Another bite sized chunk of Blantyre History
TALE OF A MINER FROM JOHN STREET.
My buddy of 60 years, Sam D, thought you may be interested in hearing true stories about the miners that lived and worked in Blantyre. Sam was employed as a miner for 12 years at the Dixon’s pit in High Blantyre.
This miner who we will call John from John Street was a rather tall man for a miner, he had a permanent stoop which was in extreme and he at all times was bent over. This affliction down the mine did not stop him from being one of the top producing miners in the pit. He could only turn his head to the side to talk to you, and he did like to talk, when it came to kidding and joking he was always capable of giving back more chaff than he received.
Three o’clock when this particular shift finished the miners were all crowding around the area awaiting the cage to arrive to take them up to ground level, when it arrived they all started to pile in and one of the miners noticed John still sitting on his stool that he normally used while awaiting the arrival of the cage.
HEY JOHN!! he shouts out, LET’S GO. No answer from John. The miner approached John to wake him up with a nudge. But alas John in that 10-15 mins of time had while waiting, had left this world without a murmur.
As you can imagine there were a lot of tears flowed and thoughts ran wild, with the thought that could have been me, or some day they may have to take me up out of the mine dead because of an explosion or cave in, or the roof falling down. The miners lived with these thoughts constantly, it was not that they wanted to be remembered of such happenings but their personal safety demanded that they were at all times aware of what could happen. Of course they had to leave John there until the safety inspector and doctor had done their examinations into cause of death and that meant that the other miners on their way up also witnessed the tragedy.
There was many a drunk in Blantyre that night. The mining communities in all small villages were a close lot and a loss of a miner was felt by everyone.
A morbid tale but a true one in the death of a miner.
I do hope you enjoy your visit with your Grand children, talk to you when I get back from Blantyre, Scotland and the surrounding areas.
I am enclosing photo to the Gallery of Sam and I to cheer you up. I am the one with the nice hair’do reading the ‘OLD BLANTYRE’ book.
Continuing the conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago, formerly Logan Street, (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.
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