Pillaging Blantyre’s Potato Fields

hi-resbag-of-potatoesLife was noticeably tougher in Blantyre during the post war years in 1918 and 1919. Food shortages and a struggling economy was bringing about recession and combined with severe railway strikes, that hindered the transport of food, the town felt itself in a state of hardship.

The Aberdeen Journal reported on 6th October 1919, “Since the railways strikes began, there is scarcely a farmer in the High Blantyre district whose potato fields have not been mercilessly pillaged in the darkness of the night.

This was the statement made by Fiscal Weir in the Hamilton J.P Court on Saturday when a young miner named George Lowe, residing at Stonefield Road, Blantyre was charged with stealing 3 stones of potatoes at Broompark Farm. The Accused admitted the offence and the Fiscal explained that every night since the commencement of the Industrial Rail Struggle, the Blantyre Police had been compelled to give serious attention to the potato fields. Lowe explained he had been ill from starvation for nine months and real hardship had driven him to this step. Sentence was imposed without fine in the form of fourteen days, and Lowe was taken down for a fortnight’s stay at the local jail. “

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