Hamilton Baths

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre history

Hamilton Baths

Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History

Miners Row c1940'sOn the right side of John Street proceeding north were some of the latest council houses, like those in Springwell. When these homes were first put up around the early 1930’s, they were lit by gas only in the main living room, there would be two gas mantles above the fireplace, this was all the light you had in your home. This accommodation by the way was a 100% better than the raw’s that most people came from. The home usually consisted of two bedrooms, one larger than the other for the parents, a bathroom, living room, and a scullery. But do remember the families of those days were from 6 to 12 kids in a home, things were pretty crowded then.

Behind and in the wall of your fireplace there was a water tank, this was there so that when you had a fire going, the heat from the fire through convection and conduction would heat up the water and pass on the heat to a 20-30 gal tank usually situated in the scullery, which nine times out of ten was through the wall from the living room. All of the council homes were standardized. The council did all repairs painting etc to the homes.

One of the great innovations shortly after the war years was the immersion heater, this was basically a large electric coil that was put into the holding tank in the scullery and instead of waiting for your fire to heat your water supply it was just a matter of throwing a switch and your water was heated in a much shorter period. This was at the time a dramatic occurrence to the then council home owners, my family being one of them. With the fire in the grate only, no matter how long you tried to heat your water for a bath it never got that warm for a decent bath, all of that changed with the immersion heater. It was lovely!

Hamilton BathsThe parents always tried to encourage their children to use the local baths and swimming pools, both as a place to wash and have a life saving swim, if the occasion ever arose they were ready. The only problem with that scenario was that the children after spending an hour or so in the pool were fit to eat a horse when they got out of the water. This became a big problem for the local carters, as many a horse was disappearing, so they had to cut down the time a child spent in the pool to around half an hour and they only ate half a horse.

Margaret! why do you always think I am kidding you?

I don’t think I have ever been as hungry as when I was a youngster coming out of a swimming pool, they use to sell us all the old stale cookies and buns and we thought them delicious. The baths and swimming pool that we used was in Hamilton so you had to walk or catch a bus for the 3 mile trip there. A lot of people will remember the Bakers just around the corner in Almada Street from the Hamilton Baths, I bet that place made a fortune from all of the kids that ate up all that they had to offer. I saw kids eat a loaf of plain bread, for that was all that was left for eating, where did that hunger come from?

Changing CubiclesUnkle Cyril: When it was very busy the cubicles on both sides were used and you got wire baskets for your clothes. Sometimes we changed on the balconies.
You weren’t allowed in the water until you had washed your dirty feet.
I can’t believe it was only 25 yards long. I could swim the whole length under water.
We jumped off the dale with friends on our shoulders.
You weren’t allowed in the water until you had washed your dirty feet.
I can’t believe it was only 25 yards long. I could swim the whole length under water.
We jumped off the dale with friends on our shoulders.

 Vienna Loaf My cousins and I would buy a Vienna loaf at the bakery. Eat the inside then put our hand inside it, like a long boxing glove, and gnaw it on the way home.

Your Comments:

Liz Boxall: Went every Saturday morning with my dad !! Loved jumping off the three dales !! Then getting tablet for 4d at a wee fruit shop on almada street oh and also remember a man with one arm diving in the pool happy days.

Fran Mcdermott Walters: Can smell the chlorine now lol x

Jackie Croft: I remember going here with my school (St John Ogilvie.)

Mary Mcguire: I remember going with school. My maternal and paternal grandparents lived in Springwells. I remember living with them before we moved to Kelly’s building.

Moira Macfarlane: Remember it well.

Ian Cunningham: Remember it well. Used to go withy uncle George when I was visiting.

Kate Boyle Monteith: I learned to swim in Hamilton baths x

Marion Mcpartlin: I remember them well from when we lived in Burnbank.

Ann Sutherland: Used to go with my friends in the early 50’s. I can close my eyes and I am sure I can still smell the chlorine. Is the building still there.

Helen Stewart: Spent my youth at Hamilton baths x

Amanda Hobbs: Hated those baths! Used to scrape my knees on the edges trying to get out.. and was always worried folk could see under or over the cubicle doors… I only went with school.

Elaine Starrs: Loved Hamilton Baths – big part of my childhood centred around them as we lived around the corner in Guthrie Street (Elaine Orr)


Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago, formerly Logan Street, (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.


Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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