“Collliers Every Wan”, by James Cornfield

Colliers Every Wan (In memory of the Blantyre Disaster, 22nd October 1877)

They came fae Erin this family o’ mine,
Tae Scotia’s fair land tae work underground.
Wi’ promise o’ plenty ringin’ in thur ears,
They fun’ only poverty, blood, sweat an’ tears.

Nothing hid changed at the end o’ the day,
Same bosses, same serfdom, same low pay.
The local Scotchmen didnae like them at aw’,
Fur they took aw’ thur joabs an’ thur hooses in the Raw.

Different religions didnae help them as well,
In fact it wis jist like livin’ in Hell.
Trouble in Pit, mair when they came hame,
Thur wir times when they wished they’d never came.

But aw’ this wid change wi’ the passage o’ time,
When fate took a hand doon there in that mine.
A build up o’ gas, a wee naked flame,
An’ maist o’ these colliers wid never go hame. 

The horn oan the Pithead blew long an’ forlorn,
Tae signal bad news that fateful morn.
Folk came runnin’ fae aw’ o’er the toon,
Every wan tae a man, volunteered tae go doon.

Nae thought o’ danger, nor religion too,
They aw’ worked thegither wi’ a common view.
The fellowship o’ man was born that day,
In Blantir toon, how I wish it wid stay. 

Two hundred and sixteen colliers lay dead,
Killed in pursuit o’ thur daily bread.
Men, boys an’ uncles, brithers an aw’,
Wid never return tae thur hoose in the Raw. 

James Cornfield 2002

On social media:

  • Ann Crossar With love we remember them all – my 2nd great grand uncle died in the pit explosion – only 17 years old too. Here is his death certificate also showing 2 other boys who died in the explosion. William Primrose.xx

    Ann Crossar's photo.
  • Davy Starrs lovely poem.
  • Elizabeth Dobson Grieve The monuments in a pretty poor state when I passed earlier. We should never forget these guys. Their families were treated badly by Dixons.
    The Blantyre Project noticed that too. Looks all green and mossy now. Its needing cleaned.
  • Colin McAllister My father (Donald McAllister) was involved in the building of the monument as was my uncle ( Tam Hay).
  • David Downie I was born where the monument now stands.
  • James Graham Both my grandfather came to Blantyre mines just after the disaster www.ascottishdoctor.com/who-am-i
  • Jeanette Turvey My ggg -grandad died in the disaster along with two of his sons Thomas Wilson
    The Blantyre Project I think many Blantyre people can relate to this tragedy in some way with their own families. There were only 3,000 people or so in Blantyre at the time and to lose over 200 of them, (about 7% of everybody in Blantyre) in one morning, must have been HORRIFIC! My gg grandfather John Bowie was one of the rescuers.

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