1877 Colliery Disaster Illustration

This has to be one of my favourite images of old Blantyre.

1877 High Blantyre Colliery Explosion Illustration wm

Crowds of people make their sorrowful way down what would become Douglas Street on that horrible day in October 1877, the sharp turn still visible today near the bottom of Douglas Street. The three pits are pictured. On the left Priestfield Colliery (Dixons Pit 1) where now Priestfield Cemetery is. Behind it in the distance, Dixons Colliery Pit 3, the scene of the explosion and where now Redburn Farm Restaurant sits. To the right, on an elevation is Dixons Pit 2, approximately where Hamilton Technology Park is now. The cottages of Priestfield Rows can be seen just after the former railway bridge. Of course all this, looking very, very different today, 141 years on.

Local historian Gordon Cook, who kindly shared this quality image, added, “The men who drew these images were really good at their job! They came up from London (and they would have gone down the shafts too if they had been allowed). These men ‘cut their teeth’ in the Crimean war and their drawings were almost as good as photographs.

Another thing to note is the fact that most of the people portrayed in these illustrations are “sightseers”. In one station on the south-side of Glasgow that day they sold over 6,000 tickets for Blantyre (it was a sacramental fast-day, sort of like our present day bank holiday).”

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Blantyre Project the exact same framed scene as it is now
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Eleanor Connor My Great Grandfather Hugh Auchterlonie died in that disaster. 😥😥

Blantyre Project Hi Eleanor. Auchterlonie is an unusual name and not one i recognise as being involved in the 1877 Blantyre disaster. It was actually the 1887 Udston disaster a decade later your Great grandfather died in. 28th May 1887.

He was 41 leaving behind wife Elizabeth Robertson (or Nelson). She signed the death certificate.

They lived at Kirkton at the end of School Lane, in a former building, where Cornerstone now stands.

Hugh’s father James Aucherlonie was a travelling blacksmith. His mother was Mary Livingstone, the only consolation being neither of them was alive to hear about the untimely death of Hugh.

Blantyre Project Here’s a copy of his death certificate for you
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Eleanor Connor Blantyre Project ……THANK YOU SO MUCH for telling me where he actually lived….another of our Group has been a great help in this also ! I visited my G.Granfather’s grave ( thanks to my friend- and distant relation it turns out!- in the Group) and he’s buried along the Main St…….you wouldn’t,by any chance, have an old photo of the building prior to The Cornerstone?? All your old pics you post of old High Blantyre I save…and always wonder if he stayed around any of them….Thank You so much.! 💚💛

Jacqueline Cooney Eleanor Connor
That’s great that they could give you that information Eleanor 😘

Blantyre Project Eleanor – sadly there are no photos known of the building before the Cornerstone. Sorry. I should have added, the building more sat on where the adjacent houses now are just off School Lane.

Eleanor Connor Blantyre Project Thanks for your info ….I’m delighted to know where he actually lived. You’re a Brilliant Group Admin. 💚

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