Ward girl’s Fatal Accident, 1918

Early on the morning of Tuesday 26th February 1918, a tragic and distressing accident occurred in the Saw Dust Mill in the Village, Blantyre.

A young girl who was employed there, named Euphemia Ward, had occasion during her working day, to pass by the end of a deep shaft which had a hammer like mechanism in constant motion. Suddenly, her clothing was caught by the mechanism, and the unfortunate girl was thrown with considerable force to the ground, then raised in the air and back down again, several times.

Fellow workers ran to stop the machinery and when it was safe to approach, she was sadly found to be dead. The funeral, which took place on the Thursday afternoon and was attended by many of the public, shocked at the tragedy.

Picture: For illustration only. Not Blantyre, but its not hard to see how dangerous saw mills were.

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:

Robert Stewart Euphemia was 22 when she was killed and was interred in the common ground at Blantyre Cemetery, lair 1250
Joy McLennan Horrid working conditions…my grt grannie apparently had an older girl , look after her in the mills. Her Industrialist father, suddenly passed, and she was thrust into the looms, herself.. Tough, women, who intimidated her, were threatening, to say the least!…That young girl, ended up travelling to Canada alone, crossing the prairies on the first trains, to Victoria, BC. Being a woman was tough work…I, so felt this girl’s trauma….so sad, and difficult it was.
Patty Smith I will have to look into this, my family was from Blantyre and their name was Ward. I don’t remember seeing this girls name, but who knows. Got to 1829 with John ward, now I’m stuck…lol
Alison Walker-Hill So sad to read this…..not a story I have heard before!
Graeme Walker Alison Walker-Hill not familiar with this at all. I am struggling to work out which part of mill this would have been?
Alison Walker-Hill I know…..possibly at the end of the tunnel??
Graeme Walker Alison Walker-Hill . Tunnel was sealed / filled in till the 1960’s. Back then the mill was powered from the two turbines at the end of the lead. On the ground floor there would have been gears above the turbines driving long horizontal shafts the length of both the front and back Mills. There would be vertical shafts off this main drive going straight to the stones on the first floor.
Graeme Walker The hoists, buckets and screws would all be belt driven. I wonder if they didn’t have rotational dressers back then? Maybe that would require an up and down or oscillating movement?

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