Thanks to Helen Williams for this photo. Pictured in the late 1950’s or possibly early 1960’s are coalmen of Blantyre. Pictured is Mr Prentice. Davie Cook is second from the left (who had one arm), and Jackie Turner far right. Other names associates with coal deliveries in Blantyre are Baillie, Barclay, Clark, Devanney, Downie, Dunn, Kelly, McCabe, McDougal, Prentice and Sneddon.
Even in the 1970s, some coal was delivered loose and just tipped on to the pavement. Customers would have to barrow it round the back to their coal stores load by load, and then the pavement had to be scrubbed clean because folk were very houseproud and you didn’t want the neighbours complaining about the mess.
If you worked in the pit, you had an allowance to get coal delivered more cheaply, and in some cases an allowance of 10t of coal per year was delivered for free to each miner. Coalmen like Prentice the Coalman are remembered in Blantyre for their yelling out of their lorry window to signal their arrival on your street. You could also buy matches, kindling, wood and briquettes. Blantyre Co-op also had a coal Dept at the yard in Auchinraith Road. Coal came in from rail wagons to the co op siding. Low Blantyre station also had a siding where the coal was offloaded then bagged.
Today, Kane Coal services most of the homes that still order coal in Blantyre.
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If you ran out of coal and down to the dross (not sure if that’s how to spell it) and didn’t have a bricket . Then an old shoe came in handy. But always had a fire in winter.