The Ejection of the Blantyre Widows
Six months after the explosion, thirty-four widows, whose husbands had been killed in the disaster, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court. They had previously received letters from the colliery owners informing them that they must leave their tied cottages. Having failed to do so, William Dixon Limited had raised summonses against them.
When asked by the Sheriff why they had not vacated their homes, each widow stated that they did not have the means with which to pay a rent. The Sheriff asked, "Are you not getting enough money from the relief fund?" Each widow replied "I have not have the means to pay a rent with."
The Sheriff stated that it was out of kindness that the company had allowed them to remain in their houses for so long. One widow claimed that they had a cruel way of showing their kindness and that the firm should have carried out the evictions on the day of the explosion as the public would have taken her by the hand.
The Sheriff stated that he could scarcely agree with her and suggested that both the firm and the public had been extremely kind and generous. He then decreed that the thirty-four widows and their children should be removed from their homes in two weeks time, on 28th May 1878.
The evictions were carried out and replacement miners were allocated their homes. No-one knows what became of these unfortunate widows and their children. In all probability they had to seek accommodation in the Poor House. The ejection of the Blantyre widows was a sad and disgraceful end to the tragic story of the Blantyre explosion.