1867 Fatality at Coatshill

** Warning this story contains upsetting content **

Tragedy occurred on Saturday 5th October 1867 at Coatshill, Blantyre.

That morning, over 150 years ago, a 6 year old little boy named John Thomson had been playing at Coatshill Farm House. The area was at that time unbuilt upon, with surrounding fields, except for the farm itself, so John’s playground that day was in a rural, isolated spot.

John was the son of Thomas and Mary Thomson. The little boy was amusing himself along with other children in the boiler house, which was located in one of the outbuildings. Suddenly slipping, he fell into the boiling water, which sat above the lit furnace, his friends unable to get him back out!

By the time adults were fetched and the full horror of the incident revealed, John was retrieved. Sadly, he was so severely scalded that he was unrecognisable. He lingered on to the early evening under care of Dr Downie, before passing away from his injuries just before midnight. Newspaper reports of the time commented that the saving grace in his passing meant no more suffering.

The location of this accident in modern day context would have been in the current carpark at Morven Avenue, directly across from the gates of David Livingstone Primary School.

From the book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018

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