About 7 o’clock in the evening on Sunday 18th January 1903, the skies above Craighead lit up as Blantyre residents became aware something was on fire.
During that cold Winters night, it became clear that the lamp cabin at Craighead Colliery was alight. The cabin belonged to Coalmasters William Baird & Co and containing all the miners lamps for the whole colliery, its fate was sealed.
It is thought the naphtha (flammable liquid) had somehow ignited and with traces of it in almost every lamp, it wasn’t long before the entire cabin was engulfed in flames. Fed by various other oils in the cabin, it only took a few moments for the fire to become serious with flames erupting from the roof.
Mr Miller, the manager was on the spot at once and along with other managers tried to save the equipment, but to no avail. The heat and flame being too dangerous.
By the time the fire was extinguished (remember there were no engines on call), the building was completely burned down and the full stock of 632 miners’ lamps all destroyed. It was a real blow to the colliery and for operations to commence, something had to be done until new lamps could be bought.
In the following day, the manager went around all the other neighbouring collieries, hiring their spare lamps, so that at least work could commence again on the Monday.
The photo demonstrates these type of cabins well, but is for illustration only, not the actual Blantyre cabin.