Collapse of Miner’s Homes


Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 11.25.50A report from the Hamilton Herald on 26th August 1892 told of a collapse to miner’s homes in Blantyre.

“In the early house of Wednesday morning the occupants of houses No. 21, 22, 23, and 24 at Stonefield, were greatly alarmed to hear a loud crackling noise, and immediately afterwards to see the back wall of their apartments collapse.

It seems that for a considerable time past the back walls of these rows have shown signs of falling, through the effect of underground workings, and a short time ago it was seen a new drain was also necessary. The laying of the drain was decided on, and a trench about two feet deep was dug close along the back wall, exposing the foundations, and the new drain which was being laid.

The weakness of the wall was, it is believed, thereby considerably increased, and the heavy rains which fell on Tuesday hastened the accident. After the alarm had subsided the wall was examined, and for the safety of the occupants of the various houses it was decided to vacate the part affected. The families, with their furniture, were removed to adjoining houses and the wall, which measures over thirty feet, was taken down, and will, of course, be at once rebuilt. The roof remains intact, but will also, it is believed, require to be reconstructed. “

Above newspaper article sent over kindly from Wilma Bolton.

I was trying to work out where this took place. In the 1890’s Blantyre was undergoing rapid change and development, but there were several clues in the story. The numbering of the homes would suggest they were located at the bottom of Stonefield Road, but conventional numbering of the houses likely didn’t apply then as it does today. The fact that the homes were odd and even numbers in the area of the collapse, suggests they were in either Dixons Rows or Baird’s Rows. I looked to a map of only 6 years later which has the area of Stonefield highlighted on it with a yellow boundary. At the time Stonefield was as large as from Stonefield Road, all the way down Glasgow Road and included Bairds Rows at Craighead!

Given the proximity to colliery workings and the fact that the miners were moved to nearby homes, I suspect this collapse took place around the area of Bairds Rows, but cannot be 100% certain.

On social media:

The Blantyre Project This map also shows the street before John Street was named. In the late 19th Century, John Street was actually called” New Station Road”

Mike Sampaio I’ve often wondered are our houses safe today from old mine workings ?

The Blantyre Project probably not, but they’re so deep, that it would take many decades for something to give. My own home in Kirkton suffers slightly from floors sloping, and i know of many homes and buildings over the decades which suffered subsidence. The old CongregatiSee more

Mike Sampaio That would be interesting to see.

Jane Johnstone Some council tenants were not allowed a mortgage to buy their house due to mine workings underneath. Also the miners’ homes were a disgrace and riddled with damp so no wonder these things happened!

Jane Johnstone I was talking about council houses in EK.

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