Occupations - Various Trades
In the 19th century Stonehouse was far from being just a weaving
community. The village was self supporting with many occupational
trades such as blacksmiths, millers, lime-burners, masons, carpenters,
carters, joiners, grocers, drapers, publicans, shoemakers and tailors.
As a result of transport improvements many were able to sell their
goods elsewhere by the ever improving road network and the introduction
of the railway. Communications were also improved by the establishment
of the first Post Office in 1836 aided by daily coaches to Glasgow and
the coast. In 1899, John Thomson (Camnethan Street), was reported as
replacing the retiring William Stevenson as postmaster.
It was around 1830 that the turnpike system was introduced whereby
traders outwith the village had to pay a toll to sell their produce at
fairs and agricultural shows. The turnpike
system was abolished around
1880. The fairs and the new rail network
also attracted tourism. The
Black Bull Hotel and the Royal Hotel in Trongate were popular, both
holiday makers and overnight visitors. Both toll houses still stand
today, the first being at Meadowside Cottage (East Bar Toll) in
Lockhart Street and the other Tinto View on Strathaven Road. Under the
Town Improvement Association, the first telephone office and exchange
was installed at the Post Office in July 1914.
In 1836 there was a small firm manufacturing candle wicks from cotton.
This company was still trading in 1950 producing fire lighters. At this
time a third of the workforce were miners working at Canderrigg
Colliery and Broomfield. By the end of the 50’s many of the mining
families moved to other coal fields, seeking work in Fife and Ayrshire.
Another large employer from the mid-eighteenth century to the Great War
was Overwood quarry. This site was formerly accessed by a small wooden
bridge. Manned almost totally by local men, the quarry supplied
sandstone which was used in the construction of Glasgow tenements and
many important buildings including the Glasgow Herald offices (Buchanan
Street), Mitchell Library (St.Andrew’s Halls, Barclay Street), Sanitary
Chambers (Montrose Street), Clydesdale Bank (St.Vincent Place) and the
Stock Exchange in Buchanan Street. A light railway was built to connect
Overwood at Candermains Gully to the main line for transport to Glasgow
on a daily basis. This line was also used to transport coal from the
neighbouring mines such as Spion Kop Colliery. Apparently, the bridge
crossing the Cander was badly engineered and by the end of world war
one was dismantled for scrap. In 1893 Messrs. Baird and Stevenson of
Glasgow held the lease for the quarry. It was during this period that
Overwood was at its peak, continually employing local men to keep step
with demand. The site is now being used as a landfill site for waste
produce. Unfortunately the facing of the sandstone from the quarry
tended to scale with rot setting in due to the poor quality of the
sandstone.This ultimately led to the quarry’s closure. It is notable
from 19th century Hamilton Advertisers extracts that there were a great
number of accidents and fatalities attributed to the quarry; to which
Dr. Rae was a regular visitor.
The tileworks was also a thriving business at this time. Situated at
the bottom of Union Street, little is known of this company other than
its popular owner of the time, John Borland. Directly across from the
gasworks lay one of many clay holes, later filled in with refuse. There
was also a clay hole for making the tiles on the site of the football
pitch where Stonehouse Violet
now play. A second brick and tileworks at
Greenburn in the 1850’s was owned by Dr. Mitchell, a popular employer,
who would annually pay for excursions for his staff to places such as
After the second world war the parish rapidly became a fruit growing
district with around 45 holdings growing tomatoes and strawberries.
Unfortunately, competition from countries such as South Africa put an
end to this industry, though a few greenhouses still produce tomatoes
for the home market.
George Wilson (Stonehouse ) Ltd. during the 50’s employed over 1000 men
in the building trade, many of whom came from outwith the parish. Today
the main employer is Stonehouse Hospital,
however in recent years
George Whitelaw’s Buses have gained an increasing reputation as one of
Lanarkshires foremost bus companies and continue to grow and diversify.