The Hamilton Palace Colliery where the Šugžda family lived and worked from 1911. Calder Place can be seen at the back right, with Store Place and Haugh Place less than 100m to the right of this off camera. Park Place was about 300m to the right. This photo was taken from the Bing (slag heap), a place many of the family’s children loved to play!

In the 1880s, Bothwellhaugh was just a farm near a bend in the River Clyde; but by 1913, it was one of the biggest coal mines in Lanarkshire with about 1,400 employees. The Hamilton Palace Colliery (aka ‘The Palais’) was operated by the Bent Colliery Company, which provided 458 rental houses for its workforce (read the history here). A single room with no water in 1910 cost £4/17s/6d per annum, but if you had water, it would cost £5/4s/–. Some houses had two rooms, and a few even had a dry toilet — but only 27 of them had a bath! Mind you, there were communal bathrooms, but most miners would have washed down from a hard day at the coalface in the sink, or have a small tub in front of the fireplace where their womenfolk would scrub them down before they took their dinner. None of this may seem appealing to us more than a hundred years on — but, in 1911, this village became home sweet home for the Šugžda and Zinkevičius families after they moved from Bellshill.

Although Ona and her husband Jonas had lived with or near her family in Bellshill, they lived in different rows after the relocation to Bothwellhaugh. JonasPetronėlė (now calling themselves John and Sarah Sugistaff) moved to Nº 13 Park Place1Source: Sugistaff, John; 1915 Valuation Roll; VR10700306-/392, Bothwell, Lanarkshire. with their four boys and my Granny; while Ona and Jonas (now calling themselves Annie and John Zantavick) took up residence at Nº 2 Store Place.2Source: Zantavick, John; 1915 Valuation Roll; VR10700306-/386, Bothwell, Lanarkshire. The room at Store Place was immediately above the Company’s Recreation Hall (this is remembered in the article on Matilda Fletcher). However, the families could hardly have settled in when Jonas Šugžda was permanently incapacitated in a pit accident. The following extract from a newspaper gives the details:

Scotsman – Thursday, 5 October 1911

Colliery Cage Accident at Bothwell
A serious cage accident occurred at Bent Coal Company’s No 1 Pit, Palace Colliery, Bothwell, early yesterday morning, 8 men being injured, 5 of them so seriously as to necessitate their removal to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. […] The depth of the shaft is close on 100 fathoms (600 feet) and shortly before 6 o’clock the lowering of the dayshift had been begun. Four sets had been successfully lowered, but on the cage containing eight men going down for the fifth time, the engineman in charge lost control of the winding engine when it was about half way down, and it fell with a crash to the bottom, a distance of about 300 feet, the men being thrown in every direction. Medical aid and ambulance waggons were at once summoned, and the injured, on being brought to the surface, had their wounds dressed, and those more seriously injured were at once sent to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The cage was badly damaged by the fall.

The Injured
Adam Barr (70), serious internal injuries, and removed to the Royal Infirmary in a critical condition. [died.]
John Suggistaff (41), left leg badly smashed and likely to require amputation; removed to Royal Infirmary.
Charles Wright (25), right knee dislocated and fracture; removal to Royal Infirmary
James Mullen (17), fracture of the left thigh; removal to Royal Infirmary.
Thomas Walker (27), fractured thigh and compound fracture of the leg; removed to Royal Infirmary
Edward Hasson (26), generally bruised; removed home
James McMahon (20), generally bruised: removed home
William McCulloch, generally bruised; removed home.

As this report suggested, Jonas did have his leg amputated, and his days as a hewer were now at an end. Another report a few days later in the Hamilton Advisor gives some additional details:

HAMILTON ADVERTISER – Saturday, 7 October 1911

Cage Accident at Hamilton Palace Colliery – Eight Men Injured
The village of Bothwellhaugh, hitherto immune from any serious colliery accidents, was on Wednesday morning startled by the report that the cage of No 1 pit had got beyond control, and had gone to the bottom of the shaft with eight men. […] eight men were injured, some of them severely, but there were no fatalities. The lowering of the dayshift men and the raising of the back shift had begun, and four times the cage had descended safely with its living freight of workers — forty in all. Eight men entered the cage for the fifth “tow” as the lowering is technically called, and all went well until the cage had got near the bottom, when control of the cage seemed to have been lost for the moment and it descended to the ground with great force. Immediately Mr Stewart Thomson … summoned … the ambulance waggons. The injured had their wounds dressed, and those more seriously injured were at once sent to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The following is the list of the injured men:–

[…]  John Suggistaff (41), left leg fractured.

[…] Had the accident to the cage occurred when the fourth tow was descending, the result might have been far more disastrous, as four men were then ascending on the other cage, which was drawn up the the whorles by the force of the fifth descent, when, fortunately, the up-coming cage was empty. The engineman, Richard Leghorn, has been regarded as a very capable man, and has been in the employment of the Bent Coal Company for the last two years. The injured men in Glasgow Royal Infirmary were last night reported all making satisfactory progress.

The newspaper report published on the Scottish Mining Accident website for Adam Barr (72) is as follows:

He [Adam Barr] and other seven men were being lowered in the shaft to their work, when the winding engineman failed to check the speed of the descending cage sufficiently, and it struck the cage violently. The ascending cage was taken up against the pulley, but fortunately no one was in it. Deceased died on the 7th October, and all the other men were more or less injured.

From the Main Body of report: Overwinding — An accident occurred from this cause at Hamilton Palace Colliery belonging to Messrs. The Bent Coal Company, Limited, on October 4th, causing the death of an oncostman and injuries of a more or less serious nature to seven men who were in the descending cage. The depth from the surface to the seam to which these men were being lowered is 95 fathoms. Nothing was wrong in any way with the winding engine or gear and the accident was solely due to a mistake on the part of the winding engineman. He had previously been employed at a shaft 160 fathoms in depth, and, I think, in a moment of forgetfulness, he allowed the engine to run as if he had been at the deeper shaft. Neither a detaching hook nor an automatic controlling device to prevent overspeed was in use. If the latter had been in operation with this engine, there is little doubt, I think, that the overspeed control would have been brought into operation by the steam being automatically cut off, and the brakes applied On the cage reaching the predetermined the shaft, and the cage would, in consequence, have been brought to a standstill, and the accident prevented.

Jonas may have lost his leg in October, but on 16 December, his step-daughter, Annie, gave birth to the first of her three children: Matilda Zinkewicius, who would later be known as Tillie Fletcher (read her story here). It’s not clear whether Jonas was able to continue in some capacity with the Bent Mining Company, but he and Petronėlė continued to live at Nº 13 Park Place for the remainder of their lives. Annie had two more children in short order: Jaroslaw (5 Apr 1913, later known as Russell Fletcher); and Malvina (25 Feb 1915). All these children were born at Nº 2 Store Place, and the 1915 Valuation Rolls for Lanarkshire show the families living at those addresses. However, World War One had started six months before Malvina was born, and this would lead to dramatic consequences for our family.

The Conventionists

In 1917, with the war dragging on and hundreds of thousands of men dead, the British government signed an agreement with the Russian Provisional Government, which was formed in March 1917 upon the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. This treaty required that all male Russian citizens resident in Great Britain, aged 18 to 41, be liable for conscription into the British Army, or be deported to serve in the Russian Army (read Murdoch Rodgers’ article The Lithuanians for a fuller account of the times). This caused enormous turmoil and division within the Lanarkshire Lithuanian community, with the Church advising the men to join the British Army, while the Socialists and women’s groups opposed the measure. There were about 1,800 Lithuanian men liable to the conscription order and, of these, 1,100 chose to return to Lithuania to join the Russian army. This contingent departed in November, leaving 200 dependent families behind without visible means of support — among these ‘Conventionists’ was 32-year-old Jonas Zinkevičius. By the time these men arrived back under Russian jurisdiction, the Provisional Government had fallen, and the Bolsheviks were in control. Only a third of these men would ever return to Scotland.

Children playing behind the ‘rows’ at Bothwellhaugh.

Annie was now left at Store Place with three children and the prospect of no income. Neither the Russian nor (at first) the British authorities would accept responsibility for their maintenance or their repatriation. However, by the end of December, the British relented and, for a while, paid allowances of 12/6d for a wife, and 2/6d per child. On his departure, Jonas had instructed Annie that, should he not return, she was not to bring the children up as Catholics. Her son, Russell, remembered that, in the following years, the local priest “made life hard for Annie” — the whole family from that point seems to have parted ways with the Catholic Church. However, a surprising consideration of these events is that Annie’s brothers Joe and Barney did not join the Conventionists nor the British Army. Given that they were respectively aged 22 and 19, it is hard to understand how both avoided conscription or deportation. One possibility might be that because their father was now an invalid, at least one of them was exempted to support his parents — but that’s no more than conjecture. Barney, though, seemed to become more or less invisible to the authorities for the rest of his life.

While Annie was coming to terms with her new situation, her brother Joe, firmly remaining ‘un-conscripted’, married Euphemie “Phemie” McCaskill a few weeks later on New Year’s Eve:

1917 SCOTLAND STATUTORY MARRIAGES: Blythswood, Glasgow 3Source: Sugzda, Joseph & McCaskill, Euphemia; 1918 [for 1917] Scotland Statutory Marriages; 644/10 0034; Blythswood, Glasgow.

married: 31st December 1917
at: 21 Hope Street, Glasgow

Joseph Sugzda (Bachelor), Coalminer
age: 23     of: 13 Park Place, Bothwell Haugh, by Bothwell
father: John Sugzda, Coalminer
mother:  Sarah M.S. Milninkutie   [Melnikaitytė]

Euphemia McCaskill (Spinster), Domestic Servant
age: 21     of: 16 Haugh Place, Bothwell Haugh, by Bothwell
fatherDuncan McCaskill, Pithead Worker
mother:  Mary McCaskill M.S. Gray

By declaration in presence of: Bernard Sugzda, Coalminer; and Janet McCaskill, Domestic Servant
Warrant of Sheriff Substitute of Lankashire; December 31st 1917

Annie Zinkevičius née Simanavičiūtė, standing by her beloved allotment garden in front of the Bothwellhaugh bing. The footbridge over the railway to Park Place would be off camera to the right.

As we can see, Joe and Barney have clearly not been deported — and they are coal miners, not soldiers in the British Army. We also have the first marriage of a family member outside the Church. “By declaration”, with a sheriff’s warrant, was a legal form of marriage in Scotland at that time, and that is how all of this family’s marriages in Scotland were conducted thereafter. Joe and Phemie had their first child (John) in November 1918, just a few days before the armistice was signed to end The Great War — and the following year the community saw some of the Conventionists returning to Scotland — Jonas Zinkevičius was not among them.

Many of those who had chosen service in the Red Army were stranded in Russia after the Revolution, and hundreds of their dependent families back in Lanarkshire faced eviction from the company-owned housing — Annie included. When the British government ended the Treasury allowances in March 1920, many women and children were left with little choice but to return to Lithuania, and about 600 of them were repatriated by the end of that month. It is thought that Annie had at one time packed ready to go as well, but we do know, however, that her younger half-brother, Johnny, had ‘moved’ into Nº 2 Store Place, pretending to live there so as to keep the  company-provided house for Annie and the three children. In the 1920 Valuation Rolls, he is registered as John Zincavish, miner.4Source: Zincavish, John; 1920 Valuation Roll; VR010700341-/58; Bothwell, Lanarkshire. Annie remained in Scotland.

The 1921 Census

At the end of December 2022, the Scottish government released the images for the 1921census, which was taken on 19 June of that year. This census was nearly two months late due to the wide scale industrial unrest at the time. On 15 April 1921, which was later called ‘Black Friday’, the leaders of the transport and rail unions decided not to support strike action being taken by National Union of Miners, a decision seen by many in the labour unions as a breach of solidarity with the striking miners, and many as downright betrayal. Our Šugžda family were all still in Bothwellhaugh at this time (direct ancestors in purple):

1921 SCOTLAND CENSUS: 13 Park Place, Bothwellhaugh, Lanarkshire 5Source: SUIGEZDA, James; 1921 Scotland Census; 625/1 2/ 18 & 19; Bothwell, Lanarkshire.

Jomas Suigžda; Head; 48 yrs, 8 mths; Mar.; Coal Miner, Hewer (Unable to Work); Bent Colly. Co. Ltd.; Resident; born Lithuania, Russia
Patrone Suigžda [Melnikaitytė]; Wife; 52 yrs, 8 mths; Mar.; Home Duties; Resident; born Lithuania, Russia
Bronius Suigžda; Son; 25 yrs, 5 mths; Single; Coal Miner, Hewer (Worker); Bent Colly. Co. Ltd.; Resident; born Lithuania, Russia
Patrone Suigžda; Daur.; 19 yrs, 8 mths; Single; Brick Worker (Worker); Resident; born Lithuania, Russia
Jomas Suigžda; Son; 17 yrs; Single; Coal Miner, Hewer (Worker); Bent Colly. Co. Ltd.; Resident; born Lithuania, Russia
Alex. Suigžda; Son; 11 yrs, 4 mths; Both parents alive; Scholar; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire

First to note from this record is that all those in employment are marked as “Worker”, unlike our McKay relatives who were living at Bothwell Park Rows just 2 km (1.5 miles) north of Bothwellhaugh. The McKays (who were known to be very active trade unionists) were all marked as “Out of Work”, which probably indicates they were on strike. Either the Hamilton Palace mine workers were not on strike, or the Šugžda boys were strike breakers — however, all other miners on the same census page are also marked as “Worker”, so this is not clear. Also to note is that the Šugždas are no longer recorded as ‘Polish Russians’, but now as ‘Lithuanian Russians’ — and although the name spelling is weird, the enumerator made an attempt to put a diacritical mark over the ‘z’! Wonders will never cease.

The two married children were both living nearby with their own families in 1921:

1921 SCOTLAND CENSUS: 2 Store Place, Bothwellhaugh, Lanarkshire 6Source: Zinkavich, Ona [Zinkevičius]; 1921 Scotland Census; 625/1 1/ 23; Bothwell, Lanarkshire.

Ona Zinkavich [Zinkevičius / Simanavičiūtė]; Head; 29 yrs, 4 mths; Mar; Home Duties; Resident; born Lithuania, Russia
Matilda Zinkavich; Daur; 9 yrs, 6 mths; Both parents alive; Scholar; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire
Jaraslovas Zinkavich ; Son; 8 yrs, 3 mths; Both parents alive; Scholar; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire
Malvina Zinkavich ; Daur; 6 yrs, 4 mths; Both parents alive; Scholar; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire

1921 SCOTLAND CENSUS: 17 Square Place, Bothwellhaugh, Lanarkshire 7Source: Sugzda, Joseph; 1921 Scotland Census; 625/1 1/ 17 & 18; Bothwell, Lanarkshire.

Joseph Sugzda [Šugžda]; Head; 26 yrs, 6 mths; Mar; Coal Miner, Hewer (Worker); Bent Colly. Co. Ltd. Coal Master; Resident; born Lithuania, Russia
Euphemia Sugzda [McCaskill]; Wife; 25 yrs, 4 mths; Mar; Home Duties; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire
John Sugzda; Son; 2 yrs, 8 mths; Both parents alive; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire
Mary Sugzda; Daur; 1 yr, 4 mths; Both parents alive; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire
Sarah Sugzda; Daur; 2 months; Both parents alive; born Bothwell Parish, Lanarkshire

Death in the family

It was not till June or July 1922 that Annie had any news on her husband’s fate — and the news was not good:

This certificate is given to citizen Annie Zinkevičius, wherein it is certified that her husband, John Zinkevičius of the government of Suvalki in Lithuania, was admitted to Soviet Hospital Nº 15 on December 7th 1921 after a relapse into illness from which he had been suffering, namely Typhus. He died on December 12th 1921 in above mentioned hospital.

Where Jonas had been in the four years from December 1917 to December 1921 is completely unknown; however, from this letter, it seems reasonable to assume that he had been serving in the Red Army during the post-Revolution Civil War — why else would he die in a Soviet hospital, and have the authorities take the time to advise his next-of-kin? Jonas and Petronėlė were still living at 13 Park Place at this time, while Joe and Phemie had added three more children to their family: Mary (1920); Sarah (1921) and Euphemia “Pat” (May 1922) — but, in August 1922, while Annie was still grieving, Joe left for New Jersey, USA, never to return.

The story continues here.

My grandparents: Petronėlė “Sarah” Šugždaitė & George McKay.

My Mother: Patronele Elizabeth McKay – born at 2 Store Place, Bothwellhaugh, in 1929.


My mother’s half-cousins (Annie’s children): Russell Fletcher (Zinkevičius) & wife Jessie Yokubaitis; Malvina Zinkevičius & husband John Whyte. Photo about 1937–1938.


The Šugžda family, Bothwellhaugh,1926 – Jonas Šugžda will be the one seated in front with the light suit (missing left leg), and Petronėlė Melnikaitytė is the older woman sitting behind him in the dark dress.



3. Bothwellhaugh: 1911–1922 — 10 Comments

  1. Hi Your article is very interesting to me as my Grandpa was John Sugistaff and his wife Jeanie Wallace my Granny
    Also I had a aunt Sarah Sugistaff who married George Mckay and lately lived in Tollcross before passing away leaving no family
    The old John Sugdza who had one leg was my great Grandfather
    Great history in your story

    • Hi Jean,

      Delighted to hear from you (and your cousin Karen). I will contact you by email and send a family chart that will contain many of our ancestors and relatives from your grandfather’s side.

      Actually, Sarah Sugzdaite (means daughter of Sugzda) and George McKay had one daughter. Patronele McKay, my mother, was born at 2 Store Place in Bothwellhaugh in 1929, just as your grandfather was leaving for the USA. 2 Store Place was the house her Aunt Annie lived in. Annie was an older half-sister to Johnny Sugistaff and my granny. Johnny and Jeannie Wallace returned to Scotland in 1931, and my mum knew them well when she was young.

      My mum married Iain Craig in January 1949, and I was born in Glasgow in November that year. We all left for Ipswich, Australia in June 1950.

      After we moved to Brisbane in 1959, we had a visit from John Sugistaff who stayed with us for a few nights (I may have a photo of him in my parents old photo albums). John was a sailor (not sure whether navy or merchant). He was born in 1934, and a 1st cousin to my mum. Three other cousins (descendants of Annie, your great-aunt) all live here in Brisbane as well.

      I have 5 children for John and Jeannie: Sadie (1927); Isabella (1929); Jeanie (1931); John (1934); Andrew (1938); and George (1944). Which one is your parent?

      Best regards,


    • Hi Brenda,
      I haven’t come across the “Kane” family name in my research. As far as I know, we only have these family names from Bothwellhaugh: Sugzda (Sugistaff); Zincavicius (Fletcher); McCaskill; and Wallace. All but one of the Sugzda boys went on to the USA in the 1920s. My Granny (Sarah Sugzda) married a McKay, but they lived in Glasgow. My mum, however, was delivered in Bothwellhaugh in 1929 at her Aunt Annie’s (Zincavicius/Fletcher) house at 2 Store Place.
      Do you know where your dad lived at Bothwellhaugh?

  2. I came across your site when researching my own family tree. My Grandfather Davie McCulloch was born at 4 Store Place in 1922, and lived there until around 1932. He had very fond memories of the lobby door being left open between his home and ‘Auntie Annie’s’ home. By Grandfather and his sister would run between the two houses, playing games. He has fond memories of his childhood neighbours, and said it was never the same when they moved!

    • Hi Elaine,
      That’s a lovely memory; many thanks. “Aunt Annie” will be my great-aunt at 2 Store Place. My mother was born at that address in 1929, although her mum and dad lived in Polmadie at that time. My granny, “Sarah” McKay, was Annie’s younger half-sister. Annie had a reputation for her herbal remedies. You can read more about her on this page:
      This article was written by my cousin Anne’s husband, and she knew her Aunt Annie quite well. This story has some fond memories of Store Place.

  3. Hi, Alan. I’m currently writing a novel based in Bothwellhaugh of the early 20th century. Could you please tell me where you got the brilliant image of the kids playing in the street?

    • Hello Mark,
      I had always thought I got that and some other photos from “Abandoned Communities” (with permission from Stephen Fisk): — however, I just checked it and it’s not one of his. So, at present, my mind’s a blank! There is a possibility I got it from a cousin in the USA, as she supplied me a few with scenes of Bothwellhaugh – I’ll check that over the next few days. Sorry I can’t help right away.

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