A drowning tragedy occurred in the afternoon of Tuesday 26th May 1937 in the “lade”at the River Clyde near the wood-flour mill at Low Blantyre. The mill belonged to Messrs Gideon Walker & Sons. The turbine engine at the mills had been stopped to allow repairs to be made, and the sluice gates of the lade had been closed during the stoppage. After the repairs had been completed two of the mill’s workmen, Joseph Francis and John Fisher, were in the act of raising the sluice gates, when Francis slipped from the platform and fell into the lade.
Fisher was helpless to save his workmate. The huge volume of water coming through the gates carried the unfortunate man about 80 yards inside the lade, and he was suffocated in the mud. It took half an hour to bring the body to the bank, and this was accomplished only after Edward Hunter, of 17 Viewfield Avenue, walked into the mud up to the waist and tied rope round the body, with which it was drawn out. Francis, who had been 18 years employed in the mill, was 38 years of age, and resided at 16 Stonefield Road, Blantyre. His father arrived on the scene shortly after the accident. He was survived by his wife and two sons.