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You are here: Information & History | Occupations - Various Trades

Occupations Weaving
Coal Mining
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Various Trades
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 Rothesay.

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.

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