Blantyre Area Accidents 1881 - 1914

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

15 July 1881

Blantyre – Fatal Pit Accident- James Beecroft, roadsman, Auchinraith, Blantyre, has been killed in No. 1 ell coal seam pit, Auchinraith Colliery, belonging to Messrs Merry & Cuninghame, while fixing a shot. He was acting as fireman during the temporary absence of the regular fireman. [Scotsman 18th July 1881]

11 October 1882

On Saturday, in the Hamilton Sheriff Court—before Sheriff Birnie—Henry Rowan, colliery manager, Craighead Colliery, Blantyre, belonging to Messrs William Baird & Co., was charged with contravening the Coal Mines Regulation Act by having, on 11th October last, failed to see that a proper amount of ventilation to dilute and render harmless the noxious gases was produced in the ell coal seam, and in particular where Alexander Dobbins, miner, now deceased, was employed. Having pleaded not guilty, the case was adjourned for proof. A similar course was followed as regards a like charge against Wm. Young, the oversman of the pit, after an objection to the relevancy stated on behalf of accused by Mr W. T. Hay had been repelled. [Scotsman 15 January 1883]

[NB Alexander Dobbins died of burns in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Oct 13 1882]

5 January 1883

Hamilton – Two Men Killed In A Mine - Two men - James Donnelly, foreman, Craighead Rows, Blantyre, and James M'Dougall, brusher, Silverwells, Bothwell, have been killed in Messrs Wm. Baird & Co.'s No. 2 Pit, Craighead colliery, in the parish of Blantyre. M'Dougall and John Murray, Burnbank, & Hamilton, who worked with the Company as brushers in the soft coal seam of the pit, had occasion to blast piece of the roof at a point about 200 fathoms from the bottom, and they had tor this purpose bored a hole three feet in depth before the New Year holiday. On their starting work on the night shift on Friday evening, Donnelly ordered them to get the hole cleared and a shot “steamed” and he would fire it for them. This having been done, Donnelly was sent for, and everything being apparently ready, he told the men present to get out of the way ,and he would fire the shot. Murray states that he had only gone about thirty yards when he heard the report of the shot, and immediately returned to the place. He found Donnelly exactly below where the shot had been fired, buried up to the breast in the rubbish while M'Dougall was nowhere to be seen. Donnelly, though still alive, made no answer when spoken to. Assistance having been procured, and Donnelly having been rescued, M'Dougall was found also underneath where the shot was fired, covered with stones, and quite dead. Donnelly survived about an hour, dying on the road to the pithead. It was found that besides internal injuries, his left arm was broken, his left leg was fractured in three places, and his right leg in two places, McDougall's skull was knocked in. Death in his case must have been instantaneous. The supposition is that from some powder having been spilt on the match paper the shot had ignited before the unfortunate men had time to get out of the way. Donnelly. who was thirty-three years of age, leaves a widow and four young children. M'Dougall was twenty-seven, and unmarried. [Scotsman 8 January 1883]

7 September 1883

Fatal Pit Accident At Blantyre - On Friday afternoon , as David M'Millan (35), miner, Lyon's Land, Hunthill, Blantyre, was hewing coal in the splint scam of No. 2 pit, Blantyre Colliery, belonging to William Dixon (Limited), and his neighbour was putting up a prop, a fall of coal weighing about a ton came away from the face and knocked him down. He was at once released, and having been conveyed home Dr Grant found him suffering from internal injuries. He died at eight at night, leaving a widow and three of a family. [Scotsman 10 September 1883]

November 1883

A serious accident happened in No. 1 pit, Bothwell Castle Colliery, to Patrick Shirra, thirty-five, miner, Hunthill, High Blantyre. A shot exploded, injuring him severely about the head, face, and breast. He has lost the sight of one eye, and it is feared the other will also go. Dr Milroy dressed his injuries, and had the injured man sent on to the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow. He is not expected to survive. [Scotsman 3 November 1883]

7 December 1883

Blantyre Fatal Accidents – On Friday as William Mackie (14 1/2), pony-driver, was on his way to the face in No. 4 pit, Blantyre Collieries, to tell the men it was "corning" time, he took hold of a loose piece of coal and pulled it out, causing two stones, weighing 2 cwt., to come away from the face. He was knocked down, and falling against a sharp piece of coal on the pavement, it penetrated his skull and killed him instantaneously. On the same day, Neil M'Naught (13) was driving a horse and waggon filled with limestone along the line from Rasphole mine to the Strathaven branch of the Caledonian Railway, when he fell across the rail—it is supposed while unfastening the tail chain—and the waggon passed over him. His right leg was almost severed from his body, and the other was fractured below the ankle. Dr Grant amputated the right leg, and the lad died two hours afterwards. [Scotsman 10 December 1883]

27 & 30 May 1884

Hamilton – Fatal Results of Accidents – Joseph Louden, brusher, and William Jamieson, drawer, have died as the results of accidents on Tuesday – the first by a fall of roof in Blantyre collieries, and the other by being crushed by a runaway hutch at Gateside colliery, Cambuslang. [Scotsman 31 May 1884]

2 February 1885

Fatal Accident In A Blantyre Coal Pit – A fatal accident happened on Monday in No 1 Pit, Blantyre Colliery, to a middle aged miner named Thomas Downie, residing at Dixon's Rows, Stonefield. He was engaged holing, when about 12 cwt of coal fell upon him, killing him instantaneously. [Scotsman 4 February 1885]

21 December 1885

Miner Precipitated Down Shaft - Yesterday as Robert Kilpatrick, 46, miner Stonefield, Blantyre, was being lowered to his work in Bothwell Castle Colliery, belonging to Messrs W Baird & Co, the cage, about 80 yards down, gave a jerk, and he was thrown from it to the bottom of the shaft, a depth of nearly 100 fathoms. The body was found lying cut in two. It is stated that the cause of the jerk was the tow rope slipping on the drum. [Scotsman 22 December 1885]

19 November 1886

Singular Pit Accident At Blantyre - Yesterday morning, a singular accident happened at No. 3 Pit, Blantyre Colliery, to Thomas Morrison (45), hostler, residing at Cemetery Walk, High Blantyre. The engineman on duty about three o'clock, when he let down the underground officials, complained of dizziness, and in lowering Morrison, about half-past four, he felt it coming on again. The cage was about forty fathoms down, and he made to shut off the steam, but fell on the floor before this was fully accomplished. When he recovered, he rushed to the lever to reverse it, when he found the upcoming cage standing at the pit mouth. Morrison was discovered by the fireman in an unconscious state at the bottom of the shaft. [Scotsman 20 November 1886]

8 November 1888

Fatal Pit Accident – On Thursday, John M'Lellan, brakesman was fatally injured at No 2 Pit, Auchinraith Colliery, Blantyre. When about to repair a bolt which had become loose, his arms caught in a pulley, and he was crushed to the ground. He only survived 3 hours. [Scotsman 10 November 1888]

17 May 1890

Mine Accidents – John Stein, contracting brusher, Stonefield Blantyre, while working at Listrick Colliery, a stone weighing several tons fell upon him, killing him instantaneously. William Sinclair, while running a race of sixteen hutches to the pit bottom in Westburn Colliery Cambuslang, was riding on the front of one when several left the rails. In leaping off Sinclair stumbled, and getting jammed between the hutches, received serious injuries, and died shortly afterwards. [Scotsman 20 May 1890]

30 January 1894

Blantyre - Serious Accident - On Tuesday afternoon, while a sinker was ascending from No 3 Pit, Priory Colliery, Blantyre, belonging to Messrs William Baird & Co., the storm being at its worst, and after the sinker had alighted from the bottom of the mine, the force of the wind overbalanced a large plank, 8ft long, 6 in broad, and 2 in thick, which fell down the shaft, a distance of 83 fathoms, striking Alexander Mackay, sinker (42), and residing at Low Blantyre Village, on the head, by which he received a nasty scalp wound and severe shock to the nervous system. Medical aid was immediately summoned, and Dr M'Pherson, Bothwell, soon arrived and had the injured man's wounds dressed. The unfortunate man was placed in the Blantyre Ambulance waggon and conveyed to the Royal Infirmary Glasgow. Little hopes are entertained of his recovery. This is the first accident since the new colliery started. [Hamilton Herald 2 February 1894 ]

5 April 1894

Between 8 and 9 o'clock on Thursday morning Tobias M'Glinchey, 17, waggon shifter, Low Blantyre, was killed at Craighead Colliery. At the time mentioned he was standing against the buffer of a waggon, and was giving his attention to a passing passenger train. He failed in consequence to observe a waggon which was being run from the scree, and before he had time to escape, he was caught between the buffers and so severely crushed that he died in less than an hour afterwards. [Hamilton Advertiser April 7 1894]

26 February 1895

Fatal Colliery Accident at Blantyre - Thomas Beveridge, aged fifty-one, was killed yesterday morning by a fall of coal from the roof while he was employed as a brusher in the soft coal seam in Messrs Dixon & Co.'s No. 1 colliery there. [Scotsman 28 February 1895]

August 1895

The Blantyre Colliery Accident - The seven men injured in the gangway accident which took place at Messrs Dixon & Co.'s No. 4 Blantyre colliery last Thursday night continue to make progress towards recovery, with the exception of Alexander Struthers, High Blantyre, and M'Neil, Dixon's Rows, Stonefield, both of whom seem to have sustained serious internal injuries. It is alleged that the gangway, which was this only communication between the pithead and the colliery gate, and across which the men had to walk both to and from their work, was not only thought unsafe, but as far back as two years ago was condemned by the pit-headman. [Scotsman 13 August 1895]

22 October 1895

Pit Sinking Accident At Blantyre - Two Men Killed - Late on Tuesday night the Priory Pits, in process of sinking near Blantyre Station, were the scene of a second pit-sinking accident. The sinkers had gone on to the night shift, and had sent the kettle up with a load of blunt graith. This the engineman was raising to the surface when a sudden grip was felt, and on the bow appearing at the surface it was discovered that the kettle, from some unknown cause, had got detached from the bow. The supposition is that some of the longest drills that were being sent up for repair had projected over the side of the kettle, and, coming in contact with the woodwork of the shaft, caused the sudden grip, and wrenched the kettle from the bow. A descent was made with all despatch to learn the extent of the accident, and it was found that the kettle and its contents had been precipitated down the shaft a distance of 20 fathoms. There were nine men in all at the bottom, two of whom were killed instantaneously by the falling kettle. Their names are David Lowrie, widower, residing in lodgings in Dixon Street, Blantyre, and John Hall, a stranger, who was only identified by a letter which had come from his wife that day, addressed from Coalburn, New Cumnock. Lowrie's body was removed to his lodging, and that of Hall lies at the mortuary in the hospital at High Blantyre. The names of the other seven men are :- Francis and Thomas Keenan, brothers, Larkfield ; Joseph Parker and Francis Martin, Dixon's Rows; Thomas Bray, Low Blantyre; James Mackay, Half-Way, Cambuslang; and Patrick Burns, Victoria Hall, Uddingston. They were attended by Drs Macpherson and Forbes, Bothwell, who found that their injuries were not of a serious nature. Of the men who were in the first accident, Burns is the only one who was in this second accident, and fortunately has again escaped. [Glasgow Herald 24 October 1895]

13 May 1896

Fatal Colliery Accident – Yesterday afternoon a young man named Andrew Burnett or Johnston, who resided at Calder Street, Blantyre, was accidentally killed while at work in Messrs Dixon & Co's No 2 Blantyre Colliery. Deceased had been working at the face when a wall of stone and coal, over 8 feet in height, fell forward on him, death, of course, being instantaneous. [Scotsman 14 May 1896]

26 August 1897

Fatal Colliery Accident At Blantyre - Early yesterday morning, as a young man named Thomas M'Donald was removing stoops at Messrs Dixon & Co.'s No. 3 Blantyre Collieries, a fall took place from the roof, and he was severely crushed about the head. On being extricated life was extinct. [Scotsman 27 August 1897]

29 September 1897

Fatal Colliery Accidents At Blantyre - Shortly before noon yesterday, while Andrew Miller (21) was at work in the dook section of Dechmont colliery, the chain in connection with a run of hutches gave way, and the hutches left the rails, with the result that Miller's head was jammed between the roof and the props, and when released he was dead. On Monday night there was a fall from the roof in Priory colliery Blantyre and a brusher named James M'Gregor was killed on the spot. [Scotsman 30 September 1897]

Brusher Killed At Blantyre - James M'Gregor, 28 years of age, married, and residing in Fore Row, Low Blantyre, was killed about 11.30 on Tuesday night in No. 3 Pit (the Priory), belonging to Bothwell Castle Colliery. He was engaged brushing in the ell coal seam, when a stone weighing nearly two tons fell upon him, causing instantaneous death. The body was extricated and removed home, where it was examined by Dr Wilson, who certified the spinal cord to be fractured. [Glasgow Herald 30 September 1897]

4 April 1900

Blantyre - Colliery Accident - William Brown (39), residing at 3 Craighead Rows, was injured on Wednesday in the ell coal seam of No 2 Pit, Craighead Colliery. While employed as a miner, he was knocked down by a fall of coal. After being attended at his own home by Dr Macpherson, who found him suffering from internal injuries, he was removed to the infirmary in the ambulance waggon. [Glasgow Herald 6 April 1900]

23 April 1901

Blantyre – Fatal Accident at Craighead Colliery – At midday on Tuesday, a polish miner named John Gegna, 21, residing in Craighead Rows, was killed while at work in the ell coal seam of No 2 Pit, Craighead Colliery, belonging to Messrs Wm Baird & Co. Deceased was engaged as a drawer when he was crushed under a large fall of stones from the roof, death, which was instantaneous, being due to a fracture of the skull and dislocation of the neck. [Hamilton Advertiser 27 April 1901]

24 July 1901

Two Miners Killed at Blantyre —Yesterday morning about seven o'clock a serious winding accident, resulting in the death, of two miners, took place at Auchinraith colliery, Blantyre, belonging to Messrs Merry & Cunninghame. It appears that the cage, containing eight men, was descending the shaft when it slipped out of one of the slides and tilted over. As a result one man, James M'Gurk, bottomer, residing at Merry's Rows, was immediately jerked out, and falling to the bottom was instantaneously killed. A miner named Henry Tennant, M'Alpine's Buildings, Blantyre, was also thrown over the side, where he was caught by a lad inside named Shields, but, after holding him for a considerable time, the latter's fingers became powerless, and Tennant fell to the bottom and was killed also. The other six men were imprisoned for about two hours, the colliery officials meantime making strenuous efforts to secure their release. These were at last successful, and the men, though considerably shaken, were brought in safety to the surface. The occurrence created a painful sensation in the village and surrounding district. [Scotsman 25 June 1901]

11 March 1902

Blantyre – Colliery Accident – On Tuesday morning, an accident occurred in No 2 Pit, Craighead Colliery, which belongs to Messrs William Baird & Sons. A Russian Pole named Joseph Armis (49) who resides in Craighead Rows, was at work in the Pyotshaw seam when a large piece of coal came away on him from the roof, breaking his leg below the knee. After being medically attended, he was removed to the Royal Infirmary in the Blantyre waggon. [Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser 15 March 1902]

4 June 1903

Blantyre - Fatal Accident - Yesterday forenoon an engineer named Edward Love, 45, residing at Joannas Terrace Blantyre, was killed at the Priory Colliery, which belongs to Messrs Wm Baird & Co. Love was in a waggon when it was being run below the travelling tables, when his head got caught between the end of the waggon and the bottom of the tables, which tore away the top part of his head. Death was instantaneous. Deceased who was a widower leaves two children. [Herald June 5 1903]

28 December 1906

Fatal Colliery Accident At Blantyre - Early yesterday morning a fatal accident occurred in No. 1 Blantyre Colliery, belonging to William Dixon & Co., Limited, the victim being a man named Bernard Milligan (25), unmarried, residing in lodgings at Dixon's Rows, Blantyre. Deceased had been working at the brushing when a large stone came away on him from the roof, and when extricated life was extinct. [Dundee Courier 29 December 1906]

20 February 1911

Oversman's Death At Blantyre - Yesterday forenoon , John Muir, Muirside Cottage, Craig Street, Blantyre, was killed in Craighead colliery; where he was employed as oversman. He was being lowered in the cage from one seam to another, when through some as yet unexplained cause he was precipitated to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of about 100 feet. Death was instantaneous. Following upon the accident, the colliery was laid idle for the day. Deceased was largely identified with the affairs of the parish. He was a member of Blantyre School Board up till a few years ago , and his nomination papers had been taken out in connection with the approaching triennial election of a School Board. He was president of Blantyre Ornithological Society, and was a well-known exhibitor at poultry shows throughout the country. He was also a past president of Blantyre Bowling Club, and in the co-operative movement he took an active part. He leaves a widow and family. [Scotsman 21 February 1911]