Presentation of Bibles to the Blantyre Widows and Orphans

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandBlantyre History of Mining

Glasgow Herald, 26th Dec 1877

Presentation of Bibles to the Blantyre Widows and Orphans

Presentation of BiblesAt a meeting held in Stonefield Mission-House on Christmas Eve, 300 Bibles, granted by the National Bible Society of Scotland, were presented to the Blantyre widows and orphans.

The Bibles are well bound, and each copy bears the inscription- “Presented by the National Bible Society of Scotland to, all of the sufferers through the sad explosion at High Blantyre Colliery, 22nd October, 1877′

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitat. There was a large attendance of the meeting of those specially interested.

In the unavoidable absence of Mr White of Overtoun, the Rev. Stewart Wright was called to the chair, and after prayer introduced Mr Slowan, secretary to the Bible Society, who, along with Mr George Thomson, was present as a deputation. Mr Slowan expressed the sympathy felt by the ladies of the Glasgow society, in whose annual meeting the proposal for the presentation had originated, and their hope that the Bibles would be prized and read, and by God’s blessing help to brighten dark homes and cheer lonely hearts with the message of set love and mercy.

Long lists of names, first of the widows and then of the children, were called over, and those present received their books from the hands of Rev Wright. The Chairman, cordially seconded by the Rev. Mr MacDonald, on behalf of the poor people, expressed their thanks to The Bible Society.


All very good but…

There is one quite disgraceful postscript to the disaster at High Blantyre. Six months afterwards, Dixons raised summonses against 34 widows whose husbands had been killed and who had not left their tied cottages despite having received eviction notices. The women told a sheriff at Hamilton Sheriff Court they could not afford to pay a rent elsewhere. He said they should be grateful the firm had allowed them to stay in the houses so long and ordered them to be evicted in two weeks time.

After losing their men folk in Scotland’s worst mining tragedy it is most likely that the widows of Blantyre and their children were sent to the Poor House – to be hidden from view as a social stigma.


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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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