON we know that their family home was 1 LIVINGSTON STREET BURNBANK, tragically he was killed (as the story goes) in Burnbank 1947 near the “cross”

We would all be delighted if we received any response as we have been trying ourselves without any luck.

Thanks, in Advance
Mhairi Hughes (nee McAulay)”

Mhairi, I did some research on your grandfather and unfortunately, I couldn’t track down a picture of him. I did find his obituary in the Hamilton Advertiser from 1946. Your grandfather John died on the 7th March 1946, at 6:10 am at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and as you stated, he was married to Margaret Callison.

Your grandfather’s occupation was a Colliery Brusher (The Job of a brusher was quite a dangerous job and it involved working with dynamite to widen roads and make more space for the coal miners to work) there also seems to be some conflicting information on his occupation, as in the newspaper article from the Hamilton Advertiser it states that his occupation was an aero engine fitter, perhaps he was a colliery brusher before working as an engine fitter.

When John died, his address was indeed 1 Livingstone Street and tragically he was knocked down by a double-decker bus at Burnbank Cross. Burnbank Cross today is roughly where the old Clydesdale Bank building – now a betting shop is. The cause of John’s death was a fractured skull and laceration to the brain – it seems that he sustained a serious head injury caused by the accident. Immediately after the accident, he was taken to the Police Office in Burnbank where a doctor was sent for and it was then clear that he had to be moved to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

John McAuley Obit.John McAulay Obit1

Your grandfather’s brother, A McAulay of 53 Kerr Crescent in Hamilton was the person who registered your grandfather’s death. If anyone does indeed have a picture of John McAulay or any memories, then please can you share it with us.

John’s parents (your Great Grandparents) were Andrew McAulay who was a coal miner and Catherine Cooper. By 1946 your Great Grandfather Andrew had passed away and your Great Grandmother was still alive. It appears that Catherine remarried after your Great, Grandfather passed away as her new maiden name on her son’s death cert was Frasier. I found that she re-married a man named William Frasier a year later, on the 23rd of December 1910.

John McAulay Death1 1946.

I wanted to look further into your family tree, as I was curious about the family names, as I also have McAulay’s in my family, so I obtained a copy of your grandparent’s marriage certificate and they were married by Rev Falconer on the 31st of August 1923 at the United free church in Burbank. I see by 1923 your great-grandfather had died before your grandfather was married, so he must have died young. Your grandmother’s parents (your great grandparents on your gran’s side) were called Richard Callison who worked as an underground fireman and Mary Summers. When your grandparents were married, your grandfather John was living at 12 Wylie Street and your grandmother Maggie was living at 23 Holyrood Street. Maggie at the time was working as a cloth factory worker and your grandfather was working as a coal miner. You also thought your grandfather had a brother called Thomas, but you weren’t sure so I can confirm that he did as he was the best man at the wedding. The bridesmaid was your grandmother’s sister Mary Callison – I thought that this added a nice little touch to the wedding and they must have been quite a close family on both sides.

John McAulay & Maregaret Callison Marraige 1923. Snipet.jpg

When I tracked down your great grandfather’s death certificate I found that he sadly died on the 27th of December 1909 at 20 Lamb Street. He was only 31 years old and your grandfather John was only 3 years old. Your great grandfather died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.

Andrew McAulay Death 1909 Snippet..JPG

I have now linked your family into my family tree, I found that we have a family connection through your Great Grandfather Andrew, he was my 1st cousin 3 times removed and he was the son of John McAulay and Agnes Adams and they were a family from Hamilton. John McAulay who was your 2 times Great Grandfather was born at Sea! On the census returns he is recorded as a British Subject Born at Sea and I have this information from the 1881, 1891 and 1901 Censuses. I haven’t fully researched this side of my family for many years, so I intend to research them again over the coming weeks.

What I can tell you is that your Great, Great, Great Grandparents were called John Adams and Jean Pettigrew. The family of Adams and Pettigrew have been a long-established family who have been living in Hamilton for hundreds of years and still to this day, their descendants of this family line still live in the town. John and Jean were our 3 times Great Grandparents so that will make us 4th Cousins. Pleased to meet you.

Your 3 times Grandfather John Adams was born in the year 1829 in Hamilton and he was one of the many Chimney Sweepers in the town and was married twice, first to a lady called Margaret Doyle who died young and they had 1 child called James, he then married Jean and they had ten children, (Not much to do down in the Auld Toon in the mid-1800s) they lived in a couple of different houses in Church Street and John died on the 1st November 1884 at his house at 21 Church Street, he was 57 years old and he also died of T.B. Your Great, Great, Grandmother was Jean Pettigrew, she was born on the 21st June 1835 at the same house, 21 Church Street. Jean Pettigrew lived at Church Street all her life and she died on the 18th of November 1874 and her cause of death was recorded as Excessive Drinking so she clearly was an alcoholic.

Jean Adams Death Snipit..JPG

Moving on to our 4 X Great-grandparents and on the Adams family line they were Thomas Adams who was also a Chimney Sweep and Annie Condie. Thomas was born in Hamilton around the year 1804 and Annie Condie was also born in Hamilton around the year 1800 and Anne died between 1829 and 1834, I have not managed to track down her death certificate. Thomas and Annie Condie had at least two children between them who were John and Jean. After Annie’s death, Thomas remarried a lady called Jean Rankine who was from New Monklands and they lived at Grammar School Square where they had at least two daughters Grace and Helen. Thomas Adams (our 4th x great grandfather) died on the 7th of January 1860 at his home in Grammar School Square and his cause of death was Cardiac Decay, possibly from all the soot that he would have breathed in from all the chimneys that he swept.

Moving across to our 4 times Great Grandparents on the Pettigrew side, they were called John Pettigrew and Agnes Hodge, both yet again were born in Hamilton, they lived there all their lives and died there. John was a cotton weaver and they lived at Back Row for a time and he died on the 17th of December 1876 at his house in 14 Young Street, the cause of his death was a disease of the stomach. Agnes Hodge later worked as a Washer Woman and lived until the grand age of 91 where she died at 19 Leechlee Street, the cause of death was T.B. Together they had nine children between them.

Luckily for us, I have continued to trace our family back down a few more generations and I will try not to confuse you with all these names, but Genealogy does take time to get used to and I hope that I have explained myself as best as I can for you.

I will stay on the Pettigrew line and our 5 times Great Grandparents were called William Pettigrew and Christine Baillie. William Pettigrew was born on the 30th of May 1766 in Shotts and he was a Weaving Agent and wife Christine Baillie was born around the year 1785, I don’t have a place of birth for her. They at some point around the year 1807 moved to Hamilton and this is where this family line first set down their roots in the town. Our 6 times Great Grandparents in the Pettigrew line were called Thomas Pettigrew and Agnes Russell and they were born in Shotts and died there. Thomas was born around the year 1740 and Agnes was born around the year 1745. I don’t have any years of death for our ancestors, but I can tell you that they had five children between them. I am proud that I have traced this family line going back to 1740, this is 277 years of our family’s history that I have managed to trace.

I have added a screenshot of our family tree to try to put a visualisation together for you on what our family looks like. Please see the Family Tree below. You will also notice on the McAulay line the spelling is spelt as McAuley, this is due to early records of the name that I have transcribed.

McAulay Family Tree1.JPG

Mharie I wish that I could have tracked down a picture of your Grandfather John and maybe there is a picture of him out there somewhere but I hope that I have given you a nice little insight of your Ancestry and where your roots come from.

If you do manage to come across a picture of your grandfather then please share with all at Historic Hamilton.


Jim Bradley

Cheers Lads!

In the picture, we have two old pals Jim Holland & Jim Bradley having a drink at the Splendid Hotel.

They were at the Small Faces Gig which had taken place at the Splendid in 1966.

Did you attend this Gig? If you did let us know!

Picture courtesy of Jim Bradley’s son Nick & his daughter in law, Kimberly Bradley.


Greenfield Rows..JPG

On Saturday the 15th of April 1922 a charge of defrauding the Labour Exchange was preferred against James Todd, a rivet-maker, residing Greenfield Rows, Hamilton.
The Fiscal explained that the offence here was that the accused had concealed from the authorities at the Labour Exchange the fact that for two days had been working in the rivet works.
Accused James Todd told the Judge “I was under the belief that could work and make 20s a week without interfering with my right to the dole.”
Sheriff Stodart told Todd, I see no reason of a sentence £3, or twenty days’ imprisonment.
It is unknown to me what option James Todd had taken.
I wonder if this kind of punishment would deter able-working people from signing on in modern day Hamilton!


Garry & Emma Wedding.1


Today is my wedding anniversary!

I would like to wish my beautiful wife Emma, a happy anniversary and here is to the next fifteen years!

My wife and I met at the Hamilton Palace in August 1999 and we got married in a small church at Dolphinton at the edge of the Scottish Borders in 2002.

We had our wedding reception at the Tinto Hotel in Symington and had our honeymoon in Cancun Mexico. We have got three boys Daniel, Ryan and Caiden. Fifteen years married and our wedding day still feels like yesterday.

Do you share your wedding anniversary with us? If you do, then send us your wedding picture and we will post it on Historic Hamilton for all to see.


Last Milk Horse1

This picture tells a story of long tradition that has sadly gone. In the 1960s and for generations before the people in the picture, deliveries were done by Horse & Cart.
Before the days of the milk van, you wouldn’t look twice at a horse walking up your street. This picture was taken because it was the very last day of the milk being delivered by horse and cart, and it was this very picture that appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser. The exact date is unknown; however, it is believed to be sometime in the early 1960s. The young man feeding the horse is Tom Little and the woman leaning against the fence is Tom’s mum Jeannie Little.
The snapshot was taken outside the house of Tom Little at 17 Linden Lea and it was sent to us by Jane Little, who is Tom’s daughter. Jane told us:
“My dad is feeding the horse a treat, while my gran looks on. He didn’t work for the dairy. The dairyman is behind my dad, unfortunately out of sight. This interaction was also filmed and included in a film about “Old Hamilton” that I remember going to see with my mum and gran at the Hamilton Library sometime in the mid- to late-1970s. One of my dad’s younger brothers also appeared in that clip, running from the house to the pavement when the horse pulled up. I don’t have an exact date for the picture, but dad was born in 1947 so I’m thinking this was probably sometime between 1960 and 1963, based on how old he looks. My grandparents were Bill and Jeannie Little who lived at 17 Linden Lea.”
Bill & Jeannie raised 5 children, Tom was the oldest. Tom married Martha Courtney in 1965, and the family emigrated to Canada in 1980.
We would like to thank Jane for sharing her picture of her dad and the last milk delivery by Horse & Cart in Hamilton.



Burnbank Swifts..JPG

Burnbank Athletic or Burnbank Swifts were a local football club based in Burnbank, who played primarily in the Scottish Junior football association competitions from 1885 until they went out of business in 1962.

They won the Scottish Junior on five occasions.  Formed in 1885 as Burnbank Swifts, the club were one of the most successful sides in the early years of the Junior game. They provided four of the team which played England in the first Scotland Junior international fixture in May 1889, with forward Jock Espie scoring the sides first ever goal.

Burnbank Swifts1.JPG

Back Row L-R. J Newall, B Gillies, J Allan, P Cuthbertson, Jackie Tait, W Summers.

Front Row L-R J Gracie, J Pollock, M Paton, J Mitchell, W McAdam.

Espie later enjoyed a career in England with Burnley and Manchester City while full-back Bob Foyers went on to play for Newcastle United and the Scotland senior side. Having won the Scottish Junior Cup twice in succession in 1888–89 and 1889–90, the club turned to Senior football and entered the 1890-91 Scottish Cup.

An 11–0 thrashing of United Abstainers Athletic was an auspicious debut and Burnbank eventually reached the fourth round before losing 1–0 to Royal Albert. The Swifts briefly joined the Scottish Football Federation for a season in 1891 before leaving to concentrate on cups and friendly matches then flirted again with league football in 1895, joining the Scottish Football Alliance but again, only for one season.

The club returned to Junior football in 1898 and changed their name to Burnbank Athletic in 1900. This immediately preceded their third Scottish Junior Cup victory in 1900–01 and Athletic went on to win the trophy twice more in 1910–11 and 1944–45. The club went out of business in 1962.

Burnbank Swifts4.JPG

Other former Burnbank players include Tommy Cairns, Bobby Shearer, Willie Telfer and Jimmy Watson who all went on to win full international caps for Scotland later in their careers.

More to come on the Burnbank Swifts.