With the population growing in the 1870’s and mining such a prominent profession, a dangerous practice of leaving gunpowder around was taking place, which could quite easily fall into the wrong hands.
I’ve encountered many stories about kids playing with dynamite in Blantyre, and stories about explosions in the public park, to the side of the Village Bar being blown out! The Hamilton Advertiser on 5th May 1875, told of one such incident, showing the dangers of explosive materials being left unattended.
“In this district, where so many pits are being sunk, a dangerous practice prevails regarding which workmen would do well to be on their guard. We refer to the carrying away of dynamite caps and other explosive materials and leaving them lying loosely and carelessly about. On Wednesday last, an engineman named James Little took one of these “caps” from one of his children, who had been playing with it in a tub of water. On subsequently scratching the cap with a pin it exploded, and Little narrowly escaped with his life. As it was his hand that was much shattered.”
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Hugh Waugh yes and not the first detonator that went into the fire from the coal scuttle- and not so long ago.