The north-western end of Strathclyde Loch, superimposed on a map of Bothwellhaugh
and the Hamilton Palace colliery.
Part of the village lay under the water in front of the amusement park on the far
side of the loch, part of it lay on the land on the right hand side.
Robert Frew, Deputy Pit Manager, in front of the pithead buildings
The Frew family outside their house at 1 The Cottages
Robert Duncan’s booklet ends with some memories of several individuals who lived
at Bothwellhaugh. They included:
· Katie McNamee, the cleaner at the doctor’s surgery, who was in the habit of
buying presents, a toaster or perhaps a pail, for anyone getting married.
· Tam the Lum, the chimney sweep, who used a long brush and a big ball weight
in the course of his work. Tam the Lum would fill the handlebars of his bicycle with
hot water and tell local lads he had installed central heating.
· John Gunn, for many years a member of the Co-operative Society and of the Labour
Party. He served on the committee of various organisations in the village, often
taking the chair. He was always ready to offer advice and help to anyone in the village.
The position of Bothwellhaugh close to the River Clyde was at least partly responsible
for the closure of the colliery and the abandonment of the village. No. 2 pit was
always liable to flooding and needed continuous pumping. By the end of the 1950s
the National Coal Board had decided that the cost of pumping had become excessive,
and the colliery closed in May 1959. Most workers were made redundant or transferred
to other pits, but 90 men stayed for a further temporary period to remove machinery
and equipment, and to demolish the buildings.
Before 1959 the number of staff employed at the Hamilton Palace had already fallen
well below the number recorded in 1913. The introduction of electrically driven coal
cutting machinery from 1917 onwards meant that fewer miners were needed. Over the
years there was a steady movement of miners away from Bothwellhaugh, some moving
away out of choice, others accepting offers of a transfer to another mine.
One member of staff who stayed to clear the site after the pit closed was George
Mair. He had grown up in Bothwellhaugh and completed an apprenticeship in joinery.
As a joiner he would carry out a wide range of tasks, from maintaining the joists
that held the winding wheels to making support beams for the shafts, and he would
also carry out repairs in the miners’ cottages. George Mair and his family eventually
left in 1960, when he got a job in the steelworks in Corby, Northamptonshire.
The village itself, however, survived for a few more years, and the school remained
open until 1965. In 1964 the headmaster had cause to complain about the disturbance
created by the construction of the M74 motorway. Thousands of tons of waste material
from the mine dump near the school was being lifted into trucks and transported to
the motorway site. When the school was closed in 1965 just 10 pupils were attending
For several years parts of the village had been exposed to a major health hazard
from raw sewage. When sewerage drains had been laid at the end of the nineteenth
century they had been placed to run straight down to the river, rather than at an
angle that would have prevented the backflow of sewage. At times when the river was
high untreated sewage would come back up the drains and enter the foundations of
houses, especially in Roman Close, the row of houses closest to the river.
It seems that most of the village was demolished by the late 1960s. However, one
row of houses was allowed to remain standing a little longer as people were still
living there. It was the Mine Managers’ Cottages, usually known simply as The Cottages.
Gradually the occupants of numbers 2, 3, and 4 moved away, leaving just one couple,
Robert and Janet Frew in number 1. Robert Frew had been Deputy Pit Manager in the
colliery. He suffered serious injuries in a car accident in 1969, and spent the rest
of his life in hospital until he died in August 1971. During that period Janet Frew
was the only official resident, but she was joined by a group of gypsies. She would
supply water to the gypsies, and in return they would look out for her. After her
husband’s death Janet Frew agreed to move into an old folks’ flat.
Strathclyde Country Park was developed in the early 1970s. When Strathclyde Loch
was created the western section of the village site and part of the road were submerged
under it. The area covered by the remainder of the village, the school, and the pithead
buildings was concealed under landscaping. An amusement park was opened where the
lower slopes of the larger mine dump would have been.
Go to Youtube for a short film showing Bothwellhaugh as it was being demolished and
former residents recalling their life in the village.