ROUND UP IS OVER AT MEN ONLY RANCHE.

 

ROUND UP IS OVER AT MEN ONLY RANCHE.
Transcribed by Wilma Bolton.

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Hamilton’s last drinking haven for men wanting to avoid wives, girlfriends or mothers is to go.

The Ranche Bar in Strathaven Road, famed for its sloping floor and no women-in-the-bar-rule is the victim of the 20th century progress.

Those responsible for the demise of The Ranche are not women’s libbers but planners.
A lot of men will be homeless” joked one of the lunchtime drinkers at the bar this week.
According to Hamilton’s chief planning officer Crawford Russell, what will happen, though plans have still to be firmed up, is that The Ranche and adjoining shops will be demolished to make way for 40-50 council homes.

These proposals are contained in the district council’s five-year plan, a report which outlines what changes Hamilton can expect over the next few years.

Wind of the proposed demolition reached shop-keepers in Strathaven Road last week.
They rejected immediately, organising a petition which has the support from tenants living in the nearby Eddlewood Housing scheme.

Miss Gwen Richards has one of those small shops which sells everything from cigarettes to Jaffa-cakes, and she is incensed at the idea that her shop could be demolished with no replacement.
This shop was opened by my grandmother when my grandfather died, she said “it will be sadly missed.” A pile of petition forms lie on her counter next to the Jaffa-cakes, and already Miss Richards has gathered more than 100 signatures.

SIGN.
Next door there is a chip-shop which has been there as long as Miss Richards can remember. They are collecting signatures. And at the bookies, two doors up, punters are putting their names to the petition after filling in their betting-slips. The Pakistani mini-store- also as a pile of petition forms for shoppers.

“A lot of people from Eddlewood shop here and there’s a lay-by outside, so we get a lot of passing trade.” Explained Miss Richards, adding “we are going to put forward our petition to the council. It’s up to the people now to sign it.”

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There’s no petition nestling next to the pints in The Ranche.
Last year, in an interview with the Advertiser the manager of The Ranche, Mr Alex Allison,, said the publican would rather see the bar closed than admit ladies. Ref Hamilton Advertiser. 30/4/1982. Page 1

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MIND THE CB RADIO CRAZE OF 1981?

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MIND THE CB RADIO CRAZE OF 1981?
The story below was sent to Historic Hamilton by David Cairns.
 
My brother Scott had a wine coloured Hillman Avenger, and in one fell swoop, he doubled the value of the car by paying aboot forty quid tae have a CB Radio fitted tae the car fae a wee shoap next tae the Santa Lucia just aff Gateside Street.
 
Smokey and the Bandit was no’ long oot, Convoy the movie, and CW McCall was in the charts wi’ the theme song… #Pig-pen this here’s a Rubber Duck#…and all that..
 
CB’s were illegal. I don’t think the Polis could be arsed though, as every car fitted with a CB had a 6 foot tall antenna bolted tae the roof of your car…so it really wouldnae have been too difficult for the ‘Smokies’ to work it oot…never heard of anyone getting caught wi’ wan though…
 
‘Smokies’ were the Polis. Hamilton was ‘Circle City’…it had a language of it’s ain, all designed tae confuse the ‘Smokies’ in case they were listening in…
 
An ‘eyeball’ was a meeting in person…kind of like an Eighties version of ‘Tinder’…safe sex was hiding roon’ the corner and up a street in case your ‘eyeball’ was a ‘baikey’…and worse than that , was if she was a baikey, and you were hiding up a street …’just in case’…there would be another 5 folk hiding up the same street waiting to see whit she looked like…cos everybody could listen in..
A wee hoose by Dunn’s the Butcher on Meikle Earnock Road selt ‘Eyeball Cards’… they were aboot £2-00 for a hundred, and ye were meant tae hand over yer ‘Eyeball Card’ if ye met somebody and you were supposed tae collect them.
 
Loads of folk were oot on the ‘wind-up’…me and my mate Alan Hinshalwood Hinshy sat in my brothers car at the top of Balmore Drive talking to ‘Spyo-Gyra’…there was some racket coming fae his end…claimed he was in a helicopter flying ower Strathy Park,,,we were believing it, cos it sounded like a helicopter…until we realised we could SEE fucking Strathy Park fae Balmore Drive…cunt must have taped ‘Airwolf’…and ye were such a fanny if ye ever fell for a wind-up.
 
Hinshy had some irate big brother oan wan night, saying he was gaunnae gie him a doin’ for no’ turnin’ up tae eyeball his sister…she went hame and wiz greetin’ all night. Hinshy and me really couldnae mind but the guy was threatening to ‘twist yer ba’s aroon’ yer neck”..so we decided, for Hinshy’s future children’s sake, that we should attend this ‘eyeball’ which was to take place at the Chippy roon’ the corner fae the Ranch, in Eddlewood.
 
When we walked roon’ the corner, there was aboot 8 guys fae Eddlewood that we were at the Grammar wi’ (one was Jim McDowell)…all burst intae applause and started bellowing with laughter…oor faces went rid…but we pretended it wisnae us …and we just fancied a stroll oot tae the Eddlewood chippy for a bag of chips…then we had nae money…and hud tae leave withoot chips, wi’ mair laughter following us doon the street…we were arguin’ like a married couple..”fucking dick..telt ye it was a wind-up”..” Did ye fuck, you said we better in case the guy came up tae Meiky lookin’ fur us”, ” Naw ah never”…and so it went oan…
 
Jim Broon in my year at the Grammar, and his pal, bolted a car battery and a CB tae a Bogey and wheeled it aboot Fairhill cos they didnae have a motor…or IS that a motor in Fairhill…I don’t know…
 
My handle was FrizzleChip…anybody else mind the days…what was your handle….” Pick a Channel”…
 
 
What was your Handle? Don’t be shy now!

THE STORY OF THE HIGGINS FAMILY OF HAMILTON

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.

The Ranche Pub in Hamilton.
The Ranche Pub in Hamilton.

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.

Jim Higgins British and Empire Bantamweight champion
Jim Higgins
British and Empire Bantamweight champion

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.

Tommy (Mouse) Higgins.
Tommy (Mouse) Higgins.

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.

Postcard from Mary Higgins to her son Terrence.
Postcard from Mary Higgins to her son Terrence.

This is so poignant because when she wrote the post card she wouldn’t have known whether he was alive or dead.

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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!