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