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The village of Quarter lies on the eastern hill side of the Clyde Valley, giving, on a clear day, some breathtaking views over the Clyde Valley to the Campsies and the Pentland Hills in the east.
In the earliest records Quarter, as we know it now, was called Darngaber. Darn Gaber means "The house between the waters" and since the name came from the nearby Castle of Darngaber, it was the castle that was between the waters, or as some have unkindly supposed "The hiding place of the goats". The name Darngaber has been preserved in Darngaber Gardens and Darngaber Road, which leads to Darngaber Farm. The name Quarter is supposed to have come from an old division of the Ducal Estate.
Low Quarter is probably one of the oldest mining villages in Scotland. The coal was wrought by means of a mine entering from the banks of the River Avon. Old wooden shovels and pickaxes have been found there, relics of which are still preserved in the museum today. Coal has played a major part in the development and demise of Quarter. In the early 1800's coal was extracted from the Quarter district mainly for domestic use in and around Hamilton. The colliers were housed in what were the remains of the old farm steadings at Quarter. The demand in summer was limited and in this season they had to turn their attentions to “country work,” such as working in stone quarries, Limeworks and with the farmers at haytime and harvest. Being economical and thrifty they were mostly all “bein and well-to-do.” A number of the miners kept cows for the use of the family and all of them had a pig. Output also dropped sharply in early January, due no doubt to the over imbibing of John Dunlop’s “Liquid Fire.”
In 1825 Mr Matthew Walker took over as manager of Quarter Colliery working for the Duke of Hamilton and in 1854, when Blackband Ironstone was discovered at Quarter, the mineral field was let to Mr Colin Dunlop of Clyde Ironworks. At this time in Quarter there was also a Brick and Tile Work, also managed by Mr Walker and with Mr Alexander Dunn as superintendent. In 1850 Mr Walker was also manager of the Boghead Limeworks, which gave Limekilnburn its name.
The new style of intensive mining, which Dunlop created, gave rise to a different working relationship between miner and owner. The miners now had to spend all their time mining rather than the more casual approach of the past. With the Ironworks having five furnaces in operation they required far more coal and so the mining population soared. Dunlop & Co built miners’ Rows in Darngaber Row, which later became
, Store Row and Furnace Row. The houses consisted of one apartment terraced bungalows, having no running water and no inside toilets. Domestic water was drawn from a communal well and the outside toilets were of the dry type with the bothies containing the toilets having no doors attached to them. Dunlop also provided a company store, with vouchers given to the workers, which they had to spend in the store. The miners also had a public house called the Bully Inn and there were two schools in the village by 1858.
In 1696 the church of Hamilton erected the first school in the village of Darngaber and in 1841 Hamilton Council had responsibility for the local education, which reputedly had 45 Scholars. With the arrival of Colin Dunlop's company in around 1855 the population rose from 299 to 853 in 1861, and a school was set-up sometime after 1860 and before 1873 by Colin Dunlop. The main school was on the opposite side of the road from where the present school is and the other, which was a private school, was at the entrance to
. In the 1890's a Post Office was opened on the opposite side of Darngaber Roadfrom the school and in 1910 the Duchess Nina Institute was opened by the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton.
In 1884 the village had its own church built of local stone and a few years later the manse was provided along side the church, the Rev. George Blair being the first minister. At one time in the village there was a Gospel Hall, sited where the footpath to DarngaberGardens now stands. The village also had its own police force consisting of two constables and later with two police dogs. The original site for the Police Station was at the entrance to
. They moved into the old school, which used to be on that site. By the 1890's the Police Station had moved opposite the church and consisted of two police houses with the cells behind. The Police Station was still there up until about 1976
With the decline in coal reserves at Quarter the mining company slowly moved out leaving the usual industrial mess behind and it was up to the council to do the best they could. Their plan was to demolish all the miners’ rows and build new houses in Castle Wynd. Not all the villagers got houses in Quarter, some had to move to Eddlewood. In 1965 the miners’ rows had gone and new bungalows were being built, however they were of a standard and price, which was outwith, the scope of the local community. A new breed of worker, called commuters, moved in, mainly because there was no work left in and around Quarter. People travel all over central Scotland from here, as it is fairly easy to connect to the major road system in the central belt. Gone are the Institute the large shops and busy public house, which are no longer, supported by large numbers of working men. It takes a long time to generate a spirit of belonging, which was enjoyed by the mining community, however with the help of the new and old locals pulling together such community spirit can again be achieved.