Miner’s Memorial Delayed

A brand new memorial for High Blantyre Cemetery, which had intended to be unveiled this weekend has unfortunately been delayed. The granite slab was coming from Europe, the material of which was chosen very carefully to match existing nearby graves, unfortunately got caught up in red tape during transportation. Circumstances outwith our control.

Despite considerable fundraising, procurement and permission efforts of the last year, the stone itself got “stuck”, delayed in shopping containers at Felixstowe not due to the contractor until this week. It means the unveiling will take place slightly later than the actual anniversary, which will be exactly 145 years this Saturday.

For the first time, this new public memorial contains all the names and ages of the Miners who died in the Blantyre Pit Disaster in 1877.

After a “monumental” effort for fundraising this last year and a significant sum of many thousands of pounds successfully raised, the joint effort between local man Jimmy Small, the Miners Welfare (acting also as Treasurer) and ourselves Blantyre Telegraph has stalled at the last moment.

Whilst disappointing, the new timescales are actually remarkably close with the selected contractor confident of being able to turn it around quickly thereafter, once the granite is delivered. The granite was ordered many months ago, with assurances provided that the timescales would be met. During that time, several meetings took place to organise the engineering work, involving the council’s Parks & Cemeteries department for permissions, which thanks are given for here.

The new memorial with wording approved, will honour not just the men and boys buried in High Blantyre, but will name for the very first time on a public memorial, all those who died in the Blantyre Pit in 1877, regardless of where they are buried. 

The existing ground where the miners are buried is currently unmarked in an unassuming corner of the cemetery. Hundreds of interments, with no memorial above nor names mentioned, long considered a shame. Though an obelisk was erected nearby by Dixon’s themselves after the disaster, it isn’t on the burial site, nor is the modern memorial at High Blantyre cross. The burial site itself is presently no more than an unmarked field. The new memorial will finally recognise this important site, the stone marking all who died by name and age and with further plans to be able to tell the Mining Disaster story nearby. It’s hoped this will be a long lasting legacy for future generations to read.

The small committee who made this possible will be keeping you updated here as things edge closer to completion. Meantime, we’ll be marking the anniversary as we have done for the last 11 years on behalf of all Blantyre community, with our usual special tributes of remembrance.

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