The second annual gala day of the Eddlewood and Neilsland Collieries took place on Saturday last. It is a day in which young and old participate, and on this occasion the number of children was very much larger than last year owing to the fact that on Saturday the children of all the workmen in the collieries were included, instead of only those associated with the village.

Nearly 1000 young people turned out, and were marshalled in  procession at 11 o’clock in front of the Workmen’s Hall, Eddlewood. Headed by Auchinraith Brass Band, the children tidily dressed and carrying flags and bannerettes, and each fortified with the indispensable “tinny” marched to a field on Cornhills Farm, kindly granted by Mr Robert Frame. Here buns and milk were supplied and appeared to be greatly relished. The sports were afterwards commenced and continued throughout the rest of the day.

The boys and girls got their opportunity first, and the many substantial prizes were competed for with much zeal and uncommon energy. The sports for the youths and older people began later in the afternoon, during which the field presented a very animated appearance. For the amusement of the children a maypole and swings were erected on the filed, and they received a constant and vigorous patronage. So also did the dance programme, which was ably engineered by M.C’s Charles Rodger and Andrew Skewies, and kept going lively by the creative band strains. The weather, upon the whole was favourable, the few showers that fell during the afternoon creating little or no inconvenience.

When the programme was concluded the children were again formed in procession and, lead by the band, marched homewards, not just to spick and span as they were in the morning, but doubtless, deeming the day’s enjoyment all too brief. Mr John Blake Manager, presided over the proceedings, and among the officials who took an active part in arranging and supervising the details were:– Mr Hugh McFadyen. Convener of the general committee; Mr William Whitehouse, who performed a great deal of useful secretarial work. The following are the results of the sports.

BOYS AND GIRLS. Girls races:–Five years–1, Lizzie Rodney; 2, Lizzie Lyons; 3, Jeanie Hamilton; 4, Lizzie Thomson. Six years—1 Cissie Lyon; 2, Martha Campbell; 3, Janet Dykes; 4, Nellie Berry. Seven years–1. Mary Summers; Annie Reynolds; 3. Janet Corbett; 4. Maggie Thomson. Eight Years – 1, Janet Rankine; Minnie Ramsey; 3. Grace Earle; 4. Susan Collins; Nine years–1 Chrissie Lyons; 2. Barbara Brown; 3. Janet Flynn; 4. Mary Thomson;. 10 Years. 1. Kate Paterson; 2, Mary Collins; 3. Mary Sherry; 4. Maggie McGonigal; Eleven Years–:1. Maggie Brown; 2, Mary McGraw; 3. Janet Robertson; Janie McGuire. Twelve years–1 Nellie Burgoyne; 2, Lizzie McGraw; 3. Maggie Calder; 4. Madge Cook. Thirteen years–1. Annie Summers; 2 Annie Corbett; 3. Susan Wilkie; 4, Jeanie Baird. Fourteen years–1. Joan McKenzie; 2. Anne Paton; 3. Bella McGarry; 3. 4. Rose Ann Rodden. Girls skipping race;- Five, six and seven years— 1. Maggie Stewart; 2. Jeannie Clark; 3. Lizzie Thomson; 4. Lizzie Rodden. Eight to fourteen years—–1. Maggie Brown; 2. Lizzie McGraw; 3. Christina Lyons; 4 Annie Summers.

Boys Races—:—Five years–1, Hugh Lyons; 2. W. McManus; 3. Thomas Baird; 4. James McGregor; Six years–1, Archd, Rodden; 2. Jas. Ballantyne; 3. James Bain; 4, David Wilson. Seven years–1, Thomas Miller; Andrew Dunn; 3. James Wilkie; Dan Kerr; Eight years— 1, Joe Robertson;  2. Thomas Miller; William Baird; 4, Hugh McKay. Nine years—1. John Kerr; 2. John Rodger; 3. Nicol Jardine; 4. Thomas Whitton. Ten years. 1, Isaac McGill; 2. John Gillard; 3. Michael Cunningham; 4. Robert White; Eleven years—1.  David Symons; John Garrity; 3. James Rodden; 4. Robert Hamilton. Twelve years— 1. John Calder; 2. James Maxwell; 3. Patrick Robertson; 4. Thomas Rodden. Thirteen years 1. William Borland; 2. Sam Barclay; 3. John Cunningham; W. Connelly. Fourteen years –1. Matthew Grannochan; 2, Wm. Connelly; 3. Alex McKinven. Candy-Barrow races;_ Five, six, seven and eight years.—1. Francis Calder and A. Hamilton; 2 James Calder and Robert Orr; 3. Robert Hamilton and James Wilkie; Nine to fourteen years–1. David Symons and Robert Hamilton; 2. William Paterson and Sam Barclay; 3. Arthur Brown and John Gilmour. Sack Races;— Five, six, seven and eight years—1, William Clarke; 2. James Calder; 3. David Hendry. Nine to fourteen years—1, Alex McKinnon; 2. Robert Hamilton; 3. David Symons.

Boys high leap under fourteen years—1. John Kerr; 2. David Symons; Boys 100 yards handicap, under 15 years—1. John Forrest; 2. William Hepburn; 3. James Houston; 4. D. Symons. The racing in this event was very good, showing that the boys had been under careful training’ Boys five-aside football–Owing to the scarcity of time, only the first round of this was played off.

OTHER EVENTS.—-120 yards handicap—1. John Gillespie; 2. Dennis Brown; 3. Walter Baxter. Old man’s handicap (from 45 years upwards.)–1. Peter McLuskey; 2. Wm. Perris; 3, John McCarrol. The racing in this event was very good, the winner especially showing a good turn of speed.

Unmarried ladies race— 1. Annie Hughes; 2. Susan Burgoyne; 3, Janet Baxter. There was also a special prize for this race, which was won by Martha Wilson.

Married ladies races—. 1. Mrs Berry; 2. Mrs Cook; 3. Mrs Young. This race created considerable amusement to the spectators, and was perhaps the most enjoyable of the day. Men’s high leap—1, A. Hodge; 2 John McCarthy.

Men’s five-a-side football.—. A good many entries for this event were taken. The five prizes –handbags— were won by No 6 team, and the second prize –non magnetic watches–were won by No 10 team.

Half-mile handicap –1. James Haley; 2. William Hutton; 3. Patrick Quinn.

Five-a-side tug of war–This event created the most excitement of the day. Teams representing each pit, and one from the surface competed. The surfacemen carried of premier honours, second place being taken by John Callison’s team representing No. 1 Pit Neilsland.

Ref. Hamilton Advertiser 11/8/1906 page 4. 


PRESENTATION. A number of the workmen of Eddlewood and Neilsland Collieries met in Eddlewood Workmen’s Hall on Monday evening to do honour to Mr Charles Walker, under manager, who has laboured amongst them for the past six years, and who having obtained a situation abroad leaves the Old Country on Thursday first. After tea had been partaken of (which was provided by Mr William Kyle in really first class style, Mr Blake manager, who presided, gave a very minute and interesting account of Mr Walker’s abilities, and also of the interest he took in everything pertaining to the village, and said that he was quite sure in wishing Mr Walker God-speed, he did so in the name of every workman in the works. He then called on Mr Joseph McGowan to make the presentation (which consisted of a gold hunter watch and albert for Mr Walker, and for Mrs Walker a handsome gold chain), which he did in a very simple and pleasing manner, wishing in the name of the workmen, both Mr and Mrs Walker long life and happiness, Mr Walker, on behalf of Mrs Walker and himself, thanked the workmen of Eddlewood and Neilsland Collieries for their handsome presents, and also for the kindness that they had always been shown towards them while amongst them. A very pleasant evening was afterwards spent with songs and readings. The singing of “Auld Lang Syne” and “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” brought a very happy meeting to a close. The presents were supplied by Mr David Calder, Quarry Street. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 15/8/1906 page 4.

This story was kindly donated to Historic Hamilton by local author & Historian Wilma Bolton, Wilma has published two books Black Faces & Tackety Boots and Pit Props & Poines. The above documentation is only available at the to view at the Hamilton Reference library.

Please visit Wilma’s site if you would like to purchase one of her books.



The Odeon


The Odeon was built across the street from the ABC Regal Cinema. It was one of the original cinemas in the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. The building was designed by the cinema chain’s house architects Andrew Mather,


The Odeon opened on 14th November 1938 with George Raft in “Spawn of the North”. The building was faced in cream faience tiles, and had a small slab tower on the left-hand side. Seating in the auditorium was provided for 1,353 in the stalls and 466 in the circle.


The Odeon was closed for tripling on 1st March 1980, and re-opened on 5th April 1980 with 466 seats in the former balcony, and screens 2 & 3 in the former stalls seating 224 and 310.


The Odeon Was closed by the Rank Organisation on 26th August 1999, and was immediately demolished. The site is now a car park.

Ticket from the last ever showing on the last ever night, before the Odeon closed.

From my own collection in the last picture you will see a ticket that was from the very last showing, on the very last night, before it closed. It was Wild Wild West with Will Smith. Ths showing was on the 26/08/1999, I went with two of my pals and it was quite emotional. I can recall the showing being half empty, and sitting next to us were an elderly couple who must have been in their 70s, they had obviously gone on the last night to reminicse.


The time that David Bowie nearly came to Hamilton.

Paulvevevrka.David Bowie.

Paul Veverka of The Blantyre Project sent us this news paper article of the time that David Bowie nearly played in Hamilton.

David Bowie once was billed to play at Hamilton in 1969 at the Town Hall, Five years after his friend Mick Jagger played at the Chantinghall Hotel, however the show was cancelled and all ticket money had to be returned.

Did you have a ticket to see David Play that night? Let us know.


Beckford Street School, Anti-Smoking League.




This fantastic piece of memorabilia was sent to us by Karen Martin. The card was collected by Karen’s dad, who likes to keep Hamilton memorabilia and it dates from Beckford Street School in the year 1907.

The Card reads:


Anti-Smoking league – I promise to abstain entirely from Tobacco in any form till I reach the age of 21 years.
Signed by George Campbell – Class teacher – John F Lang
Malcolm Blair F.E.I.S,, Headmaster. Date: August 1907.”

I asked Karen if there was a story behind this anti-smoking card, however as it was bought by Karen’s Dad, he didn’t know if there was or not!

I can picture the said George Campbell being caught smoking at school and the Headmaster giving him an ultimatum of Ten of his finest strokes, or to keep off the fags until he was 21……I know what option I would have picked!!

Tommy Ward

I had a message from Janette McCallum & John Murray, asking about local “Hamilton Characters”, one of the Characters who was mentioned twice was a guy called Tommy Ward!

John Murray wrote:

“Who remembers Jimmy Hamilton? How about Tommy Ward? Both Hamilton characters, would love to hear from folks that remember them”

Janette McCallum wrote:

“Can anyone remember Tommy Ward who used to walk around with his little dog wearing woman’s clothes”

Now I had never heard of Tommy Ward as he was before my time, However we had another post from Margaret Murray that was copied from the Facebook page, “The two Larky mashers from Avon High Street.”

Here is the Post below:

“Tommy Ward- the World’s First Homosexual?

Mashers who frequented Hamilton Town Centre in the 1960’s may have heard of the name, Tommy Ward.

Remember this was a time when Gay was a descriptive word for Paris or described your mood on a night out after a few pints.

In fact The Sexual Offences Act 1967 became an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom (citation 1967 c. 60). It decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men, both of whom had to have attained the age of 21. The Act applied only to England and Wales and did not cover the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces. Homosexuality was decriminalised in Scotland by the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 and in Northern Ireland by the Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982.

To me in my Macho world Tommy Ward was all of the above and a ‘poof’ or any of the other words around at the time, and there were plenty, and worse.

I had heard of the guy, and the fact that he dressed up as a woman, but I had never actually seen him and as time passed I wrote it off as a myth.

Until one night coming up from the Splendid Hotel passing by the Chez Suzette’s Coffee Bar and approaching the Cross I was aware of someone standing in a doorway. I turned round, and I’ll be honest, got the fright of my life, It was him, Tommy Ward, not in woman’s clothing, but a tall man, dark hair with make up, very effeminate looking, a sort of Lanarkshire Liberace.

As I quickened my pace the insults from across the street from a group of lads grew louder, I think you can guess the tone and words used, but he got the works.

I saw him around Hamilton a couple of times after that, and it was always the same, abuse was hurled at him and to be fair he gave it back.

Thinking back he was a pioneer for gay rights in our area, he took the insults, and life must have been hard for him, but he obviously had guts. He was just born in the wrong era.

Did you know of him?

To me, he was Tommy Ward, the World’s First Homosexual.”

Who was the “Hamilton Character” that always makes you laugh? Let us know and share your memories.

Wilma & Eileen Bolton 1947

Wilma & Eileen Bolton taken in 1947 out the back of our prefab at 133 Mill Road.


Wilma Bolton sent us a picture of her & her sister Eileen taken in 1947 out the back of our prefab at 133 Mill Road.

Wilma was four and her sister was eight. Behind can be seen Laighstonehall House and you can see the damage by subsidence. It is on a slope. In front of it is McAffer’s tomato greenhouses.

If you would like to send us your family photos, then we will share for all to see. they can be sent strait to the page or by email to historichamilton@icloud.com.