Hugh McNeil’s Tragic Swim

About 6.30pm on the evening of Sunday 1st August 1915, a youth from Dixon’s Rows in Blantyre met with a tragic ending.

Hugh McNeil (17) was a machineman and lived at 26 Dixon’s Street on Dixon’s Rows, (not far from where Priory Street is now). That summers evening, he decided to go swimming in the River Clyde, not far from the Craighead Viaduct near Bothwell.

Not being a great swimmer and understanding the danger of the Clyde, he took along some swimming water wings, but whilst in the water beyond his depth, they became detached.

He sank beneath the river before assistance could be fetched. Several youths who were nearby could only look on in horror, none of them swimmers, as they watched Hugh go under.

A team of volunteers found the body the next evening around 7pm and took him back to his parents house. There was much sympathy and sadness in the community as a whole around this very sad event.

We remember Hugh McNeil here, just one of many dozens of people who have accidentally drowned in the Clyde over the years. Young lives cut suddenly short. The scene is pictured for context.

1930 Craighead Viaduct

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