In December 1967, a 10 year old girl from the Prefabs in High Blantyre had her face badly burned after demolishers of the prefabs left lit refuse piled on the demolition of one of the homes. Additionally, the fire brigade had been called on several occasions after local boys found a way to dangerously light the existing gas supplies leading to the demolished homes.
Prefab Tenants decided on a two fold attack on the County Council. Firstly, they complained about the demolished houses being a danger to playing children and they took the opportunity to further enquire also when they would be relocated. Tensions ran high in Winter 1967/1968 as residents demanded to know where their new homes would be.
It was Elizabeth, daughter of Betty Anderson of Ellisland Street whose face was burned in the accident. Mrs Anderson said, “The demolition contractors had just taken down a vacated prefab, burning the timber inside, but had vacated before ensuring the fire was out. Some children were playing at the site and one of them hit my daughter with a burning stick. You can’t blame the children. It was the responsibility of the contractors to put the fire out.”
The situation was bad. Some of the prefabs had been lying empty for months by December 1967.
Mrs Rodgers of 13 Burns Street added, “Boys from another nieghbourhood came after one prefab in Burns Street was demolished. The gas Board had plugged up the inlet pipes of the gas supplies, but the young boys took out the plugs and set fire to the emerging gas. It used to be a weekly occurrence. Once people moved out the houses could sit for nearly 4 weeks before contractors arrived. I remember when one case the water was not shut off and there was a great spout of water like a geyser.”
The protesters stated to the council that they had been promised priority housing in Blantyre, yet it was known some new houses had already gone to others. Scottish Nationalist Councillor Mr Robert Craig was at hand to hear the complaints and promised action. Assurances were made for rehousing.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,