Ayrshire Accidents 1871-1900

This section contains newspaper reports on selected accidents in Ayrshire between 1871 and 1900 inclusive. Please check the indexes in the Accidents Section for reports by the Inspector of Mines and accidents in other areas.

2 February 1871

Kilmarnock – Fatal Colliery Accident - On Thursday evening, while a miner named William Connor, residing in Robertson Place, Kilmarnock, and employed in the Grange colliery, was being taken to the surface along with two other miners, the cage gave a violent jerk, in consequence of which he lost his balance and fell down the shaft, a distance of more than 100 fathoms The body of the unfortunate man was literally dashed to pieces . He was twenty-one years of age, and was married only two or three months ago. [Scotsman 4 February 1871]

5 July 1871

Fatal Coal Pit Accident – A man named M'Crorie has been killed in No 6 Pit, Annbank Colliery, near Ayr, by a large stone falling upon him from the roof. He leaves a widow and four young children. [Scotsman 10 July 1871]

28 July 1871

Cumnock – Pit Boiler Explosion - An alarming boiler explosion occurred on Friday at Shankston Pit, Cumnock, belonging to the Eglinton Iron Company. Both ends of the boiler were blown a distance of a hundred yards; other three boilers were destroyed, and bricks, stones and pipes were projected in all directions. One of the workmen, Alexander Smith, sustained severe injuries, one of his arms being broken, and his breast and leg crushed by a flying brick. - Glasgow Herald [Scotsman 31 July 1871]

29 April 1872

Fatal Pit Accident. - Yesterday, a lad named John Tyre, 16 years of age, residing in Sandbed Street, was accidentally killed in No. 7 pit of Hillhead Colliery, in this neighbourhood. While he and his brother William, between 17 and 18 years of age, were engaged in one of the workings, a large stone unexpectedly gave way and fell upon them from the roof. William, who was simply grazed by the falling mass, escaped with but trifling injury. His brother, however, was buried beneath it, and so severely crushed about the breast that he died a few minutes after being extricated. No blame, we believe, is attachable to any one on account of' the melancholy occurrence. [Glasgow Herald 30 April 1872]

31 December 1872

Kilmarnock - Dead Body Found- Since about a fortnight ago, a pitheadman named Peter M'Culloch, residing in Glencairn Square, Kilmarnock, has been amissing, and a search which was made for him proved unsuccessful. On the afternoon of Tuesday, however, his remains were discovered in a shockingly mangled condition at the bottom of No. 7 pit of Barleith & Dollar's colliery, where he had been employed. This is an old pit, now only used as the air shaft in connection with another mine, and it being evident that there was some obstruction in the passage, an examination was made with the above result. The deceased, who was upwards of 50 years of age, had been suffering for some time from mental derangement. [Scotsman 2 January 1873]

20 February 1873

Kilmarnock – Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday, a drawer named Wm. Tympany - an unmarried man of middle age, residing at Crosshouse - was accidentally killed at Hayside Colliery, Kilmarnock, The deceased, while engaged drawing coals in the main seam of the pit, pushed a hutch into the open shaft instead of on to the cage, which had not yet descended to receive it, the consequence being that the unfortunate man was precipitated with the hutch to the lower or "splint" seam, a distance of nine fathoms and sustained a fracture of the skull. [Scotsman 21 February 1873]

26 July 1873

Henry M'Guiness, a miner, has been killed by the fall of a large stone in No. 6 pit, Thornton, near Kilmarnock. [Scotsman 28 July 1873]

2 September 1873

A fatal coal-pit accident took place at Cumnock this afternoon. A man named Smith was standing on a scaffold in a pit belonging to the Eglinton Iron Company, repairing a joint in the shaft, when a rod fell from the mouth of the pit, striking him on the head and killing him instantaneously. [Aberdeen Journal 3 September 1873]

12 September 1874

A fatal accident has occurred at the Shankstone Pit, near Old Cumnock, belonging to the Eglinton Iron Company. When a party of men were repairing the engine, the props by which it was supported gave way, and the mass of machinery fell, killing one man and seriously injuring three others. [Hamilton Advertiser 19 September 1874]

25 February 1875

Colliery Accident at Patna, Ayrshire - Three Men Killed - A melancholy pit accident occurred on Thursday afternoon at Dalharco Pit, Patna, about nine miles from Ayr, belonging to the Dalmellington Iron Company, by which three men lost their lives and a fourth is so severely injured that fears are entertained regarding his recovery. In connection with Dalharco pit there is an old working which has not been wrought for about eleven years past, and ever since that time appearances of fire have now and again exhibited themselves in the working. About two months ago the proprietors, seeing that the fire was gaining ground, sent a number of their workmen to explore the old working and, if possible, to extinguish the fire, and in this work rapid progress was being made- On Thursday four men were engaged on the first shift at this work —viz., James M'Culloch and Daniel Stevensen, oversmen, and William Bell and Francis Cunningham, miners. Shortly after one o'clock in the forenoon, from some unexplained cause, a fall took place from the roof of the working, completely demolishing the bratticing, putting off the above named four men from their connection with the current of air and locking them up in a space of only a few feet. Nothing was known of this occurrence till about an hour afterwards, when other three men arrived in the pit for the purpose of working on the second shift. After they had descended the shaft and gone some 500 or 600 yards from the face of it, they heard cries for help, and immediately ran to assist. The cries had proceeded from the oversman, M'CuIloch, who was now the only survivor of the catastrophe. When taken up he was much exhausted. On clearing away the rubbish the dead bodies of the other three men were found. The oversman , David Stevenson, and Francis Cunningham were lying locked in each other's arm, and the body of Bell was lying close beside them. All the bodies were such scorched. No time was lost in getting the survivor, M'Culloch, conveyed home, where he was able to relate what he knew of the occurrence. He states that after the bratticing fell, cutting off their communication with the air, he made two attempts to get relief, and at last discovered a hole through which he could with difficulty get his head. He likewise states that he saw Bell and Cunningham make two ineffectual attempts to escape also. About as o'clock the three dead bodies were removed to their homes. David Stevenson, who resided near Dalharco pit, was about 33 years of ace, and leaves a widow and five young children; William Bell resided at Kerse Row, was about 37 years of age, and leaves a widow and three children ; and Francis Cunningham resided at Waterside, was about 20 years of age, and unmarried [Scotsman 27 February 1875]

Melancholy Pit Accident Near Dalmellington – Three Men Killed - On Thursday afternoon a colliery accident took place at one of the Dalmellington Iron Company’s coal pits situated between Patna and Waterside, causing the dearth of three men and serious injury to a fourth. The pit in which the accident occurred is named the Dalharco Pit, in connection with which there is an old working where fire has been smouIdering for some time past. The company have of late been taking means to extinguish the fire, and had a number of men employed doing so. On Thursday there were four men engaged in that work, and while they were so engaged there was a fall of stones from the roof, which destroyed the bratticing, and completely hemmed the men into a space of about two yards. They were thus also cut off from the air shaft. One of the men, named James M’Culloch, in his attempts to obtain relief, managed to get his head through a hole, and remained in this condition for about an hour, when three men came to work on the second shift, who relieved him from his perilous position greatly exhausted. Having cleared away the fallen rubbish, the men next came upon the dead bodies of the other three, who were named David Stevenson, William Bell, and Francis Cunningham. The dead bodies were soon after ware removed to their homes. Stevenson and Bell were between thirty and forty years of age - the former having left a wife and five children. Cunningham was a younger man, and unmarried. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 2 March 1875Melancholy Pit Accident Near Dalmellington – Three Men Killed - On Thursday afternoon a colliery accident took place at one of the Dalmellington Iron Company’s coal pits situated between Patna and Waterside, causing the dearth of three men and serious injury to a fourth. The pit in which the accident occurred is named the Dalharco Pit, in connection with which there is an old working where fire has been smouIdering for some time past. The company have of late been taking means to extinguish the fire, and had a number of men employed doing so. On Thursday there were four men engaged in that work, and while they were so engaged there was a fall of stones from the roof, which destroyed the bratticing, and completely hemmed the men into a space of about two yards. They were thus also cut off from the air shaft. One of the men, named James M’Culloch, in his attempts to obtain relief, managed to get his head through a hole, and remained in this condition for about an hour, when three men came to work on the second shift, who relieved him from his perilous position greatly exhausted. Having cleared away the fallen rubbish, the men next came upon the dead bodies of the other three, who were named David Stevenson, William Bell, and Francis Cunningham. The dead bodies were soon after ware removed to their homes. Stevenson and Bell were between thirty and forty years of age - the former having left a wife and five children. Cunningham was a younger man, and unmarried. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 2 March 1875

24 March 1875

Kilmarnock - Pit Accident - Yesterday afternoon, a miner named Wm. Carlin, residing in Low Glencairn Street, was severely injured in Grange Colliery while engaged blasting some whinstone. His left arm was much shattered and his face also considerably bruised. The sufferer was removed to the Infirmary. He is 46 years of age, and married. [Glasgow Herald 25 March 1875]

14 May 1875

Yesterday afternoon, a miner named Wm. Phillips, was killed at Pitcon Pit, Dalry, the property of the Eglinton Iron Company. While engaged at his work in the mine, a fall from the roof took place, and crushed him to death almost instantaneously. It appears that blasting operations had been going on shortly before the accident. Phillips, who was well advanced in years, resided at Pitcon Square. [Glasgow Herald 15 May 1875]

7 June 1875

One Man Killed and Another Severely Injured Near Ayr - On Monday, while a miner, named William Kerr, was working in No. 1 Gadgirth Pit, Annbank Colliery, near Ayr, he met with an accident which has proved fatal He had been making a wedge-hole in the "bottom coal" when a mass of the "head coal," about a ton in weight, fell on him, crushing him under it. He was taken home, where he expired a few hours afterwards. Deceased was upwards of 50 years of age, and has left a widow and 10 children. - About two hours afterwards another serious accident occurred in the same pit in a similar manner. A young man, named David M'Crorie, while engaged at work, was crushed beneath a portion of the "head coal" which fell from the roof. He sustained severe internal and other injuries; and it was afterwards found necessary to amputate his left arm. His injuries are so severe that he is not expected to recover. [Glasgow Herald 9 June 1875]

18 October 1875

Kilmarnock - Fatal Pit Accident - A miner named Wm. Wason was accidentally killed in the Wellington Pit, in this neighbourhood, on Monday. He had been holing in one of the workings when a large mass of coal suddenly gave way, crushing him beneath it. Death was instantaneous. Wason was 45 years of age, and has left a wife and three children, residing in Robertson Place. [Glasgow Herald 20 October 1875]

16 December 1878

A fatal colliery accident occurred on Monday night at No 1 pit, Bellfield Colliery, in the vicinity of Kilmarnock, whereby the pit head man, James McMall and his son aged 10 were killed. McMall in pursuance of his duty went down the pit in order to feed the horses, and was accompanied by his son. After attending to the horses in the main seam, he gave the signal for the cage to be drawn up to the pit head. The cage was accordingly set in motion, and all went well, for about 15 minutes, till an obstruction was encountered and the cage stuck fast in the shaft. McMall thereupon signalled to the engineman to lower the cage, and the engine was reversed, but the cage still remained fast till the wire rope had coiled upon it with a weight of about 30cwt, when it suddenly gave way and, snapping the rope, fell to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of about 50 fathoms. The accident proved fatal to both the occupants of the cage, their bodies being greatly mutilated [The Times 18 December 1878]

27 December 1875

Dalry - Pit Accident - Yesterday a miner named Robert Smith sustained a serious accident while engaged working at the face in the Bleeze coal pit. A large stone had got dislodged in the roof and fell upon him burying him underneath it. The poor fellow lay for over two hours before he was noticed and when relieved he was very much exhausted. Medical aid was at once procured and on examination his injuries were found to be of a dangerous nature, his legs being especially very badly crushed. He also complained of internal pain. Smith is unmarried, and resided with his grandmother, Mrs Stevenson, North Street. [Glasgow Herald 28 December 1875]

16 January 1879

Kilbirnie – Fatal Accident – Yesterday a miner named Michael Duffie. While at work in No 5 Gardnock pit, Kilbirnie, belonging to Messrs Merry & Cuninghame, was killed by a mass of ironstone and rubbish falling upon him. Half an hour elapsed before his body was extricated. He leaves a widow and 5 children. [Scotsman 17 January 1879]

3 July 1879

Dalry – Fatal Pit Accident – Yesterday morning, a miner named David Gemmell, employed at No 4 Blair ironstone pit, Dalry, Ayrshire, belonging to Messrs Wm. Baird & Co., was instantaneously killed by a fall of stone from the roof. The deceased was about 60 years of age, and resided at Peesweep Row, Dalry. [Scotsman 4 July 1879]

7 July 1879

Kilmarnock – Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday morning a miner named James Fulton, eighteen years of age, who resided with his grandfather at Hurlford, was killed by a fall of stone from the roof while at work in the Wellington pit, Portland Colliery. [Scotsman 8 July 1879]

5 August 1879

Fatal Boiler Explosion at Kilmarnock - On Wednesday evening the boiler of the Baltic coalpit, belonging to Mr John Howie, coalmaster, Hurlford, exploded. The end was carried to a distance of more than 20 yards, while the boiler itself was carried a distance of 150 yards in the opposite direction. The fireman Adam Spence Houston was so severely injured by the water, steam, and debris that he died a few hours after. A watchman and his son sitting beside the place escaped with some slight bruises. The engine houses were made a total wreck. The cause of the explosion is not yet known. Houston is married, and leaves a wife and one child. [Hamilton Advertiser August 9 1879]

17 October 1879

Stevenston – Two Lives Lost – Yesterday morning Robert Macdonald, fireman, and Francis O'Brien, brusher, were accidentally killed in Lucknow Pit, by being buried under a portion of the roof which gave way. [Scotsman 18 October 1879]

2 May 1881

Kilmarnock - Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday morning Joseph McKillop, a miner, aged 33 years, unmarried, and residing with a sister at Hurlford, was accidentally killed by a fall of coal from the roof of No. 18 Pit of Skerrington Colliery. [Scotsman 3 May 1881]

27 May 1882

Dalry – Miner Killed – On Saturday a young man named Thomas Gaw, 18, while engaged filling a hutch in No 4 Blair Pit, the property of the Messrs Baird, was killed by a fall from the roof. [Scotsman 30 May 1882]

26 August 1882

Kilmarnock Pit Accident - On Saturday Peter Burt, a miner, residing in High Street, was severely injured by a fall of coal from the roof while at work in No. 12 pit of Hillhead Colliery. [Scotsman 28th August 1882]

18 January 1883

Accidents - Fatal Result - On Thursday evening John Watson, a pithead labourer, employed at Hillhead Colliery, died from the effects of an accident which befel him that afternoon. It appears that he was spragging a waggon containing six tons of coals as it was coming down a small incline, when he missed his footing, fell before it, and the wheels passed over him, severely crushing his left thigh and otherwise injuring him internally. He was conveyed to the Infirmary, but nothing could be done to avert the fatal result. The deceased was 18 years of age, unmarried, and had for for some time been staying with a brother in Dunlop Street. His mother resides in High Street. [The Ayr Advertiser 25 January 1883]

22 February 1883

Fatal Accident - On Friday, while an old man named George Moon, 61 years, was holeing at the face of No 14 Ironstone Pit Common, of the Eglinton Iron Company, the joint of stone fell on him, fracturing his skull and killing him instantly. Deceased was one of the first workmen employed as a miner when the works were opened 40 years ago, and he had continued to work ever since. [The Ayr Advertiser 1 March 1883]

25 March 1883

Dalry - Fatal Accident - On Thursday afternoon Patrick Smith, miner, while at work in No 4 Ironstone Pit, the property of the Eglinton Iron Coy., was struck by a fall of stone from the roof, and very severely crushed about the head and body. He was removed home, and medical attention called in, but the poor man, after suffering a great deal, died on Sunday morning. [The Ayr Advertiser 29 March 1883]

6 April 1883

Cumnock - Fatal Accident - On Friday a lad named Barbour, aged 14 years, was killed in No. 6 Braehead Pit, belonging to the Eglinton Iron Company, by falling down from the high doors in the pit to the bottom of the shaft. He was got up to the engine-house alive, but shortly afterwards expired. He resided with his parents in Sack Row, Common. [The Ayr Advertiser 12 April 1883]

17 May 1883

Fatal Pit Accident - On Thursday night, shortly before midnight, a lamentable accident occurred in the Nursery Pit, near London Road, at present being sunk for Mr Allan Gilmour. The pit had been sunk to the depth of 48 fathoms, and three men named John Dudgeon, John Lindsay, and Richard Dunston were engaged on the night shift blasting a seam of whinstone. They made three holes which they filled with dynamite, and each applied his lamp to a fusee, but unfortunately the whole of the three lamps were blown out by the ignited powder, and the men having no means of relighting them were left in darkness. They then entered the kettle in order to proceed to the surface, and cried to the engineman to take them up cautiously, as, in the absence of light, a wooden division which extended down the shaft to a distance of eight fathoms from the bottom was a source of danger to the occupants of the unsteady kettle. Care appears to have been taken, but as ill-luck would have it, Dudgeon came in contact with the partition, and being precipitated to the foot of the shaft was instantaneously killed. He was 47 years of age, and resided at 12 Soulis Street, where he has left a widow and six children. [The Ayr Advertiser 24 May 1883]

11 June 1883

Pit Accident - On Thursday afternoon, Daniel M'Gill, collier, Galston, 22 years of age, unmarried, and the only support of his mother, was severely injured in No. 4 pit, occupied by Messrs Howie. He was engaged at work when a fall of coal and clay from the roof fell on him. He had his back broken and besides sustained a comnimulated fracture of the right thigh. He was conveyed to the Infirmary here, where he lies in rather a critical state. [The Ayr Advertiser 19 April 1883]
Daniel McGill was injured on 12th April and died 11th June 1883 of a fractured spine

16 June 1883

Irvine – Two Miners Killed – Two miners named John Ramsay, aged 36, and John Heron, 22, were killed on Saturday morning at Caprington pit, Irvine, belonging to Bourtreehill Coal and Fire-clay Company. They were engaged in making communication through twelve feet of solid coal, when a quantity of rubbish came away without warning, and buried both men. The bodies have not yet been recovered. [Scotsman 18 June 1883]

19 July 1883

Kilwinning - Serious Pit Accident - On Thursday morning, a serious pit accident occurred at Redburn Pit, in the pariah of Kilwinning, when a lad named James Shearer 17 or 18 years of age, was very seriously injured. It seems that Shearer had been riding on a pony drawing hutches, when he accidentally fell off and was run over by several of the hutches. [The Ayr Advertiser 26 July 1883]

24 July 1883

Galston - Fatal Accident - At No. 1 Pit of the Gauchalland Coal Coy. on Tuesday a sad accident happened, whereby Alexander Murdoch, a miner, lost his life. He had been working at a "blind" shank where the full hutches are lowered to the main seam and afterwards drawn to the surface by the main shank. It seems Murdoch had thought the cage was at the mouth, and stepping into the darkness, disappeared down the shank, a depth of 15 fathoms, and was killed instantaneously. Deceased was a young man, and was married only a few weeks ago. [The Ayr Advertiser 26 July 1883]

28 November 1883

Cumnock - Pit Accident - Early on Wednesday morning John Burns, a brusher, employed on the night-shift in Knockterra coal pit, belonging to the Eglinton Iron Coy., was killed by a stone falling upon him from the roof. Deceased had just been preparing to leave when the accident happened. He leaves a widow and four children, who reside in Tanyard. [The Ayr Advertiser 29 November 1883]

1 December 1883

Kilmarnock - Fatal Pit Accident - On Friday afternoon a miner, named James Wright, 17 years of age, son of and residing with William John Wright, miner, at Crookedholm, was fatally injured. He was at work in one of the pits of Skerrington Colliery when a quantity of coal fell upon him from the roof, and he was so severely injured in the head and shoulders that he died a few hours after the accident, never having recovered consciousness. [The Ayr Advertiser 6 December 1883]

12 December 1883

Kilmarnock - Man Killed At Hurlford - In the Kilmarnock district the storm was felt to an almost unprecedented extent, and in town more damage has been done to property than by any previous hurricane of recent years, the reason of this probably being the north-west direction and peculiarly eddying character of the gusts. Many trees have been uprooted, palings have everywhere been torn down, and the roofs of several houses have been seriously damaged. No accident resulting in personal injury has been reported in town, but a melancholy fatality has occurred at Hurlford, the unfortunate victim being William Ross, engineman at No. 6 pit, Portland Colliery. He was last seen alive at one o'clock, when a cage with men was drawn from the pit, and he was then left on duty at the engine-house. About five o'clock, on the firemen proceeding to their work at the pit, they found the engine-house a mass of ruins, two chimney stalks adjacent to it having been blown down and crashed through the roof. On a portion of the debris being cleared away the remains of Ross were found in a shockingly mangled condition. Deceased was 25 years of age, and has left a widow and three children, who reside in Academy Street, Hurlford. [The Ayr Advertiser 13 December 1883]

27 May 1884

Fatal Colliery Accident – An accident whereby a miner named Isaac M'Lachlan lost his life occurred at Pennievennie Pit, near Dalmellington, on Wednesday night. It seems that M'Lachlan had been working at the roof of the pit, and had accidentally stumbled off the scaffolding; but as no person was near him at the time, it is not known exactly how the accident occurred. He belonged to Dalmellington. [Edinburgh Courant 30 May 1884]

31 October 1884

Fatal Pit Accident near Kilmarnock - On Friday John Scott, miner (21)), who resided with his parents at Grougar Row, was instantaneously killed by a fall of coal and stone in No. 1 Grougar Pit. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 6 November 1884]

13 November 1884

Cumnock Serious Accident - Yesterday afternoon, a lad named Steele, belonging to Auchinleck, and employed at the Ballochmyle Colliery, was run over by two 6-ton wagons filled with coal, and his legs were shockingly crushed. He was removed to Lady Bute's Hospital, where both legs were amputated at the knee joints. [Scotsman 14 Nov 1884]

13 November 1884

Fatal Pit Accident near Kilmarnock. — Charles Weir, miner, West Shaw Street, was accidentally killed in the Grange Colliery Pit, by a fall from the roof while at work on Thursday. Death was instantaneous, about five tons of material! Falling on him and breaking his spine. The deceased was 28 years of age, married, and leaves a widow and two children. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 17 November 1884]

21 February 1885

Fatal Pit Accident At Galston - On Saturday at No. 4 pit of the Gauchalland Coal Company, Galston, a lad 12 years of age, son of Charles Gallacher, residing in Old Manse Close, Galston, was instantaneously killed. The lad was working at the hutches underground, when a hutch ran away through the breaking, and deceased was pinned between the runaway hutch and a stoop, his face and neck were terribly bruised. [Aberdeen Journal 23 February 1885]

13 May 1885

Fatal Fall Down A Pit Shaft -About eleven o'clock on Wednesday night , a man was found dead at the bottom of the shaft in No. 5 pit, Auchenharvie colliery, Saltcoats, He was not one of the colliery hands. His name is supposed to be John Sutherland, a native of Coatbridge. The man was been some hours earlier making inquiry about an acquaintance who worked in the pit. [Scotsman 15 May 1885]

11 February 1887

Beith - Sad Death of a Miner - On Friday forenoon, a sad accident occurred in Barmill Pit, the property of the Barmill Coal Company, whereby an employee named Alexander Colquhoun was instantaneously killed. Colquhoun, along with several others, had been engaged undermining or "pooling" the seam of coal, when a fall unexpectedly took place, and a large stone, weighing upwards of a ton, fell upon Colquhoun's head. With the assistance of pinches his companions extricated the poor fellow, but his head was so terribly crushed that there was not the slightest sign of life left. One of Colquhoun's sons was a witness of the shocking accident. He resided in Main Street, Beith, was about forty years of age, and leaves a widow and nine or ten of a family wholly unprovided for. [The Ayr Advertiser 17 February 1887]

5 March 1887

Galston - Fatal Pit Accident - On Saturday forenoon a fatal pit accident occurred in No. 4 Gauchalland Pit. A bottomer named Henderson, who was engaged at what in mining language is known as "a blind shank," was found crushed to death beside the drum. It is supposed he had been in the act of assisting the motor power, and had been fatally caught when no one was near to help. He leaves a widow and young family. [The Ayr Advertiser 10 March 1887]

26 June 1887

Stevenston - Man Drowned - On Sunday night Wm. Baird, watchman at No. 5 Pit, Auchenharvie Colliery, was drowned in an open drain which leads the water from the above pit to Stevenston Burn. Shortly before 9 p.m. Baird was observed by some young men to be replacing turf which had given way in the side of the drain. Twenty minutes later he was found at the same place, with his face down in the drain, in ten inches of water. He was subject to epileptic fits, and it is believed he had taken one and fallen into the drain. He was dead before he was taken out of the water. Deceased was unmarried, and resided at Schoolwell Street. [The Ayr Advertiser 30 June 1887]

28 June 1887

Catrine - Fatal Accident - Mr John Roonie, residing at Ayr Street, Catrine, met with an accident on Tuesday which has proved fatal in its consequences. Deceased was engaged trimming waggons at Gilmilnscroft Colliery and accidentally fell upon the top of one of them. After being brought home, Dr D. Sloan, who was in attendance, found that he was suffering from concussion of the brain, to which he succumbed on Wednesday morning. He was 67 years of age, was a man of sober and industrious habits, and leaves two of a family, who are grown up. [The Ayr Advertiser 30 June 1887]

10 September 1887

Fatal Pit Accident - On Saturday morning a miner named Andrew Main, residing in Academy Street, Riccarton, was accidentally killed by a fall of stone from the roof of No. 8 Portland Pit, Hurlford, belonging to the Eglinton Iron Company. Death appears to have been instantaneous, the pick with which the unfortunate man was working having been driven into his head. A miner named Andrew Hope received some injury from another fall of stone while he was engaged extricating the body of the deceased. Main, who was 46 years of age, leaves a widow and three children, who are inmates of the Industrial School. [The Ayr Advertiser 15 September 1887]

22 December 1887

Dalry - Fatal Result of an Accident - The man Hugh Callaghan who was so seriously crushed between some waggons at the Carsehead pit on Wednesday last, died the day following from the result of his injuries. He was buried on Saturday, the funeral being attended by the Orangemen of the district in their regalia. [The Ayr Advertiser 29 December 1887]

21 February 1888

Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday morning Robert Currie, collier, Hurlford, was accidentally killed in the comet pit, Skerrington colliery. He was working in the mid coal and had gone on the cage, when from some cause it stuck in the shaft. The engineman, not knowing it had stuck; continued to let the rope go on. The weight of the rope on the cage is thought to have precipitated it at a run to the bottom of the shaft, a depth of about 10 fathoms. Currie was instantaneously killed. The deceased was twenty years of age and engaged to be married in about a month. [Scotsman 22 February 1888]

11 April 1888

Yesterday, in the Bellfield colliery, Kilmarnock a contractor named Hutton who was making a road in the pit, was so severely crushed by a fall from the roof that he lived only a few minutes. [Scotsman 12 April 1888]

16 & 18 June 1888

Fatal Pit Accident - On Monday afternoon Thomas Woods, collier, 27 years of age, residing at Crookedholm, was accidentally killed in No. 18 pit, Skerrington colliery, Hurlford. He was working at the major seam, and had brought a hutch to the shaft to place on the cage to be taken up. Unfortunately the cage was not there, which he did not observe, and he was precipitated with the hutch to the bottom, a depth of twenty fathoms. M'Cormick, the survivor of the two men who met with an accident at the same colliery on Saturday, is not expected to recover. [Scotsman 20 June 1888]

Fatal Result of an Accident - Yesterday William M'Cormick, miner, Galston Road, Hurlford, died in the Infirmary from the effects of the accident that befell him in the Conut pit, Skerrington colliery, Hurlford, last Saturday. [Scotsman 21 June 1888]

16 August 1888

Fatal Mining Accident - Yesterday morning, as a collier named John M'Cormick was at work in the Eglinton Iron Company's pit at Glengyron driving an air-course, a fall from the roof came down upon him, killing him instantly. He leaves a widow and seven young children. [Scotsman 17 August 1888]

20 January 1890

Dreghorn - Fatal Coal Pit Accident - On Monday a man named Currie, while at work in the coal pits at Plann, lost his life by a fall of material from the roof. [Glasgow Herald 23 January 1890]

18 April 1894

Kilmarnock - Fatal Result of an Accident - Yesterday morning, John Higgins, miner, Union Street, died in the Infirmary from the effects of a severe burning he sustained in the Nursery Pit last week by an explosion of fire-damp. [Glasgow Herald 27 April 1894]

On Wednesday week an explosion of fire-damp occurred in the Nursery Pit, by which John Higgins, Union Street, and a lad named Campbell, who resides in New Street, were severely burnt on the face, arms and chest. The pit had only been re-opened that day, after having been closed for some time on account of an overflow of water in the Wellington Pit. The injured persons were removed in a cab to their respective homes, where they were attended by Drs Donald, Macleod, Rankin and Laurie, who, after consultation, ordered their removal to the Infirmary. We are glad to learn that the injured men are progressing favourably. [The Ayr Advertiser 26 April 1894]

Fatal Result of an Accident - James Higgins, miner, who was severely burned by an explosion of fire-damp in the Nursery Pit a fortnight ago, died in the Infirmary last Wednesday night from the effects of his injuries. The unfortunate man, who was 34 years of age, leaves a widow and young family. He was a brother of the famous professional football player, and a very respectable man, having for a time taken a good deal of interest in the work of the local corps of the Salvation Army. We are informed that deceased would have escaped uninjured from the explosion had it not been for the gallant effort he made to save the lad Campbell, who was working with him, and who was also severely burned. [The Ayr Advertiser 3 May 1894]

19 October 1894

Miner Killed At Galston - George Robertson, Broweland Street, Galston, a married man, was killed yesterday afternoon in the Maxwood Colliery by a stone from the root falling upon him. [Scotsman 20 October 1894]

25 March 1895

Fatal Pit Accident - John M'Ghee, a pit bottomer, was accidentally killed yesterday by a cage coming down upon him while at work in Windyedge Pit, Caprington Colliery, Kilmarnock. He was about thirty-five years of age, and has left a widow, and three children. [Scotsman 26 March 1895]

9 September 1895

Pit Explosion At Dreghorn - Yesterday morning as the men employed in the Churrlands pit, Dreghorn, belonging to the Bourtreehill Coal and Fire-clay Company, were about to start work an explosion occurred by which four men, whose names are Charles Durnie fireman; John Strachan, miner; Hugh Parker, miner; and Adam Lorryman, miner, were severely burned. The fireman was making his usual inspection before the men commenced work for the day, and, it would appear, was closely followed by a, number of the men. The party, it seems, was proceeding along the main road, and in passing an old disused part of the workings, which opens into the main road, there was an explosion of fire-damp, which appears to have collected in this part of the workings. The four men were severely burned about the head and face, and during the forenoon two of them - Durnie and Strachan - were conveyed by ambulance waggon to Kilmarnock Infirmary. Parker, who appears to have been knocked about a little, also sustained several bruises about the body. [Glasgow Herald 10 September 1895]

18 October 1895

Kilmarnock – Fatal Accident Inquiry - At the Sheriff Court yesterday-before Sheriff Hall and a jury - evidence was led under the Fatal Accidents Inquiry (Scotland) Act, 1895, regarding the death of William Innes, waggon shifter at Portland Colliery, Hurlford, on the 18th October last. The Procurator-Fiscal, Mr J. Pollock Stevenson, conducted the inquiry, and there, were also present – Mr J. M. Ronaldson, Inspector of Mines; and Mr J. D. Mackintosh, solicitor, for the colliery owners (Messrs Wm. Baird & Co.). The evidence showed that deceased had filled a waggon with dross, and was " pinching" it on to a line on which certain other waggons stood, when two of these got loose in some unexplained way and came down upon him from behind, inflicting injuries from which he died shortly afterwards. The jury found accordingly. [Glasgow Herald 9 November 1895]

15 June 1896

The Coal Mines Regulation - At the Kilmarnock Sheriff Court yesterday, Robert Banks, colliery manager, Bellfield pleaded guilty to a contravention of the Coal Mines Regulation Act by failing to see that the main coal seam of No. 1 Bellfield Pit was properly ventilated, and not providing proper air-way, stoppings, and bratticing to convey the current to the working-places. He pleaded guilty. It was stated that, owing to the inadequacy of the ventilation, an explosion of fire-damp occurred ,in the pit, and three men were injured, one of whom died. The Sheriff imposed a penalty of £10, or twenty days' imprisonment. [Scotsman 4 August 1896]

3 August 1896

Man Killed Near Irvine - A fatal accident occurred yesterday at the little mining village of Overton, in the Dreghorn parish. It appears that a miner named James M'Ivor was engaged in one of the pits blasting the coal, and after inserting a shot, he left until it went off. As it did not not seem to catch properly, the unfortunate man went forward for the purpose of relighting the fuse, when it suddenly went off, coming right up on him; He was very severely injured, and died before many minutes passed. [Scotsman 4 August 1896]

17 June 1897

Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday afternoon a collier named David Storrie, thirty-eight years of age, residing in Kilmarnock, was instantaneously killed by the fall of a stone upon him from the roof while at work in No. 8 pit of. Bonnyton colliery, belonging to Messrs Gilmour Anderson, & Co. Deceased has left & widow and four children. [Scotsman 18 June 1897]

4 July 1898

Robert Scanlon, an Overton fireman, was killed yesterday while engaged in the pit there. He was going his rounds as usual, but, unknown to some brushers who were blasting, he came on a shot just as it exploded, as was killed instantaneously. [Daily Record, 5 July 1898. With thanks to Billy Clelland for supplying this article]

Miner Killed At Irvine - Yesterday Robert Scanlon, a fireman in an Overton pit, was accidentally killed while on duty underground. Unknown to some brushers who were engaged blasting, he was going his rounds to see that everything was in order, and unfortunately approached a spot where a shot had been lodged, and which went off before warning could be given. [Scotsman 6 July 1898]

15 May 1899

Ayr - Fatal Accident Inquiries - Two mining fatalities were the subject of inquiry before Sheriff Orr Paterson and a jury in the Sheriff Court, Ayr, yesterday. One inquiry had reference to the death of Peter Savage, fireman, who was killed in No. 1 Pit, Drumley, on the 15th May. The jury found that deceased, while acting as batteryman or shot-firer, was severely injured by the explosion of a charge of amois which was connected with an electric battery and that the accident was caused through his remaining near to the shot hole and testing the cable without disconnecting the charge. [Glasgow Herald 1 June 1899]

20 June 1899

Colliery Accident In Ayrshire - 15 Men Entombed - Successful Rescue - A colliery accident, which it was at first feared would be attended with considerable loss of life, occurred in a coal pit in Ayrshire yesterday. Water broke into the colliery belonging to the Gauchalland Coal Company, near Galston, and rose so quickly that before all the man could be drawn to the surface the means of exit had been cut off and fifteen miners were imprisoned for several hours. In its main features the accident was reminiscent of the disasters which took place at Auchenharvie, Ardrossan, and at Muirkirk. While the men were engaged in their ordinary work a large accumulation of water which had gathered in an old pit burst through the roof, partially flooding the workings and placing the lives of many of their number in jeopardy. Happily, through the self-possession of those in most danger and the heroism of some of their fellows, they were rescued from their perilous position and restored to their friends little the worse for the adventure through which they had passed. The place where the accident occurred is immediately to the south of the picturesque town of Galston, adjoining the line of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway. Here the Gauchalland Company have a number of pits. The slope is towards No. 4 pit, into which the water is drained from No. 7 and No. 8 pits. The workings are of considerable area and extend to the westward, rising all the way to a point about a mile distant from the main shaft. Here they abut on the old pit already referred to, which is known as the Gin pit, said not to have been in operation for about a century. There is little on the surface to indicate that coal had been raised at any time at this spot, but old colliers knew there were disused workings below ground. At five o'clock yesterday morning the day shift - in all 66 men - went down the pit, proceeding to their several places, one party going to take out the stoops at the end of the rise. The coal pits in the neighbourhood of Galston have hitherto enjoyed complete immunity from serious accident, both No. 4 and No. 7 are regarded as dry pits, and no one imagined that there was a gathering of water in the vicinity of such volume as that which, without warning, burst into the workings. The operation in which the men were engaged was not one likely to result in an inundation. Half between No. 7 pit bottom and the end of the rise there is a step of eleven fathoms. In the upper section fifteen men were employed - John Jardine and his two sons, Frank and William ; David Taylor, William Taylor, A. Nisbet, Tom Wallace, Robert Connell, David Connell, John Connell, John Dunn, sen.; John Dunn, jun.; John Paterson, J. Shearer, and Bernard Gallacher. In the south-west corner of the rise John Jardine and his two sons were engaged, when suddenly, about eleven o'clock, from a point whence he had removed the upper portion of a stoop on Wednesday of last week, the water burst in in heavy volume, speedily filling the roadway, sweeping along large quantities of debris, tearing up the roadway, and floating railway sleepers along in its impetuous course. Jardine's son was terrified, and turned to run in the direction of No. 7 shaft. Had he not been arrested in his flight it would have meant for him certain death, for not only was the current strong, but the road was very steep. His father, however, recognising the danger of the situation, shouted to him to return, which at once he did. The alarm quickly spread through the workings, but so soon were they inundated that not a single man in the lower section got out without a wetting, while the last lot of the fifty who were drawn up before the water rose in the shaft, stepped into the cage with the flood breast high. When they reached the surface the shaft by which they had escaped was sounded, and it was found that the water had risen in it to a height of two fathoms. For a time it was hoped that the whole of the men had made their escape ; but it was not long before it was discovered that the fifteen men in the rise were still below. The news of the disaster spread with proverbial rapidity through Galston, and hundreds of persons flocked to the pit. Many of them had relatives employed in the pit. One woman had her husband and two sons, while another had two sons below. Excitement was naturally intense, but the anxious onlookers preserved a calm demeanour, knowing that every endeavour was being made to relieve the entombed miners. Rescue parties were at once organised. Directly the manager, Mr John Morton, knew what had happened, he descended No. 4 shaft and opened a door, which had the effect of sending a strong current of air in the direction of the higher workings. John Morton, oversman, Harry Martin, Andrew Baton, shanker, and Mick M'Gee, descended No. 7 shaft, but the main body of water had flowed in that direction, and they found it up to the door heads. John Baton and Andrew Baton tried to get into the workings by way of No. 8 shaft, which is generally disused, but they also were stopped by water. Ultimately Mr John Morton, jun., oversman, the manager's son, and John Baton, oversman, descended No, 4 Pit. Mean-time the imprisoned men had been making every effort to escape from their awkward situation. They first tried by the old workings, then went to the rise, and afterwards in the direction of No. 7 shaft. In their attempts to find a way out some of them were nearly swept off their feet by the current and drowned. One party were only saved in fact by their comrades throwing a chain, by means of which they scrambled to a place of safety. Happily the air was good in consequence of the timely precaution of the manager, and they escaped one of the greatest, dangers which miners experience in the case of flooding. Mr Morton, jun., and his companion found that it was impossible to reach the place where the men were supposed to be by the main road leading to the major coal. They therefore made a detour along an air-way which leads in a semi-circular sweep from No. 4 shaft to the upper end of the rise. The searchers did not find the fifteen men for whom they were looking at the place they anticipated. Continuing on their way, they met them coming from the direction of No. 7 shaft at a point about a mile and a half from No. 4, and they all safely reached the surface about two o'clock, greatly to the relief of the anxious crowd in waiting in the neighbourhood. Anticipating that perhaps they might be exhausted, Mr William Allan thoughtfully sent a supply of refreshments to the pit-head. At first the water diminished rapidly, and about one o'clock it was decreasing at the rate of about a foot an hour. Afterwards the bore which leads from No. 7 to No. 4 shaft, was choked with debris, and all that could be done to clear the workings was to withdraw the water from the higher shaft with boxes. It is expected that at least a fortnight will elapse before the colliery is again in working order. John Jardine, a fine sample of the intelligent Ayrshire miner, in an interview in course of the afternoon, gave an interesting account of the disaster. He said he had been employed in the rise workings for some time past. On Wednesday last he took out a stoop at the point where the outburst occurred. He went down yesterday morning about six o'clock, and began working at another stoop, a little to the right of the one mentioned. The pit was in perfect order, no sign of water from any part of the workings. About eleven o'clock he heard an unusual noise, but thought for the moment that it was hutches being passed along the rails. Two of his boys - Frank, 19, and Willie, 16 years of age - were along with him, and he asked if anything was wrong. They said the water had burst in, and wished to run to the pit bottom. He had had a similar experience a number of years ago while working in a mine in the State of Indiana, in the United States, and knowing that safety lay in coolness, he told his lads to compose themselves, and do nothing rash, as there was no immediate danger. The water when he first observed it was coming through the roof in a heavy stream. Going forward to the main road with his boys he met David Taylor, William Taylor, A. Nisbet, and Tom Wallace, and was greatly relieved by their companionship. Together they endeavoured to make their way by the main road to the low level, but by this time the water was rushing down the road in immense volume, bringing with it a great quantity of sand and rubbish, and they found it impossible to proceed. Accordingly they made their way along an old stoop to another section of the rise workings, knocking down a lot of bratticing as they advanced. Before they could reach the higher level they encountered another stream of water running to the dook. The water was only about two feet in depth, but the bottom of the road was smooth and slippery. On the other side, however, were another party of imprisoned men, namely:- Robert Connell, David Connell, John Connell, sen., John Connell, jun., John Dunn, sen., John Dunn, jun., J. Shearer, John Paterson, and Barney Gallacher. With their aid and holding on to a chain used in pulling the hutches they succeeded in crossing the road, and the combined party went upwards through the rise workings. Gallacher, who was fireman, had been going his rounds, and knew nothing of the disaster until some time after it had happened. After consultation, they resolved to make a farther attempt to reach the bottom of No, 7 pit, but after going some distance they found that the water was "roofed," and once more they had to return to the higher workings. On the way they met the search party, who had come by the air course, and by them they were conducted by the same route to the bottom of No. 4 shaft, whence they were brought to the surface. Alexander Nisbet, about 30 years of age, said he was employed in the rise. So far as he saw, the outburst took place about 10 yards from the end. He also described the rush of the water as like the noise of running hutches. He was not alarmed, but almost immediately Taylor came rushing up and told him that the water had burst in. He attempted to get out by the low level, but on account of the volume of water and the quantity of rubbish it brought down he had to take to the rise workings. While doing so they were again overtaken by the water, but they were drawn across the road by means of a chain, and succeeded in scrambling to a place of safety. Here they attempted to erect a dam at the head of the dook with the sleepers washed down by the current to turn it in the direction of No. 4 shaft This proved ineffectual, and they again made their way in the direction of No. 7 pit bottom. When within about 100 yards of the bottom they found that the water reached their chests, and they were obliged to return. There was another way of escape. Had the road been clear, they would have gone to No. 8, which lies to the east of No. 7 shaft, but this road was closed; and while on their way they met the rescue party, who took them round by the air course from the extreme end of the working to the bottom of No. 4 pit, whence they were brought to the surface. Other miners who were temporarily entombed gave similar accounts of their experience. At no time did they lose hope or heart. The fact that they were met by a. current of pure air from No. 4 shaft indicated that active steps were being taken for their rescue. and this sustained their courage. Several of their number had taken the precaution to extinguish their lamps to economise the supply of oil, while they had also succeeded in saving their noonday lunch, so that without serious inconvenience they could have sustained a considerably prolonged imprisonment. [Glasgow Herald 21 June 1899]

5 & 8 November 1900

Two Ayrshire Pit Fatalities - John Richmond miner, residing at Auchinleck, has died from injuries received by a fall from the roof, while he was working at the face in No. 2 Highhouse pit, in the parish of Cumnock. His brother George Richmond, who was working along with him, was severely injured by the same fall, but is recovering. Robert Law, miner, residing in Mauchline Road, Ochiltree, was killed by a fall of stone from the roof of No. 1 Whitehill pit, in the parish of Cumnock, where he was working at the coal face. [Scotsman 13 November 1900]