Miner’s Wife 1907

Blantyre's Ain Website
Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Blantyre History of Mining

Miner’s Wife 1907

Miner's Wife 1907The worst mining disaster in Scottish history took place in Blantyre in October 1877 when Dixon’s Pit exploded killing over 200 men. It is thought that the tragedy occurred when a build-up of fire-damp (the equivalent to North Sea gas) was ignited by a naked flame on a miner’s hat. High Blantyre was thrown into turmoil as thousands of goulish spectators joined the relatives crowding around the pit head as bodies were brought up over the following days.

The newspapers too, in the absence of photographs, took to relaying graphic descriptions of the victims’ injuries.

A public enquiry was organised but although it was discovered that safety regulations had been flouted, no recommendations were made about taking action against the employers. In fact, it laid part of the blame on the miners (unable to defend themselves for obvious reasons) saying that they were responsible for reporting the pit if they considered risks were being taken!

It also felt great sympathy for the Dixon’s stating that ‘the owners (were) severe sufferers by the wreck of property and the expense of and delay in restoration’. It seems unlikely that any lessons were learnt. Just two years later there was another explosion killing twenty-eight men.

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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