On Sunday 28th June 1908, a despicable act of vandalism sent local police into an absolute frenzy of determination to catch the culprit.
The Blantyre Ambulance Association some years earlier had built a special lifeboat, complete with oars and life saving equipment and at the same time bought two expensive life vests of modern design. To house everything, they built a modest iron house which they stored everything in, underneath the Craighead Viaduct. The ironhouse was on the Blantyre side of the River Clyde, right on its banks and not too far downstream of Bothwell Bridge.
It was there that the vandal or vandals carried out their dastardly mischief. The door had been burst open and the boat dragged over large stones, wrecking the bottom of it to the extent of being unfit for the water. Large holes were knocked into the sides and the bottom, and the boat left to sink in the shallow water. The seats and oars were further recovered down the river.
The police and local residents were suitably appalled. Several officers commented it was the most horrible case of wanton mischief they had come across under their watch. As if this wasnt bad enough, the vandals had shred the life jackets to shreds. The loss of the boat was a serious concern as it was almost July when school holidays and river incidents tended to occur.
In the weeks which followed , a man was charged with this crime and got 60 days in jail, a sentence reflecting the severity of the destruction. It was this incident too, which set Blantyre talking and led in the following weeks to the creation of the Moral Suasion Group, a community effort to tackle growing hooliganism in Blantyre.
I’ve zoomed in on various photos i had of the viaduct during this era and can clearly see the ironhouse below the pillars. I can’t see the ironhouse on the 1936 map.