1881 Blantyre’s earliest traffic accident

1881 Bakers Van

1881 Bakers Van

On Tuesday evening of 12th April 1881, a fatal accident happened to John Urquhart Sillar, age 6. He was the Blantyre son of Mr Sillar, inspector of the poor in Blantyre Parish. With another boy, young John was playing near the bridge in course of erection in connection with the High Blantyre and East Kilbride Railway. Whilst running across the road, he was struck down by the shaft of a baker’s van, one of the wheels of which passed over him, breaking his neck, fracturing his skull and killing him on the spot.

The bridge may not have been the actual viaduct, but could have been the bridge being installed over Hunthill Road (now where the top of Stonefield Crescent is). My reasoning for this is that the article referred to the accident happening on a road, but it could quite have easily been a haul road or access road into Greenhall for the viaduct itself. The date also coincides with lighter Summer evenings.

Now this “Van” would not have been a motorised vehicle, I’m sure due to the date. Instead, at the time, commercial delivery vehicles were horse pulled and large wagons, were known as “vans”. It is quite probable the “van” in question looked similar to the one pictured (which is not of Blantyre)

Was this a case of Blantyre’s earliest traffic accident?

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