On Tuesday 22nd June 1897, the children of the workmen of Auchinraith Colliery took part in Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, after being invited by Colliery owners.
Merry & Cunninghame, (Coalmasters) reached out to the community in a rare display of generosity by sending out very artistic invitation cards directly to the children of workers, each card hand written with the child’s name and in great taste. These cards themselves providing a nice memento of the Jubilee.
The children numbering about 800, all assembled at the granary about one o’clock and when they were joined by the parents , families and friends, the entire group proceeded to a field in the vicinity where games, swings and races enabled them to enjoy a splendid day. Plenty of refreshments were available ‘almost on tap’ with food in abundance, which said much for the business and the kindness of Managing Director, Mr J.C. Cunninghame.
Prizes in the many races included new pennies for those successful competitors. The memorable outing was brought to a close at 6pm when Mr John Stewart, colliery cashier thanked the organisers and raised three cheers for Mr Cunninghame. Mr John Menzies, colliery manager said it was very special to see so many children enjoying themselves in summer, coinciding with the end of the school term.
There was no need to speak long about the Queen. All who were attending knew why they were there and what was being celebrated. Mr Menzies knew all too well, what great organisation had gone into the day and asked again once more for three cheers. The National Anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ was then sung.
Worth noting too, that upon the closure of the ceremony, every single child, all 800 of them, regardless of age, event the smallest infants were given a brand new penny upon leaving the field. (worth about £2.25 in today’s money).
Illustration: AI imagines the scene.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,
Tom McGuigan Sad to see that the descendants are still bending the knee to the royals. Nice of the Minemasters to spend thier hard earned money on the miners children, many of whom, would be working in the mines. How blessed they were.
Martin Weir I’ve found a few of these commemorative medals while out metal detecting in cambuslang celebrating the day >
Blantyre Project thats fantastic to see and adds to this story well. Thanks