I’ve been surprised lately to find out how many Colliery Dynamite stores still exist in Blantyre. One at Sydes Brae, another near Craigknowe and one at Bardykes, so I was curious when Graham Carson has contacted me saying, “At the time of the 1957 pictures of Priestfied Terrace were taken I lived in number 3 (age 6) with my parents. My father was a shot firer ( a miner who handled explosives underground. ). He once showed me the Dixons pit 3 explosives store which was in some woods about half a mile further along towards Hillhouse on the right hand side and just before the bridge across the burn. I don’t know the name of the location but “Burn Field” would be a good fit. My recolation was that the houses of Hillhouse had not been built at that time and that the location was well away from any people”
This was likely the dynamite store for Dixons Pit 3, the pit which suffered that terrible disaster in 1877. I’ve looked on the map and the only thing matching Graham’s description is this little building marked with a red dot, accessed from Hillhouse Road in 1936 by a little footpath. Still in Blantyre but only just! Its old too, on the 1896 map but in a slightly different position. Although the building is not on 1859 map as you would expect, in that era, the path WAS there leading down to a small quarry.
The woods are still there today with good parking beside the location in the technology park. The building is still there today, hidden amongst the trees, near the car park, but is now in ruins. Built of brick, it was small of similar design to Priory Pit Magazine and as the ruin shows, once had a vaulted roof, a design which helped to curtail any accidental explosion inside.
The Dixons 3 magazine store could have possibly had earlier beginnings as the quarry would have required a dynamite store, but I think the photos shown here on 18th April 2016, DO show the Dixons Magazine, rebuilt to replace an earlier quarry building which existed in a slightly different position before 1898. It is known that Mr. A.B. Maxwell, who would later become a councillor for Blantyre, was an ‘ear witness’ to the 1877 disaster, and he was standing in this old quarry that was worked here.
Thanks to Alex Rochead for the photos and Gordon Cook’s assistance about Mr. Maxwell.
Alan Baird yes , i remember seeing this wee building years ago whilst either making hay , or bringing the cows up to the farm for milking , i always used to think what a queer place for a brick toilet lol