Showing off ‘doon the pit’

In 1880, Blantyre man, Gavin Laird made an error of judgement in taking his sweethearts down a local Pit.

An unexpected way of showing attentions to the fair was illustrated by a case in the Sheriff Court on 20th March 1880. Gavin Laird was an Ostler on the Splint coal seam, No. 3. Pit, Blantyre Collieries at High Blantyre, and residing at Robertson’s Land, Larkfield.

He was charged with a contravention of the Mines Regulation Act by having on Sunday, 14th March 1880, without the consent of the owner’s agent taken Ann O’Neill, Bridget Doyle and Catherine Berry, mill workers of Dixon’s Rows down the pit, putting them in danger, they being strangers within the meaning of the rules. He pled guilty and was fined by Sheriff Birnie 10s- or five-days imprisonment. It appears that, as an act of gallantry Laird had taken the girls below ground to show them the pit. A correction was made in the paper a week later stating that Gavin wanted Blantyre readers to know the girls were not his sweethearts.

Coal in the hands of a miner

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