Old Monkland Strikes, Court Cases & Misc.

29 December 1842

Collier's Strike At Coatbridge - Turn-Out And Summary Ejectment of the Miners - Information has reached us this forenoon of another strike on the part of the colliers connected with the Dundyvan works, near Coatbridge, the property of Mr Wilson, and the forcible ejectment of the operatives, along with their wives and children, from their houses on Saturday last. The colliers turned out are about 200 in number, and along with their wives and dependents will amount to from 300 to 400 persons, who, in the meantime, are deprived of the means of subsistence from their labour. The strike, we understand, has continued only during the past week, and the ejectment of the colliers, with their wives, children, household furniture, &c. about ten o'clock on Saturday forenoon, occasioned no little excitement in Coatbridge and neighbourhood. The ejectment, we understand, was at the instance of Mr Wilson, ironmaster, and was effected by a number of officers, with a warrant from the Sheriff of the County. The scene at the poor people's houses was one of a very distressing character. Weeping mothers with their little ones, and stout-hearted men deprived at once of a dwelling-place, or a shelter from the inclemency of the weather, might be seen watching the progress of the officers as they trundled out their poor effects, before the gaze of their neighbours, while here and there a few colliers might be observed arranging their furniture for removal to a place of security. Through the humanity of a few of the shopkeepers of this quarter, and the activity of the office-bearers of the Colliers' Society, we are gratified to know that the turned out were not allowed to remain long exposed to the severity of the weather, but that immediate steps were taken to have all of them housed at least, in the village of Coatbridge. Hay lofts and empty dwelling-houses were obtained by a few of the shopkeepers, and by members of the trade, who did not hesitate to pay rents in advance, to have the colliers and their families removed from their uncomfortable position. Mr Steel, grocer, with praiseworthy zeal, gave the loan of four carts, and with these the unemployed colliers speedily conveyed their effects into the village. A quantity of whisky and biscuits were also obtained, and a little given to each of the turned out, to enable them to sustain the effects of this hasty proceeding. The statement of the operatives is, that Mr Wilson has reduced them about 6d. on a certain amount of labour, and that he has not complied with the terms; of agreement entered into at the late strike. One part of their complaint is, that Mr Wilson will not agree to fortnight warnings, but insists upon a month's warning; terms which none of the other coal masters in the west of Scotland insist upon, and they are determined, they say, to have equal terms with others. There is considerable irritation of feeling, we believe, between both master and men, and so highly incensed are the operative colliers throughout the whole of Scotland, where there are branches of their union, with the conduct of Mr Wilson, that they have passed a resolution to support the turn-outs at every hazard or disadvantage. On the announcement of the strike, the store at Dundyvan for supplying the colliers with necessaries was shut, so that no opportunity was given for the men assisting themselves in that quarter. In the meantime all is quiet in Coatbridge, and there is no exhibition of a disposition to riot or confusion. The colliers, with their wives and children, are supported from the funds of the union, and taking all the circumstances into account, they are pretty comfortable, even in their hay-lofts, stables, and out-houses. Since writing the above, we have received a copy of one of the papers of agreement entered into by the whole of the coal masters in the west of Scotland (with a few exceptions) at the late strike. As it may be the means of throwing additional light upon the affair at Dundyvan, and also enabling our readers to have some idea of the terms come to between the colliers and their employers at the late turn-out, we give it entire:— (Copy.) "We, the undersigned, do agree to pay the miners of 1d. per cwt. for each fair going 'wall,' and all other deficiency to be paid for, over and above, and that 14 days' warning be taken and given on any lawful days' pay, fourteen days, and 15s. if won (earned) out of every pound (£) in Lag (mid) Saturday, without per centage money, or poundage (£) money ; and that any one the working men choose (to appoint) may stand on the hill to see the men's labour weighed, and put a stop to any injustice that may be attempted." [Caledonian Mercury 29 December 1842]


A Gallant Sapper and Miner - Andrew Anderson, the private in the Sappers and Miners who so nobly distinguished himself at the siege of Silistria, is a native of Old Monkland parish in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Anderson was born at Kielhill Colliery in that parish. He wrought as a collier there, and in other of the many coalfields on the banks of the Monkland Canal, previous to his enlistment in 1838 in the noble corps of which he is now so distinguished a member.— Glasgow Herald. [Caledonian Mercury 2 November 1854]