At 9.30am this morning (Sunday 22nd October 2017), it will be exactly 140 years to the minute since the tragic Blantyre Pit Disaster, which killed over 200 men and boys.
The terrible explosion, still to this day Scotland’s worst mining disaster occurred at Dixons Collieries in High Blantyre and at the time killed almost 5% of Blantyre’s entire population. Today, we stop for a moment to remember the victims of that disaster and the misery and grief that it caused to the families.
The Blantyre Disaster Memorial at Kirkton was erected in 1977, a hundred years later, but has in recent years been looking sorrowful, covered in moss, slime and with weeds growing at the steps.
So, this week, using £150 funds raised and donated by Blantyre Project, Blantyre Telegraph commissioned a clean up, in advance of the anniversary. Hiring ‘Ross Dunn Ogilvie Contractors’, and being on holiday leave, we also rolled up our sleeves and personally joined the workmen to clean the monument from head to toe. Carefully using sponges to protect the surface and non-corrosive cleaners we spent several hours cleaning the memorial. The steps especially needed attention and all the moss, growth and weeds were successfully removed. Steps scrubbed, it’s certainly looking sparkling again!
Thanks also go out to Ederra & Complextions and The Cornerstone for providing a supply of water for our cleaning endeavours.
Finally, for remembrance of the victims, we commissioned over 200 lights, one for each of the men and boys who died, which are placed around the steps, on a temporary basis. These were visible last night and will be for the next 2 nights to show not just our sorrow for these people, but to show that ALL of Blantyre is thinking about them.
Much more about Blantyre’s Mining Disaster can be found in the Blantyre History Archives here https://blantyreproject.wordpress.com/blantyre-pit-disaster/