Hamilton Civic Society

Home History Programme Gallery Contact Hamilton Palace

History of Hamilton Civic Society

Hamilton Civic Society was formed at a public meeting in February 1929 at the instigation of interested members of the Rotary Club of Hamilton.

The social and industrial changes of the time including the destruction of Hamilton Palace and a large part of the old town had highlighted the importance of guarding against haphazard developments which might lead to the destruction of the built environment or the spoiling of rural areas. The main aim of the Society was “keeping a watchful eye on the amenities of the town and assisting to promote and preserve its beauty and artistic worth”.

In the early years, members worked on such varied tasks as saving trees, made guides and information booklets about places of interest, including the publication of a book, Hamilton Past and Present, and suggested that the Tollbooth should become a public museum. With the help of a local builder, they collected articles of interest including a beam from the Old Grammar School, carved with the names of scholars, and the Weavers Society stone from Townhead Street. The Society helped to organise the first schools’ bulb growing competition and it was only the outbreak of war in 1939 which brought a temporary halt to its activities.
It sprang to life again in 1960 when it supported the formation of a Hamilton Natural History Group and went on to become affiliated to the Scottish Civic Trust. It published a Town Directory for the first time and established a Historic Buildings Committee which commemorated the Centenary of David Livingstone with a plaque on “Ulva Cottage”, his parents’ home. Hamilton’s Quincentenary Celebrations brought involvement both in organising events and in the publication of a book, Hamilton 1475 – 1975, a group of essays on the town’s historic past. A selection of poems by the Hamilton poet, Walter Wingate, was also produced at this time as well as guides to town nature and heritage trails. By the time it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1979, the Society had encouraged the setting up of Hamilton Arts Guild, the Friends of Chatelherault and The Friends of Hamilton Museum.

Today, the Civic Society still has close ties with Hamilton Natural History Society, Hamilton Rotary Club, Lanarkshire Heritage Forum as well as Clyde & Avon Valley Landscape Partnership and welcomes members of these organisations to its meetings.