With the arrival of Greyhound Racing in 1920’s Blantyre, came the inevitable gambling problems for many people in our town. At Craighead, a new sight was plain clothes officers, acting on behalf of the gambling commission, walking around the racetrack and others locally to see if illegal activity was going on, especially with the rise of so many bookmakers descending upon the new venue.
In January 1929, betting officers in plain clothes attended the Blantyre races and kept an eye on the bookmakers. If a bookmaker became suspicious that he was being watched, the board and books were packed up quickly. That month under suspicion was Patrick Adams.
In Hamilton Sheriff Court on Wednesday 16th January 1929, Patrick Adams, a bookmaker, 113 Old Mill Road, Uddingston, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Finance Act, and under the Betting Duty Regulations that he carried on as a bookmaker in Craighead Racing Grounds, Blantyre, without a certificate; that he failed to issue proper revenue tickets; and that he gave his clients a ticket other than revenue one.
Betting officers in plain clothes were watching the accused in the Blantyre grounds packed up his board and books, while his Clerk made off. An agent said Adams was ignorant of the law.
At one time Patrick had been a professional boxer, and recent to his sudden desire to cash in on Blantyre bookmaking, had been for some years a waiter on trans-Atlantic liners. He had been injured in Pennyslvania forcing his passage home as trimmer on board one of these grand ships, and when he came back to Uddingston, found his wife and children more or less destitute. This was the desperate reason given in court, that he had set up a bookmaking practice without proper permission.
Sheriff Mercer said he was satisfied that the accused’s offence was an isolated act, but given people in Blantyre had given him money, he fined him £5, with an order that he should be disqualified from holding a bookmaker’s certificate for year.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016
Accompanying this story is a photo sent to me in November 2015, by Yvonne Houghton. She reckoned it was in Blantyre, perhaps in the 1950’s, but the unknown man illustrates this story very well.
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