Continuing a look at the tragic events of 22nd October 1877.
Around the house where the bodies of those recovered, arrived a band of heart-sore relations, people who had come to the pit for news of loved ones. They hung despairingly, anxious to be admitted. However, very considerately, they were often refused permission to look upon the frightful sight, many of the miner’s bodies in that house, unrecognisable or mutilated.
One young maiden appeared to feel the denial to look upon the face of her dead brother as a cruel act and with tears in her eyes, and on her knees, she begged for one last long look at her dear brother.
A woman named Mrs Burns seemed to go beside herself in her great paroxysm of grief. On learning that her husband’s body had been recovered she became livid with grief and excitement, and then grasping a shawl which she wore, tore it from her shoulders and ripped it into shreds. It required the interference of a number of powerful men to prevent her doing herself bodily injury.
But there were many similar cases.
Some old men mourned, as they had too much reason to fear, the death of sons and grandchildren; young children sorrowed for the loss of only parents and mothers grieved for their only sons. Young children, too young to understand only upset at seeing the grief all round them.
Even on the evening of the disaster, every house in Blantyre was a house of mourning, almost everybody knowing of at least one person who patiently waited and watched out the weary hours at the pit heads, with little hope to relieve their great sorrow.
Extract from rom “Hollow Earth & Hardship” by Paul Veverka