How did people hear news in Carluke before the Gazette began in 1906?
There were local newspapers in existence like the Hamilton Advertiser which had a section on Carluke, but to the ordinary working man these papers were expensive. A cheaper way of spreading the news was by way of the town crier. A discovery a few years ago at the back of a drawer in the town registrar’s office led members of the Parish Historical Society to research their archives for more information. Irene Watson found a small photograph taken in 1859 and gave it to Robert Cruikshanks to hand in to CPHS. The copperplate handwriting on the back stated that the man was Gavin Cunningham, Town Drummer.
In a Gazette of 1935, “A Native” has sent in his memories of the High Street seventy years before i.e. about 1865. He mentions old Guy Cunningham and his sister living in the site occupied in 1935 by Mrs Train. Guy went with the post and did orra (sic) jobs. He was also the town crier and he had a drum to call the townspeople to hear his announcements. The correspondent says he looked very well and dignified in his coat of green.
Another crier was William Ewing known locally as “Punkie Wullie”. In the 1881 census, he is living at Old Bridgend and is described as a pedlar and town crier. His wife, Sarah, sons, William, Robert and Daniel and daughter, Margaret, were also living there. “Punkie Wullie” features in a book called “Gangrel Buddies and other Studies” written by William Orr Aikman.(see attached story)
There seems to have been a second “Punkie Willie”, probably the son of the above. He lived in the building near the corner of Kirk Road and Mount Stewart Street. One of the jobs he is remembered for was sweeping chimneys.