Clay Road Dynamite Magazine


Victoria Street magazine

Gordon Cook recently brought this little former building to my attention. On the 1896 map, there’s a small building in the middle of fields beside the Clay Road, which would shortly after become Victoria Street.

It’s suggested that this little building was either the dynamite magazine for the building of Blantyre’s Railways in the 1860’s (as it’s not on the 1859 map), or indeed it was used for the relatively nearby Auchinraith Colliery. The little building was located in the 19th Century in open fields, with no surrounding population, an ideal place for storing dynamite.

Even in 1901, it was described as old and unused. In September 1901, a homeless man, a bit of a drinker was found dead in what was is described as an “old disused powder magazine which stands off the Clay Road.

Attached are some maps highlighting where it was in 1898 and where it would now be in a modern context….in the driveway of 74 Victoria Street.

Victoria Street magazine 2

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Update: Robert Stewart asked me, “I was reading the post about the dynamite magazine and the homeless man found dead in 1901. I checked the name of persons interred in the common ground during September 1901 and only one adult male was interred. His name was John Carroll, aged 56 and he was interred on the 11th. Good chance this is the homeless man. What do you think?”

And Success! I was able to reply with: “Your lead below sounds very credible and prompted me to immediately retrieve the man’s death certificate to see if it revealed more. Without your input, I would have had no idea which surname to search for.Your ‘Columbo’ Detective skills have paid of! According to the death certificate, this is indeed the man. John Carroll, was found deceased at the disused powder magazine in a field on 8th September! Looks like he was a former miner, usually residing at Hall Street.

It makes me strongly wonder if he was homeless and was staying at the magazine temporarily, perhaps losing his Dixon’s Street home due to unemployment or due to the rumour of being drunk, perhaps had been sacked? The death certificate reveals he died of natural causes. I was shocked to find he was only 45 years, rather than 56, which makes me wonder which age was correct and is another reminder of some of the hardships of the era. I will most definitely update the story on the website, so his name is known to all. Thank you sincerely. That was most appreciated. “

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