An elderly woman had a narrow escape, six families were marooned, and a funeral was delayed when the outside stone stairway leading to an upper flat at a two-storey Blantyre tenement collapsed on Saturday 6th January 1934. The woman, named Mrs. Meechn, was on her way to the house on the second floor of a building in Alpine Street, near Glasgow Road where people were meeting to take part in a funeral service.
She was about to step on to the second floor landing when there was a huge crash; and before her eyes, the stone landlng collapsed. However, Mrs. Meechan had stepped backwards in the nick of time, and clung to the nearby Iron railing. The familles at the top the building could not leave, trapped in their homes at height and adding to the distress of the day, the coffin could not be carried down to the waiting hearse until a squad of workmen arrived to make temporary repairs and access.
The buildings must have been in a poor condition. There are stories of nearby building gables collapsing and the most severe incident occurred just a few years later when in September 1939 workmen started demolishing some of the older tenements in Alpine Street, when one of them actually collapsed, killing one of the workers! We comment often on this page that these were building built to last and the price of redevelopment in Blantyre has been high, but this is a stark reminder, that some buildings weren’t built to any decent design, and were past their sell by dates, even before WW2.