Scottish Mining Villages

Accidents pre-1900

This section contains newspaper reports on accidents. Please check the indexes in theAccidents Section for details of Inspector of Mines reports and other accidents covered on the site.

31 December 1858

Accident- Early on Friday morning, 31st ultimo, Oliver Bryden, miner, in the employment of Mr Robert Young, coal master, Greenhill Works, Parish of Shotts, accidentally fell down the shaft of No 2 Pit, by which his right arm was broken and other parts of his body severely injured. He was removed to his lodgings in Newhouse, Parish of Bothwell, where he was attended by Dr Jones of Newarthill, who considers him in a dangerous state. [Hamilton Advertiser January 8 1859]

15 June 1859

Fatal Coal-Pit Accident – On Wednesday morning, the engineman at No 3 Greystonelea pit, parish of Shotts, raised the cage, whereby he left the pitmouth open – and James Caldwell, collier, residing at Dykehead, when pushing forward a hutch in order to place it on the cage, was precipitated down the shaft of the pit, a depth of 36 fathoms or 216 feet, and his body was completely smashed to atoms. It was the duty of Robert Peat, the engineman, who was in the employment of the Shotts Iron Company, to carefully watch and attend to the various signals for raising and lowering the cage, according to his duties of engineman. He was apprehended by the county police on Thursday, charged with being guilty of gross negligence, while in charge of the engine, by raising the cage without any signal being given to him. Whether or not such signal may have been given we are not presently aware; but in the meantime, Peat has been examined before the Sheriff on the charge of culpable homicide, and liberated on bail of £20. [Hamilton Advertiser June 18 1859]

11 July 1859

On Monday last, a man, named Henry Braden, lost his life by a fall of stone while working in the hall pit belonging to the Shotts Iron Company. The poor man has left a wife and three children to lament his untimely end. [Hamilton Advertiser July 16 1859]

17 August 1859

Pit Accident – On Wednesday last, John M’Clusky, miner, residing at Mossbog, parish of Shotts, met with his death while employed at the Newmill Ironstone Pit, property of the Coltness Iron Company. About 11 o’clock that day he was employed pushing an empty hutch towards the pit mouth, and having mistaken the side of the shaft where the cage was, he fell down the shaft, a depth of 16 fathoms, and died about 10 o’clock the following forenoon. He was 28 years of age. [Hamilton Advertiser August 27 1859]

2 August 1860

Cleland Fatal Coal – Pit Accident – On Thursday the 2nd instant, a workman employed in No 35 Pit Cleland Colliery, was struck by a portion of coal falling upon him while he was engaged boring. The unhappy sufferer after being extricated from the fallen mass was left unassisted by his fellow workmen to struggle to the pit bottom as best he could. He got to the pit head about one o’clock. Being then about seven or eight hundred yards from his home, he spent four hours, ie till five o’clock, endeavouring to reach it. But nature and strength becoming exhausted, he was forced to yield, and was picked up by some passers by, and carried home in an insensible state. He continued in this state till next evening, when he expired, after apparently much suffering. The deceased’s name is Barnard Braclen. He leaves a widow and numerous family to mourn his fate. We hope to be long spared the painful task of again recording such inhuman carelessness among colliers to a suffering fellow-workman. [Hamilton Advertiser August 11 1860]

27 November 1860

Pit Accident – On the 27th ult, at nine o’clock in the morning, Charles Dobbie, collier, Dykehead, Shotts, met with a serious accident while he was working in No 3 coal and ironstone pit, Graystonelee, the property of the Shotts Iron Company, a stone fell from the roof, and broke his right arm. Dr Rattray was immediately in attendance. No blame is attached to any party. [Hamilton Advertiser December 1 1860]

February 1863

Pit Accidents – On Thursday an accident happened to a boy named Roderick M’Arthur in Graystonlea Pit, the property of the Shotts Iron Co, by a stone falling from the roof upon him, while engaged breaking coals at the face. He was hurt severely and had a thigh bone broken. – On Wednesday, two men named Black and Kelly, met with an accident in Greenhill Ironstone Pit, whereby Black had his left leg broken below the knee, his left arm and breast severely bruised, and his face much injured. He is at present blind in both eyes. Kelly had his left arm severely cut and eyes greatly damaged, being also presently blind. It would seem that the accidents arose through their own carelessness. [Hamilton Advertiser 7 February 1863]

1 August 1864

Wishaw – Pit Accident – On Monday the 1st curt., Chas Gibson, miner, residing at Bowhousebog, Shotts, got himself severely injured in the following manner:- Gibson is employed in making a road underground, in the Shotts Iron Company’s Hall pit, and when lying, boring a hole for the purpose of blasting a piece of rock, a large stone fell from the roof, bruising the unfortunate man severely on the back, and breaking his right arm below the elbow. He was conveyed home in a cart, and attended by Dr Rattray, surgeon, Shotts Iron Works. [Hamilton Advertiser 6 August 1864]

10 February 1866

Pit Accident At Shotts Iron Works – James Barr, collier, 35 years of age, met with an accident on the 10th inst., in Greystonelea Pit, belonging to the Shotts Iron Co. Barr was in the act of putting up a tree or prop to support the rood, about 8ft from the face of the workings, when a fall of stones came away and knocked him down, whereby his head was severely cut and his left thigh bone broken. The poor man was removed home and promptly attended by Dr Rattray. On examining the amount of injuries sustained, and Barr being in a destitute condition, with no one to tend or care for him, the doctor ordered his removal to the infirmary. [Hamilton Advertiser 17 February 1866]

24 October 1868

Fatal Pit Accident – An accident, resulting in the instantaneous death of a miner named John Thomason, occurred on Saturday in No. 2 ironstone pit, Benhar, near Harthill. The deceased, along with two other miners, was descending to his work, and when within a few feet of the bottom the cage was raised. One of’ the workmen managed to get out , and asked the others to follow , but Thomason and James Scobie, the other workman , could not leave the cage, and when it arrived at the pit-mouth it was found that Thomason had fallen out during the ascent. His death must have been instantaneous. His mangled remains were found at the bottom of the pit. The deceased, was thirty-four years of age, and married. [Scotsman 27 October 1868]

2 & 4 July 1870

Pit Accidents – On Saturday, 2nd inst., Wm Moffat, collier, aged 22, residing here, got himself injured in No 2 Coal Pit, Linnridge, in the parish of Shotts, belonging to Messrs Forrester and Robson. Moffat was redding a fall on the main horse road, when some stones fell from the roof, by which Moffat was cut on the head and bruised on the side. Happily the injuries are not of a serious character as the injured man was able to walk home. – On Monday last 4th inst., a collier name M’Quilliam, residing here, was severely cut and injured about the head and left side of the body, by a heavy fall of coal in No 2 Pit Linridge Colliery, belonging to Messrs Forrester & Robson. Dr Jones Newarthill, attended the case. [Hamilton Advertiser 9 July 1870]

February 1873

Fatal Accident—On Sunday, a boy of eleven years of age, named Thomas M’Innes, was accidentally killed,at Starryshaw Colliery, in the parish of Shotts. The deceased was playing about the pit while the pumping engine was in motion, when he was struck by the bell crank and so so severely injured that he died almost instantaneously. [Scotsman 25 February 1873]

26 December 1873

Pit Accident – On Friday 26th Dec, Andrew age 12 years, son of Andrew M’Manus, collier, Greenhill, got himself injured while at work in Mr R Young’s No 8 pit. The boy was working along with his father at the face of the coal, when a portion came suddenly away, and, striking the miniature collier on the shoulder, broke his collar bone and inflicted other injuries. [Hamilton Advertiser 3 January 1874]

20 July 1874

Shotts – Severe Pit Accident – On Monday last, 20th inst., David, aged 13, son of David Wilson, collier, residing at Dykehead Row, near Shotts Iron Works, got himself injured in the following manner:- The boy Wilson was employed as a pump worker, in the Shotts Iron Coy’s No 1 Springbank Pit, and when ascending the shaft by way of a trap stair, he missed his footing, and falling a depth of about three fathoms, he was severely injured about the head and on the left eye. When assisted home, Dr M’Vay, Dykehead, was promptly in attendance, and gave his professional aid to the injured youth. [Hamilton Advertiser 25 July 1874]

1 July 1874

Shotts – Pit Accident – On Wednesday 1st July, Robt. Dick, collier, about 17 years of age, got himself injured in Messrs Kerr & Mitchell’s Glencleland Pit. Along with another man, Dick was engaged at the face of the workings, when a large stone fell from the roof, and struck him on the back, knocking him down. He was cut on the face and severely bruised. When conveyed home, Dr R Livingstone attended to the injured man’s wants. [Hamilton Advertiser 4 July 1874]

7 December 1874

Benhar – Fatal Pit Accident – Early on Monday morning, a brusher named George Martin, residing at East Benhar, was accidentally killed by falling down the shaft at Starryshaw Coal pit, belonging to the Benhar Coal Company. Deceased is supposed to have stumbled down the shaft in the dark; and as he fell a depth of 32 fathoms, he was frightfully mangled and killed on the spot. [Hamilton Advertiser 12 December 1874]

24 March 1877

Cleland – Serious Accident – A bottomer named Wm Wilkie, 60, residing in Omoa Square, and employed in Messrs Barr & Higgins No 2 Langbyres, got himself severely injured on Saturday. He belled off the cage after putting a loaded hutch on. The cage stopped in the shaft at a height of 6 yards. A piece of coal fell of the ascending hutch, and the bottomer went to lift it, when the hutch came back to the bottom, crushing him with its weight. Dr Oman, Wishaw, was sent for and on examination found that Wilkies right leg was broken and that he had received some internal injuries, including the breaking of several ribs. [Hamilton Advertiser March 31 1877]

1 August 1877

Fatal Pit Accident – On Wednesday morning a young man named John Murphy, 17 years of age, a drawer, residing at High St Shotts, was accidentally killed in No 2 Ironstone Pit, Benhar, belonging to Messrs Robert Addie and Sons, Langloan, Coatbridge. He had incautiously gone too near a place where there had been some blasting operations, and a large piece of rock fell on him, killing him instantly. [Herald 3 August 1877]

22 March 1879

Fatal Accident – On Saturday, a man named John MacQueen, 18, residing at Newarthill, was fatally injured while working at the face in No 19 Cleland Colliery, the property of the Monkland Iron and Coal Company, by about 30 cwt. of coal falling on him, burying him under it. He was quickly rescued but only lived about half an hour afterwards. [Hamilton Advertiser March 29 1879]

15 December 1880

Shotts Miner Killed – Yesterday afternoon , at Hartwoodhill pit belonging to the Shotts iron Company, a, miner named David Neil, aged 24 years, accidentally fell down the shaft and was killed instantaneously. Before stepping on to the cage at the bottom of the pit he remarked to his companions who were about to ascend with him, that he felt somewhat sick, but as they saw no alarming symptoms they paid no more attention to the remark until they were about 50 fathoms up the shaft when Neil suddenly fell down and slipped past the side of the cage. William Rae, one of the miners, seized hold of his trousers, but the cloth gave way. [Scotsman 16 December 1880]

8 October 1881

On Saturday afternoon, at No. 3 Ironstone Pit, Muirhead, in the parish of Shotts, occupied by the Coltness Iron Company, an oversman named David White, residing at Eastfield, was instantaneously killed. White was working on a scaffold in the shaft when the rope by which a bucket was being lowered broke, and the bucket, which weighed nearly half a ton, fell down, and carried the scaffold and White with it to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of nearly 22 fathoms. [Scotsman 11 October 1881]

28 November 1882

Shotts Pit Accident – A serious accident took place yesterday at Calderhead Colliery to a miner named Walter Darling. While engaged repairing the wood work in the shaft of a new pit which is being sunk, he was standing on one of the buntings in the shaft when it gave way, and he was precipitated to the bottom, a distance of 30 or 40 feet, and sustained severe internal injuries. Dr Caldwell pronounces him to be in a very critical condition [29th November 1882]

4 February 1884

Moses Davidson. an old miner, 61 years of age. who resided at West Benhar Rows, was yesterday working in the “dook” of No. 2 Ironstone Pit. West Benhar, occupied by Messrs Robert Addie & Sons, when a stone, weighing between 5 and 6 cwt., fell from the roof on his back, crushing him to the ground. He was at once conveyed to the surface, but he died shortly afterwards [5 February 1884]

20 May 1884

On Tuesday afternoon, Robert Addie, a Chapelhall miner, met his death in No 2 Linrigg Pit, Salisburgh, occupied by the Linrigg Coal Company, by a fall of stone from the roof. [Scotsman 22 May 1884]

24 February 1886

Fatal Pit Accident – On Wednesday afternoon, a young man named John Shelly, was seriously hurt by a fall of stones from the roof in No 2 Pit, Calderhead Colliery, belonging to the Shotts Iron Co. He died on Thursday afternoon. [Hamilton Advertiser February 27 1886]

4 October 1886

Miner Killed – It was on Monday reported to the Wishaw police that a miner named John Graham, residing at Greenhill, had met with a fatal accident in No 7 Pit Greenhill Colliery. Deceased was working by himself in the “dook” section of the High Drumgray seam when a large stone, weighing several hundred weights, came away from the face, and falling upon his head, killed him instantaneously. No one saw the accident. [Hamilton Advertiser October 9 1886]

25 November 1886

Accident – On Thursday afternoon, a man named Matthew Brownlie, pitheadman, residing at Cleland, got himself injured while at work at Mr Robert Dicks No 4 Knownoble Pit. He was at the time filling ironstone char, and was standing at a part that had been undermined, when the char gave way, about 5cwts of it fell on him. Dr Duncan attended and found his right leg broken above the knee. [Hamilton Advertiser November 27 1886]

9 July 1888

Dreadful Colliery Accident At Shotts – A young man named Archibald Johnston, employed in Calderhead pit, belonging to Shotts Iron Company, met with a serious accident yesterday afternoon while in the act of spragging the wheel of a waggon in motion. The sprag caught him and threw him on the line. Three waggons passed over him injuring him in a frightful manner. He has been removed to the Infirmary, but no hopes are entertained of his recovery. [Scotsman 10 July 1888]

23 August 1894

Omoa – Boy Killed In A Mine – A fatal accident arising out of the coal strike, happened on Thursday at Omoa. It seems that, in consequence of the scarcity of fuel, some of the miners of the neighbourhood recently began to dig for coal in the Quarry Glen, where a seam was found quite near the surface. A mine was soon formed, and from this source many of the villagers have been keeping themselves supplied with coal, which they carried away in bags. Several miners were digging coal inside the mine on Thursday, and with them was a boy named Robert Andrew M’Kinney, aged 12 years, son of Robert M’Kinney, a quarryman residing in Omoa Square. While the boy was waiting for a supply of coal, the roof of the mine, which was very inadequately supported, gave way, and about a ton of coal and dirt fell upon him, almost completely burying him. One of the miners, named Andrew Lafferty was knocked down and got his face scratched. The others escaped without injury. The boy when extricated was dead, having been smothered. [Hamilton Advertiser August 25 1894]

22 March 1895

Fatal Colliery Accident at Shotts – On Friday evening a miner named James Kennedy, aged 40 years, met with an accident which terminated fatally. Whilst engaged blasting a quanntity of coal in No 3 pit, belonging to the Shotts Iron Company, his lamp set fire to the powder, and the blast went off. He died three hours afterwards. [Scotsman 25 March 1895]

1 August 1897

Fatal Colliery Accident At Shotts – A sad accident occurred yesterday to Andrew Duncan, New Grey Street, Shotts, employed as a joiner at Shotts Iron Works pits. Some repairs were being carried out m No. 3 pit, and Duncan had gone to the bank to get some wood. While being hauled up the shaft he fell out of the cage, and was killed instantaneously. He leaves a widow and large family. [Scotsman 3 August 1897]