Sudden Death of School Janitor

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 23.15.40Mr. William Thomson of Stonefield Road died suddenly in his own house on Monday 5th February 1900. He had been troubled for quite some time by a heart affliction but it was thought that his employment in the fresh air would have had a beneficial effect. Up to the end of 1899, he had been employed as a fireman in Larkfield Pit in Dixons Collieries. Out of a large number of applicants he was appointed janitor of Low Blantyre School and entered upon his new duties above ground on 6th January 1900. He had only served 5 weeks or so under the School Board. Mr. Thomson was respected by all classes of the community and was an elder in the Stonefield Parish Church and was also an elected member of the first Parish Council. He left behind a wife and family.

Such stories of heart failure in miners are quite common and I suspect it was coal dust and the lasting effects of working in such conditions that caught up with him.

At the meeting of the School Board later that week on the evening of Thursday 8th February 1900, the chairman (Dr Grant) made sympathetic reference to the sudden death of William Thomson and conveyed in writing the sympathies of all the school board to Mrs Thomson and family.

I was trying to work out where William had lived. Looking at the 1895 valuation roll (for he would have been dead by the 1901 census) the only miner by that name lived at 2 Front Row. This was in a small block of 6 homes facing out on to Stonefield Road, between Dixons Rows and the Gasworks (Later Lethams) on that same side.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul D Veverka © 2016

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