Across Lanarkshire
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Blantyre

 

Blantyre has a number of small hamlets. High Blantyre is thought to be the area of earliest settlement, with a Bronze Age village near Auchintibber.

 

On 22 October 1877, Blantyre was the site of the Blantyre mining disaster, where 207 miners (men and boys) were killed when a coal mine exploded due to methane gas. There is little doubt that safety regulations were not adhered to. A monument to the disaster of which the youngest victim was a boy of 11 is at High Blantyre cross. The site of the mine now lies under the East Kilbride expressway.

 

Blantyre has a football club competing in Scottish Junior Football Association competitions, Blantyre Victoria F.C.. Known as the Vics, they won the Scottish Junior Cup (the highest achievement in junior football) in 1950, 1970 and 1982; their home ground is called Castle Park. There is another football club in the town, Blantyre Celtic F.C.. The original club went out of existence in the early 1990s however, in 2010, they reformed as an amateur team.

The town has long had links with speedway racing. In the pioneer days a group of riders who appeared at White City in Glasgow were known as "The Blantyre Crowd". They operated their own track at Airbles Road in Motherwell in 1930 and this was known as Paragon Speedway. The Blantyre Crowd also operated a more professional version on the same site in 1932. The greatest ever Scottish rider, Ken McKinlay came from Blantyre as did Tommy Miller who had a somewhat meteoric rise to stardom in 1950. Speedway was staged at the Greyhound Stadium as the home of the Glasgow Tigers in the late 1970s/early 1980s before the new road forced a move to Craighead Park which closed down at the end of the 1986 season.

 

Blantyre's most famous son is the 19th century missionary and explorer David Livingstone. He is acknowledged as the first European to see the "Mosi-oa-Tunya" (Tokaleya and Tonga: the Smoke that Thunders) which he named in English the Victoria Falls after the then British sovereign Queen Victoria. His former house is now a museum which is at the end of Station Road, on the banks of the River Clyde. This centre includes a museum, a playpark, a cafe, a shop, an African Garden and several workshop studios.

Mandala (the largest city and commercial centre of Malawi), one of the countries which Livingstone explored, is more commonly named Blantyre in recognition of the link created by Livingstone during the colonial era.

 

Info taken from Wikipedia