The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Teenager Rachel Douglas was among 1,800 millworkers from Ferguslie Thread Mills, which was owned by JP Coats, travelled from Paisley to Portpatrick, Wigtonshire, on July 3, 1909 to enjoy a Sma' Shot Day trip. The workers went on 3 trains from Paisley Canal railway station to get to Dunskey Estate in the village for picnics and sports but Rachel, who had travelled with her sister, did not make it back. The 18-year-old, who lived in Mossvale Street, Paisley, had enjoyed a great day out with her sister and friends but tragedy struck as she tried to get back on the train home. As the third train reversed into the station, many of the girls ran towards the carriages to find the best seats and, before it had fully come to a stop, Rachel slipped and fell between the moving carriage and the edge of the platform as she tried to open a door. She landed on the rails and one of the wheels crushed her chest. Many of the girls who witnessed the accident, including her distraught sister, fainted.

Rachel was buried at Hawkhead Cemetery. As a mark of respect, at the train platform in Portpatrick, sandstone was cut into the shape of scissors. This was seen as a fitting tribute to Rachel who was a mill worker and she would have used scissors for tying up the ends of the thread.  When the station closed in 1950 the stone was taken to a museum and, when this closed, it was moved to Portpatrick Primary School.

This story was found in Find a grave in Scotland.

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