Day of Riot and Pillaging, 1921

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Monday 18th April 1921 was a day Blantyre will remember. But not for any good reason.

That day saw multiple thefts, vandalism and serious disturbances in streets and shops from around midday to midnight. Vans parked up in streets that had come from Glasgow were broken into and raided, and some instances the drivers were assaulted when they made an effort to guard the provisions they carried.

Shops were pillaged by gangs. The most expensive products were targeted. Hams were pitched into the street, and more eggs appeared broken than were taken away. It became clear women and children were covering up the tracks of certain menfolk.

The outrages were more or less sporadic but very frequent and always took place at points which the police had deserted for more congested or troublesome corners.

It was the view of the authorities that this rioting had been a planned affair. Even after midnight, both in Blantyre and Hamilton, shop windows were smashed. In the following months, Blantyre’s police force was doubled from 4 officers to 8.

From “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:
John Cornfield Mmmm I wonder why townsfolk were acting like this ???
Just for the hell of it ? I don’t think so drunk and disorderly? No I don’t think so . Mibbe because the lovely British government were again starving the common folk . What has changed since then ? Nothing again people are starving
John Mitchell Riots happened all over the back strikes!Churchill had tanks in argyle street.People will only take so much
Elizabeth Daley You notice no tills were stolen, it was food
Thomas Barrett Came back from the war to a home fit for heroes my arse
Margaret Mary OSullivan I suspect people were angry and had enough of poverty. It must have been such a hard time for ordinary people who had faced such difficulties and been through so much.

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