Pictured here in 1905 at the corner of Blakely’s pub, High Blantyre is a miners boy, out on an errand. Standing at the corner junction of Main Street and Broompark Road, he poses for the camera, putting down his heavy load of several pick heads, likely being taken to be sharpened.
Gordon Cook recently told me, “I first thought he might have been at Templeton’s (at Barnhill) to get them sharpened, but I think it now more likely that he was from No. 4 pit, taking them to Dixon’s No. 1 pit’s smiddy to get them sharpened. In those early days the miners had to pay for this themselves, and it would probably have been cheaper to bypass Templeton and go up to their own smiddy at No. 1.”
I had no idea miners would have to pay for the picks being sharpened. It seemed a bit of a cheek for Dixon’s to impose that on their workers, when providing and maintaining decent equipment would surely have assisted production. It may have simply been if workers were ever paid for the tonnage their squad brought up, it would have been in their own interests for the equipment to be always sharp.