Clyde Railway Bridge Fire, 1921

This is the story of a major fire on one of our bridges crossing the Clyde. Lets go back to 1921. On the morning of Saturday 4th June 1921, the Clyde bridge which carries the Caledonian Railway main line across the River Clyde was discovered to be on fire!

When the fire was discovered, the County of Lanark (Bellshill Division) Fire Brigade was summoned, but, owing to the difficulty accessing the burning portion and the difficulties in reaching the water supply, their services were of little value.

Workmen were brought in and the fire was prevented from spreading by separating the burning portion from the rest. This fire raged for 2 days. On the Sunday afternoon a portion of the bridge, about 150 ft. long, was still burning freely.

As expected word spread quickly and many people “trekked” to see the bridge while it was fire, and some could heard remarking how peculiar it was to think that a bridge fire could not be extinguished, while under that bridge ran plenty of water! It should be mentioned in passing that there were two bridges at this point: although they were built on one foundation there was a space about four or five feet between them. One was made of wood, and that is the one that was on fire. It was used a great deal by miners going to and from Messrs. A. G. Moore and Co.’s, Blantyre Ferme Colliery. The other bridge the more major one, which still stands today is the railway bridge and is built with strong steel girders and stone. Today it carries trains from Uddingston to Newton. The smoke from the fire could be seen from a good distance.

I’ve made a mockup photo showing how the fire may have looked in the context of the story above. It would definitely have been  remarkable sight!


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