The Blantyre Monument

img_3103Gordon Cook kindly recently shared this A3 poster with me, which he had typed up for the heritage group.

The Blantyre Monument – After the destructive explosion of Monday 22nd October 1877, when the bodies of the miners who were killed had been recovered, and all burials had taken place, certain local people raised the question of the erecting of a monument in memory of the dead colliers, but amidst the business of the day, with great attention being given to the plight of the widows and orphans, it was deemed prudent to shelve the idea till a later date. A later date duly came, and with it another terrible explosion , on Wednesday 2nd July 1879.


Blantyre Monument around 2004, by Alex Rochead

Eventually, late in 1882, Messrs William Dixon Ltd entered into talks with the parochial authorities in Blantyre, who , in sympathy with local opinion, donated the land in the centre of the new cemetery (opened 1875). On accepting the Parochial Board’s kind offer, W. Dixon Ltd contracted Glasgow monumental mason, Mr. Robert Gray, to erect the above obelisk in Aberdeen granite. It stands on a plinth 4 feet 8 inches square and the monument itself rises fully in 20 feet in height. When it was unveiled, it could be seen from just about any vantage point in the Parish. Mr. J.M Thomson form Kilkerran in Ayrshire, one of the partners of Wm. Dixon Ltd , brought his own personal gardener to plant up the flowers and shrubs around the base.

The inscriptions on the base of the monument read: – “Erected by William Dixon (ltd) in Memory of 240 of their Workmen who were killed in Explosions in Blantyre Colliery on 22nd October 1877, and 2nd July 1879, and many of whom are buried here”. In the background of the monument is common ground, where 165 of the victims of both explosions were interred.

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