TOMMY WARD.

TOMMY WARD.

Written by Garry McCallum – Historic Hamilton.

Tommy Ward, who in his day, was a man ahead of the times. He was a nice man but one not to be crossed, if you did cross Tommy, then you would see Tommy’s aggressive side and by sure, you would know all about it. Tommy Ward, might have been the toughest man of all, he was often seen walking around in drag and being harassed by the teenagers in Hamilton, however he gave as good as he got, and would not be afraid of chasing his verbal aggressors up Quarry Street, swinging his handbag and chasing them to the Top Cross.

Tommy had a wee dog which he named Judy, and there were many a day where he would have been seen walking through the streets of Hamilton, and shouting ‘come on Judy ya wee bitch, move yer arse up the road, or move it ya wee hooer’. Tommy was often seen out and about down the bottom Cross, and he sometimes liked to wear, what looked to some, as a net curtain around his neck, the man loved his lipstick and mascara and back when this was time where it was unacceptable for a man to do this, he did it anyway and got glammed up and went out on the town.

In today’s world, a lot of young guys don’t go on out without a touch of their “Man-scarra”! Young lads don’t leave the house without their hair all styled and maybe if Tommy, was still alive today, he wouldn’t have looked so out of place.

Tommy Ward, wouldn’t change his appearance for anyone and as a result he did get funny looks from the public and as mentioned he got even more verbal abuse from the homophobes in the town, or from people just wanting to wind him up and even the secret closet men, who actually envied Tommy, but could never be brave enough to do what he did, but none the less, most people in Hamilton, accepted him, and he was one of Hamilton’s, characters who was very well known in the town.

He was tall with long dark hair and was flamboyantly dressed and lived in the Auld toon. He frequented the pubs without shame and went to the off-sales for a carry out, just like the rest of us. Maybe he loved the attention that he got when he walked in a room and all eyes were on him.

A few years ago, I came across a story about Tommy Ward:

“Tommy Ward- the World’s First Homosexual?

 

People 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 around, 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 makeup, 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.”

The author of this story is unknown.

 

So, over the decades Hamilton, has had its fair share of characters, a once in a generation person, who everyone had known in one way or another and still to this day everyone talks about.

In recent years, there have been people like Silvertonhill man?? John Reynolds, AKA “Juke Box Johnny”, “American Joe” from the Glebe, Bert McAdam from Burnbank and auld Mr Peacock from Hillhouse & The Hamilton Accies super fan Ian Fergi Russell, who were all well known in the town and in 30 years from now, people will still be talking about them.

In Tommy Ward’s day, there was another couple of colourful characters that were known to most, they were called ‘Jimmy Hamilton’ who was well-known in the town centre, and Jimmy Young, who was the Burnbank man with the Parrot on his head and before all of these people there was also a well-known man called John Williamson, who was better known as ‘Jock o The Lum’. Jock o the Lum, or Jock o the Law were his given nicknames by people. This man was from Hamilton, but was later admitted to Hartwood Hospital where he died in 1910. And even as the late 60s and early 70s, there was still an old saying in Hamilton, where someone would say “Do you think I’m Jock o the Lum” This meant Do you think I’m Daft. This just goes to show how a character from Hamilton, lives on in people’s memories, for years after they had passed away.

People like Tommy Ward are a once in a generation person and sadly, I don’t have a picture of him to show you all what he looked like, to put a face to a name.

If you have a picture of Tommy Ward, that you would like to share, then we would like to add it to our ‘Hamilton Folk’ album. Tell us your memories of the Hamilton’s first Cross Dresser, Tommy Ward.

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From Italy to Hamilton.

Angelina & Enrico Fusto c1917, WM.

Anne MacNicoll who lives in Canada sent us some pictures of her maternal great grandparents who immigrated from Italy to start a new life in Scotland. In the early 1900s, there was a lot of prejudice held against Italians and many families found it hard to start up businesses and some were even left with no option but to change their names to avoid persecution.
We would like to tell you the story of two families who moved to Hamilton from Italy for a better life. This is the story of the Rossi & Di Duca family told in the words of Anne MacNicoll and part researched by Historic Hamilton.
Here is Anne’s story:
This is a plan of the Hamilton Palace where my mother’s family, (Di Duca) along with twelve other families were housed from 1924 when their home and business on Quarry Street were slated for demolition. She had written on it the area of the palace where they were housed and the names of the other families. Many of them had shared toilets, no electricity only gaslight and burned wood in the fireplace.
Hamilton Palace Floor Plan WM.
Floor Plan of the Hamilton Palace.

 

My maternal grandparents, Francesco and Carmella (nee DiDuca) Rossi along with Maria and Angelina DiDuca Immigrated to Scotland from Italy around 1906 where they moved around a bit before finally settling in the Hamilton/Bellshill areas. Francesco and Carmella lived at no. 8 Lamb Street where my mother, Rosa was born in 1914 the youngest of four siblings. Carmella died just three years later and all four children were fostered by Angelina (aka Julia) and her husband Enrico Fusto (aka Harry).
Julia and Harry kept the DiDuca name for the children after marriage as it was supposedly a more prominent name back in Italy. The four children were Donato (aka) Donald, Angelina (aka) Lena, Gaetano (aka) Guy and Rosa (Rose). All attended St. Johns School where Guy was Dux of the school three years in a row but was passed over for a university scholarship in favour of the headmaster’s daughter. The children’s father returned to Italy where it is believed he remarried.
There is a little discrepancy as to where their shop actually was but it was either in Quarry Street or a little farther down on Castle Street. Not sure if they just sold ice cream or if it was also a grocers. They lived above the store but in 1924 the building was slated for demolition and they were housed temporarily in the Hamilton Palace but it turned out that they were to live at the Palace for seven years. It was a very hard time for them and the children would chop up the old window frames and make penny bundles of kindling to sell and would also sell the old lead pipes. Harry tried very hard to keep the business going and would make the ice cream in the old palace kitchens by night and then load up his barrow, rain or shine and take it to the same spot in the park (palace grounds?) he did this for years.
Hamilton Palace.
Rosa Rossi dressed for a Russian dance. This picture was taken in the Hamilton Palace c1925.

 

Julia spent her last years at 18 Grammar School Square with Lena and her daughter Celia until she died in 1954. Lena and Celia emigrated to Canada in 1956 and Lena lived to the grand old age of 102. She died in 2014. Donald moved to Glasgow where he opened a fish and chip restaurant, before moving on to Ayr still continuing on in the restaurant business.
Guy worked for many years around the Hamilton/Glasgow areas before opening his first fish and chip business in Edinburgh after which he moved to Johnstone and opened a general store. It was around this time that the family decided to change their surname for Rossi to Ross. Because of the prejudice still held by some in Scotland against the Italians, it was very difficult to get a business license when you had an Italian name but after the name change, all was well. Later he opened two more successful businesses in Glasgow before emigrating to California in the early 1970s where he opened a coffee shop in Beverly Hills. He later retired and stayed in California until he died in 2000.
My mother Rose married Richard Allan a miner’s son who came from Larkhall. After the war, he worked the rest if his life at the Clyde Iron Works. We, my brother Rikky and myself (Anne) along with my mum and dad lived at 11 Morgan Street in the old tenements until they were condemned and torn down which I believe was around 1959.
Morgan Street 1937, WM.
My father died early from cancer at the age of 58 after which my mother emigrated to Canada to be with her sister and also spent a lot of time with brother Guy in California, she died at age 90 in 2005.
Di Duca Family. This is Carmella and Francesco Rossi with the two oldest children, Donald and lena.
A birthday party in the tenements at Morgan Street, 1953. Some of the names there is Celia Ross and Margaret Queen from Grammar School Square. Susie Hodgson (nee Gratziani) and Candy from Duke Street, Rose and Anne and Anne’s brother.

7

I would love to see any photos of these particular tenements in Morgan Street if anyone has any, and if any of the many kids that lived there remember either Rikky or myself I would love to hear from you. Rikky now lives in England and I am in Canada.
My mother and her three siblings were cousins to your “White Knight” story that you previously wrote about, Peter Coia and his three brothers. His mother Maria was a sister to my Nonna and she and her husband Augustino Coia settled in Bellshill also in the ice cream/restaurant business of course!
As well as the Cross Cafe in Quarry Street Peter opened a fish and chip shop next door and also had a billiard hall. Peter was an international table tennis champion and sports promoter and was president of the Ice Cream Assoc. of Britain and Ireland. A very benevolent man he opened the Hamilton Cross Club and worked tirelessly for the men and women of the armed forces. Sadly, he was killed in an aeroplane crash on his return from London in 1950. His son Peter also ran a business in Hamilton, can’t remember where but I’m sure Ice Cream came into it somewhere.
Di Duca Family. Taken in Low Patrick St. Nellie Chicky's shop front. Rose Allan with Anne 1949
Taken in Low Patrick St.”Nellie Chicky’s” shop front. Rose Allan with Anne 1949
Anne, thank you for telling us about your family’s time in Hamilton, I did some further research to see what I could find for you and I started with the 1911 census where I found your Grandparents living in Stonehouse. They were living at 42 King Street and your grandfather Francesco was working as an Ice Cream Vendor. Your grandmother Carmella and their son Donato was also living here.
DIDUCA~3
Carmella and Francesco Rossi with the two oldest children, Donald and lena.
You had mentioned that Francesco went back home to Italy after Carmella had died, however, I could not find any evidence of this. I found a Francesco Rossi leaving the UK at Southampton onboard a ship called the New York on the 2nd of August 1913 and the age seems to be correct, but I can’t confirm if this is the same person as your Grandfather.
I also had a look to see where the family shop was and I can confirm that I managed to find where it was located. The family shop wasn’t on Castle Street, but you were close enough. The family shop was actually situated right at the start of Quarry Street and the address for the shop was 9 Quarry Street. The family’s address from c1915 until they were evicted was 1 Quarry Street, so they lived right on the Bottom Cross.
I have one picture that shows a part of the building before it was demolished. If you look at this picture of the Bottom Cross you will see to the right the start of the old building. After the demolition of these old houses, a Burtons department store was built on the same spot.
Bottom Cross WM.
Anne, I would like to thank you for sharing your story of your Italian family and also for sending us these fantastic pictures. These will now be documented and stored on Historic Hamilton for years to come.
Garry McCallum
Historic Hamilton.

Jan Wladyslaw Stepek 1922-2012.

Stepeks First store opening 1959-60.WMjpg

STEPEK’S

JAN Stepek was one of the most remarkable examples of an immigrant’s ability to survive and prosper in a foreign land, in his case Scotland. He was born on a farm in Maczkowce, Poland, on 13th September 1922 and his early years, during which his father Wladyslaw and mother Janina struggled to bring up their three children Jan, Zofia and Danuta, were happy ones.
This hard but happy childhood was shattered in September 1939, when Poland was caught in a pincer movement. The Nazi invasion from the west was bad enough, then Stalin sent the Red Army in from the east. Wladyslaw was on a Red Army “hit list” of potential resistance leaders, so he fled to Southern Poland. Jan was never to see his father, who died from cancer in 1943, again.

Stepeks Store late 60s WM..JPG

Jan later enlisted in the Polish army but was struck down by typhus and had to leave for a short time. He recovered, rejoined the Polish army, but in early 1943, training in Basra, he contracted a tropical illness in Iraq, so he transferred to the Polish navy.

In February 1943 he sailed for Liverpool, before first setting foot in Scotland when sent to Kirkcaldy for training, then moving to Plymouth for further training as a radar operator.
He studied electronics at the Royal College in Glasgow and also undertook an agricultural course, before putting his war-time radar training to good use, buying parts and repairing radios. He quickly established a reputation as a reliable radio mechanic. At this time he also met, courted and in 1949 married a Rutherglen girl, Teresa Murphy. With her support, he entered the television supply business in 1952.

In 1960, a year after he took out British citizenship, the Stepeks moved to Hamilton and he branched out into car sales, travel agencies, property and financial services, while his name became known beyond his business heartland of Lanarkshire and Glasgow, through his company’s STV advertisements in association with other independent electrical retailers, Glen’s, Robertson’s and Hutchison’s.

Stepek WM..JPG

In 1970 he was invited to join the board of Hamilton Academical and almost immediately he was plunged into a battle for survival as he helped stave off the advances of Clyde, who wanted to merge the two clubs. Accies were struggling at the foot of the old Second Division; Mr Stepek became chairman and set about taking Accies to the Premier League. In 1987, having achieved that aim, he stepped down as chairman, to become honorary president of the club.

He suffered three strokes in 2002, when aged 80, but recovered and was soon back on the golf course and tending his garden, before the ill-health which blighted his final two years forced him to stop.

Stepek Last PictureWM.

Jan died 26 October 2012, Sadly his wife Teresa died less than a month after Jan, going into a coma less than a week after his funeral. He is survived by his 10 children, 22 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

One of his sons, Martin Stepek contacted Historic Hamilton and kindly donated some family pictures. This is his story:

“Hi, there are three photos of our family business shop in Quarry St. The slightly torn one is the mid to late 1960s and the middle one is when it first opened in 1959 or 1960. The last pic is my Dad (left) with I think Larry Marshall and definitely Jimmy Logan on the right. These two were at the height of their fame so caused a bit of a stir when Dad managed to get them to come and open the Quarry St shop.”

In the days before large super markets dominated the High Street Stepek’s was the place that you went to buy or rent your TV. I can recall walking into the store, looking around and seeing all of these amazing electrical objects like food blenders and American fridge freezers etc, the store was massive.

Once again I would like to thank Martin Stepek for sharing his father’s photos. They are a real snapshot in time and it allows our young people of Hamilton to gain a small insight into how a real family business was set up and ran in the town.

PAUL’S OF HAMILTON.

Paul's New Shop.
On the 17th of May 1958, it was advertised that a brand new shop had opened up in Hamilton Called Paul’s. Paul’s sold Baby clothes and today, they are still trading in the same premises.
 
Paul’s can boast as Hamiltons longest serving independent shop. Please correct me if I am wrong with this statement.
 
As you all know Paul’s shop is situated at Quarry Street why not pop in and have look around.
Pauls New..JPG

KEITH’S BUILDINGS OF CADZOW STREET.

KEITH’S BUILDINGS OF CADZOW STREET.

Written by Garry McCallum – HistoricHamilton.

Keith's Buildings.

I am always being asked about the big building at the side of Cadzow Bridge and what it was used for.

This red sandstone building is called Keith’s buildings, and it is one of Hamilton’s old surviving properties, that has graced Cadzow Glen since its construction was complete in 1903.

The Keith family business was started in Hamilton by James Keith, who was a grocer, who moved to Hamilton from Holytown in 1856. He had started his business in Holytown in 1849 and when he moved to Hamilton – presumably to grow his business, he opened his small grocers shop at 78 Cadzow Street, he was renting the shop and house above from a well-known surgeon called Dr Wharrie.

The Keith’s would have their business in Cadzow Street for the next 111 years. By the year 1859, James Keith had entered the Town Council and was now fully involved in how Hamilton was run so this would have given him a huge advantage over his competitors in Cadzow Street. In modern times, we have seen this same sort of influence with a certain nightclub owner. It has, however, been documented that not only was James Keith a great employer but he was a man of great nature, who was Kind and well respected by many. In 1895 James Keith would later move up the political ladder and become the towns, Lord Provost.

James Keith’s only son, who was called Henry Shanks Keith, had taken over the family business when his father died on the 21st of March 1901. He was responsible for the grand sandstone building that we see today. The construction of Keith’s buildings was done in conjunction with the widening of Cadzow Bridge and it was designed by Bonn & Baptie structural engineers.

Sir Henry Shanks Keith1.

It began in the year 1901 and was completed by 1903. The grandeur of the building can be best seen when you stroll under Cadzow Bridge along the Glen, however, when you walk down Cadzow Street the entrance to the building just looks like a normal old sandstone shop and it fits in nicely with the rest of the buildings on that side of the street. Thankfully, this Hamilton building is Grade A listed and it can’t be demolished, but on a sadder note, it is now just rotting away.

As I stated, Keith or Keith’s Buildings as it is called was named after its owner, the wealthy businessman and lord provost of Hamilton, Sir Henry Shanks Keith. Sir Henry Keith, had chosen this site to build his property because, at the turn of the 20th century, Cadzow Street was the best place to go for shopping and Cadzow Street was at the heart of everything in the town and not to mention it was the finest thoroughfare in the burgh. When you entered Hamilton from Glasgow, Keith’s department store was the first shop that caught your eye and the store became the finest delicatessen in Hamilton and at the turn of the 20th century, Cadzow Street had more to offer than its Quarry Street neighbour.

The exact address for this building is 84- 90 Cadzow Street and the building itself was purposely designed to be a large commercial property, with its design of continental and mostly Parisian and Viennese styles and looking at it from Cadzow Bridge, it really stood out from the rest of Cadzow Street. It is built to approximately a square plan and above the bridge level it has a 2 storey and dormer-less attic and it has 4 storeys below the bridge level. The building also has its own lift installed inside it and on each floor, below ground level was a store room where the Keith’s kept their stock.

James Keith Advert.

When the business was in full operation and because of the size of the building they had to transfer money around quite quickly, so they used a pulley system attached to the ceiling where the money would be put in plastic cylinders and transported all over the building.

On the Cadzow Street entrance, there are 3 wide key blocked segmental arches, linked by segment headed doorways and below on the ground level, there is a segmental terraced space with one arch. Like many of Hamilton’s buildings, the stone is a red colour and would have been brought in from of the many neighbouring Quarry’s that surrounded Hamilton and Lanarkshire.

Keith's Buildings at Cadzow Street.

Keith’s store offered a fine choice of foods, it was run as a delicatessen for a time and you could say it was Hamilton’s first supermarket. The shop sold fine meats, steaks, gammon and all poultry. They imported meat from Ireland. They also sold tea, coffee, dried fruit and fresh fruit. They were also Wine importers, wholesale & retail grocers.

Keiths Advert.JPG

Around the 1890s the family saw a gap in the market for affordable whisky and in 1901 they started to produce their very own. They used the cellars at Cadzow Glen as the whisky bond. The whisky was stored here for a minimum of ten years to mature. When the ten years had passed, they started to bottle their whisky and production commenced on the 30th of August 1911 – they gave it the appropriate name of ‘Keith’s Cadzow Blend’ or KCB for short.

Some of the people who worked at the whisky bond were Frank McGrory who was the Blender, Eddie Summers who was the store man and the well known Beef McTaggart was the Lorry Driver.

Keiths Cadzow Blend1

 

James Keith Advert21902

Henry Keith wanted to make his whisky a worldwide product, and around the beginning of the twentieth century, he was advertising all over the United Kingdom. Adverts were in all the local and national papers and the adverts stated, “Possibly the oldest whisky in the world offered at this price”

Sir Henry Shanks Keith.jpg

The company of James Keith was still thriving through both world wars. Henry Shanks Keith had died on 9th of July 1944. The business was passed to his son John thus making way for the third generation of this family run the business.

Rations during World War Two were in force, and Keith’s was no exception to the rules, however, the rules were bent a little. In 1947 Messrs. James Keith Ltd got into a spot of bother for selling too much Whisky to Bothwell Golf Club and they were told that they would be obliged to restrict the quantity of whisky sold to the Bothwell Golf Club owing to recent regulations.

The Convenor submitted a statement of the quantities of whisky supplied to the Club in the years 1939 and 1946 which showed the Club had obtained from Messrs. Keith, a larger amount of whisky in 1946 than they had purchased in 1939. The allocation now offered to the Club would be 18 bottles of whisky per month or roughly 4 bottles a week. It was agreed to conserve the supplies and to ensure that there should be a fair distribution amongst members, to restrict the sale of whisky to one bottle on Wednesday and three on Saturdays. It was also agreed that no large whiskies be supplied.

Keiths Label1

John Keith was also a Major with the 6th Battalion, the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) During the 1st world war 1914-18 was wounded at Festubert. John H Keith was the new owner of Keith’s buildings and he continued to run the family business and he was to be the last member of the Keith family to be Managing Director of this family owned company.

John H Keith continued to run the family business up until 1961 when it was taken over by Messrs David Sandeman of Pall Mall London. I would take a wild guess that the company of Keith’s was sold due to declining sales and competition from the new supermarkets and corner shops emerging all over the local area.

 

The new owners tried to make something of Keith’s and they also kept the name, but only 6 years later they closed the doors on Hamilton’s first Super Market. This was the end of an 118-year era passed down from father to son and the 1970s were just around the corner, what was to become of this grand old building?

Keiths Buildings1.JPG

Messrs David Sandeman closed Keith’s and they stated that it was no longer possible for them to trade from Cadzow Street because of excessive burdens in the form of Selective Employment Tax, Heavy Local Rates and ‘other government impositions’. (Nothing has changed in 2017)

They did try to find other smaller premises in Hamilton but without success. The manager of Keith’s at the time was called Alex Wylie and he had worked for Keith’s for 30 years and because of his great work at Keith’s, his job was safeguarded and he was transferred to the sister store at Bothwell.

Keiths Label..JPG

I asked you what was to become of Keith’s? The building was eventually bought by businessman Armando Russo and his Associated Rentals Company. Russo held substantial properties all around the town centre and still to this day, his company owns Keith’s and many more properties in Hamilton and for reasons unknown to many, Russo owned derelict buildings which he refused to sell.

One example of this was the old derelict Regal Cinema, this took the Hamilton Town Council Ten years of negotiations to buy it from Russo. The old Regal was later demolished and its land turned into a car park.

The doors of Keith’s were opened back up again, but not to be a delicatessen or whisky bond some of the people who used the building were Netty and Ian Kane. Netty, used the building as a Café and Amusements whilst Ian, ran a Taxi firm from it and I have heard that Ian Kane was the first person in Scotland to own a Black Hackney Cab. There was also a clothes shop and Fancy dress on the top floor of Keith’s and it was later used as a gym.

The doors closed again for the last time at the end of the 80s and would remain closed. In December 1994 workmen were carrying out maintenance on paving slabs at the side of Keith’s and when they lifted the slabs they made a shocking discovery.

They found themselves staring into a very deep cellar which took you down to the basement of the building where they kept old Whisky barrels. This was found to be one of Three Cellars deemed unsafe by the council and the roofs of them had become quite dilapidated.

If a car had to park on the pavement at the side of Keith’s then it would have fallen straight through. After a series of Meetings with Armando Russo, the council agreed to fill in the cellars with concrete to avoid the roof collapsing as it was a danger to the public.

Keith's Cadzow Glen..JPG

In 2006, the building itself was found to be in poor condition after lying empty since the early 90’s and it was agreed that no less than £500,000 would be set aside for possible spending on Keith’s Buildings. This money was funded by the Hamilton Ahead Initiative, run by the Town Council. It is unclear if this money was ever spent on Keith’s Buildings, but when you put things into perspective, this is a 117-year-old building and it still has a lot of potential to offer to our town so I would imagine it would be in their best interest to invest some money into it.

Today, Keith’s is admired by many people who pass by it and the grand old building is still owned by the late Armando Russo’s company Associated Rentals.

I have done some research to find out what exactly is happening with Keith’s and I am pleased to say that there is currently an offer of Intent to purchase by a man named William Campbell. I don’t know who this man is, but I would assume he is some sort of developer.

Keith’s is a Grade A building and it is protected, so Mr Campbell if you are reading this story of our historic building – that is known as Keith’s buildings, then can I ask, please talk to South Lanarkshire Council and see if an agreement can be reached to give this historic building to the People of Hamilton. This building would make a perfect Hub for our community.

Written by Garry McCallum
Historic Hamilton.

Dae ye ken John Steed ?

Dae ye ken John Steed ?
By Hugh Hainey.

Wan night we hid a great idea tae hiv a wee bit fun, so we planned it fur days,
A bet ye’s awe remember the ‘Avengers’ oan the telly, they wur awe the craze,
Thir wis a shop hawf way doon hid a display wae John Steed n’ some wummin’
The plan wis, put bangers in the doors, n’ whit happened, we never seen commin,
😯
It wis guy fawkes night aboot ten o’clock empty streets wae no many aboot,
So we went doon ‘Quarry street’ n’ put bangers in awe the locks, facing oot,,,
Then we awe grouped the gither, n’we started tae light thim, in sets of fours,,
Yil never guess whit happened next, aye” they went aff n’ blew oot the doors,,,
😅
The rackit brought oot awe the punters, fae the Windsor, the Moy n’ even Skeltons,
Men n’ women runnin’ in n’ oot the shops, even a gang of navvies wearin “weltons,
They wur runnin aboot wae allsorts of stuff, n’some big bowler hats and brollies,
Thir must hiv bin aboot fifty of them, loadin , and some wur gawn aff thir trollies,
😈
A saw this bloke wae two dummies’ awe dressed up wae suits thit wur new.
Next day somedae hid reported two “naked dummies, found waitin fur the 62”
Och aye, yir thinkin this couldnae hiv happened, bit this story is true tae tell,

A only got a bowler hat n’ a brolly, ok, n “maybe the odd suit length aswell”

(Oh mother,,)

MURDER IN QUARRY STREET (1857)

Quarry Street Murder1

A very brutal murder took place on the evening of Saturday the 10th of October 1857, between eight and nine o’clock, which caused great distress in the town. David Paterson, a weaver to trade, had proceeded to the house of Thomas Reilly an Irishman, living in 46 Quarry Street, who kept a “wee pawn” establishment, and dealt in buying and selling cotton waste and such like material, including weavers’ weft, when an altercation arose between the two, and a scuffle took place within the house, in the course of which Reilly dealt the David Paterson several blows, in consequence of which he died in a few minutes.
 
Some individuals who were outside saw, through the window of the house, and seen the several of the blows given; and a woman, who was in the house at the time, says that Paterson took off his coat at first, and challenged Reilly to fight with him; while another eye-witness says, that after Paterson had seated himself in an arm-chair at the side of the fire, Reilly deliberately barred the outer door, and then passionately struck him while a sitting on the chair.
The first blow sent his head right against the jamb at the fire-place, and after he was in that twisted and helpless position, Reilly continued to strike him several heavy and brutal blows, till the cries of parties at the window compelled him to stop. It seems these blows had been more than enough to finish the unfortunate man.
Reilly afterwards attempted to revive him by throwing cold water in his face and bathing his head. On finding that Paterson was apparently dying, Reilly left the house immediately and absconded. Dr. Miller was sent for, who arrived just at the moment the deceased breathed his last.
 
The woman that was in the house at the time of the incident, gave a statement to the police and it was noted that should the woman’s statement prove correct, the case against Reilly was not ultimately so serious as It would otherwise have been, and only be a charge of manslaughter or culpable homicide. It was also noted, both parties were the worse of liquor. David Paterson left a widow and three young children.
 
The body of David Paterson was taken charge of during the night of Saturday and Sunday, in Reilly’s house, where the Vicious attack occurred, by Quintin, one of the town’s officers, until Sunday, when a post mortem examination was made.
 
David was buried at the Hamilton Parish Church yard and on his death cert, there was no parent’s names recorded. The stated time of death was 8:30pm and the cause of death was effusion of blood from the skull. The death was registered Five months later on behalf of the procurator fiscal Thomas Dykes.
 
When the story of the murder went to press in the Hamilton Advertiser on Monday the 12th of October 1857, Reilly was still at large and had not been apprehended, although several of the officers of justice were on the alert. It was rumoured that Thomas Reilly was still lurking about Hamilton. Thomas Reilly was an Irishman, and a private in the 1st Regiment of Royal Lanarkshire, Militia.
 
I would like to thank Angela at the Hamilton Reference Library for taking the time to look for further info on the murder and what became of Thomas Reilly, however, the trail go’s cold after 17th of October 1857. I can only assume that Thomas Reilly left Hamilton,