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Cosmopolitan Carluke

Trivia Question: 
  Where was there a White Russian bride, An Italian singing teacher, A German prisoner of war who was a tank mechanic for Rommel and an Indian tinwhistle player ?, though not all at the same time I might add.

Well if you are reading these pages it's likely you have a hint.
Still struggling ? The hint is in the title of this website. The answer of course is Carluke. That and much more. 

Our estwhile famous Carlukian David Dick was a boiler engineer who travelled to the Baltic before the first World War. When he returned in 1914 he was married to a lady by the name of  Ludmilla Terescova  who was a White Russian fleeing emigree and they ultimately settled in Braidwood.
Not bad for the first part of the quiz. 

The second part is a little vague (help anyone ?) but the Italian was a male singing teacher who lived in Hamiton Street at the turn of the century (1850's) and presumably advertised music lessons in the local newspaper.

Still intrigued ? The next one is again a true fact. Heinz Gall was a German prisoner of war in WW2    In fact he was trusted to drive a truck around Lanarkshire carrying German and Italian prisoners of war to the surrounding farms and bring them back each night to the POW camp in Thankerton. He had been captured in North Africa while he was repairing tanks for Rommel's Panzer Corps. After the war he was one of the first VW motor mechanics employed in Scotland.

How about Lithuanians ?  In the 1920's hundreds of Lithuanians and Poles were imported by private mine owners to break strikes in the coal mines. Most remained here after the disputes were over and married local Scots lassies.

The Indian tinwhistle player was a Lascar (a Goanese sailor) Quite how he arrived is unknown but he became a miner and used to play tunes as he and other miners walked from the tram stop at Newmains Cross along the four mile path to the minehead at Kingshill.

Are you ready for the next riddle ?

A Renfrewshire Gaucho, a Cornish canner, a Dutch gardener, Silk weavers and Norweigan wood - Explain ?

Once again our wonderfull Scots history is to blame. A Mr Graham, originally from Renfrew decided to travel to S. America and ended up becoming a gaucho - a S.American cowboy rancher. He owned large estates there when he retired back to Scotland.

The Cornishmen were imported to Motherwell and Craigneuk because they were skilled tin workers and smelters. They were employed in the rolling mills at Etna Iron Works to make tin-plate which is the basis for every tin can you see in your supermarket. The road called English Street in Wishaw may well be named for the Cornish visitors.

The Dutch gardener was Mr Vesti who lived in Old Brigend in Carluke in the 50's where the sawmill was and he was a well known bulb grower in the district.

In the 1700's one of the main employments was as a weaver and some of the finest silk weavers were Hugenots from Belgium. When they arrived and passed through towns like Carluke many married and took the name Fleming and indeed the town of Flemington is from the original people the Flegms from the borders between Belgium & France. At one time Stathaven was famous for its high quality siks.

In Norway a shipping company named Salvesen would ship iron and coal from Scotland and in return they brought wood from Norwegian forests to the Brownlee family who had a sawmill in Grangemouth.

Trivia #3   Who are our Italian icecream and tomato-growing families ?
Mainly they were refugees from the troubles during the Garibaldi rebellion.  More information as it becomes available.

Closer to home, most English families arrived here as invaders during the '45 rebellion when the armies from the south were garrisoned here to enforce the law on kilts and claymores.

Trivia #4   Why do we have Chinese in Britain ?  The surprise answer is that we imported most from Hong Hong during the first World War to dig the trenches in France and Belgium. We armed the Irish and gave the Chinese shovels. After the war, a great many of the Chinese came to London and remained in the UK in the restaraunt trade.

Trivia #5   Who & When were the absolute first visitors to the UK, who stayed and farmed ?
Earn yourself ten bonus points if you get the date. The answer is quite surprising and if you go just south of Biggar you can see an example of the places they retreated to during skirmishes, the hill known as Biggar Gap. Did you get the answer ? - The year was around 3000BC and the people were middle-eastern arabs or Persians.

We can skio over the French onion-sellers on bicycles, because we have no proof they stopped by in Carluke, but what about the Irish ?
The largest Irish contingent came here in the 1830's and 40's when the railways were being constructed. It is believed that the Chapel in Carluke was built specifically because there was no burial or services avaiable before then. In addition Catholic highlanders were arriving during the clearances, many employed as policemen because they were big and brawny and not afraid of a good fecht.  In the 1920's  Carfin Grotto was erected to the Holy Mary by local miners and the grotto and a garden was developed with a house for friars who were Irish.

Undoubtedly there were returning emigrees from Canada and America but we will save that for a future story.   What about the Spanish Civil War ? No details of any refugees but surely some came here (anyone ?).
Of course when Law Hospital opened in 1948 the doctors and nurses who staffed the hospital came from Barbados and Jamaica as well as Kenya and India.

Finally a trivia question with no answer (yet)
Who was the first Carluke resident to be convicted and transported to the Australian colonies ?

Read more stories from the Humorous section
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21 Tales of Wit
Anither Tale
Banking in my childhood
Camp Coffee Redux
Kilncadzow Crime Scene

Created before 2012