Priory Pit Dynamite Store

You may remember recently about me posting about the Priory Pit Dynamite Store. Blantyre woman Katarzyna found the little store in woods and asked me what it was. I did suspect that it was the Dynamite store for the colliery (and if so the only building still existing relating to the colliery (with exception of the pit baths).

On a dry day in early June, Blantyre men Gordon Cook, Alex Rochead and I went walking to the Priory woods and found the spot, determined to find out more about the little building. Here is a mixture of my photos and those that Gordon took of the inside of the building (obtained using his flash camera through an opening in the side wall).

The first thing we noticed is that the little detached building made of brick was located within the woods, just beyond the treeline. On older maps it was located in the field, away from the woods, a sign that nature is reclaiming the field. The field and steep slope from it down to the little building is all made up of the bing. This is clearly visible and we even found some lumps of coal on the slope. The building is not in the best condition, with much of the brickwork render broken or missing . The building is made of brick, some 3m x 5m on plan with signs of a small L shaped stone wall around it, perhaps as a retaining wall to protect it from the advancing bing. The roof of the building has a stone lintel around the edge, but is largely made of brick, covered in a small layer of cement, stippled, most likely so that plants and weeds could get a foothold (to camouflage such a dangerous building may have been the intention of the colliery owners).

By comparing the maps of 1898, 1910 and 1935, we found that the bing had edged closed to the building, eventually coming up right against it. The woodland around it is interesting with various stone and brick outfalls and drainage course which appear to fall steeply down to the roaring Clyde below in the distance.

I can imagine the miners walking to this detached store to collect the sticks of gelatine dynamite. In October 1934 Mr. William Henderson of Glasgow Road and his colleague John McTaggart of Gateside Street, Hamilton were injured when one of these dynamite sticks failed to blow. The shot firing mishap happened nearby at the Priory Colliery where they both worked.

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