McWilliams Sheep Accident, 1907

On the evening of Friday 13th September 1907, a somewhat extraordinary accident occurred at Blantyre’s Glasgow Road when a (tram)car belonging to the Lanarkshire Tramway Company ran into a flock of sheep.

The sheep belonged to Mr Alexander M‘William, a flesher (butcher) from Blantyre, and resulted in thirteen of them being killed. It is a miracle that “just 13” of them died, as the flock numbered 96, and were being brought from Glasgow to Blantyre by road. The accident occurred about two hundred yards west of the Livingstone Memorial U.F. Church, in the street, roughly where the Parkville is today.  The newspaper report of the time, stated that the sheep ‘were cut and hashed in a terrible manner’ and that police were looking into the matter.

This unfortunate accident was not a good start for this part of Blantyre’s tramway network, which from Stonefield extended westwards, had opened only months earlier.

The old picture is not Blantyre, but taken in the same era, it sets the scene nicely to illustrate this little unfortunate story.

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