Sinking Feeling in Court, 1907

The perennial property owners ‘worst nightmare’ once again resurfaced in 1907 as mineral subsidence took hold of stone and limestone properties in Blantyre. Cracks appearing on buildings, properties sloping into the ground and in danger of falling down was once again a talking point as the ravages and consequences of mining in the Blantyre District took hold.

On 6th May 1907, a group of young Blantyre boys found themselves in Hamilton J.P Court bizarrely in connection with this subject. They were charged with maliciously and wantonly destroying outhouse properties by smashing in windows, knocking out stonework doing damage to the value of £10.

There was some amusement in court however, when the case was heard, primarily due to the defence, which was quite ingenious.

The defence argued that the outhouses in question were in such an advanced state of dilapidation, disrepair and of no use, that it was indeed reasonable to assume they weren’t being used, nor of any purpose to anybody, owner or not. The defence further stated that the boys were merely playing thinking that the damage they were causing would not bother anybody. The defence further went on to cheekily state that by raising the subject in court, actually highlighted the danger of those particular buildings which had been SO affected by subterranean movement.

The justices appreciated the ingenuity of the defence and had learned of demolition plans for the outhouses. However, damage had been done nonetheless. The penalty, a fine for the boys parents was significantly reduced to a minor fine given the explanation and unique situation.

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