Wine & Spirit Merchant, 466 Rutherglen Road and 22 Bell Street, Glasgow.
Mr Alexander Hamilton. 1891.
Mr Alexander Hamilton was born at Woodhall, Holytown in 1837 and received the groundwork of his education under Mr Gibb, the well known rector at that time of the Monkland School. After leaving school he was employed in extensive stores of the Monkland Iron and Steel Company, after sixteen years service with the firm he was made manager of one of the stores. After years working in the Monkland’s area, he came to Glasgow and commenced business as a flour and provision merchant, and for fifteen years he pegged and plodded away and gave it up to go into the wine and spirit trade.
Alexander was a very hard-working man and made many good friends in Glasgow, his character and business qualifications had been demonstrated scores of time and the magistrates and J. P.’s were only too pleased to place his name among the licensed holders of the city. In 1881 he acquired a public house at 466 Rutherglen Road at the corner of Pine Street, he was very successful here and ultimately acquired another pub three years later at 22 Bell Street, these premises sat at the corner of Wall Street in the Merchant City. Mr Hamilton knew what his customers wanted, according to the Victualling Trade Journal half of Glasgow’s publicans did not know how to cater to their customers.
Mr Hamilton had communicated his method of doing business to his staff of waiters and rich or poor received from them some invariable courtesy.
The Bell Street premises closed down before the First World War, however the Rutherglen Street pub was still a thriving business. When Mr Hamilton died his wife acted as one of the trustees and sold the business in 1917 to Mr Kenneth McLean, who became one of the most respected members of the Scottish Licensed Trade and a very popular publican in the Gorbals.
Mr Kenneth McLean. 1948.
Mr Kenneth McLean was a native of Mull and was born in the year 1878. After leaving school he was employed in the grocery trade and came to Glasgow and to the licensed trade in 1899. At the age of twenty-one he joined the staff at Mr Hamilton’s pub in Rutherglen Road, starting at the bottom of the ladder. He was always a very hard working young man and after his long apprenticeship had the best training working under Mr Hamilton.
His early experience included ten years as manager of the Rutherglen Road establishment. He built up a good relationship with his employer and was a sad day when Mr Hamilton died in 1915. Things didn’t look good for Mr McLean as the depression of the First World War was taking it’s toll, he must have thought during this period, that he might be out of a job after the death of his employer and friend. However Mrs Hamilton took over the licence and ensured the staff that their jobs were still safe.
The running of the pub, and surely all businesses during the war was very hard times. The business of running a public house in the Gorbals was too much for Mrs Hamilton, she decided at it would be better for all if she sold the business. Mr McLean jumped at the chance to become his own boss and took over the pub as sole proprietor. The trade picked up after the war resulting in Mr McLean acquiring another pub, the Auld Hoose at 266 Seaward Street on the south side of the city. Seaward Street was formerly St. James’ Street. Mr McLean disposed of this pub in 1946 but carried on at 466 Rutherglen Road.
For many years Mr McLean took an active interest in the affairs of the Glasgow and District Licensed Trade Defence Association and had served it for several years as a Director. He also identified himself clearly with Veto Defence aspects of the trade. He was an honorary president of the Royalty Burns Club with which he had been associated for 45 years, he was also President of the club from 1948-50 after giving it splendid service on the committee.
Kenneth was an ardent supporter of the Mull and Iona Association. Another of his interests was Free-Masonry and had a long connection with Lodge The Gael, No609, at which he was a past R.W.M. Bowling also attracted his attention and he was a past President of Hutchesontown Bowling Club. Sadly Mr McLean died at the age of 88, in 1966, he was pre-deceased by his wife and lost his eldest son in the war, he left four sons and a daughter. His second son was in the Forces for four and a half years, the third was associated with his father in the business and was in the Navy for some time and the fourth was in the Far East, his fifth son was still at school at the time of his death.
Mr McLean’s sons, William and Lachlan managed the Rutherglen Road premises, the funeral to Craigton Cemetery was largely attended, those including contingent of Licensed Trade personalities among them being representatives of the brewers and distillers and the Royalty Burns Club.
The Rutherglen Road premises stayed in the family until it was finally demolished in the City Councils Redevelopment Scheme which saw not only pubs being demolished but whole communities.
Do you remember this old pub, did you ever meet Mr Kenneth McLean or his family, did you drink in the pub, if so please get in touch.