Historic Hamilton By Garry L McCallum
Historic HamiltonBy Garry L McCallum 

Greenside Skin Works.

The Last Tannery in Hamilton.

Greenside Skin works, or better known as “The Tannery” was built by Thomas Naismith in the year 1700, and it was a purpose-built Tannery situated next to the old slaughterhouse on Muir Street.

The location of Greenside Skin Works, was roughly where the new flats are situated at the side of Back Row. It was a two-storey structure built on the banks of the Cadzow burn and the Tannery stood on this site for 258 years.

The Naismith’s who owned the Tannery had also owned other properties in Hamilton, one was on Almada Street, which in 1819 it was known as the road from Ayrshire and Glasgow and the second property, was a large house on Church Street, right next to the entrance of the Old Parish Church. In the year 1819 there were also properties on Cadzow Street and Townhead Street that were owned by a William Naismith and a Jason Naismith, however, at the moment I can’t confirm if these people are from the same family.

The Tannery was passed through generations of the Naismith’s up until 1888, where it was sold to a firm of curriers called Gibson and Gillon who were also an established Currier and Leather Merchant who ran their business from 8 Postgate.

The Tannery was eventually sold 4 years later in 1892 to a man from Perth, this man was called William Murdoch and he ran the Tannery business up until 1942 where it was eventually shut down.

William Murdoch married a Hamilton girl called Jeanie Smith-Lochhead who was from Selkirk Street. They lived in Hamilton and William died 7 years after he closed the Tannery. He died at his home Inchyra, 16 Auchingramont Road and he was 91 years old. William had a son who he named John, after his father. John Murdoch lived in Hamilton and he also lived right up to the grand old age of 96, he died in 1997. If one of our readers think that they may be related to John Murdock, who died in this year, then please let us know.

The Historic building was left to go to ruin and lo and behold the Town Council bought the building from John Murdoch. Time had eventually caught up with the old Greenside Skin Works and demolition started in December 1958, the old Tannery was no more. People who had known about the Tannery and who also saw it every day did regret the demolition of the building, but that’s the price of progress.

Written by Garry McCallum,
Historic Hamilton.

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