An alarming occurrence at Blantyre took place about one o’clock Tuesday 16th November 1920, when the Craighead colliery bing, which belongs to Messrs William Baird and Co., gave way!
Around two thousand tons of sludge and stones cascaded down the Bing and was scattered across the Whistleberry Road. The who incident was a most unusual one, and never in the history of Blantyre at least until then, had such an occurrence taken place at any colliery.
On the top of the Bing was a large pond, about 100 ft. in circumference and from 8ft. to 12ft. deep, which was called the settling pond. It consisted of sludge and water which was pumped from the coal washing machine. The height of the bing was around 100 ft.
At one o’clock that Tuesday the pond suddenly burst, and the immense volume of water came away like avalanche, carrying everything with it, and leaving great gap in the bing. With it came stones and sludge also carried away. Before the rush of water finally settled, the Whistleberry Road, which was then the main thoroughfare between Blantyre and Bothwell, was submerged to a depth five feet, and the flooded area spanned over 200 acres.
The water and sludge made a passage for itself, and one set fire doors on the colliery buildings, which housed five boilers, was flooded, and the fires immediately went out. Sense prevailed, and the safety of the miners, of whom there were between 300 and 400 in the pit at the time, had at once to be seen to. Fortunately, however, a set of three boilers did not receive any of the onrush of mud, and remained intact. Word was at once sent down to the workers in the pits, and, with the three boilers working, the men were all brought to the pithead and to safety.
Pictured in 1939 is the reduced remnants of Craighead Bing.
From the book, “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2019
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Isabel Latch I think this is where my grandparents had their house. It was at the bottom of the bing just off the Whistleberry Road. If I find a picture I’ll post it here. (Robert Bell and his family lived there until 1975 or so)
John Dunsmore The bing was my play ground when stayed in Bairds raws.loved the smell of the. Pikery done the milk round down that area
Gord Fotheringham I worked in that piggery…