I’ve often written about historical drownings in the Clyde, so what a surprise it was to see a drowning, this time in Auchentibber, which I would have thought would have been the last place for a Blantyre resident to meet their end.
Considerable excitement prevailed in Blantyre on Thursday 17th April 1930, when it became known that a terrible tragedy had occurred in an old quarry in the Auchentibber district of High Blantyre.
John Dewar, a married man residing at 4 Douglas Street, High Blantyre, was drowned in the quarry. A witness of the occurrence, Mr Andrew Moore, a Blantyre postman, in an interview, said he left Blantyre Post Office on his morning delivery around 7.15am. He met Dewar about eight o’clock on the Sydes Brae, High Blantyre, and said to him jokingly, ” Hello, Johnny, you’re early on the road this morning. Are you out for an appetiser fpr your breakfast? “ “Just that,” was the retort, and the two men walked on together.
The postman left him in order make a call at a nearby house, and a few minutes later saw Dewar in the vicinity of the quarry, near Park Farm. Moore stopped a passing motor lorry and remarked to the driver that Dewar’s actions seemed to be somewhat suspicious. Just at that moment they were amazed to see Dewar fall over the edge of the quarry. “Both of us rushed to the edge,” said Moore. ” Dewar was struggling in the water. We threw him a rope which was on the lorry, but he sank in our presence.” Both men then drove back to Auchentibber and telephoned to the police. Hundreds of people watched the grappling operations.
A boat and grappling irons were procured from John Thomson, the “Admiral of the Fleet” at Clyde Park, Motherwell. At a later hour when people started arriving to observe, the body had not yet been found. Hundreds of people were soon the scene standing by to observe. Recommencing their search, the victims body was eventually found and recovered for family.
The quarry is now filled in, but the site of this incident is still easy to find. As you head up Sydes Brae look on your left hand side, in the field one up higher than the Crematorium. You’ll see this metal farm gate. In the field you’ll see a deep depression, where the quarry used to be and where poor John Dewar lost his life.
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Marian Maguire Interesting story, but sad.
Alan Baird i never knew that and after all the times iv spent on park farm too