Pit Disaster Inquiry, 1877

It’s October and thoughts turn as usual to adding further research and history to the story of the 1877 Blantyre Pit Disaster.

Indeed, you guys are going to be spoiled here throughout October, as I have DOUBLE the usual amount of posts scheduled! LOADS of brilliant Blantyre history to get out to the world!

Just before the Covid pandemic hit, my good friend and fellow history colleague Gordon Cook gave me a nice gift! The inquiry Report for the ‘Blantyre Colliery Explosion’ from 21st December 1877.

I’m now also the owner of a large map of the underground coal workings of High Blantyre, marked up to show where each separate victim of the 1877 Pit disaster died and was found. As well as this to accompany the map, is a full detailed ‘blue book’ transcript of the disaster inquiry. Over 200 pages and 5,000 entires packed with over 10,000 lines of inquiry and detailed eye witness accounts!

These articles and witness accounts have never been published in books or been transcribed online and I have a treat in store. Throughout October, in the run up to the Pit Disaster Anniversary, I’ll have many posts from this inquiry document, telling the story of the disaster from the words of the very same Blantyre people who witnessed or survived it. I’m positive too that some of the witness accounts will be from the Blantyre ancestors of people reading this article.

This is real Blantyre history as it happened, direct from the source, from 146 years ago.

Transcribing parts of this incredibly wordy and detailed inquiry document is a massive task, needing much of my time to bring even a few articles to you here. I hope you enjoy the stories and effort in that endeavour. I’ve enough in these documents to keep me posting about the Blantyre disaster for many more years. With thanks to Gordon for his kindness.

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