‘Was exceedingly grand and terrific’

I came across this sketch of Rawyards Cotton Mill, Airdrie in the SCRAN archives. The way the sketch has been drawn, and the pattern of the windows, reminded me of needlework found in old samplers.

Rawyards Cotton Mill was established by Houldsworth & Co in 1832 but burnt down on 11 February 1839.

This newspaper report, from February 1839, is not easy to read, so I have transcribed it:


We are sorry to state that Airdrie Mills were on Monday morning burnt to the ground by fire; thus throwing, at this inclement season of the year, a great number of families out of employment. It originated, we understand, from the gas; lest so rapid was its progress, that, though every exertion was used to subdue it, it proved of no avail. The appearance of the fire when the conflagration was at the highest, was exceedingly grand and terrific; the whole sky for a number of miles round exhibited one sheet of vivid light; and when the roof and walls fell in, the dense smoke that arose presented an appearance as if the earth had opened to allow the pent-up volcanic ether to issue forth to terrify and destroy. We are happy to hear, however, that no lives were lost, although several narrow escapes were made. Two boys were compelled to leap from the windows, and it was reported that one of them had either got his legs broken, or, at least sustained severe injury.

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