Remembering Blantyre’s Miners

Blantyre Pit Disaster Anniversary

Hope this is shared far and wide. As we all head to work and start the week this Monday morning in Blantyre, we remember another much more tragic and gloomy Monday morning exactly 141 years ago. One, which claimed the lives of over 215 men and boys, wiping out around 6% of Blantyre’s entire population in the space of a few moments.

Today is the anniversary of the Blantyre Pit Disaster and on that morning all those years ago, just before 9am, all those miners lost their lives when an explosion ripped through Dixons’ Collieries 2 and 3 in High Blantyre.



On the morning of 22 October 1877 nothing was thought to be amiss. The officials seemed to think that the workings were in their normal state. At 05:30 the regular workmen started to descend. The firemen assured the workers all was well and ascended to sign reports and have breakfast. Having received these assurances the workforce went about their various tasks.

However, around 09:00 a massive explosion was heard on the surface and flame and steam rushed up number 3 pit for a few minutes. Smoke was seen from the upcast pit and air came from number 2. Nothing was seen from number 1 pit, but below ground the miners felt the blast and at once ascended. The smoke was seen in the surrounding area so miners and managers hurried to the pithead. 218 people had died.


We remember all those Blantyre miners who lost their lives with a special wreath commissioned on YOUR behalf. On behalf of every single reader, we’ve placed a colourful wreath at the base of the Dixon’s obelisk to remember all those lives taken. For all those lives destroyed and the grief it caused our kin.


Of course, the more prominent memorial to this disaster is at High Blantyre Cross, which last year was cleaned and remembered with twinkling lights. This year, since the council cut conifers away and created a grass path to the Dixon’s Memorial Obelisk, we’ve placed the wreath there. It seems fitting since kind souls have recently cleaned the memorial.


The obelisk looks out upon an unremarkable, unmarked part of the cemetery which contains two trenches of mass burials where the men and boys were interred. We cannot even begin to imagine the heartache the community, very much smaller at that time, must have felt.

We will remember them.

You can read everything about the Blantyre Pit Disaster within a detailed section in Blantyre’s History Archives here on Blantyre Project.

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

Sharon Kerrigan Thank you. 🙏🏼
Elaine Speirs Thanks Paul for the wreath and thanks to all who gave their time to hve the monument restored.
Ann Hartman What a sad day in Blantyre history thanks Paul for wreath I’m sure it’s appreciated by all
Etta Morrison still upsetting to read in depth the story of this disaster..families losing young boys to the mines..a sad sad Blantyre story..
Ann Durie Thank you for remembering 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Michelle Leggat Thank you.🙏
Archie Arbuckle Blantyre has a history of triumph and tragedy. . Poor souls started the monday morning shift and didn’t come home. . I’m thankfull for each Monday that I have.
Lesley Bethel Thank you for remembering this tragic event and marking it on behalf of all
John Cornfield Well done to all the Blantir folk concerned Rest in Peace Blantirs finest
Margaret Mary OSullivan Awful. Love the memorial windows in Saint Joseph’s church.
Lisa Moore Thank you for placing the wreath.  Robert Kirkland remembered ❤️
Matthew Neil Well scene you took notice you couldn’t see monument 2month ago after years ove growth mind I worked as grave digger in both cemetery

Jessie Caldow Such a tragedy. Thanks for placing the wreath in remembrance of all these miners who had such a hard life,- taking a risk every time they went down the pit.❤️

Gail Gillon Such a sad loss it must have been, good to remember these fine men taken too soon
Anne Callaghan


Ann Higgins Crossar Thankyou for placing a wreath – William Primrose remembered. xx

Barbara Morrison God bless my family history is with Blantyre my Great grandfather was Andrew Mcnaulty my grandmother Agnes his daughter thank you for remembering

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