Craighead Viaduct Attempted Suicide

1938 Craighead viaduct taken around the time of this incident

1938 Craighead viaduct taken around the time

On Saturday 13th August 1938, a weary Carfin man Anthony Donnelly found himself in Blantyre, contemplating ending it all.

He had walked up on to the Craighead Railway Viaduct and with his legs over the edge, sat there in silence. However, fate thankfully intervened when at 3.15pm a miner walking on the bridge, saw Anthony sitting at the edge and cautiously approached him, speaking to him softly to come back from the edge. Anthony never moved from the spot, but did pass the miner a letter which he asked should be given to the police.

The miner took the letter and quickly scanned it, realising that Anthony was intending to end his life. Other passers by fetched the police whilst the miner stood attentively beside Anthony, all the time coaxing him to come away from the dangerous fall to the River Clyde below. The police soon arrived by motor car and by the time they walked along the bridge, Anthony sat crying. The police observed that Anthony was also very wet and had apparently been in the river beforehand testing its depth. The police led him from the edge but decided that an attempted suicide was disorderly and upsetting to the public. As Anthony explained he was miserable due to unemployment and gambling debts, the police charged him.

At a later date in court in Hamilton, Anthony explained that he had lifted his unemployment benefit but had foolishly lost it due to gambling. He had been fearful to go home and approach his wife on the subject. When asked to explain how his conduct would have affected passers by, he had nothing to say. The justice extracted a promise that he wouldn’t do that again and left it at that.

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