Serious Explosion, 1897

On Monday 21st June 1897, the Nation was celebrating Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. That week, contractors were installing a large drain in the roadway at Glasgow Road, between Auchinraith Junction, along through Springwell and towards Greenfield at Blantyre’s boundary with Hamilton. Contractors were stood down for the day owing to the holiday but a watchman was still on duty.

That day, two boys residing at Greenfield were up to mischief. David Gray (12) and John Dunn (10) broke into the contractor’s storage chest at Springwell and the prize was a packet of dynamite detonators. Evidently they had a view of celebrating the jubilee in their own way.

The watchman being vigilant, noticed the theft as it was happening and gave chase, but the boys scampered off in the direction of Blantyre.

As they ran off, the movement from their bodies suddenly detonated the dynamite and a terrific explosion followed near Robertson’s factory. The boys were both blown from their feet into the verge. The noise of the explosion attracted adults from their homes who were horrified to find both boys badly injured.

David Gray had a thumb and two fingers completely blown off his left hand and two other fingers shattered. Still conscious, he was naturally in considerable shock and was removed to Glasgow Infirmary. John Dunn had his face very badly burned, his clothes almost completely destroyed, but was taken home, with limbs intact.

Not a pleasant story, but a wee part of history and how playful pranks can go too far.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Carol King Oh how awful X I hope they went onto have good lives – face badly burned and taken home mind

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