Fatality at the Blantyre Priory – 1933

1886 Engraving by W Mearson

1886 Engraving by W Mearson

On Thursday 29th June 1933, 14 year old Daniel Devlin had a spring in his step. It was his last day of school, not just for the year, but for good. The son of an unemployed miner looked forward to summer, for a small break, before commencing working life. He arranged with four of his friends to meet at the Old Priory at the River Clyde the very next day.

Friday 30th June 1933, was a remarkably hot and dry day. Daniel set off from his home at 41 Knightswood Terrace, Low Blantyre and met up with his pals. Play soon became very hot and bothersome with the weather, so the boys agreed to go for a swim in the River Clyde. The 5 boys laughed as they jumped in the water, but unbeknown to them at this point of the river, near a bend, the river has some undercurrents.

As the boys left the water and hauled themselves up on the riverbank, they noticed to their horror that Daniel was not with them. Frantically, they searched the location before fetching help. Daniel had drowned, perhaps unable to keep up, or perhaps caught in one of the currents.

The engraving is of this exact stretch of the river, but earlier in 1886 by W Mearson.

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