During the first Wednesday of March 1900, an alarming fire took place at Braefoot Cottage in High Blantyre, caused by the bursting of a lamp. Braefoot Cottage should not be confused with Braesyde Cottage, which still sits at the bottom of Sydes Brae.
Mr. Andrew Grieg, with his invalid mother lived in the cottage at that time. That evening Andrew had been chatting with friend Mr Thorburn and had gone to check on his mother who was in bed. He took the lamp with him, which was lit.
He had just placed the lamp on a piece of furniture at the foot of her bed and turned to speak to his mother, when suddenly the lamp exploded, pouring its fiery contents over the bed setting fire to the bedclothes.
With utmost promptness, Andrew lifted his mother out the bed burning himself in the process. He succeeded in carrying her to safety in the other room as the flames took hold. Mr Thorburn, his friend appeared and together they managed to subdue the flames, but not before considerable damage had been done to the furniture and the room.
The story is a reminder of how common such fires were and how their cause was often from an unattended lamp or candle.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016