Black Faces & Tackety Boots

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre history

Black Faces & Tackety Boots

BLACK FACES AND TACKETY BOOTS232 pages packed with true stories from the coal mines of Hamilton, Blantyre, Burnbank, Larkhall and Quarter.

The book contains 175 photographs and the names of 2000 local coal miners.

Among these names are several hundred miners who were present as rescuers at the Blantyre and Udston disasters.

Also included in the book is a harrowing eyewitness account by Hugh Brown who was both a survivor and a rescuer at the explosion in Dixon’s No 2 and 3 pits in 1877.

Rescuers being lowered down the shaft holding on to wood require to make a platform for the bodies floating about in four feet of water at the bottom of the shaft…  Kettle

Read of the incredible bravery of the men who cleared the blocked shafts in an attempt to reach the entombed miners and a description of the scenes underground.

There are stories about the disaster in Blantyre’s No.3 Pit where 26 men died and the overwinding accident which resulted in the loss of 6 lives and included each of these stories are many names of miners who were present or witnesses at the trial of Arthur Clellandthe winding engineman who was made a scapegoat for the coalmasters neglect of safety measures to protect the miners.

The depression in 1929 and the march to London are also included with a photograph and names of men of Blantyre and Burnbank men who took part.

The names of almost 100 children who were killed in the coal mines of Hamilton Parish and the colliery they were killed is also included.

There are stories from QUARTER VILLAGE AND QUARTER COLLIERIES and the names of the miners who were on the 1841 and 1851 census returns. All the men known to have been killed at Quarter collieries are also included.

The story is told of THE UDSTON PIT DISASTER and its 73 victims. The bravery of the men who survived the explosion has to be read to be believed. Read how several of the men climbed 700 feet up the shaft in pitch darkness in a desperate attempt to escape being entombed. The names of the men known to be killed at Udston colliery are also included.

Read how the John Watson Ltd evicted 750 men women and children from Eddlewood Rows THE EDDLEWOOD AND CADZOW EVICTIONS. Read how the John Watson Ltd evicted 750 men women and children from Eddlewood Rows and Meikle

Earnock Village and of the attempt by the Cadzow Coal Company to evict 200 families at Cadzow and how the miners fought back.

The names of many of the people involved in the Eddlewood evictions are also included and the names ofapproximately 200 Cadzow Colliery miners who were to be evicted two years after the Eddlewood evictions. Read the story of how they fought the Sheriff’s officers.Included are the addresses of the old time Cadzow miners involved in the threatened evictions.

SIR JOHN WATSON COALMASTER. Read about the vast amounts of money the coalmasters left when they died and also a detailed description of the stables build by Sir John Watson coalmaster for his horses while his miners and their families were squeezed into one and two roomed houses without washhouses, sinks or toilets.

THE 1926 MINERS’ STRIKE is covered and there are photographs of Larkhall miners who immigrated to Canada after the strike.

EARNOCK COLLIERY AND EARNOCK ROWS, Burnbank Hamilton, is very well covered with stories about the Colliery and rows. There is a good selection of photographs of “The Folk of Earnock Rows” and several poems about the rows which include many names of families who lived there.

THE STORY OF THE DYKEHEAD/SUMMERLEE COLLIERY LARKHALL and the disaster which cost the lives of 13 men and boys is told with vivid descriptions of the unbelievable bravery of the men who rescued of 50 unconscious men and scenes at the pithead as the women and local doctors attempted to revive these men being brought up from the inferno below. Many names are included in this story including the names of all the men known to have been killed at this colliery.

CADZOW COLLIERY AND NEILSLAND COLLIERY read true stories about these collieries. Included are the names of many of the miners who worked there. The names of the men who were known to have been killed at both of these collieries are included.

The Ranche Pub
will have you laughing your head off. Included are the names of the miners involved in the riot and subsequent court case.
The Ranche Pub THE STORY OF THE RIOT IN THE RANCHE PUB, CADZOW will have you laughing your head off.

Read the hysterically funny poem In Memory of Earnock Bing my Everest by Burnbank man Thomas Matthew Edgar and the poignant poem about a brusher called Joe Malone by an unknown miner.

AUCHINRAITH COLLIERY, BLANTYRE. The disaster in this colliery in 1930 is also gone into with great detail and the names of a number of the men of the men involved in the rescue are also given. Many photographs taken at the time of the disaster are also included.

KEIR HARDIE, ROBERT SMILLIE, WILLIAM SMALL and WILLIAM B. SMALL. Read of the struggle and sacrifice by these men and the mining communities to establish a miners’ union.

Read of the fight the miners had to be able to spend their wages where they wanted to without the threat of being sacked. The details of the truck system being operated at UDSTON COLLIERY, HAMILTON and the bravery of JOHN DUNN trade unionist and coal miner who made it public and paid the price for doing so are also included.

There are a number of beautiful PIT POEMS written by local miners, all of them taken from the old Hamilton Advertisers, The Lanarkshire and The Blantyre Gazette between the years 1856 -1947. These poems have to be read to be appreciated for what they are… beautiful evocative poems about a time long gone…describing the life of the COAL MINER and his family.

The following letter appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser on Thursday 29th June 2006.

“I have read Wilma Bolton’s book BLACK FACES AND TACKETY BOOTS from cover to cover, it is a work of art and brings a vision of life in the mining communities which even those of us who grew up in these communities did not fully realise.

Although we lived our childhood in the shadow of pit bings and regularly watched the cages go up and down the shafts, spoke the language of the district and heard our people speak of life as it had been, we absorbed so little of the absolute reality of some of the things they spoke of.

In the main we contented ourselves with sharing the pride of the communities we lived in. Because we were children we somehow felt that all that had gone on before we were born was a form of ancient history.

Wilma’s book puts everything into proper perspective and all that she describes so poignantly was within touching distance of our own lifetime.
She uncovers so much that had been allowed to become dormant, almost an irrelevance, to a society submerged in affluence and materialism

A surprising number of people who have read the book have found the names of family and friends who were involved in some way in the dreadful catastrophes mentioned. The book is a must for anyone interested in local history, especially those of us who have been brought up in mining communities.

Don Boyle.
Hamilton. “

The book which has been an instant success is priced at £15 plus postage can be obtained at

Delivery can be arranged free if local.

More Books About Blantyre

See Also Wilma’s Latest Book

Pit Props and Ponies

Pit Props and Ponies is a 216 page book packed with true stories from the coal mines of Lanarkshire. The book is a personalised social history of the Lanarkshire coal miner. It tells who he was, where came from and what he stood for and most of all what he stood up against and includes several thousand names of the old time miners and 217 photographs, many of them dating back more than 100 years.

Included are the names of men who were bonded slaves to the Duke of Hamilton in 1785 and also and the names of the miners who were working in the Quarter pits in 1799 and who without a doubt were also bonded slaves newly freed from slavery following the 1799 Coal Mines Act.

Also included are the names of many of the Irish miners who came over to work in the coal mines during the potato famine and included with the names of many of these Irish miners is their County of origin in Ireland.

As mining technology improved and deep coal pits opened up throughout the county these early miners spread out all over Lanarkshire. Countless thousands of their descendents emigrated to America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The book is an extremely unique and important family history source if you are descended from a Lanarkshire coal mining family.

It contains 105 stories and pit poems. Read the stories of the Quarter evictions and the riots at Ross Colliery, Ferniegair. There are stories from Home Farm Colliery, Eddlewood Rows, Cadzow Rows, Ferniegair Rows. Earnock Rows and many other collieries and colliery rows. Blantyre is well covered and among the stories is the tale of the stay down strike at Dixon’s Collieries, Blantyre and the names of some of the men who stayed underground.

Included are personal memories giving vivid descriptions of life in the miners’ rows and also stories written by miners describing their life working underground.

The book which has been an instant success is priced at £15 plus postage can be obtained at

Delivery can be arranged free if local.

More Books About Blantyre


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