Scottish Mining Villages


January 30, 2014 | Comments Off on Accidents

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.

1 March 1817

A melancholy accident occurred in the lead mines belonging to Messrs Horner Hurst & Co., Leadhills on the forenoon of the 1st inst. Occasioned by the air being rendered impure from the smoke of a fire engine, placed about 100 feet underground. As soon as the danger was ascertained, 2 miners and the company’s blacksmith descended to the relief of their neighbours below, when unfortunately the two miners perished in the humane attempt. The smith escaped but is still dangerously ill. Many of the miners who were at work at the time were violently affected, almost to suffocation, but are now out of danger. We have since learned that in all seven lives have been lost in this accident. Five at least of those who perished have left widows and large families, some of them 8 to 10 children. The following are the names of the sufferers: – William Austin,Peter BlackwoodJohn BainJames AlstonRobert HamiltonThomas Thomson and a man from the north. [Glasgow Herald March 7 1817]

30 October 1844

Fatal Accident in a Coal Pit – On Wednesday a melancholy accident occurred in one of the mines at Wanlockhead, belonging to his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch. A party of miners had prepared to blast a piece of rock , and having lighted the match, retired to what they considered a safe distance. When the explosion took place , however, a large fragment of stone rebounding from the side of the mine, struck one of the party, named William Hislop, on the back, inflicting a severe wound. He was immediately carried home by his companions, and medical attendance procured ; but such was the nature of the injury he had received, that, after lingering in great pain for about thirty-six hours, he expired. The death of this young man, who was only in his 20th year, has spread a gloom over the whole village. He was an only son, and most exemplary for dutiful and affectionate conduct towards his parents. [Scotsman 6 November 1844]

5 February 1868

Accident in A Mine – A singular accident happened on Wednesday last to a lad named William Little, aged 17, employed in one of the mines at Wanlochhead. His duty was to watch the working of the pumping engine in the mine, for which purpose he had to go down the pit; while there early on the morning of Wednesday, feeling very cold, he left his post in order to take a walk to warm himself. At a distance of 50 yards from the engine, there is a “sump” or shaft 68 feet deep, which is descended by ladders. Little proceeded to go down this shaft, and stepping on to the top ladder laid hold of a crank suspended in the shaft for the purpose of drawing up materials from the bottom, when the crank suddenly turned in his hand, causing him to lose his balance, and he fell to the bottom of the shaft. Here he lay for three hours in 18 inches of water unable to raise himself; at length hearing some of the miners passing he cried out and was soon rescued from his unpleasant position. He was in a very exhausted condition, but must have been more frightened than hurt, because strange to say, on being examined by Dr Menzies, no bruises were found on his person, and the only serious injury he seems to have received was a fracture of the right ancle. He is progressing favourably. [Herald 12 February 1868]

25 May 1892

Leadhills – Miner Buried Alive At Leadhills – On Wednesday James Tennant, Flaxholm, Leadhills, was buried alive in Potato Lead Mine, Leadhills. The “happer” through which rubbish is put became choked, and while Tennant was on top of the heap the happer suddenly opened, carrying him through among the rubbish, and another fall of rubbish taking place he was buried alive. Every effort was made to rescue the unfortunate man, but when he was taken out Dr Barrons found life extinct. [Hamilton Advertiser 28 May 1892]

13 August 1925

Leadhills – Fatal Accident – On Thursday morning, 13th inst., while George Dalling leadminer, son of Mr Wm Dalling, Mossbank, was engaged at his usual work in the Wanlockhead lead mines, a violent explosion rendered him unconscious, when he was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Shortly after admission he expired, never regaining consciousness. His remains, which were interred in Leadhills Churchyard on Sabbath afternoon, were followed by the largest crowd of mourners ever witnessed in the village. Much sympathy is felt for his widow and children, as well as for his father and mother. [Hamilton Advertiser 22 August 1925]

27 August 1926

Wanlockhead Lead Miner Killed – A distressing fatality occurred late on Friday night in the Wanlockhead lead mine, when Hugh Nicol (50), was crushed by a descending cage. He was engaged at repair work at the pit bottom when he was struck by the cage and killed instantaneously. [Scotsman 30 August 1926]