THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND IN CADZOW STREET TO CLOSE AFTER 115 YEARS IN THE TOWN.

Royal Bank Of ScotlandWM

THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND TO CLOSE.
 
It has been announced that the Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 62 of its branches throughout Scotland. Our branch which has stood in Cadzow Street for 115 Years has been confirmed as one of these branches. The new age digital world of online banking has brought the demises of high street banks and for this reason, Cadzow Street will lose an old familiar shop.
 
Hamilton Cadzow Street branch opened as an office of the National Bank of Scotland in October 1902. Hamilton at that time was already a thriving and important town with a population of around 7,600 people. Serval successful decades of coal mining brought considerable wealth to the area, as shown in the numerous fine buildings which were erected in Hamilton and particularly in Cadzow Street around the turn of the twentieth century.
 
The bank agreed to open a branch in the town at the request of William Dykes Loudon who was a local solicitor and town councillor, who believed that Hamilton could provide enough banking business to support another branch, in addition to the several which were already open in Hamilton.
 
National Bank of Scotland had been founded in Edinburgh in 1825 with more shareholders than any other bank in Britain. By the beginning of the twentieth century, it was operating around 125 branches in Towns and Villages throughout Scotland.
National Bank’s Hamilton branch first opened on the 20th of October 1902, with William Loudon himself as its agent. In its early years, the branch operated from Hamilton’s Masonic halls, originally near the bottom of Cadzow Street and Lower Auchingramont Road.
 
Just as William Loudon and the Bank’s directors had expected, the new branch was an immediate success. It was located in a thriving area of the town, with trams beginning to run along Cadzow Street in 1903, and the impressive new Municipal Buildings being opened in 1907.
 
Nevertheless, difficult times were on the horizon when the first world war broke out in 1914, the banking industry found itself facing new challenges. Levels of trade were reduced, money market rates were low, and staff shortages became severe as many Bank clerks of military age enlisted. William Loudon and two members of his staff from the Cadzow Street branch were among 439 employees of the National Bank of Scotland who left their posts to join the war effort.
 
After the war, business returned to normal, but Hamilton itself was changing. The coal mining industry had been severely affected by controls on exports and a shortage of workers during the war, and it never again returned to the levels of productivity that it had experienced at the turn of the century. Numerous Pits in the area were closed during the 1920s and 930s.
 
When the second world war began in 1939 the Banks resumed the special duties which governed their activities in wartime. Five men from the National Bank of Scotland’s Cadzow Street branch left to join the war. Meanwhile, the premises of the branch were also undergoing a change wherein 1942, the bank bought the site of 50 Cadzow Street and set about preparing it for use as a bank branch.
 
In fact, this was not the first time that 50 Cadzow Street had housed a Bank. In the 1860s and 1870s, the building had been owned by the Hamilton branch of the City of Glasgow Bank. This bank collapsed with huge debts and much publicity in 1878, leaving many of its shareholders, including serval citizens of Hamilton financially ruined. (Lewis Potter of Udston House in Burnbank was one of the men who went to prison as a direct result of the collapse of the Bank.)
 
In the early years of the twentieth century, the building had been occupied by a branch of Mercantile Bank of Scotland. More recently it had served as a shop of Peter Wyper & Sons but by the end of the war 50 Cadzow Street had become a bank once more and National Bank of Scotland’s Hamilton Brach was, at last, the sole occupant of premises of its own.
 
The Cadzow Street branch continued to trade successfully throughout the 1940s and 1950s, as new industries moved into the area replacing the old coalmining jobs. New housing was also built around the Town.
 
In 1959, the National Bank of Scotland merged with the Commercial Bank of Scotland, and 50 Cadzow Street branch became part of the National Commercial Bank of Scotland. In 1969 another merger occurred, this time between the National Commercial Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The new bank, with 693 branches enjoyed over 40 percent of Scottish Banking business.
 
The Royal Bank of Scotland now found itself with three branches in Hamilton, all located on Cadzow Street, there was the old National Bank at number 50, a former Commercial Bank Branch at number 88, and the original Royal Bank Branch at number 105. All three branches remained open, although the branch at 88 Cadzow Street was relocated in 1972 to Duke Street, in order to give a better geographical coverage of the town, particularly in the growing shopping area.
 
The branch at 50 Cadzow Street remained in its own premises and in 1980, a cashline machine was installed for the first time. The interior of the premises was also refurbished in the early 1980s and again in the mid-1990, but the exterior remains as much as it did when the branch first opened here in 1902. The branch absorbed the business of 105 Cadzow Street branch upon its closure.
 
Today and 115 years after it first opened its doors for business, Hamilton’s Cadzow Street branch continues to offer a full range of Banking services to our community, but for how long?
Royal Bank Of Scotland1
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LEST WE FORGET…..

LEST WE FORGET…..

In one way or another, whether being directly or indirectly involved, most of us have been affected by war. For me, I would like to keep the memory alive of two people in my family who were killed in action.

Michael McNamee WM.

The first person who was killed in action was my second great uncle who was called Michael McNamee. Michael was born at 35 Church Street to parents Thomas McNamee & Jane Adams and after leaving school he worked as a coal miner at Ferniegair Colliery.

Michael enlisted in the army on the 7th of June 1915 and was part of the 17th Battalion with the Royal Scots. He was 19 years and 11 months when he joined.

He was not a large boy, being only five foot four inches tall, and he weighed 98 pounds. Michael spent around three years in the army and he was based in France when he was killed.

His division was engaged in the battle of Ypres when he died of wounds on the 19th of October 1918 at No 2 Canadian Casualty Clearance Station. During Michael’s Army Service he had been awarded the Military Medal.

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My second family member who was tragically killed was my mother’s cousin, Robert McNamee Thompson, who was killed in action during the troubles in Northern Ireland. Robert was a Whitehill man and a father and husband.

Robert enjoyed his time in the army and his regiment was the Royal Highland Fusiliers and his life was brought to a devastating end when on the 27th of July 1980, he was on patrol at Moy Bridge, Maughnahan Road, Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone and was killed by a remote-control Bomb. Robert was only 26 years old.
Today there are still former soldiers who either served in the army or survived war. You will see them out in the shopping centres and standing in the rain collecting money and handing out Poppy’s.

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One of these men is called James Poulton who served in the Army and never misses collecting money for Remembrance Day. You will find James standing in the doorway at Morrisons superstore over in Whitehill.

Remember to stop by and donate what you can, and wear your poppy with pride, to remember the men who fought and died, not only in both World Wars but in every other war that happened after.

Did you have an ancestor or family member who was killed in action? Send us their picture and we will add it to our ‘Hamilton Folk’ Album and have your picture proudly displayed on Historic Hamilton which is viewed all over the world.

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”

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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.