Blood on the Coal – Part 3

The Story of the Auchinraith Pit Disaster continued from Part 2…..

Although the explosion on Saturday 30th August 1930 at Auchinraith Pit 1 must have been one of tremendous force, an amazing fact is that it was not heard on the surface, so the first news of the tragedy took some time to reach the stricken homes in the’ surrounding villages. When the news did reach houses in Blantyre, a number of colliers who were off duty rushed to the pit and volunteered to go to the assistance of their comrades, but they were told that none but the specially equipped rescue party would be able to reach the spot.

Of course, word then spread to families.

Soon the pithead was crowded that morning with anxious relatives of the men below.

Weeping woman gathered at the pithead, children in tow and small crowds of families started to form. Some of the women had to identify the bodies of their men, with some elderly residents remembering a similar fear in the pit explosion of 1877.

Touching scenes were witnessed as the cage with its human cargo went up and down the pit shaft. When the husbands and wives were reunited, those lucky survivors and families immersed in joy, it was only marred by the knowledge that some of their unfortunate neighbours would be less fortunate.

In these remarkable photos of that morning taken at the pithead, you can see Blantyre wives wondering if their men were going to be brought up safely. It’s particularly noticeable on the faces of young children, the anxiousness and worry, wondering if their own fathers were still alive. Little Blantyre children, sad eyed, clutching tightly to the hands of their mothers.

Continued on Part 4 tomorrow…..

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  1. Thanks Paul, again, always, for bringing together Blantyre history, it is very possible I had family affected by this disaster, on my McAdam and Mackie side. It is very sad, and good to remember the sacrifices made by the men and women who came through these disasters and hard times.

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