Blantyre Mining Disaster 1877

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandBlantyre History of Mining

Blantyre Mining Disaster 1877

On 22 October the early shifts of more than 230 men had gone down the mine as usual at 5.30am. It was a gloomy start to the Monday and the villagers were beginning to go about their business when, at 8.45am, a huge underground explosion heard for miles around rocked Blantyre and sent flames from two of the five pits.

The continuous sounding of the pit horn signaled disaster underground.

The women waiting at home would hear the sound and there would begin a rush to the pit head, anguish etched on their faces.

They would have feared the worse for their Men and Boys, but nothing could have prepared them for the news that followed on that dark day.

The continuous sounding of the pit horn signaled disaster underground.
 We can only imagine the depth of grief that the womenfolk were feeling on that dreadful day We can only imagine the depth of grief that the womenfolk were feeling on that dreadful day, some of them had lost their entire family. They could only pray that if their loved ones had not yet been found, they would be found soon and alive.But even the injured were not safe as the severity of their injuries meant that the majority died soon afterwards or on their way to Glasgow Infirmary on the back of a wagon.
The rescue work continued night and day and as the bodies were recovered they were brought to the surface, usually at night, out of sight of the large crowds which had gathered at the pithead. The rescue work continued night and day and as the bodies were recovered

 

The bodies were taken to a temporary mortuary The bodies were taken to a temporary mortuary, referred to as ‘the death house’ and it was there that the women of the village gathered to wash the broken bodies with love and care and lay them out in coffins with the belongings carefully folded at the foot.
With the dead cared for it was time for the harrowing process of identification. Wives, mothers and sweethearts made the tragic journey to the death house to try to identify their own. They could make several visits and view many terrible sights before they found their husband, son or lover.

Once identified they would have to make arrangements to take the body home often in a handcart or barrow and make arrangements for the funeral.

A list of the victims would be posted and updated at the colliery.

A list of the victims would be posted and updated at the colliery.
 Women would help with the nursing of the injured Women would help with the nursing of the injured and provide refreshments for the parties of rescuers who risked their lives recovering the bodies in the hell that was below.
All that was left was for widows to comfort each other.They had lost their husband’s, sons and nephews.No house in Dixon’s Rows was untouched by grief.

Little did they know that within a few short months, before they got over their grief, they would be homeless thanks to Messrs W. Dixon, the Pit owners.

All that was left was for widows to comfort each other.

The Graphic

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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