Many people will be familiar with the story of Blantyre Explosion in 1877 in Dixons Pit 2 and 3 where over 200 men and boys died. Blantyre was not particularly large at the time, and this would have made this tragedy all the more apparent in our town.
So many families were affected and although homes at Auchenraith, Burnbank, Hunthill, Priestfield and Stonefield were hit hard, no other place in Blantyre was affected more than the Colliery houses at Dixon’s Rows. Located near the foot of Stonefield Road, Streets such as Calder Street, Hall Street, Dixon Street , Govan Street and Miller Street had the full force of this tragedy impacted on their close knit community.
To show the extent of this, I have marked up this map showing with a red dot *, every death in the pit that occurred that day in October 1877. It practically wiped out this little community and the grief must have been unbearable. Seeing these red dots on this map for this first time, made me realise the sheer scale of these deaths and for each of those homes with a dot to lose a loved one (sometimes more than one person!), was truly horrific. Looking through the ages of the deceased, they were mostly young, in their teenage years, twenties or thirties. More uncommonly older that that. One boy, John Liddell at Hall Street was only 12.
We should remember these people and their grief. Had the explosion not happened, Blantyre’s population would undoubtably been a lot larger today.
* Note there are around half a dozen dots where i was unsure of the location, but using my best estimate on the surrounding addresses, put the dot not the map to represent the numbers and proximity.
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