We are very grateful for the extracts from the Gazette used elsewhere on this website. Invariably they are due to the hard work of Ron Harris at the Gazette over many years. This page is another condensed reprint of his '100 years ago' section as we find them. This reprint allows us to key the names to Google Searches of this site with those Carlukians of the time. Once again we beg approval with kind permission of the Carluke & Lanark Gazette © 2016
Wednesday 25 January 2006
Ron Harris looks back at the very first paper from November 10, 1906
IN the coming year, in a series of occasional features, we'll be mapping out, through the Gazette's pages, how Clydesdale and its people changed over the past 100 years and made us what we are today , concentrating on the quirkier aspects of local life and small town and village dramas and stramashes rather than the 'heavy' news stories.
LOCAL folk waking up on the cold, crisp morning of November 10, 1906 couldn't possibly have known that, from that day onwards, Clydesdale would never be quite the same again...
Something would enter their own everyday lives on that morning - and later those of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - that would remain a ''weekly visitor'' to their homes for decades to come.
Making their way to work at a farm, mine, factory or shop that morning they might have noticed that a new newspaper - The Gazette - was on sale to the public for the first time, at the princely sum of half an old penny.
This was, in fact, the first time anyone around here had laid eyes on a newspaper they could truly call their 'own' ; over the previous half century they had relied for their news on one of two papers which had limited space for Clydesdale affairs, this having to jostle for room with coverage of the rest of Lanarkshire's events.
No, the Gazette could rightly claim that day 100 years ago to be the first truly 'local' newspaper they had ever seen.
As the very first edition reflects, it was all pretty inevitable that this would happen; for over 100 years this largely rural neck of the Lanarkshire woods had been growing steadily apart from the rest of the 'coonty' which had become increasingly urban and industrialised.
To, say, the farmer at Thankerton, the shopkeeper in Carluke or the clerk in Lanark, places like Hamilton and Motherwell might as well have been on another planet by 1906!
The Gazette's No.1 edition heralded this growing spirit, nailing its colours firmly to the mast of what it called ''local patriotism''. Indeed, the very first words on the news pages of the debut Gazette sound more like a Declaration of Independence than it does an editorial!
The words of our founder, Andrew Beveridge, sound flowery by today's standards but still pack a punch and express the spirit in which the Gazette works to this day: ''In a personal introduction, modesty is absolutely essential. However, fully recognising this, we feel that it is right to have just appreciation of one's worth. The publication of the 'Carluke and Lanark Gazette' at this time we consider to be well chosen. We are conscious that our operation is supplying a want which has been felt in the district, to have a paper dealing solely with their own locality.
''Consequently, there comes a time when the desire to have a public service in the shape of a newspaper of their own becomes apparent. This is the reason for our appearance.''
Lofty stuff indeed, but things get even loftier as that original editorial continues. There was no such thing as a 'mission statement' in 1906 but this was near as damn-it the Edwardian equivalent which, the Gazette likes to think, it has stuck to ever since. It promises to ''report fully meetings of public bodies, their wordy wars, flashes of humour, their merits and their defects shall, alike, be faithfully reported by us.''
This clarion call continues by promising to allow ''ventilation of public opinion, providing comments which appear to us to be reasonable and entirely free of bitter or objectionable language.'' It also declares the paper totally ''neutral'' when it comes to party politics, this, they felt, not being the role of a local newspaper; that nasty side of the business best left up to their big brother national counterparts.
Finally: ''We hope the Gazette will become a permanent weekly visitor at your homes, an entertainer, a helper and a useful business medium.'' Hear-hear, say the Gazette's 2006 staff!
CARLUKE BOOTS AND A LECTURE ON ''TRUE HEROISM''
When it started - and for many years to come - the Gazette's front page was exclusively filled by adverts and these perhaps give just as true a picture of what day-to-day life was really like in Clydesdale 100 years ago as the news pages.
The cost of advertising in the Gazette was hardly ruinous; the public rate was 6d - two and a half pence in today's money - for 18 words, with a charge of 1s/6d (seven and a half pence) for the first 25 words of any Birth, Death or Marriage announcement (and a whole two bob if you went over the 25 word score!).
What would the average Clydesdale housewife have on offer from that first front page; well, she could kit her man out from Paterson's range of 'Carluke Boots' from the shoemaker on the town's High Street, perhaps even his special boots for farmers suitable for wear in ''kirk or market, without tackits!''. If the spouse was a driver, coachman or vanman ''assailed by cold feet'', there was also their 'Warm-Lined Clogs' at 3s 11d (almost 20p) a go.
While still in Carluke town centre she might pop in for supplies at Thomson and Co. Grocery at the Cross, sizing up the pros and cons of throwing caution to the wind by buying Danish butter at 1s 2d (6p) a pound or draw the pursestrings in a bit and make do with the Choice Creamery Margarine (''Good Honest Value and No Trickery'') at 6d (two and a half pence) a pound. But what to put on her man's 'piece' apart from butter or marg? What about the tempting American Smoked Bacon at 10d (4p) a pound or perhaps eggs ('Fresh' at 4p a dozen, 'Selected' at almost double that price). Of course, there was always good auld Dunlop Cheese at 3p a pound or even cheaper 'Luncheon Sausage' at two and a half pence a throw.
Perhaps if hubby was feeling poorly a visit to Chislett's the Chemist was called for to pick up that wonderful new 'Nervetonine' tonic which, after all, was guaranteed to cure all ''complaints of the nerves and threatened paralysis.'' (Ah, the Advertising Standards Agency - where were you when we really needed you?)
With Christmas 1906 fast approaching, it might be worth nipping up Station Road where Mr A. R. Orrock was offering to incorporate a photographic portrait of yourself and/or your family for specially personalised cards. Naturally any call in Carluke wouldn't be complete without picking up some local 'Clydesdale' jam or marmalade by Scotts along with some 'Carluke Oatcakes' (Gold Medal Winner at the 1898 London Exhibition, no less) from Thomas Gray and Bros. shop.
Turning to entertainment, there was no lack of choice publicised in that first Gazette; the overwhelming impression that comes over to the 2006 reader of these announcements is that this was definitely A World Without Telly, where 'having to make your own entertainment' wasn't just an old cliche but a reality.
Perhaps 'entertainment' doesn't quite fit the bill so far as Miss Ada L.A. Murcutt FRGS's lecture on ''True Heroism'' at Greyfriars U.F. Church in Lanark is concerned. Of course, you had already missed (as many actually did) the poorly-attended Lanark YMCA Concert. Who could possibly have resisted this feast of fun, chaired by the Hon. J. M. Houldsworth of Castlebank, introducing such prize turns as soprano Miss A. Murray of Lanark and The Kelvinside Pierrots, ''bolstering the comic content'' of the show?
Of course, on the long boring evenings you might turn to horticulture and join the large Carluke Chysanthemum Association or even take up political activity by throwing your lot in with the town's Junior Liberal Association. This last group, by the way, had just given a bit of a hard time to their guest speaker, Ex-Bailie Burt, at the Lesser Town Hall when he dared differ with the idol of the party's youth, Lloyd George, on both proposed reform of the House of Lords and on Socialism. Ex-Bailie Burt fair outraged his Lloyd Georgist audience by suggesting that the Lords be left alone as it contained ''the biggest and best brains in the country!'' and trashed Socialism as ''killing the spirit of competition'' on which the British Empire flourished.
If you fancied a less stormy political gathering, you could always toddle along and hear Comrade J. O'Connor Kesseck address the Carluke Independent Labour Party meeting on 'The Path of Freedom'.
If feathered friends rather than quasi-communist comrades took your fancy, there was the annual Carluke Ornithological Show to go to or you might have been lucky enough to be one of the 275 members of Law Co-operative Society who had just heard at their annual general meeting that this year's 'divi' was 3s 8d (18p) per 1 of purchases.
If you were a resident of Carnwath there was practically a glut of entertainment to be had. You could have gone along to the Opening Concert of the 'new' Town Hall which, in fact, was just the old U.P. Church, redundant since the recent death of the Rev. Mr Blair. The Carnwath U.P. congregation would have to slum it from now on with their 'Wee Free' counterparts in the village's Free Church of Scotland.
At the concert the laird himself, Brigadier General Sir Simon Macdonald Lockhart, Bart, MVO, presided over the attractions which included a special playing of the latest gramophone records, with an operator coming all the way from the London Records Company to act as 1906s answer to a 'disc jockey'. His long trip from The Smoke to Carnwath seemed worth it as the audience remarked on the ''marvel of clarity'' of his firm's recordings.
There was far less good-natured entertainment to be had at he meeting of the Carnwath Literary Society where the speaker, Mr James Mains, made the big mistake in his talk about 'Ivanhoe' being Sir Walter Scott's finest work. He was, frankly, ripped to shreds for this by the members, whose criticisms were, the Gazette recorded, ''tersely and pointedly applied!''
Indeed, life in Carnwath was so racy in 1906 it warranted its own gossip column in the Gazette, entitled: ''What the Folks Are Saying''; it reported rumblings amongst the natives that tickets for the Town Hall Opening Concert had been too dear and the recent disease-abating measure of blocking up the village's public drains caused ''effluviant odours much remarked on.'' It also advised villagers to join up to the area's new Temperance Society so they could ''gang steady hame at nicht.''
Evidence of that ''local patriotism' promised earlier in the paper emerged in the first poem published by the Gazette, a stirring verse entitled 'Clydesdale' and starting ''Hail! Clydesdale, Caldonia's noble heart, thou art a gifted, highly favoured spot...''
As if this excitment wasn't enough, a short ghost story 'The Shadow On The Moor' by Lucy Hardy was thrown in and readers were promised that next week's edition would see the start of the serialisation of 'The Mystery of Backwaters', described as a ''story of thrilling interest and well-balanced plot.''
THAT VERY FIRST COURT REPORT
THERE was of course news in that first Gazette: the doubtful honour of being the subject of the very first court case ever reported on these pages fell to Andrew Harrover, a pit-sinker of Whifflett, who somehow came to assault, unprovoked, a Mr Daniel Sweeney on the platform of Carstairs Station.
Sheriff Scott Moncrieff fined him the then-hefty sum of a pound with the option of 14 days in jail.
Meanwhile, at the JP Court there were 14 day jail sentences for two labourers from Craigneuk who defied Scotland's then draconian Sunday licensing laws by ordering drink from the landlady of Carluke's Commercial Hotel on the Sabbath, concealing the terrible fact from her that they had already taken alcohol at another premises previously that day, a heinous sin on Sundays according to Edwardian Scots Law.
Crime was obviously on the rampage as the Carluke 'Steamie' in Sandy Road had been broken into, the thieves getting away with a haul of a few shillings.
Anyone wishing to re-assure themselves that civilisation was not crumbling could go to Lanark's St Leonard's Church and cheer themselves up listening to the Rev. J. Graham Cramner B.D'.s sermon which ''drew striking pictures of misery and sin going on in our great cities''. It was either that or Carluke's Kirkton Church to hear a special recital on the kirk's new harmonium, kindly donated by an anonymous lady member.
EPIDEMIC AT THE GRAMMAR
THE big news story of that week was the stormy meeting of the Lanark Grammar School Board; thousands of words were printed in a blow-by-blow account of the members trying to deal with the school being in the grip of a diptheria epidemic.
Member Mr James Graham came in for some terrible stick for having, the previous week, written to a certain Hamilton-based newspaper, apparently accusing his fellow board members of ''apathy and indifference'' in tackling the outbreak.
He was forced to make a grovelling apology but, just to make matters worse, another Board member pointed out that the few pupils not yet infected had been placed in an 'isolation' classroom for their own protection; unfortunaately the classroom chosen turned out to be the one where the drainage underneath was a wee bit suspect and where, in fact, the diptheria outbreak had started in the first place!
Anyway, the whole matter was taken out of the Board's hands when the County Council stepped in and ordered the school be immediately shut down for the duration of the crisis.
As today, the Gazette's back page was occupied by sports news, a modest service at first, merely reporting that Carluke Milton Rovers, then still a Junior League club, had been gubbed four-two by East Benhar Heatherbell and Law Volunteers had fought out a two-two draw with Glasgow Athletic.
That then, was your first Gazette.
Wednesday 22 February 2006
Ron Harris continues his review of the Gazette's first 100 years
ON THE entertainment front, Lanark was really put in its place when the bill to entertain at the burgh's annual Cricket Club Concert in the Good Templars Hall was described as of a quality ''rarely seen in a small provincial town.''
The Carluke Poultry Show was a major annual event, displaying ''poultry, pigeons, rabbits and cats.'' Let's hope that not ALL these entries were destined for the cooking pot...
THE GOOD LORD -
AND GOOD WORKS
THE Kirk played a far greater role in local life in 1906-10 than it does today and the local churches attracted guest speakers from all over the world; for example, on a single evening, folk at Carluke St John's UF Church could hear Miss Smail talk about her work as a missionary in Nagpur, India while Lanark EU Church hosted the Rev. T. T. Matthews with his tales of ministering to the natives of Madagascar.
There was an amazing variety of denominations in Clydesdale at the time, some of them long gone. For example, the Original Secession Church of Carluke celebrated its 35th anniversary in 1907 but is almost totally forgotten 99 years on.
Christian charity was a lifeline for the local poor in these pre-State Benefit days; Carluke Parish Council weekly dealt with ''a large number of applications for relief.''
There was, of course, no National Health Service and Lanark's St Mary's Hospital run by the Sisters of Charity was just about the only public hospital facility in the area. The opening of a new wing gave the Gazette a chance to relate the origins of the establishment back in the 1860s; there had been an explosion at the Caledonian Oil Works and two workers seriously injured, in urgent need of treatment. With no local hospital, three visiting Roman Catholic nursing Sisters were asked to help, after which it was decided that their Order should have a pemanent presence in town. As these life-saving Sisters were, in turn, the daughter of a colonel of the British Army, the sister of a lord and the niece of a cardinal, the two working class lads must have had the three poshest nuns in Britain looking after them!
LOOKING AFTER 'OOR AIN'
CLYDESDALE had a strong sense of community even back then and sometimes it was up to neighbours and workmates to come to the aid of the injured or bereaved; a fund-raising concert party, featuring talent from the village, was held when a New Lanark millworker died in an accident there. The widow was no doubt comforted by the proceeds from the show but hardly cheered up by some of the songs chosen for the programme, which included the merry ditties: 'True Till Death' and 'The Deathless Army.'
There was also a community whip-round of every one of the very few private phone owners in Lanark when Miss S. McAllister left the town after nine years as an operator at the National Telephone Company's burgh exchange; her 'going away present' from her wealthy customers was a bag of gold sovereigns.
Poverty was, however, more common, Carluke miners holding a semi-riotous meeting to protest at their daily wage - 5s 6d (27p) a day - being less than it was 12 years before! The new Institute built in Stewart Street was in financial difficulties and the town's Templars held a bazaar to raise funds for its upkeep.
TRAGEDIES AND TRIUMPHS
IT was then, as it is now, the Gazette's sad duty to report local tragedies, such as the finding of the drowned body of 17-year-old Pettinain farmgirl Mary Greenshield in the Clyde the day after she disappeared from work at Carstairs. No less sad but a lot gorier was the discovery of a skeleton in the river near Cambusnethan. It was thought likely it was that it was the remains of a young postal worker last seen being swept over the Falls at Bonnington seven months before. The Gazette still revelled in the macabre Victorian melodramatic style of reporting, describing the bones as being ''bare white but, somehow, the boots still clung to the feet!''
More happily, the Gazette routinely reported the harmless and sometimes useful business of a huge variety of local groups and organisations, including Carluke Bachelors Club which reported one week that it had introduced new members ''to the mysteries of bachelordom.'' Obviously there was much more mystery involved in 'bachelordom' a hundred years go than just lying on the sofa, drinking lager and watching football on the telly!
The Gazette was also able to report what would be known today as 'feelgood stories' like the one about the bereaved Carluke family of Robert Marshall, mourning his almost certain loss as the chief engineer of the SS Baron Huntly which sank in a storm off the Americas when, on Christmas Eve, Robert walked into their home, safe and sound. Christmas 'presents' don't come much better than that!
EDWARDIAN LAW AND ORDER
COURT cases are still a mainstay of the paper's news content but crime and punishment in the Edwardian Lanark Sheriff and JP Courts were slightly different to today's.
Even the then still fairly straight-laced Gazette allowed itself to describe as ''amusing'' the case of six Auchengray youths, staggering home from a Hallowe'en celebration ''in an hilarious mood'' and deciding to round off the night's fun by pelting a Carnwath farmer with his own turnips and cabbages. The oldest of the teenagers got a ten bob fine and the rest a half-crown penalty each.
Another case from the era shows just how much more lightly domestic violence was taken at the time; a drunken Carluke miner beat and kicked his wife to the ground, even as she was holding their baby and, when her father tried to intercede, the miner struck him over the skull with a poker several times, ''causing an effuviance of blood to flow.'' The miner's punishment? A thirty bob (1.50) fine...
Theft seemed a far more serious crime than battering your wife and in-laws, a John Keenan being jailed for 30 days for stealing a Nemphlar woman's shawl.
Meanwhile, at the JP Court in Lanark, where minor cases were dealt with, one cropped up which would spark off a national panic these days; local electrician William McKenzie was fined 2 for allowing his rabid dog to roam freely around the Burgh.
One of the first motoring offences to come up at the Sheriff Court is a prime example of how the class system was still very firmly in control in the early 1900s. When a young toff who was a guest of the owner of Baronald Castle - now Lanark's Cartland Bridge Hotel - borrowed his host's car to give his friends a spin in the countryside, he knocked down and badly injured an elderly farm labourer near Crawford.
His lawyer told the court that his client had sounded his horn on approaching the old man but the driver was not to know the farmworker was deaf. Instead of swerving to avoid him or even just braking, he drove on and ran the old fellow over. The sheriff, to use the legal phrase of the day, ''assoilzied'' the young toff. In modern parlance that, effectively, means 'let off'.
Divorces were rare in these days and so were still rated newsworthy by the Gazette; the first reported in the paper was a transatlantic one, Jane Connor of Seattle, USA ridding herself of Carluke labourer Matthew Hunter for desertion; she'd married him in 1901 and then she went a year later, alone, to the States to work as a lady's maid and never heard from him once in five years!
(Away from the courts, there was also bad news from across 'the pond' for Carluke when a train crash in New York killed Bryony, the famous locally-bred racehorse. There was a slightly less tragic encounter between a horse and a train in Carnwath when the cuddy bearing the village milk float backed it into the path of a shunting engine, destroying the entire load.)
TOON COONCIL STRAMASHES
AS TODAY, council business was reported and there was a right ding-dong battle going on in Lanark Town Council between its Agriculture and Roads Committees over who was responsible for paying to repair the road to the town coup. Worse yet, there was a whiff of corruption, it being admitted by the recently-elected council that two of its lately retired members should, technically, never have been allowed to take up office - and especially not have been permitted to freely dole out lucrative council building contracts to themselves and their business cronies!
Still, the Lanark ratepayers saved a few bob by dint of the fact that it wouldn't cost much to shift the ceremonial Provost's Lamp (now standing outside the Tolbooth) from the home of outgoing Provost Brown to incoming Provost Keith; they were next-door neighbours.
The Co-operative movement was still in its Golden Age at this time, the members of the Lanark Co-op feeling flush enough to vote for 25 to be given to the widow of its chief salesman John Rodger who had suddenly died.
Politics were to the fore, the Clydesdale of the day fair teeming with various societies, associations and political party branches holding weekly, packed meetings to debate the Great Issues of the day.
Votes for Women was obviously one and the Carluke Constitutional Association, after much argument, concluded that it would, generally, be a good thing - so long as it didn't go too far or anywhere near equality with male voting rights. (Don't mock these Carluke Edwardians for being all that backward - Switzerland didn't give women the vote in council elections until 1975!)
Further evidence of current attitudes to women was the Gazette's new 'Ladies Column' by 'Sylvia' which concentrated exclusively for years on home-dressmaking and cookery.
(Next, we'll tell how the young Gazette covered the decade between the Edwardian era and the Roaring Twenties, including, of course, how the paper depicted the 'home front' during the four most violent years in world history. But as you'll see, it wasn't ALL doom and gloom!)
STRAWBERRY, anyone?: This fantastic old picture is an apt summer scene from our area, depicting Scotts strawberry pickers. It harks back to the very origins of Carluke’s famous ‘jamworks’, created due to two very important local features. Firstly, it was Carluke’s proximity to the Clyde Valley – the fruitbowl of Scotland – which gave Scotts a ready-to-hand supply of the very best of ingredients for its products. The second factor was the relatively early arrival of the railway in Carluke in the Victorian era, meaning that Scotts’ famous jams could be transported to breakfast and dinner tables throughout the land quickly. Of course, even the finest of traditions must give way to change and, although Scotts still produces its famous range of preserves, its Carluke plant’s production is now more geared to producing the Scotbloc cooking chocolate which is used by home and professional bakers all over the world. But the heritage laid down by these long-departed fruit pickers of so long ago seems safe for years ahead.
50 YEARS AGO
Judith Hart MP was informed that Roadmeetings Hospital was not to be used as the new State Mental Hospital.
A wagon driver, from Wishaw, appeared at Lanark Sheriff Court charged with the theft of goods from a railway wagon at Law Junction. He was sentenced to three months in jail.
Heavy rain almost spoiled Carnwath Show. However, there was an exceptional amount of entries with both Ayrshires and Clydesdales well up on previous years.
A 13-year-old boy from Rigside said that women wearing high-heeled shoes should be banned from driving. David Bartie put forward the idea in an essay he had entered for the SOS Children’s Road Safety Club.
A lorry driver noticed a car was lying off the road near Hyndford Bridge and was extensively damaged. Police traced the Biggar owner - at home asleep in bed!
Lanark Agricultural Society’s annual outing was to two farms in Angus.
Long serving Carluke Rovers player Tommy McKinstray signed for the club for another season.
100 YEARS AGO
At the Burgh Police Court a Lanark man was found guilty of smashing a window after getting into a fight. He was fined 10s with the alternative of seven days in prison.
The autumn show of the Upperward Horticultural Association was due to take place at Lanark Grammar School.
Sister Teresa Farrell attained the Diamond Jubilee of her religious life. Sister Farrell, who worked at Smyllum Orphanage, was congratulated by dozens of people.
A miner, from Tarbrax Rows, appeared at Lanark Sheriff Court charged with assaulting a fellow miner. He pled guilty and was fined £1.
The hugely popular Forth Games were held in adverse weather conditions. However, despite the very bad weather there was a very good turnout of spectators.
The community of New Lanark was saddened to learn of the death of handweaver Hugh Stewart. He was 78 and had been ill for some time.
Law Volunteers drew 1-1 with Carluke Milton Rovers in a local derby.
Thursday 14 January 2010
Discover the stories that made the Gazette headlines, all those years ago.
50 YEARS AGO
* Fifty members attended the first AGM of Clyde Riding Club in the Popinjay Hotel.
* At Lanark Market, uncalved heifers met the dearest trade of the season, with prices 2 to 5 higher than at recent sales. The class was topped by a 122 bid for a Friesian.
* Vandals smashed windows and wrenched a shutter from the porch of the RC Chapel at Coalburn.
* Lanark Town Council had been unable to trace the owner of 19 Broomgate, one of the properties earmarked for a closing order under the council's five year programme to clear derelict buildings. It was reported that more enquiries would be made.
* A request by Lanark Town Council manual workers for four extra Saturday holidays a year was rejected by the Town Council.
* A .22 rifle and 21 rounds of ammunition were confiscated in a poaching case at Lanark Sheriff Court after three Lothians men had pleaded guilty to being in possession of a cock pheasant and a hare at Libberton. The trio were caught by a gamekeeper. The sheriff imposed fines totalling 9 on the three men.
100 YEARS AGO
* Lanark postal employees' annual dance at the new St Mary's Hall was attended by over 100 people.
* John Aitken, a member of Lanark Amateur Dramatic Club for over 10 years, received a silver cake basket from club members as a token of esteem on the occasion of his marriage.
* Arrangements had been completed for the supply of soup to scholars of Crossford's Underbank School during the meal hour. Demand exceeded all expectations when the soup was served for the first time.
* Cossar, the brilliant left back of Law Volunteers AFC, was
chosen to play in a Lanarkshire trial game against Glasgow.
* At the monthly Lanark Town Council meeting, permission was given to the Yeomanry to use Lanark Racecourse as a camping ground for 18 days.
* Carluke carpet bowling team The Templars qualified for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup with a 35-29 win over Wishaw.
* Carluke postman James Morton was treated to a supper at the Market Restaurant, marking his retiral from the postal service after 32 years.
* Amber bright marmalade was available to buy from R and W Scott Ltd.
Tuesday 29 April 2014
HAVE YOUR SAY
STANDING in Lanark’s Bannatyne Street, sad but still somehow gracious, is one of the few survivors of an age when the town was very much Scotland’s favourite ‘tourist trap’.
When the Royal Oak Hotel finally closed its doors a couple of years ago, few realised that this marked the end of a glorious era.
With that closure went the very last hotel rooms in the whole Royal Burgh, something that would have been unthinkable just over 100 years ago when that street alone was home to SEVEN such establishments.
In fact, looking at a postcard from just before the Great War you can see that three of them once stood next door to each other, two of these, The Victoria and Scott’s Station Hotels, later to merge into what eventually became The Royal Oak.
There was even one haven, run by the legendary ‘Pie’ Lawson, in that thoroughfare which catered for the substantial Victorian and Edwardian minority who eschewed the demon drink and kept temptation at bay by booking into his Temperance Hotel.
It’s no accident that all these hotels were grouped in that one street in Lanark and the clue lies in the second word in both these hotels’ names – ‘Station’.
Bannatyne Street is, of course, also home to Lanark’s railway station and it was its building in the mid-Victorian era which really kicked off the Lanark tourist boom.
True, the Royal Burgh HAD enjoyed previous spells as a fashionable port of call for travellers, especially those eager to see the nearby magnificent Falls of Clyde.
The former Clydesdale Hotel, now a Wetherspoons pub, still bears a plaque stating that Wordsworth and Coleridge once stayed under its roof while ‘doing the tour’ of Scotland’s greatest natural spectacles.
However, back then, at the start of the 19th century, Lanark was very much a resort for the rich and famous like these great writers.
It was only with the later coming of the railway that the town became accessible to the middle and even upper-working class traveller from Glasgow and the West Coast with a few days off their work and a few spare pounds.
Even today, going around antique fairs in Scotland and rifling through the boxes of old postcards, you’ll find a surprising number depicting the Lanark of a century ago, many of them with Glasgow, Ayrshire and Renfrewshire addresses on the back and mundane messages along the lines of “having a wonderful time breathing the fresh air of Bonnie Lanark”.
That fresh air alone was a major drawback then; in these pre-smokeless fuel days of the height of the Industrial Revolution, Glasgow lived under a constant pall of what we call smog today.
The pollution-free climes just 30 miles and an hour’s journey down the railway line to Lanark led to the town gaining a plethora of two very different types of accommodation; hotels and several convalescent hospitals, the latter for those recovering from the lung diseases which cursed many urban Victorians.
However, it was pleasure rather than survival that ‘breath of fresh air’ Lanark provided which brought the holidaymakers flocking here.
Of course, other businesses in the town flourished; at one time, you could hardly take 10 steps down the town centre without a pub to pop into!
When the Royal Oak is re-born soon as private flats, it will stand as a reminder of these happy, if a bit hazy, days.
Wednesday 04 August 2010
Discover the stories that made the Gazette headlines, all those years ago.
50 YEARS AGO
* An electrical junction box was demolished and overhead cables brought down when a lorry skidded into a lighting standard in Carluke's Stewart Street. A lorry passenger was slightly injured.
* A Carluke airman, "cut up" by his broken engagement, attacked his ex-fiancee by repeatedly punching her, pushing a pillow against her face and compressing her throat. At Lanark Sheriff Court, Sheriff MG Gillies fined the first offender 20.
* An increase of 1s 2d in the 1 in Lanarkshire rates was announced by County Convener Edward Daly.
* There was only to be one delivery each of letters and parcels in Carluke merchants' monthly holiday on Wednesday August 17.
* Constable William Frame, Forth, formerly of Carluke, was promoted Sergeant at East Kilbride, a new station. It came on the 10th anniversary of him joining the police.
* Mr WH Bogue (of Davidson and Shirley) was appointed depute procurator fiscal at Lanark JP Court.
* Carluke Bowling Club won a close game against Hartwood Patients Bowling Club.
100 YEARS AGO
* A woman with 21 previous convictions pleaded guilty at Lanark Burgh Court to, while drunk, using obscene language. Bailie Morton told her: "You seem to be a regular nuisance here." He fined her 40s.
* Forth Parish Church organist Miss Mackie successfully passed the exam for the Matriculation Certificate of the Tonic Sof-Fa College, London.
* A Lanark miner pleaded not guilty at Lanark Burgh Court to having maliciously broken a pane of glass in a Lanark house. But Bailie Morton found him guilty and fined him 1.
* The wedding of Mr Thomas Grossart, JP, Carluke, with Miss Agnes Dickson, second daughter of Mr James Dickson, Bellefield Place, Dundee, was solemnised in Lamb's Hotel, Reform Street, Dundee.
* Clydesdale jams, jellies and marmalades were available to buy from R and W Scott Ltd, Carluke.
* Messrs Shand won a junior foursomes competition on the improved Lanark Golf Course.
* Considerable disturbance had taken place on Monday night after a drawn game between Newmains Hibs and Wishaw Palace Rangers in the Law Volunteers FC Tournament.
Wednesday 21 January 2009
THE latest casualty in Carluke High Street is the 124-year-old Black Bull pub, which owner Bill Campbell has reluctantly decided to close at the end of this month.
Bill (59), who bought the pub 17 years ago, told the Gazette that keeping it open in the current climate is simply unsustainable.
He said: "I'm gutted to be leaving, but there's simply no way I can keep going.
"The downturn in trade has been catastrophic.
"A few years ago we used to get around 50 people in here on a Friday or Saturday night. Nowadays, we're lucky if we get 15 in.
"I love the pub, but it's been a static target for too long.
"There are between 27 and 30 pubs closing in Britain every week, and I reckon that figure will snowball even higher.
"I've been trying to sell the Black Bull for the past year, but nobody is interested in buying it."
Bill reckons that the smoking ban and the high cost of rates have been major contributory factors towards the death of his business.
He said: "In the days immediately after the ban was introduced in Scotland (on March 26, 2006) our trade went down by 19.5 per cent.
"It got progressively worse from there, and we're now down by 50 per cent since before the smoking ban.
"Eighty-six per cent of my customers were smokers, but the vast majority of them have stopped coming here.
"Quite a lot of them were pensioners, and they obviously didn't want to have to smoke outside in the snow.
"The smoking ban is a nonsense. Everybody says it worked really well in Ireland or America, but it didn't.
"It closed down a lot of pubs in those countries, and the same thing is happening in Britain.
"Rate costs are also too high. I'm paying 700 every quarter of a year for 12 light bulbs and two fridges.
"For that money, I could buy new fridges and bulbs every three months.
"I've been in business since 1975, and I've never seen so much disruption created by one government."
Bill said that the highlight of his time as Black Bull owner came in the mid 1990s, when 300 people packed into the pub to see Rangers manager Walter Smith officially opening its Blue Room upstairs.
But an attendance like that is now a distant memory, as Bill and countless other businessmen around the world suffer from a financial crisis which shows no sign of abating.
To illustrate how severe the current recession is, Bill revealed that the Black Bull had only three owners in the 107 years before he took it over. This worked out at an average of around 35 years per owner, but he's lasted for less than half of that time.
News of the Black Bull's imminent closure comes just one week after the Gazette revealed that Brooks were to close their clothing shop in Carluke's Hamilton Street.
Like the Black Bull, this business had existed in the town centre for over 100 years.
* Pharmaceutical giants Boots have lodged plans for work, including signage, at the store at 68-70, High Street, Carluke, the recently closed former premises of Haddows Wine, Spirit and Beer Merchants.
Boots lodged plans with South Lanarkshire Council for the new chemist this week.
With kind permission of the Carluke & Lanark Gazette © 2016