At 9.30am this morning (Sunday 22nd October 2017), it will be exactly 140 years to the minute since the 1877 Blantyre Pit Disaster, which killed over 200 men and boys.
The terrible explosion, still to this day Scotland’s worst mining disaster occurred at Dixons Collieries in High Blantyre and at the time killed almost 5% of Blantyre’s entire population. Today, we stop for a moment to remember the victims of that disaster and the misery and grief that it caused to the families.
The Blantyre Disaster Memorial at Kirkton was erected in 1977, a hundred years later, but has in recent years been looking sorrowful, covered in moss, slime and with weeds growing at the steps.
It’s been another good month for our book sales, so this week, we donated £150 to charity, Blantyre Telegraph who immediately commissioned a clean up, in advance of the anniversary. Hiring ‘Ross Dunn Ogilvie Contractors’, and being on holiday leave, I also rolled up my sleeves and personally joined the workmen to clean the monument from head to toe. Some of the hardest work I’ve done, I tell you! Carefully using sponges to protect the surface and non-corrosive cleaners we spent several hours cleaning the memorial. The steps especially needed attention and all the moss, growth and weeds were successfully removed. Steps scrubbed, it’s certainly looking sparkling again!
Thanks also go out to Ederra & Complextions and The Cornerstone for providing a supply of water for our cleaning endeavours.
Finally, for remembrance of the victims, I have placed over 200 lights, one for each of the men and boys who died, around the steps, as a temporary memorial. These were visible last night and will be for the next 2 nights to show not just our sorrow for the victims, but to show that ALL of Blantyre is thinking about them and that terrible day.
Much more about Blantyre’s Mining Disaster can be found on the main website here https://blantyreproject.wordpress.com/blantyre-pit-disaster/
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