‘The Zepps’ Wild Melee



The Gardeners Hall, Cambuslang was the scene of a mass brawl on Saturday 14th December 1919 when a Blantyre gang invaded the dance floor!

The dancing and jigging was abruptly brought to a halt when a gang of Blantyre men known locally as “The Zepps”, rushed in with a surprise attack on the male dancers.

Dancing was in full swing when the hall was rushed by the angry mob numbering between forty and fifty Blantyre men who had journeyed from Blantyre with the intention of revenge (for an unknown incident the night before.)

It was a frightening affray for all concerned. This was a time of brutal gangs, not just in Blantyre and they meant serious business. Armed with hatchets, hammers and a crowbar, the group also had an abundance of ammunition in the shape of iron bolts.

They suddenly made a wild and indiscriminate attack upon the dancers of both sexes, and in the alarming melee, several people were badly slashed and bruised.

Terror-struck by the suddenness and ferocity of the attack, the girl dancers screamed and fled in all directions, a few making their escape through the hall windows.

Having “cleared the hall,” and carried out their threat, “The Zepps,” headed off in the direction of Hallside, with the intention of executing a similar coup a dance in the Caldwell Institute, but fortunately, they was a body of policemen already there who engaged in an exciting chase. It was stated that the ill-feeling between the. Blantyre and Cambuslang gangs was caused by sportsmen and betting rivalry.

From the book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Blantyre Project lots of Blantyre gangs in 1910s and 20s. Ruthless too!
Catherine Newell I remember the same thing happening at the Welfare hall late sixties with a gang fight I remember the priest joining in
William Mullen Catherine Newell shamrock gang Glasgow ??lol
Jim Donnelly Good name for a Band..!
Robert Crothers The zepps.wonder what it ment.and where it came from..anybody know.
William Mullen Robert Crothers z team h/tyre remember that lol
Margaret Liddle Never heard of the Zepps before
Peter Mcconnell Tyre ya bass lol
Margaret Slaven Mc Sorley My dad was friends with David Goldie from cambuslang? Wonder same family.
Catherine Newell What was the name of the regular group I think it was the same as the taxi company on Glasgow road I think the singer was called Nurkey it started with an A

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  1. I wonder if the name was derived from Zepps nickname from zeppelins during ww1

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