Blood on the Coal – Part 7

Continuing the story of Auchinraith Pit Disaster, on Saturday 30th August 1930. Continued from Part 6 yesterday.

Joseph Regan was killed in the explosion. This is a picture of his family. His daughter Margaret (aged 19) with two of the young members of the family now left in her sole care. Her mother had died in 1927 and Margaret then 16 was acting as housekeeper ever since, left to bring up her young siblings whilst her father was in the mine

When Joseph died, it left the three family members pictured, all alone..

In the days following the disaster, Margaret received an offer from Ayrshire proposing to adopt the whole family. Miss Regan who has looked after her father and young family since her mothers death in 1927 got the letter on the Wednesday afterwards. She did not want the person who wrote the letter to be named but she decided to decline the offer. The letter read,

“Dear Miss Regan, I have read with sorrow how you have lost your father and your mother some time ago. We have a nice house here and we would like you to come and make your home with us and I would help you to bring the little ones up. They would have all they need here and would go to a school which is quite near. It is both country and seaside here and very lovely. Please let me know if any of your relatives want you to stay with them. If not, you only want to come to us.” Margaret declined the kind offer, much to the relief of other more distant relatives.

Poignant too were the circumstances associated with the Sprott household at 2 Auchinraith Terrace, which was only a few yards away from the shaft which William Sprott the fireman descended for the last time that morning.

When Mrs Sprott was interviewed, she said, “I have not been well lately and that is why my daughter and boys did not wake me. When i got up I heard the news. I went to the street and saw a woman neighbour collapse. She thought her man had been killed and when she was taken into my house, I made her a cup of tea. The woman recovered and later we were relieved to discover her man was not involved at all. It was only then, after a short time that I heard somebody say, “There are four more coming up and my husbands name was mentioned.”

Continued on Part 8 tomorrow….

Alex Rochead has kindly looked into what happened to Margaret.She was born at 8 Cemetery Road in 1911, the cert states her parents were married in 1909 in Blantyre. She was living at 7 Watson Street, Blantyre when she married Francis Joseph Coyle in 1933. It looks like she died in 1972 aged 61 in Cambuslang. At the time of her marriage the Coyle family lived in Cambuslang. It’s unknown what happened to the boys. Her mother Margaret Slaven died in 1927

My friend, Alex Rochead told me, “I was speaking to Jim Lynn who is a relation of the Coyle family in Cambuslang. He sent me a photo of Margaret Regan’s grave in Westburn, Cambuslang. This confirms when she died and where buried. Jim is happy for me to pass it on as it completes her story. He doesn’t know anything about her young brothers.” With thanks to Alex and Jim.

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