Migrants dumped back in Blantyre 1933


Glace Bay Mine, Nova Scotia 1930s

Glace Bay Mine, Nova Scotia 1930s

I have uncovered a story of unemployed men and their families being returned back to Blantyre, from Canada.

Under a headline, “Dumped in Scotland from Canada”, local newspapers of 2nd March 1933, reported that strong objection had been made by the Public Assistance Officer for Lanarkshire due to the methods adopted the Canadian Government in returning unemployed people to Britain.

That month, 21 families, numbering 94 persons, were “dumped” back into Blantyre and Cambuslang from Nova Scotia. Since their arrival back to Blantyre, those people were dependent on the ratepayers of the county. A report on the subject was submitted to Lanark County Council in Glasgow on 1st March 1933, and was decided that representations should be made to the Department of Health for Scotland to take whatever action they might think necessary.

The scene pictured would have been very familiar to those Blantyre men. It is the mine at Glace Bay, in a colourised photo from the 1930’s.

It was pointed out that it was costing almost £2,000 year to maintain the deportees from Canada, who were homeless and destitute. The unemployed men of the party were all miners who had been employed at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, for six years until last September. They alleged that before they could obtain relief kind for their wives and families they had sign document that they were willing to return back to Scotland.

This ties in well with a previous story I have told on this website, where several families from Glace Bay ended up living at Dixon’s Rows, but I suspect those were the lucky ones who managed to find employment upon their return here.

On social media:

Margaret Brown Burns My grandfather went to Canada but had to come home.

Ann Crossar This is really interesting – my great grandfathers brother John Sim immigrated to Nova Scotia sometime between 1903-1905 with his wife Mary Kelly and their family – they had a daughter called Nova Scotia Sim! Here is their headstone from Thorburn Cemetery, Nova Scotia – guess they must have been lucky enough to find employment in the mines in Nova Scotia. Their son Andrew enlisted to fight in WW1 and sadly was killed in action in France.

Ann Crossar's photo.
The Blantyre Project brilliant Ann! What a move that would have been!

Ann Crossar The other brother Hugh immigrated to Wellington New Zealand – suppose those were the times of going into the world to try and make your fortune as it was perhaps a pretty bleak outlook at home?

Ann Crossar In fact Hugh’s wife and kids were in the Auchentibber school rolls that you posted a few weeks ago – stating they immigrated to New Zealand! This was in the 1920’s.

Ann Crossar See how your stories are all coming full circle Paul! X

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