Thursday, October 31, 2019

Hamilton, William and Elizabeth, Stevenston, Ayrshire

William and Elizabeth Hamilton, my great grandparents, photographed
at Stevenston, Ayrshire ca 1900. William was born in 1854 in Dalry, Ayrshire and died June 29, 1920 in Stevenston. Elizabeth Smith Hamilton was born at Cooroading Street, Stevenston July 05, 1857 and died September 03, 1943, Caledonian Road, Stevenston. The couple's children were: Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah, Mary, Joseph, Alexander, Margaret, William, Thomas Craig, Ellen and James.

William Hamilton was a Coal Miner, stated so in 1871, 1881 Censuses for Stevenston Ayrshire.  By 1891 he was a 'Check Weigher at the Colliery'.  This was a 'lighter' job: having a 'weak heart' William couldn't work underground any more and had to get work at the pithead. A Check Weigher at a Colliery was on the surface, not underground - it consisted of weighing the hutches of coal brought to the surface after it had been dug and filled by the miners underground.  Every coal miner had his 'tally' which was put on the hutch to identify whose production of coal it contained and the Check Weigher had to list the weight of the contents against the identifying 'tally'.  It would not have been a well-paid job.  Neither would that of Schree Man, which is how he stated his occupation in the 1901 Census - this was someone who picked out the bits of 'rubbish' in the coal hutches when brought to the surface. So, until 1901 William Hamilton was firmly stuck in occupations related to coal mining and there is no confusion whatsoever about that.

The place names shown in the above map occur frequently in the story of the Hamilton family of Stevenston. There's Dalry, where William was born, Stevenston where so many Hamilton events occurred, and Ayr where the Burns Museum can be visited.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hamilton Family of Stevenston, Ayrshire

Hamilton Family Group pictured in front of their home 'Genoa', Stevenston, Ayrshire.

Joseph (Joe) is at extreme left, back row. William Hamilton, his father, is 2nd left middle row. Elizabeth Hamilton, wife of William, is 2nd right middle row. In front are the younger children, James (Jim) and Ellen (Nell). Alex Hamilton was not present but can be seen peeping out from 2nd right in the back row. Next to him is Thomas (Tom) later killed at the Dannhauser Mine in the Transvaal.

Genoa, Stevenston, July 2000

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Vetch's Pier, Durban, 1860s and onwards

Having attempted various measures to improve access to Durban harbour, such as Milne's scheme in the 1850s, the Colonial Office threw its hands in the air and turned the entire matter over to Captain James Vetch, a Royal Engineer in the harbour department at the Admiralty. Vetch saw possibilities in designing something special for Natal. What is incomprehensible is that he did so without ever leaving his desk in London and had never visited Natal at any stage. The upshot was that after further expenditure the development of the port was no farther advanced when Vetch's contract was terminated.

Acknowledgement: African Keyport, Capt. Tony Pearson

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Slangkop Lighthouse, Noordhoek, Cape Town

Slangkop Point lighthouse, part of the Marine Protected Area of Table Mountain National Park, is a 34m-high giant of a lighthouse that has become the icon of Kommetjie. Visitors walking the 8km stretch of Noordhoek Beach often climb up to the top of the lighthouse for stunning coastal views.
The tallest tower on the South African coast was established after the lighthouse commission of 1906, but it wasn't until 1913 that tenders were invited for the supply of a cast-iron tower, lantern, optical apparatus etc. It had been intended to be put up by 1914, but the Great War intervened and though the lighthouse was built by that year it had to wait five years to be commissioned.
The cost of the original installation was 14 358.9.1. pounds.
The lighthouse is now fully automatic but a senior lightkeeper is retained on the premises for security reasons.

In 1914 the Senior Lightkeeper was J C Luxton, T F Addison taking over about 1918. Others in the earlier years were J Piper, A Small, H C Grieve, R W Gardiner.
J F Hannabus (see other posts on this lightkeeping family) was First Lightkeeper at Slangkop from 1963 - 1965, and C H Hannabus preceded him from 1929 - 1930. Other surnames associated with this lighthouse include: Bissel, Andreason, Linden, Stewart, Bruyns, Harty, and van Rensburg (F, 1970-1975).

Sunday, October 6, 2019

North Head Lighthouse Saldanha Bay

The first North Head Lighthouse on the northern side of the Saldanha Bay entrance, in South Africa, was a 300mm AGA acetylene gas lantern mounted on a square concrete pillar, installed on December 7, 1939. It had a small diaphone fog signal. 

As the harbour began receiving larger vessels in the export of iron-ore, it became important to upgrade the lighthouse.

In 1969 it became an electrical lighthouse on a steel lattice three-panelled pedestal, virtually identical to its sister lighthouse, the South Head. Since August 2005 a concrete tower that stands 21 metres high, painted in white and black diagonal stripes dominates the seascape. The steel lattice is still there but diminished in stature by the new concrete version. The new look is more in keeping with the 'idea' of lighthouses people have in their mind's eye.

The official vessels' arrival line for Saldanha Bay is the straight line connecting the centres of the two lighthouses - North Head and South Head. Should a boat of any description cross this line, it is considered to have 'arrived' within the bay.

Seen from a little way down the coast, the lighthouse is particularly striking, perched as it appears to be right on the very rocks that are daunting to ships, the old lighthouse still visible slightly behind it. Today the lighthouse is fully automated and monitored at Cape Columbine lighthouse. It lies within the property of the Saldanha naval base and a nature trail takes one past it.

AddressMilitary, Saldanha, 7395
Height21 m
CharacteristicFl (3) W 20s.
Tower height21 metres (69 ft)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Seal Point Lighthouse, Cape St Francis

Seal Point Lighthouse. This historic structure is South Africa’s tallest masonry lighthouse, standing at an impressive 27.75m on the second southernmost tip of Africa in Cape St Francis Bay. 

It has been in operation since 1878 and was declared a national monument in 1984. The circular lighthouse is equipped with a lantern house and second-order revolving lantern that has eight catadioptric lens panels.