Councillors imprisoned after meeting rammy

1936 Blantyre Council Chambers, Cemetery road

1936 Blantyre Council Chambers, Cemetery road

Feelings ran high in Blantyre during Summer 1934 about the level of unemployment. This came to a head when on 29th June 1934, seventeen people were charged and found guilty with inciting a riot in High Blantyre after besieging the offices of the Blantyre Council. This occurred after the council decided not to let a body representing the unemployed into the chambers at Cemetery Road. Charges against three other men were not proven.

During a meeting on 19th April 1934, the councillors themselves got caught up in the heated exchange and when police were called, found themselves amongst the arrested. This included James Beecroft, a member of the council who was sentenced to 40 days imprisonment, McNaught for 30 days and Hughes for 20 days!

The story of the unemployed was completely overshadowed by the scandal of councillors being imprisoned and fined. The Sheriff said he took a severe view of their conduct. “They make a serious mistake if they suppose they advance the interests of people by resorting to methods of violence. Violence will not be tolerated in this country.”

Accused were :—James Beecroft, 240 Main Street, High Blantyre (a member of the District Council); Matthew M’Naught, 10 Cemetery Road, High Blantyre: James M’Sorley. 80 Logan Street, Blantyre; Daniel Kelly, 152 Glasgow Road, Blantyre; Allan Hughes, 27 Douglas Park Rows, Bellshill; John M’Laughlin, c/o Gillan, 13 Windsor Street, Burnbank; William Dobson, 67 Auchinraith Road. Blantyre: Robert Currie, 16 Viewpark Avenue, Blantyre; John Fleming, 45 Dixon Street Blantyre; Alexander Robertson, 59 Welsh Drive, High Blantyre; Patrick Kelly, 293 Glasgow Road, Blantyre; David Park, 165 Glasgow Road, Blantyre; Joseph Gough, 15 Nursery Place, High Blantyre; Edward Kelly. Hall Street, Blantyre; Frank Smith, 65 Auchinraith Road, Blantyre: John Donnelly, 5 .Morgan Street, Hamilton; John M’lnally, 61 Auchinraith Road, Blantyre; John Paterson, Logan Street, Blantyre: John Oouph, 55 Victoria Street, _ Blantyre; Elizabeth Robertson or Gillespie, 1 Welsh Drive, High Blantyre; Mary M Anulty or Hainev, 88 Forrest Street. Blantyre; Agnes M’Beth or Sneddon. 11 Nursery Place. High Blantyre; Eliza Fulston or Baird, 16 Main Street, High Blantyre; Arthur Donelly, 25 Logan Street, Blantyre.

As chairperson of Blantyre Community Committee, the story made me somewhat thankful that controversial items like employed are now dealt with by central local authority offices, and not by devolved branches of them within the town itself!

On social media:

  • David Downie My Grandfather Joseph Gough was among those accused.
    • The Blantyre Project councillors or the “insurgents” wink emoticon I liked this story. Its not often you hear about councillors losing it and getting jailed! Times must have been tough for the riot to have started at all.
  • John McNamee I’m glad this is not a contemporary piece.
    • The Blantyre Project lol. That made me laugh. Obviously councillors act with a lot more decorum now. wink emoticon
    • John McNamee That’s the great thing about history. We should learn from it. smile emoticon
  • Hugh Hainey E,,, me granny, wis, lifted’.. Scroll the names,,,,
  • Roseann Pulis very interesting Hugh,is that Granny Hainey on the list? I think that is Awesome, she was a very strong minded women,and she use to tell Me the only man she ever loved was Johnny Walker,Ha Speaking of men,I have asked a few people how old Granpa Hainey died and old was he,I wish I would have known him,I know I would have loved him

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