About 7.30am on Wednesday 6th March 1907, the lifeless body of a man was found in the empty limestone kiln at Newfield, Auchentibber, High Blantyre.
The body, which had the appearance of being a navvy or tramp was taken to the mortuary at High Blantyre for identification. The man appeared to be around 33 years old and was 5 foot inches tall. Of slender build, he had a fair moustache, blue eyes, good teeth and a prominent nose. He was dressed in a light coloured Harris tweed jacket, single breasted vest of blue cloth and a pair of dirty, dark coloured corduroy trousers. He wore old tacketted lacing boots.
So who was this unknown man. I retrieved his death certificate hoping to at least put a name to him. However, the certificate was vague. Signed by a police constable, there was no name given and his cause of death was suffocation. I found it sad to see so much assumption attached to the record, for he surely would have been somebody’s son, possibly father or brother.
As was the case in such circumstances, an investigation was carried out, but the register of corrected entries concludes nothing much further, other than the doctor stating he had suffocated from the inhalation of carbon monoxide. (Clearly lime kilns were not a good place to fall asleep in!)
So, the man is unnamed. I hope this story doesn’t waste any outdoor walks to this location at Auchentibber, but instead lends itself to a talking point to anybody visiting there in modern times and a reminder that this unknown soul is very much remembered.
The kiln is still there today, pictured by myself back in 2014. It is accessed by a narrow track directly across the road from the War Memorial.