Neil Douglas – Colliery Cashier

There are few better known men in Blantyre than Mr Neil Douglas, who for the long standing period of an incredible 40 years discharged his duties of cashier at Blantyre Collieries, which belong to Messrs. William Dixon (Ltd.), and in that time he saw Blantyre grow from a mere country district of less than 4000 people to a large and important centre of mining industry, with a population then numbering 16,000 inhabitants.

Born in the Parish of Glassford, on the 1st of April, 1844, Mr Douglas received his elementary education at the Subscription School in Chapelton. At an early age he went to work, and for a few years he worked at different kinds of employment, until in 1866, he went as a clerk to Earnockmuir Colliery, which was then owned by Messrs. William Dixon (Ltd.) and he has been in the employment of the firm ever since.

Mr Douglas soon gained the confidence of his employers, and in 1869 was transferred to Carluke. The firm at this time was engaged in opening up the extensive coalfield at Blantyre, and Mr Douglas, who by this time was appointed travelling cashier, went daily between the company’s collieries at Carluke, Udstone, Earnockmuir, and Blantyre. When the Blantyre Collieries started working in 1872, Mr Douglas was appointed to the important position of cashier, and he then took up residence permanently in Blantyre. Throughout his long connection he has taken a prominent part in the affairs of the parish, and, as far back as 1874, we find him returned as a member of the old Parocial Board. On the Local Government Act coming into force, he was, in 1894, unanimously elected chairman of the Blantyre Parish Council, and every year since then his colleagues have similarly honoured him, so that he has now had a continuous record of 36 years service in the administration of relief to the poor.

Mr Douglas has also took a prominent part in the educational affairs of the parish, and since 1884 he sat as a member of the School Board. Connected as he was with the largest industrial concern in Blantyre, he saw a number of colliery strikes, and could recount many amusing incidents which occurred during these times.

As a younger man Mr Douglas took an interest in all forms of out-door sports, and he could always be depended upon to be a spectator at the great International Football Match between England and Scotland. Blantyre Bowling Club members are pleased to record the fact that he had been a member since 1874, and the younger players can always depend on getting encouragement from his mature experience, as he will as readily play a game with a novice as with a crack player. Curling also finds him an enthusiast. Mr Douglas is a Justice of the Peace for Lanarkshire, and in politics he supported the Liberal Unionists. His oldest son, Dr David C. Douglas, enjoyed a large medical practice at Burnbank, Hamilton.

You can read more about Neil Douglas here

Reference: Article from “Stothers’s Xmas and New Year Annual 1910/11.

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