Blantyre Miners Welfare
Blantyre Miners Welfare
Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History
Well its getting pretty close to my trip, so this will be the last bit of correspondence until the end of March 2007.
Calder Street runs from East to West. It starts halfway up Craig Street which is running North to South and ends at Stonefield Road which is also running North to South, it also bisects Victoria Street and Priory Street.
On the corner with Craig Street and the left hand side of Calder Street, traveling West, stands the Blantyre Miners Welfare Hall. This hall played a big part in the live’s of all who lived in Blantyre. It had all types of social activity going on from Bowling, Boxing, Gymnastics, Billiards, and Dancing, it opened early and closed late for the miners. I suppose you could say that it was the main meeting place in all of Blantyre. There was always something taking part at all times of the day. One of the main attractions for the boys and men was the Billiard and Snooker room. I did, and a lot of other miners sons, spent a lot of hours in there learning to play snooker.
Think about it Margaret, You’re a miner say 40 years old, you have worked down the pit’s all your life, since you were ten and you live your life with the daily fear that something is going to happen to you one of these days while you are down the pit. Your father before you worked down the pit and they had nothing to give you for a little start in life, not even a guaranteed roof over your head, most homes were owned by the owners of the pits, so most times you started life with nothing but what you stood up in.
Like most human beings mother nature comes along and tells that it is time to find a wife and procreate and before you know it you have at least half a dozen kids to feed. You never have had a holiday and you can’t afford to go anywhere, you owe money to the company store and if you have worked all these years down the pit, health wise you are not in very good shape, just from the dust alone that you have inhaled all those years. It’s impossible for us in our modern society to try and imagine what they the miners and their families went through, so if he is a miner living in this type of environment and all these pressure associated with his daily existence in a SERFDOM. I believe it would be more than just hard to function like a man and being in such a frame of mind he would try to find some solace in drinking and gambling, which in the long run never really helped him, but it was all he had to ease that hurt of just existing and that we as modern people with all our education and all the great imaginative ideas that we can come up with, are still in my mind, a long way short of knowing what he, our GG Grandfather, WAS!.
Like I say it was not a life! If anything, it may have been close to an existence. To-day the inside of the welfare has been gutted out and it is more like a huge modern social club.
Note from Bill: Blantyre Miners Welfare Society & Social Club. The Welfare Institute was established in Blantyre in 1928 with the social club being opened in 1958, the Bowling Club in 1964 and most recently, the Resource Centre in 2008.
Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago (known as TDH or Drapadew) and originally from Logan Street, Blantyre and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.
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