Families Gather at the Pits

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The most heartrending scenes were witnessed in the neighbourhood of both pits, and all along the Priestfield row of houses situated one hundred yards from No. 2 Pit, for it was near those buildings that the dead bodies recovered from the pit were conveyed.

There were women with children in their arms with swollen eyes hurrying frantically about asking the latest news from the exploring parties engaged, and when one body after another was taken to the joiners’ shed there was rush of the relatives of the men, and eager scanning of the bodies to see whether they were those of their beloved ones.

Daughters and sisters, too, of the unfortunate miners went about wringing their hands, and exclaiming that they would never see their fathers or more.

Little children, who were too young to know the loss they had sustained, gazed into the faces of their mothers or sisters and at the great crowd, their feeling apparently being not one of grief but of wonder at the commotion around them.

The Rev. Mr Wright, parish minister of Blantyre [Old Parish Church], and the Catholic clergymen of the district, went from house to house to console the bereaved families, but they could hold out little hope that the poor women would ever again see their breadwinners. Indeed, such scene of domestic sorrow and despairing grief had not been witnessed in Scotland for centuries, and no industrial disaster equal in its destructiveness to human life had ever occurred until that time.

From “Hollow Earth & Hardship” by Paul Veverka

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