Blantyre Smiddies

This image shows blacksmiths employed at one of Blantyre’s pits. The photo is confirmed as taken outside Dixons PIts in High Blantyre.

Miners working there often lived at the “Dixon’s Rows”, a concentration of terraced cottages constructed to provide homes for Miners in an area now as Calder Street, Stonefield Road, Camelon Crescent and Boswell Drive. Blacksmiths or as they were known locally “smiddies” were employed to fabricate iron and steel brackets, clamps and other fixtures used throughout the mine. An obvious task as seen in this photo, they also worked on was the manufacture and fitting of horses and ponies shoes.

One of the most-enduring trades our forefathers took employment in, the increased use of cast iron and the industrial revolution in the 19th century contributed to the relegation of the art of blacksmithing to the classification of a dying art. Today most blacksmiths are employed in the manufacture of fancy ironwork or artwork.

Blantyre’s most prominent Smiddy was located in Broompark Road leading to Bardykes Road at Barnhall, but was knocked down just after the turn of this millennium. Photo courtesy of the excellent website by Andy Paterson.

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