1904 Obelisk and the Signal Box

Pictured here in 1904 is High Blantyre Cemetery and also the signal railway box that sat near the railway line, over the wall at the time.

The signal box you see, is actually the top of it, being raised high above the railway. Had it survived it would have been close to Burnbrae Road today. It didn’t though, neither did the railway. The signal box burned down early one Saturday morning, 12th July 1919. Local folk were frightened it would perhaps set off the fever hospital which was just out of the shot to the right. The burning embers must have been flying in that direction.

The obelisk is also interesting. With so many men and boys losing their lives in the Dixons Pit Disaster in High Blantyre on 22nd October 1877, the only way the authorities could deal with such funeral arrangements, was by a mass burial. Dixon’s Collieries later acknowledged this , by erecting the obelisk in their memory. I have some mixed feelings about the obelisk. It was erected later, but the wording on the plaque has in bold the name of the company, rather than the miners. It makes me feel that a larger plaque could have been erected by the company listing the surnames of those who died, and then at the bottom putting, “erected by William DIxons & Co”. It makes me feel like its saying, “look what we did for these people”, rather than “this is for the memory of these people.” Maybe thats just me. It is a nice obelisk and tall enough to prominently be seen in the cemetery and has the importance of place that it deserves.

On social media:

  • Elizabeth Weaver No, I agree. Seems the pit owners took every opportunity to glorify themselves instead of commemorating the poor souls who gave their lives trying to feed their families.

  • Alan Baird im with you elizabeth and paul on this one
  • Jean Boyd Me too, the miners should have been named on this memorial
  • Elizabeth Dobson Grieve It’s a shame that the memorial to the miners is so overgrown that you can hardly see it now. In such a sorry state
  • Mary Crowe Shame the Memorial doesn’t look like that today, so overgrown you can hardly see it
    • The Blantyre Project it is. The trees are so high around it, some taller than the memorial itself.

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