It was reported in the Hamilton Advertiser on Saturday the 5th of July 1862 that, “Stolen on the afternoon of the Sabbath last, between two and four o clock pm from Chanting Grove, Union Street, two hen chickens of the golden Spaniel breed…..Whoever will give information of their whereabouts at the office of this paper, or at the Hamilton police-office will be handsomely rewarded.”
I myself can’t help but think, that those two Golden Spaniel Breed chickens would have made a delicious Sunday dinner for the persons family that stole them.
Mary Ellen Connolly was born on the 25th of December 1875 at James Street in Sligo Ireland, she was the daughter of Michael Connolly (A Baker) & Maria Carr.
Mary lived in Sligo with her parents, 5 brothers & 3 sisters and later moved to 9 Cranmore Street. She was married at the age of 25 to a local man called Patrick McAuley. They immigrated to Scotland in the summer of 1902 and moved to Motherwell where Patrick gained work at one of the local coal mines.
On the 29th of October Mary gave birth to twins Mary & Annie at Fairfield Place in Coursington Street, Motherwell, where they lived for a further 9 years before moving to Glasgow for a short period.
The family then moved to Hamilton where Patrick was working as a railway plate layer and lived at 28 Bailles Causeway. Sadly Mary’s husband Patrick became ill and died of Pneumonia on the 25th of April 1913. Mary gained employment as a laundry worker and moved to 8 Back-o-Barns where she would live the rest of her life.
Six years later, Mary met a widower called James Brunton who was a carter and originally from Peebles, he lived in Hope Street and they had a son in the year 1919 who they named James Brunton. Mary & James later married on Mary’s birthday on the 25th December 1934 at St. Mary’s RC Chapel.
Sadly James died on the 11th of April 1947 and Mary was once again a widower. Mary’s daughter, Mary continued to live in Hamilton and has an extensive family who are the McCallum’s, McNamee’s Poultons & Mitchells. Annie (Mary’s twin) later immigrated to Canada where she met a local man Amos Anderson and they raised a family with two daughters who they named Thelma & Olla. Sadly Thelma Died in 2008.
Olla who is married to Jim Stephens have their own family and still to this day, Olla keeps in touch with her Scottish cousins Janette McCallum,James Poulton & Anne-Marie & Mary Mitchell.
Mary continued to live at 8 Back-o-Barns for the next eight years until she sadly took an epileptic fit on the 18th of March 1951 and unfortunately when this happened she was standing at her fireplace and when she collapsed and her apron caught fire. She was taken to Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride where she died the next day of second degree burns.
Mary was survived by her three children and she was sadly missed by all.
The Higgins Brothers from Cadzow, Hamilton, were great characters who exemplified the courage and hardship of the time in and after the First World War. Miners and fighters all.
They lived in the Miners rows and also lived upstairs from the Ranche Bar, a famed miners pub in Eddlewood. There was 13 of them, including the children! Mary Higgins the mother, was Mary Murphy before she married and was a bleach-field worker in the Paisley mills. Her parents were Irish. Dominick Higgins, the father, came from an Irish family who moved into Hamilton probably at the time of the Irish famine.
They typify the families of the area, resilient, real characters, miners, and Irish. Mary Higgins, my grandmother, also worked at the pit-head and was every bit as tough (with a heart of gold). She moved to Hall Street and then to Arden Court before she died. She was a great character and lived until she was 93. Jim Higgins became British and Empire bantamweight champion in 1920 and won the Lonsdale belt outright in 1921 in a record time of under one year (the win and two defenses) which stood until the nineteen fifties when Peter Keenan missed the chance the to break it, but he didn’t do it, so it was never matched or broken.
It is said he was robbed of a lot of his winnings from his fights by his manager. It is said he sold his Lonsdale belt to an American sailor and is now in the states somewhere. It is unique, because it was the last belt won under the British and Empire Championship (before this was changed to just British). It is said the Higgins’s laid the foundation for boxing in Hamilton and one of the brothers maybe Jim or Terrance set up a boxing club there, where a Joe Gans, father of Walter McGowan learned from Jim Higgins. Jimmy died in his sixties after acting as a bouncer in a bookies shop in the Gallowgate in Glasgow.
Tommy (Mouse) Higgins, a younger brother was also a famed boxer from Cadzow in the 1930s winning many professional and national championships. He was called Mouse because he was under five foot and weighed in at seven stone six pounds. A flyweight, he fought Benny Lynch for the British championship and he was only beaten by points decision, even though Benny was nine pounds heavier. He fought Lynch three times and Benny went on to win the World championship. Harry Lauder was in the Cadzow pits and he may have worked alongside the Higgins’s.
There are newspaper cuttings from 1932 which tells of Harry Lauder taking him under his wing, Tommy becoming his protégé. Terence Higgins lived in Millgate in Fairhill and died at the age of 88. He was a great character, an old tough miner with a great spirit. His mother Mary (Murphy) Higgins sent him a postcard (attached) when he was at the Front in France, during the First World War, it says: “My Dear Son Terence Higgins. Only a Post card from your mother in Hamilton to let you know we all well. Hopping you are the same and hope to God, seeing by the Papers, the Gordons have led the way in this big charge. I only hope to God, my son, you are one of the lively lads and God has spared you to pull your hard Battle through . My Son Terrence May God Guide and Protect you and send you a safe return to you mother. Good night son and good luck and god bless you and I will have for you. Terry night and day so cheer up son and have a good heart and will rite soon again. Hoping to hear from you soon. Kiss From Mother.
This is so poignant because when she wrote the post card she wouldn’t have known whether he was alive or dead.
He came home though, even although he lost an eye! His granddaughter advised that Terry (Higgins) had told his son (David Higgins) that out of ten pals that joined up only two came back Terry Higgins and Terry Murphy (his cousin) both had been shot four times. He said a young man called Kit Rocks was the youngest soldier from Cadzow to be killed.
Terrence Higgins was always proud of the fact that he was the only man in two wars to survive being shot “6 o’clock in the bull” which was the term used to describe a shot between the eyes! That was in 1914, he went back to war and lost his eye after being shot again in 1918!
How many times have you driven down Muir Street and looked over to the back of the Hamilton town house and noticed the large car park. Perhaps you work at the library and park at the staff car park behind the building or do you even live at Back Row?
The Hamilton town house car park looks spacious and has a rectangle shape to it, however this area wasn’t built or designed this way to make space for cars. The land beneath the car park is actually an old graveyard. The tarmac was laid over the graves as the last coffin was laid rest over 100 years ago.
Before Smellie’s Auction House was built there was a United Presbyterian Church of Scotland that was large enough to hold 1050 seats. The church occupied the same area of land as Smellie’s at the corner between Muir Street & Lower Auchingramont Road and the graveyard was situated directly across the road from the church.
It was rumoured that the graves were all moved to the Bent cemetery after they removed the headstones from the graveyard, however there was over 300 graves at the car park and at the Bent there is only one marker stone that could possibly only hold four graves at a maximum.
The only evidence to this day that the graveyard even existed is a marker stone that shows where the burial place is of John J Thomson & Ann Watson who could have possibly been Husband & Wife.
Today I paid my respects to all the people of Hamilton who are currently buried at the old Hamilton graveyard under the car park of the Hamilton Library! The next time you drive past take a minute and spare a thought because this could be your ancestors that are laid to rest here.
We were looking for a picture of the George Lloyd Motorcycle supermarket in Peacock Cross (Which is now a Carpet superstore) as i understood they were one of the largest motorbike suppliers in the UK. We couldn’t track a picture down, however we did manage to hear a little bit about the Bike superstore.
I spoke with Yvonne Hamill who works at the Hamilton Motorcycle services and she did manage to track down a picture, she told us.
“In the picture is George Lloyd who is the one with the white shirt (far right) next to him on the left is Bert Sneddon then next is Hugh Adams only other one that I can recall is on far left who is Billy Strain.
George Lloyd died in 2013 and is buried in the bent cemetery. His business lives on through his wife and kids. This is the works shop the show room was in Cadzow street which became the rococo night club.
They then moved to their purpose build show room at peacock cross which is now a carpet shop. George Lloyd was the biggest motorcycle set up in Europe in the 1970s.
The last apprentice was a guy called David who served his time in the peacock cross hypermarket! He was there till they stopped selling bikes in 1987. Years later we opened Hamilton motorcycles in the 1st lloyds workshop. We opened Hms in April 2003”
Silvertonhill is a sought after residential area of Hamilton, Scotland based around Silvertonhill Avenue. Situated approximately 5 minutes south of the town centre, Silvertonhill contains a mix of both detached and semi-detached, privately owned housing. Silvertonhill contains two well-regarded primary schools – Woodside Primary School and Chatelherault Primary School
Much of the Silvertonhill estate was built by breaking through the boundary wall of the “High Parks”: the Duke of Hamilton’s hunting estate. The old Duke had wisely insisted that this original estate have a high ratio of green space to housing, resulting in the huge green park space between Chatelherault Crescent and Silvertonhill Avenue; a factor that contributes to the enduring appeal of the area. This green land notably contains some of the Old Oaks for which the High Parks are famous. The woodland of the High Parks to the east of the area is the Duke’s private land but is an extended playground for local children, along with the nearby banks and cliff faces of the Covan.
When originally built the estate was also famous for having only three patterns of key amongst the hundreds of front doors. If locked out, one simply borrowed one’s neighbour’s key. There were no mortice locks fitted as standard and children returning home were able to put their arms through the side mounted letter boxes and release the latches.
Originally, Bannatyne & Jackson’s rose nursery occupied a wide strip of land some five hundred metres long on the north side of the wall, outside the High Parks. This ran from Hutchison Street in the south almost to the Covan Burn in the north east and the land was sold off in three stages from 1962-1977. The newest housing in Silvertonhill dates from this last stage.
Old maps of the area show only one house on the old road. It is the detached house immediately to the south of Johnstone Road. There is also a farm house or Building situated where the now Larch Grove has been built.
The local nickname for this area is “Spam Valley”, as a joke they say the people spend so much money on their houses that the only food they can afford to buy is Spam.
One of the streets that was built is called Laburnum Lea! In the picture is Laburnum Lea under construction in 1963, at which time it was the only private estate in that area. When this street was under construction there were a few houses at the bottom end of Silvertonhill Avenue but from the land which is now occupied by Chatelherault primary school were open fields which stretched all the way up to Strathaven Road and which were occupied by grazing cattle.
Alan Lawrie, was a hard working farmer who lived in Quarter. He grew up on his dads farm and enjoyed a happy childhood. His dads farm was called Killinhill Farm and it was one of the largest farms in the village.
Alan’s story is a very sad one and was told to Historic Hamilton by a family friend who now lives in Australia. Helen Williams told us: “I don’t have all of his story but from what I know he was penniless living on the streets when my brother took him in and got him a job driving a tractor” I can only imagine that this would have gave Alan some of his pride back and hopefully a bit of happiness as he would have been once again doing something that he loved.
Helen continued: “Alan went from riches to rags with lawyers taking much of what he owned and then eventually other people or so-called friends taking advantage of him. He eventually lost his family farm and not only was this farm his livelihood, it was also his family home. Alan had no option but to find an alternative home and at one stage he lived in a small caravan with no heating or running water, but things got worse for poor Alan, he eventually ended up out on the street”. Alan told Helen that when he was homeless he used to have wash at Hamilton Baths!
Helen went on to tell us “I had said to Alan that too many photos end up in the bin when people leave this world and I feel we should log them. We didn’t even know that Alan had the photos, he has no direct living family. I’d say they are the only things he has left of the days on his farm”.
There are still kind people in this world and Historic Hamilton would like to say well done to Helen’s brother who took Alan in from the streets and gave him work and a new home. Alan still lives in Helen’s brothers house in East Kilbride and is now 71 years old.