Doing ‘time’ for his son

When 2 boys from Blantyre stole coal from the bing at Craighead Colliery, their actions would have far reaching consequences for their families.

There was a scene Hamilton J.P. Court on Saturday 25th June 1931, when those two boys from Blantyre finally admitted the theft of coal from the bing at Craighead Colliery. Being minors, their fathers attended the hearings with them.

George Hulston, a miner living at 79 Craighead (Baird’s) Rows, Blantyre was the father of the older boy, and ended up being questioned alongside his son. George maintained that workman at the pit had volunteered to give his lad a bag of coal. Pressed to disclose the name of the workman, Hulston refused to give further information or inform. Consequently, the Justices imposed a fine of 15 shillings on the boy Hulston or ten days’ imprisonment. The penaty in the other boys case was slightly lesser at 10s or a week’s imprisonment.

However, not wishing his boy to start out in life with a criminal record or prison sentence, George Hulston stunned the court, by handing a Treasury note to his son. Hulston indignantly remarked —“Here, take that home to your mother to explain and I’ll do the time for you. Nobody will be fined here!”

The second boy’s father was given time to pay the fine at his own request and seemed quite stunned that a small coal theft by boys had resulted in the imprisonment of his colleague. Hulston walked off angrily to the cells.

Pictured is a map from the 1930’s showing how close Craighead Row’s were to the colliery on the other side of the railway, opposite the Springwell area of Blantyre.

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On social media:

Alan Baird disgusting somtimes the law gets things really wrong , if the miners were paid fairly there would be no need to steal the coal they were cold for gods sake

Elaine Hunter ‘The law’ protected the interests of the rich against the poor.

Elaine Hunter Great job Blantyre Project. I really enjoy your posts

Betty McLean My brother was fined 15 shillings in 1952 for walking on the railway line at Auchinraith.

Andy Mclachlan My granda Tony Sankus ,a miner all his working life , lived in the middle row then moved to rosendale before finishing up in Winton Cres

Elaine Hunter My mum lived in Dixon’s Rows as a wee girl then moved to Farm Road in 1950

Wendy Wilson Guilty of being poor!


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  1. A valid point I considered back in 2011. I’m documenting every newsworthy event to archives offline, but being careful online not to document any crimes after 1950 unless i have permission from family first. I think 1931 is sufficiently far back not to upset anybody alive and in the case of this story, is fairly minor at taking some coal.

  2. Interesting site but I don’t think that it’s right mentioning people’s “crimes” from the past. Some of these mentioned have possibly/probably relations that are still living,and might find this upsetting.

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