Dr John Dykes.

Woodside House on the 1858 map of Hamilton.

Dr John Dykes was Born in Hamilton on the 27th of June 1786,  and he was the son of John Dykes, who was a captain in the Royal Navy and his mum was Isabella Miller. Dr Dykes was a well-known and much-respected Doctor & surgeon in Hamilton and information provided by the 1841 &  1851 census’s suggests that Dr Dykes could have possibly spent some time working in Edinburgh, or did his training here.

He owned and was living at Woodside House which was just off Woodside Walk in Hamilton and Woodside house was recorded as a ‘Fine dwelling house’ which had a large beautiful garden, the garden and house were surrounded by lots of lovely trees and as; at the time Woodside Walk was quite far away from the centre of Hamilton it would have given one the feeling that one was living out in the country. Woodside house also had a feature that I have not seen before and at the bottom of the garden there was a small pool of water that is recorded as a “Bath”.  The Bath also had a small building next to it and also a set of steps leading down to the water.

The Bath at the bottom of the garden at Woodside House. (1858)

I am unsure as to what exactly this ‘Bath’ was actually used for, it could have been an old well, and looking at the 1858 map of Hamilton it seem to be quite close to the Butter Burn, so I am guessing that it was connected to the burn in some way. I am unsure if it was actually used as a bath, but the stone steps and the small building next to the bath may indicate that it was used for some kind of sanitary purpose. I consulted my friend Paul Veverka, and he thinks that it could be some sort of plunge pool only used in the summer and he also thinks that these were uncommon in Scotland.

I took a drive over to the former site of Woodside House on Saturday the 13th of August 2016 to see if the bath was still there and yes, it is! The bath has been fenced off and also still has a stone dyke wall surrounding it. The water seems to be stagnant and didn’t appear to be running so this could indicate that it is no longer connected to the Butter burn. The bath that was situated at the bottom of the garden at Woodside House is now the car park for the Mercedes-Benz garage on Johnstone Road and Woodside House stood where Woodside Avenue is today. The house may have been demolished after Dr Dyke’s death in 1863, I am led to believe this, as I can’t find any reference to it after this year.

The Bath on the former site of Woodside House. 13/08/2016.
The Bath fenced off for safety. 13/08/2016.

Back to Dr  Dykes…..

Dr Dykes was a naval doctor, and brother to Thomas Dykes Esq, procurator fiscal; and Dr William Dykes of Woodview House in Burnbank Road. He was noted for being a kind and obliging disposition, especially in his gratuitous services to the working classes. He was living at Woodside House from a young age and the House belonged to his parents before a John had inherited it. His mother Isabella died here in January 1822 and his dad had died some time before this. Looking at the 1841 census and john first appears living at Woodside House, he is living here with a Robert Cuthbert who was Born in England, Betsy Cotton who was his House Servant, Ann Cotton who was listed as a Support Worker and a man Called Andrew Pollock age 20.

In 1851 John is still at Woodside with his servant Betsy Cotton and he still has his “Border” Robert Cuthbert living here and this man’s Occupation was a listed as a “Gentleman”. I can’t find any other info on the Robert Cuthbert who lived with John for 10 years.

In 1861 John is now living on his own with a servant called Mary Thomson, it is documented that John wasn’t married, however on his death cert it does seem to indicate that he was indeed married to a Janet Fraser?  This is the last time that john will appear on a Census record.

Fatal Railway Accident Thursday the 19th December 1863.

Melancholy and  Fatal accident on the Monklands Railway, the Glasgow Herald says that on Thursday morning, shortly after nine o’clock, an accident’occurred on the Monklands Railway, near Calder Iron Works, by which Dr J. Dykes, of Woodside, Hamilton, a gentleman about 80 years of age, lost his life.

It would appear that Dr Dykes had been visiting at New Carnbroe, and had left there for the purpose of catching the train at Whifflat Station on the Caledonian Railway, and was passing along the Calder branch of the Monklands Railway for that purpose.

An engine, with a long train of waggons laden with coal and ironstone from Palace Craig to Gartsherrie, was proceeding in the same direction; and the engine driver, on observing a gentleman on the line at once sounded the whistle. Deceased, seeing his danger, stepped onto a side line of rails to be out of the way of the approaching train; but, unfortunately, three coal waggons had to be shunted from the latter end of the train into the same siding.

This was done by the engine driver in the usual way, the fireman shifting the switches,but the impetus which the three waggons received sent them well up into the siding where Dr Dykes was standing and he was instantly knocked down and killed on the spot, the waggon wheels having jammed his neck and head to the ground. (It was reported in another newspaper that “he expired in the course of ten minutes after”)

The deceased was one of the oldest and most respected inhabitants of Hamilton. He was unmarried, and was a hale and hearty old gentleman, but has not, we believe, practised for many years. The deceased by whom his loss will be much felt. (Ref: Caledonia Mercury 21/11/1863)

Woodside House satelite overlay.
Satellite overlay of the 1858 map of Hamilton.


A Bad Day.


A bad day…………………………..52.
General warren ahn hiz kind wae personal effects trundled doon
wae his portable cast iron bath ahn ither things tae comfort him
the baggage train wiz so lang it needed mair protection ahint
ahn Colenso wiz forgone fur lack o’time thiy wur defeated while.
The boer dug in ahn waited thim fur thiy hud awe day fur that
seein fae the spion kop they might ahs hiv weel sent ah paper
fur botha wiz readin bibles ahn said it wiz ah gid sign indeed
ahn pitched ah tent ahn waited fur the imperial government.
Bit thorneycroft ahn his mounted infantry saw it awe unfold
wae awe his generals fawin doon exitin command tae him
ahn nae support fae warren busy wae his bath ahn sink
forgoat tae send thorneycroft wati’r ahn some rations.
Ahn the quartermaster wiz fun oot fur derelict negligence
they held ahint a thousand spades ahn gied ony twenty
wae ah thousand men watchin idly diggin intae rock slate
ahn awe the canned beef thiy threw awa oan the climb up.
Whin the mornin fog hud lifted in thir trench thiy waited still
bit the quartermaster never showed wae ah drink o watti’r
a thousand boer wae machine guns ahn naval shells screamin
ravaged the trench thit thiy dug ahn buried thir remains.
The boer wiz roundin up surrenders bit thorneycroft saw that
ahn ran wae sword tae botha’s men confrontin thim heid oan
tae the 2nd battalion cameronians fell ahn sorted it he thanked
tae live anither day he waited oan fur warrens great command.
Thorneycroft hud entered in his dispatch book he intended whit
noo he wiz ah general fur he wiz promoted oan that deathly hill
telt the runner thit it wiz bettir tae hiv six battalions doon the grun
thin loast thim awe wae the wounded boys lyin oot thir still.
Warren hud ah bath ahn shave ahn turned tae look ootside
ahn saw the tide wiz turnin tae git acroas the swollen river
he took his rubber duck ahn lay it oot tae dry drinkin coffee
thit came fae fortnum ahn masons whit his wife sent oot.
The story nevir ended thir fur some wan hud tae take accoont
ahn tell the queen that the generals deed wae splinterd heids
the adjutant done the joab ahn mentioned it tae warren sayin
If yi hud left yir bath at hame ahn used whit wiz provided sir.
The boer widnae hud haulf the time tae welcome us ahn take
oor naval guns ahn awe it’s shells tae yaz oan us fae colenso
thit smashed oor boys oan thit hill thit wiz undefended ahn sir
ah no ahm no welcome fur writin this oan ah government report.
Bit truth tae tell fur awe yir kind thit hiz such ah joab tae dae
yi could aht least hiv issued spades fur ah thoosand men
ahn empty oot yir cast iron bath sendin thim the watti’r ahn
aye yi wull be judged oan awe this it some future date from
ah jiner fae burnbank ahn passed it oan tae thim thit listen.
The above was written for Historic Hamilton by John Stokjes

Historic Hamilton


Is thur nae end tae the talent uf this wee man Garry” He’s a right wee “celeb”
A see like “incy wincy” he’s started tae put “Historic Hamilton” oan the Web”
It’s awready in the pipeline he say’s, it’ll no be long tae it’s set up n’ oan air”
Ave jist got a wee bit tweakin” tae dae it’ll be ready soon, jist a “wee baw hair”
Well don’t ye worry aboot it Garry” son, we awe know yir no a “Jock the Lum”
So we kin only wait in anticipation, fur the magical things thits gonnae come”
Oh n’ see yir great wee video’s on the markit, I’ll need tae order masel’ a copy,,
Bit the only thing, ma computers near is auld is you, hiv ye got disc thits floppy”
(Keep up the good work)

The above poem was written for Historic Hamilton by Hugh Hainey.
This one made me laugh!




On Monday afternoon there was laid to rest in Hamilton Cemetery all that remained of Mrs Ritchie, (Janet Young) a remarkable woman in many ways. She was one of those quaint, delightful characters whom a J.M. Barrie or an Ian MacLaren would have made the most of. Quick witted, clever, and with a keen sense of humour, her friendship was coveted by many kinds of people in different walks of life, and to all she was interesting.
She came from an old Covenanting family, and running through her whole life was that deep seated religious strain which was so characteristic of many of the old stock. He religion was not a bigoted one; it was broad minded and charitable, and on that account her influence for good was always apparent. Amongst those with whom she came into contact she never made any parade of her strong spiritual convictions, but one always left her feeling better for her conversation and companionship. She was a loyal Scotchwoman and an enthusiastic Hamiltonian, in the Ducal Palace she claimed a special interest as many of her folks wrought as tradesmen on the building in the good old days.
Mrs Ritchie lived and died in the town that she loved, and all who knew her will cherish her memory amongst their brightest and tenderest recollections. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 6/12/1902 page 4. Wilma S. Bolton. 2012



HONOUR FOR A LOCAL SOLDIER.— Congratulations to Sapper William McInerney, R.E. on his award of the Military Medal for a little bit of smart work during the advance. Along with an officer he went out to reconnoitre a village from which it was presumed the Hun had been cleared out. But not quite.
The officer and Sapper McInerney ran into 25 of the enemy concealed in a trench, including two officers. They were promptly compelled to cave in, and were marched back as prisoners to the British lines. Sapper McInerney was formerly employed at Cadzow Colliery, he enlisted in 1914 in the A. and S. Highlanders, but was subsequently transferred to the R. E. He has been in France since September 1915.
In November of last year he was wounded, but sufficiently recovered to again take his place in the fighting line, where he has now distinguished himself. His parents reside at 8 Lamb Street, Hamilton. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 26/10/1918 page 4. (Wilma S. Bolton 2012)


Captain W. Dykes Loudon, Commandant B (Hamilton) Company, 2nd V.B. Scottish Rifles, had just received a very interesting letter from two brothers, Private John and Thomas McEwan, former members of his Company. When the war broke out, they applied, through the local depot, to join the Regulars in order to go to the front, but found the regulations were against them.
Nothing daunted, they paid their passage to Cape Town, and their letter, which is as follows, tells its own tale as to their subsequent movements: “Victoria West Camp, Cape Colony 12th Dec., 1899.—Sir—My brother and I arrived in Cape Town on 25th November, and joined the South African Light Horse, a regiment of cavalry raised by the Imperial Government for service against the Boers. We are presently stationed behind the base at Dr Aar to guard the lines of communication and to check any attempt by the local Dutch to assist the enemy.
My squadron (F) patrols a large district, while my brother, who belongs to E, is stationed about 30 miles up country. I was promoted ambulance sergeant a week ago. We get good pay—food, however is scarce—5s a day for a trooper, with 2s 6d extra for rations. The regiment is a very mixed lot, the only qualification being ability to ride and shoot. We have English, Irish, Scotch, Canadians, American cowboys, Australians, New Zealanders, Swedes, French and Swiss in our squadron, many of whom have seen active service in different parts of the world. Our commander is a retired Major of the Blues.
This camp from which I write is a miserable hole—the sandstorms nearly blind us, and we shall be very glad when we advance further up country.” Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 6/1/1900 page 3.
Wilma Bolton 2012.





DEATH OF AN AGED RESIDENT. The Low Waters district has lost “Granny” as the children around the area loved to call Mrs Janet Brownlie, of 10 Corporation Buildings. Born in Bannockburn, she came to Hamilton as a bride of 19 fully sixty-four years ago, and she has resided in Low Waters since that early period in her life. Predeceased by her husband, she is survived by the married members of her family, forty grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. She died on Monday night to the regret of neighbours and many friends and not least the children who constantly had experience of her kindliness and interest. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 7/1/1933 page 6                                      Wilma S. Bolton. 2012