The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #103983 Message #3560989
Posted By: Joe Offer
24-Sep-13 - 07:01 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Blantyre Explosion
Subject: Lyr Add: BLANTYRE EXPLOSION (II - A L Lloyd
Also from A.L. Lloyd's Come All Ye Bold Miners (1978 edition, pp 179-181)
THE BLANTYRE EXPLOSION (II) (Lloyd)
On Clyde's bonny banks where I lately did wander,
Near the village of Blantyre where I chanced to stray,
I espied a young woman, she was dressed in deep mourning
So sadly lamenting the fate of her love.
I boldly stepped to her; said I, My poor woman,
Come tell me the cause of your trouble and woe.
I do hear you lamenting the fate of some young man,
His name and what happened him I'd like for to know.
With sighing and sobbing she at length then made answer,
John Murphy, kind sir, was my true lover's name,
Twenty-one years of age and a mild good behaviour,
To work in the mines of High Blantyre he came.
On the eleventh of December I long will remember,
In health and in strength to his labour did go,
But on that fatal morning without one moment's warning,
Two hundred and ten in cold death did lie low.
There was fathers and mothers, there was widows and orphans,
In Stonefield, High Blantyre, where hundreds do mourn,
Ah, there was old aged parents for their sons they loved dearly,
By that sad explosion will never return.
But the spring it will come with the flowers of summer,
That blooms through its wildness so lovely and fair.
I will gather the snowdrops, primroses and daisies,
Round my true lover's grave, I will transplant them there.
For they say it's not right for the dead to be grieved,
There's nothing but trouble bestowed on me.
He is gone from this world but a short time before me,
In hopes to rejoin him in sweet purity.
THE BLANTYRE EXPLOSION (II). A high proportion of the miners killed at High Blantyre were Irish. Perhaps that is why sundry versions of the song commemorating the explosion circulate among Irish workers at home or in emigration. The present example was recorded by Robin Morton from John Maguire, Tonaydrumallard, Co. Fermanagh (August, 1968), and printed in Morton's Folksongs sung in Ulster (Cork, 1970). In a private communication Robin Morton says: 'John learned this while working as a miner in the Glasgow area in the 1920s. He tells a lovely story about them all sitting in a pub in Blantyre one night and they sang different versions of the song. This version was naturally decided on as best.'
The Glasgow Herald (23 October 1877) reported that when the bodies of the burnt and suffocated miners were brought up, there were 'feelings of a painful intensity amongst the at all times excitable Irish element. The women set up a loud wail, tore their hair, and rushed about in a half-crazed state, and strong men had to interfere to
prevent them throwing themselves on the corpses.'
FEARFUL COLLIER Y EXPLOSION IN SCOTLAND. From a broadside, no imprint
or date, in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. The song refers to the explosion at High Blantyre.