Fife Accidents 1871 to 1900

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

6 February 1872

Dunfermline – Fatal Pit Accident - Late on Monday night, a young lad, named Wm. Shepherd, a brusher, while at work clearing the roads in the underground workings of the Eliza Pit, Halbeath Coal Company, a mass of rubbish and stones, measuring 21 feet long, 6 broad, and 2 1/2 feet in thickness, came away from the roof, and buried him underneath. His fellow-workmen came instantly on learning of the accident, but before he was got out nearly an hour had expired, and life was found to be quite extinct. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 8 February 1872]

3 July 1872

Dunfermline – Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday afternoon a man named George Bower, while employed in a pit at Wellwood Colliery, Dunfermline, was accidentally killed by an immense mass of "blae" falling from the roof of the pit and crushing him beneath it. A son of Bower's, who was working along with him, narrowly escaped the same fate, as a portion of the material fell on him. The deceased leaves a widow and family. [Scotsman 4 July 1872]

NB Surname is incorrectly given as Brown in Mine Inspector’s report.

30 September 1872

Dunfermline - Fatal Colliery Accident - A miner named John Allan, 20 years of age, was killed yesterday while at work in No 6 Pit, Townhill Colliery. Allan was on his knees in front of a mass of coal (about 4 tons) which he had loosened, and was in the act of putting in a prop to support it when the heap came away, choking him and causing instant death. The young man lived with his father, Henry Allan. [Glasgow Herald 1 October 1872]

Fatal Pit Accident -On Monday forenoon, while a man named John Allan was engaged in No. 6 Pit, Townhill Colliery, Dunfermline, an immense mass of " blae" fell from the roof of the pit, burying him beneath it, and killing him instantaneously. The deceased was about 20 years of age, and unmarried. [Falkirk Herald 3 October 1872]

24 March 1873

Dunfermline Pit Accident - On Monday afternoon, Patrick Glancy, miner, Townhill, while at work at the coal- face in No. 6 Pit, Townhill Colliery, a portion of the coal wall came away (between 7 and 8 cwts.), which bruised him severely about the head and face. He was at work with his pick at the time, and the weight of the coal broke the shaft of the pick, and sent the pick itself clean through the fleshy part of the left thigh, which had to be drawn out by one of his fellow-workmen. He was attended to by Dr Douglas. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 27 March 1873]

16 May 1873

Fatal Accident - Yesterday morning while William Steen and Robert Morgan were working in an iron-stone pit-shaft, which the Carron Company are sinking near Share's Mill, a mass of stone falling from the side of the shaft struck Steen on the head, causing instantaneous death. Dr Hutcheson was soon in attendance, but could do nothing for the unfortunate man, who leaves a widow and one child to mourn over his tragic end. [Dunfermline Journal 17 May 1873]

20 May 1873

Fatal Colliery Accident In Fifeshire - A painful accident, by which one life has been lost and another placed in considerable jeopardy, took place on Tuesday evening at a coal-pit at Clunie, Fifeshire, known as the New Pit, and occupied by Messrs Anderson & Goodall. As a platform or scaffolding on which two men, named John Rankine and Robert Forrester, were standing was descending the shaft, the rope snapped, and scaffolding and men were precipitated with great violence to the bottom of the pit, a distance of between 50 and 60 feet. Rankine was fearfully mutilated, having the thigh bone of his right leg and jaw bone broken, while he was otherwise severely injured, and died on Wednesday. Forrester lies in a precarious state. [Scotsman 23 May 1873]

Fatal Pit Accident In Fifeshire - A melancholy pit accident occurred on Tuesday evening at the new pit occupied by Messrs. Anderson & Goodall at Clunie. It appears that two men named Rankine and Forrester were engaged on a scaffolding putting up a wooden partition between the up and down going shaft, when the rope by which the scaffolding was suspended gave way, precipitating the men and scaffolding to the bottom of the pit, a distance of about fifty-four feet. Rankin, who was frightfully mutilated, died on Wednesday, while Forrester lies in a precarious state. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 23 May 1873]

The Late Fatal Accident Near Kirkcaldy - £400 Awarded A Widow. - In the case of Forrester v. Anderson & Goodall, set down for trial to-day in the Court of Session, a compromise has been effected. The pursuer’s husband, a miner at Kirkcaldy, was hurt in the defender’s pit, at Ronald in May last, and died in June. The pursuer maintained that the accident happened in consequence of defenders, and raised this action. The defenders have tendered £400, which has been accepted by pursuer. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 11 December 1873]

30 August 1873

Fatal Pit Accident - Late on Saturday night Wm. Paterson, jun., was killed by falling down the shaft of No. 1 pit, Kingseat. The workings have been overflown with water, and the pit was being deepened to get the water away, and put ¡t so that the miners could resume work. Paterson was screwing a bolt at the top of the pit when the key with which he was screwing slipped its hold, and he lurched to a side on the plank he was standing, and fell to the bottom, a depth of 26 fathom. There was 9 feet of water, and it cost the workmen 1.5 hours of pumping before the body could be recovered. Paterson lived at Halbeath. He was 37 years of age, and leaves a widow and four children. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 2 September 1873]

10 September 1873

Fatal Pit Accident Near Dunfermline – Two Miners Killed - Yesterday morning two miners, named George and Robert Condie, father and son, were killed in a pit at Kingseat Colliery, between two and three miles north-east of Dunfermline. They had just got down the pit, and were preparing for their work, when a portion of the roof gave way and fell upon them, killing them instantaneously. The younger was so much bruised, it is reported, that his features were scarcely recognisable. They had not left their home above an hour when their corpses were brought in. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 11 September 1873]

29 September 1874

Kirkcaldy - Fatal Coal Pit Accident - A melancholy accident occurred yesterday morning in connection, with the sinking of a shaft for a new coal pit at Smeaton. The shaft has already been sunk to a great depth,and yesterday an engineman named M'Cleish had gone down the shaft, when his light went out, owing, it is supposed, to the presence of foul air. M'Cleish signified what had occurred to his comrades above, who at once began to heave up their companion. The cage, it would seem, had only been drawn up about two fathoms when M'Cleish, apparently overcome by the foul air in the shaft, and unable to hold longer on by the rope, let go his grasp and fell to the bottom of the shaft. Several of the workmen descended the pit, and found M'Cleish lying in an insensible state, and shortly afterwards he expired.[Glasgow Herald 30 September 1874]

Fatal Pit Accident – Exciting Scene - Our Kirkcaldy correspondent writes :—On Tuesday morning a fatal accident occurred at a new coal pit on Dunnikier estate. It appears that several men have been engaged for some time sinking a new pit for Messrs. Herd, and while one of them named John M’Cleish was in the act of commencing work he discovered the shaft to be filled with bad air. His light was put out on reaching the bottom, and he at once gave the alarm to be pulled up. His comrades at once commenced to pull him to the top, but after he was but a very short length up the shaft he was heard to cry that he was not able to hold on any longer. He was urged to hold on, but in a few moments after he was seen to fall back into the shaft. Steps were at once taken to have him conveyed to the mouth of the shaft, when he was found to be dead. The medical man stated that his neck was broken. He leaves a wife to mourn his loss. He was much respected by all who knew him. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 2 October 1874]

18 March 1875

Methilhill – Coal Pit Accident - On Thursday forenoon, while John Baird, bottomer, Pirnie Pit, was assisting to clear the roads along with a few men, as the pit was not going that day, a portion of the roof gave way, burying him among the debris. It was speedily cleared away, and the poor man taken to the pit-head, and conveyed to his home in Kirkland. He had suffered severe internal injuries. Dr Lyall, Leven, was soon in attendance. The poor man is slowly recovering. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 22 March 1875]

17 April 1875

Pit Accident - On Saturday a young lad named George Robertson, while employed at the pit bottom driving some hutches up an incline in No. 6 pit. Townhill Colliery, near Dunfermline, three of the hutches got uncoupled and ran down the incline. He ran after the hutches, and his clothes got entangled with the first, which dragged him about thirty yards, by which his skull was fractured, and his left leg was severely injured. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 20 April 1875]

8 June 1875

Man Killed At Dunfermline - Yesterday afternoon, Robert Sinclair, miner, residing at Pilmuir Place, Dunfermline, was killed in No. 2 Pit, Muircockhill, belonging to the West of Fife Coal Company. He had been engaged in blasting operations, and the shot not having taken effect so soon as expected, he went forward to ascertain the cause. Before he had proceeded far the blast suddenly went off, and he was killed on the spot. Sinclair, who was 28 years of age, has left a widow and four children. [Glasgow Herald 9 June 1875]

12 July 1875

Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday morning, John M'Queen, a miner at Wellwood Colliery, was killed by a quantity of coal falling upon him from the coal face. [Glasgow Herald 13 July 1875]

1 October 1875

Fatal Pit Accident - About seven o’clock yesterday morning a boy, 12 years of age, was killed in the Henderson Pit, Kingseat Colliery, Dunfermline. He was at work at the coal fall alongside his father, when a large stone came down from the roof, killing the boy and severely injuring the father. Blasting was going on in another portion of the mine, when it is thought the concussion had loosened the stone and brought it down so fatally. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 2 October 1875]

9 July 1877

Dysart – Fatal Accident – On Monday evening a miner named John Blyth, engaged in the sinking of a new engine-pit at Dysart Colliery, while being drawn to the surface in the kettle, fell down the shaft, a distance of between 30 and 40 fathoms, and was instantly deprived of life. He leaves a wife and large family. [Scotsman 11 July 1877]

23 January 1878

Kirkcaldy - Fatal Accident - A fatal accident happened to a miner on Wednesday while engaged in the underground workings of the pit lately sunk at Spithead, The unfortunate man was in the act of removing a piece of coal from the facings, when a large block of stone came away with it, which fell upon him and crushed him beneath its weight - about two tons. Deceased, whose name is James Knight, leaves a widow and six children. [Scotsman 25 January 1878]

22 February 1879

Wemyss – Fatal Accident – While removing one of the buckets at the Muiredge coal-pit on Saturday, the crane (a very powerful one) suddenly gave way at the socket, and toppled over on John Archibald, East Wemyss, and John Gordon, Buckhaven. The former was instantly crushed to death and the latter so severely injured that his life is despaired of. Archibald leaves a wife and two young children. [Scotsman 24 February 1879]

11 September 1880

Accident at Binnend Oil Work - A shale miner named Robert Gillies, aged 30, belonging to Kinghorn, was very severely injured on Saturday from a blast which he was firing in the mine at Binnend. The shot took effect unexpectedly and it was fortunate that Gillies was the only workman near the spot at the time. His injuries consist of several broken ribs, and dislocated leg and ankle Drs Craigie and Welch were soon in attendance and after the injuries were bound up Gillies was taken home to his house in Kinghorn, where he lies in a precarious condition. [Dundee Courier 13 September 1880]

11 May 1882

DUNFERMLINE - Pit Accident - Jon Penman, miner, has met with a serious accident while employed in the "old" pit, Kingseat Colliery. A lump of stone fell on him from the roof of the pit, the consequence being that he was badly bruised on the head, face, and back. Dr Bell was in attendance. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 11 May 1882]

30 May 1882

Thornton - Miner Seriously Injured - Alex. Steels, miner, employed in Balgonie colliery, in the parish of Markinch, removed a prop on Tuesday evening which had been supporting a large quantity of coal in the roof of the workings. The mass, weighing about 30-cwts., instantly came away and seriously crushed him. He was speedily rescued and taken home, when was found that his bruises were of an alarming character. His face and head are much cut, and one of his legs broken, besides internal injuries. A fatal termination is expected. [Scotsman 1st June 1882]

15 June 1883

Wemyss – Fatal Accident - James Reid, miner, was killed at the "Rossie" pit of Messrs Bowman & Co, East Wemyss, on Saturday, through one of the hutches falling from the top of the elevator at the loading bank. He only survived the accident an hour. He leaves a widow and two children. [Scotsman 18 June 1883]

19 October 1883

Fatal Pit Accident near Dunfermline - On Friday, while a young man named Walter Muirhead was working in the Lady Pit, Raith Colliery, an immense lump of "blae" fell on him from the roof, burying him beneath it. He was extricated as quickly as possible, but death had evidently been instantaneous. The deceased was 19 years of age. [Dundee Courier 26 October 1883]

21 February 1884

Fatal Accident at Leven Collieries - A sad accident happened at Leven Colliery yesterday morning. Between three and four o'clock a young man named Hugh Ross, while engaged clearing the roads in the pit, met with his death, a stone about 3 cwts. in weight falling from the roof on his head and killing him instantaneously. The unfortunate man was unmarried, and resided with his mother in Carlow Place, Leven, for whom much sympathy is felt, deceased being her only support, and she having lost her husband about a year ago, also through a pit accident. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 22 February 1884]

30 March 1884

Three Men Suffocated In A Pit – A melancholy accident occurred on Sunday night at Wellwood Colliery, belonging to Messrs Spowart & Co, near Dunfermline. On descending the Derby pit in the evening the engine keeper found the engine seat on fire and a party was sent down to put out the flames. The workings were full of suffocating smoke, and three of the party attempted to relieve the atmosphere by opening a trap door beyond the engine. As they did not return, their comrades became anxious and set out to seek them. The three were found lying lifeless, but so exhausting was the smoke that the explorers barely succeeded in getting back again themselves. When the fire was extinguished on Monday morning, the bodies were recovered. The three unfortunate men leave each a widow and family – Andrew Beveridge, five children; Thomas Stenhouse, four children; and William Hunter, two. [Hamilton Advertiser 5 April 1884]

One of the most painful accidents which has occurred in connection with the mining industry of Fifeshire took place at the Wellwood Collier, Dunfermline, belonging to Messrs Thomas Spowart & Co., at an early hour yesterday morning, when three men were suffocated to death. It was discovered on Sunday night that in the Derby Pit the minerals and wood work had caught fire in the vicinity of the underground haulage engine, and accordingly a large number of men descended for the purpose of extinguishing the flames. In the course of the night three men, named respectively William Hunter (41), Andrew Beveridge (31), Thomas Stenhouse (30) travelled 500 yards into the workings, with a view to open a trap door to increase the air current and carry off the smoke. As soon as the door was opened it had the desired effect, but the men did not return. After waiting for two hours, a searching party was instituted, with the result that the unfortunate men were found only 100 yards from the door on their homeward journey, life being extinct in every case. They were lying close to each other, with their faces downwards, it being apparent that the cause of death had been suffocation. The deceased men were all married, and leave widows and families. The affair has cast a gloom over the entire district. The fire has been extinguished, and is supposed to have resulted from spontaneous combustion. Four of the rescuing men ran a very narrow escape, the manager, Mr Ferguson, having to be carried to the bottom. [Edinburgh Courant 1 April 1884]

29 April 1884

Dunfermline Fatal Result of an Accident - The accident which occurred a week ago at Highholm Colliery has terminated fatally. John Russell, a pitheadman, had been sitting in front of a race of hutches which were being drawn up an incline running from the surface to the splint seam, when his head was caught by the roof, with the result that he was thrown back on the hutches and had his back broken. Russell leaves a widow and two children. [Scotsman 9 May 1884]

Dunfermline- Fatal Result of a Pit Accident - John Russell, a miner, who was seriously injured in a pit at Highholm Colliery last week, died on Wednesday night. He was about forty years of age, and has left a widow and two children. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern 9 May 1884]

1 October 1884

Yesterday morning, John Matthewson, hooker in the Rosie Pit of Messrs Bowman &, Company, missed his footing and fell in front of the hutches, several of which grazed his head and otherwise seriously injured his body. [Scotsman 2 October 1884]

1 December 1884

Fatal Colliery Accident At Dysart – yesterday forenoon the body of a young man named Cunningham was brought up the Dubbie Pit, one of the collieries on the Dysart Estate . Cunningham had been killed by accident a short time before. He resided in Gallatown, and was only lately married. The sad affair caused much commotion amongst the miners at the colliery. [Edinburgh Courant 2 December 1884]

Fatal Colliery Accident In Fifeshire - Yesterday morning a fatal accident occurred at the Dubbie Pit, Dysart Colliery. It appears that Henry Cunningham, a miner, had been engaged in the underground workings at what is known as the clears and had gone underneath to bring out one of the hutches. He was in the act of doing this, when an enormous quantity of coal came away from the roof, which struck him on the back of the neck, and felled him to the ground. The unfortunate man was immediately taken from under a large heap of debris, but life was extinct, he was severely lacerated on the head. Cunningham, who had recently been married, was only 21 years of age. [Glasgow Herald 2 December 1884]

4 December 1884

Fatal Pit Accident – Yesterday, James Stobbie, labourer, accidentally fell down one of the Dunfermline Coal Company's pits at Highholm, and was killed on the spot. The shaft is in process of sinking, and Stobbie, who was engaged in emptying the “kettles” missed his footing and fell a distance of 40 fathoms. Deceased was married and fifty years of age. [Edinburgh Courant 5 December 1884]

3 March 1885

Fatal Pit Accident – yesterday afternoon, Richard Roxburgh, a waggon shunter, was killed in No 2 pit, Muircockhall Colliery, near Dunfermline. [Scotsman 4 March 1885]

Fatal Accident - On Tuesday night a man named Richard Roxburgh, while working near a pit at Muircockhall Colliery, situated two miles to the north of Dunfermline, in shunting a waggon on the railway connected with the works, was somehow thrown off his balance, and falling heavy on the rails, fractured his skull. Death was instantaneous. Deceased was forty years of age and leaves a widow. [Fife Herald 4 March 1885]

23 July 1885

A Miner Crushed To Death – Yesterday, a miner named Andrew Cook, (20), while employed in No 3 pit, Kingseat Colliery, Dunfermline, was instantaneously killed by a fall of stone from the roof. [Scotsman 24 July 1885]


The Courrieres Disaster - Edinburgh, March 31 , 1906. Sir, - In your leader this morning you write of the rescue of the thirteen men from the jaws of death, and say that it is unparalleled in the history of strange escapes from mining catastrophes. It has just come to my memory of an escape of a miner named, I think, John Brown, who had a similar experience in a Fife pit about twenty years ago. There had been an explosion in the mine and all the miners made for the bottom of the shaft but Brown, who was determined to get his coat, which was a new one; but before he could return to his comrades there was a fall from the roof, and he was a prisoner. Of the details I cannot go into, as I was young when I read the account of it; but this much I remember, that twenty-one days afterwards he was found insensible, but still alive, having lived on the oil and tallow of his lamp, and one particular incident remember was that there was fungus growing in his beard. Probably some old miner will be better able to describe the accident and rescue of Brown. I had the pleasure of meeting one man who had been in the same pit accident at the time; but, unfortunately, he has joined the great majority.- I am, &c. William F. Thomson. [Scotsman 2 April 1906]

21 March 1888

A shale miner named Frank Morgan was killed at the Burntisland Oil Company's Works, Binnend, yesterday, by the fall of a piece of shale from the roof. [Scotsman 22 March 1888]

23 March 1888

Accident At A West Fife Colliery - An accident occurred at Hill of Beath colliery, near Dunfermline, yesterday, whereby David King, a miner, had his skull fractured, and sustained other injuries. Along with another man, King had been engaged in unloading a waggon of wood at the Dalbeath pit, where sinking operations are going on, when a number of battens toppled over, and he was knocked out of the waggon. King was conveyed to Dunfermline, and last; night he was in a critical state. [Scotsman 24 March 1888]

4 August 1888

Pit Accident Near Dunfermline - Charles Ferguson, a pony driver, aged 15, was killed on Saturday at Kingseat colliery, near Dunfermline. He had been driving a race of hutches, when he fell from his seat, and was crushed against the side of the road, causing rupture of the heart and other internal injuries. Death was almost instantaneous. [Scotsman 6 August 1888]

7 December 1888

Fatal Coal Pit Accident - Yesterday forenoon David Watters, a miner residing at Dunnikier Row, Kirkcaldy was killed at the Linna Dunnikier colliery. Deceased and his son had just commenced work in the underground workings after breakfast, when about two tons of coal from the roof gave way, crushing him very severely. He died about ten minutes after the accident. Watters was fifty-five years of age, and leaves a widow and family. [Scotsman 8 December 1888]

8 April 1889

At Cupar Sheriff Court yesterday, David Gray, pitheadman, Buckhaven, was judicially examined before Sheriff-Substitute Henderson on a charge of culpable homicide and neglect of duty. A pit was being sunk, and Gray failed to cover the mouth of it properly, in consequence of which a hutch fell down the pit and killed one of the pit-sinkers, named John Macgill. Gray was liberated on bail. [Scotsman 12 April 1889]

24 February 1890

Fatal Pit Accident - A miner named David Pratt, met with a fatal accident while employed in No. 3 pit, Kingseat Collieries, Dunfermline, yesterday forenoon. The deceased who was 49 years of age had been digging in a stooping posture when a large piece of coal unexpectedly gave way and buried him underneath. [Dundee Courier 25 February 1890]

6 March 1890

Fatal Colliery Accident - Yesterday morning a miner, named Thomson, was accidentally killed in Bowman & Co.'s Denbeath pit, near Methil, by a large quantity of coal falling from the roof. Thomson was unmarried, and belonged to Buckhaven. [Scotsman 8 March 1890]

11 March 1890

Fatal Pit Accident - Yesterday forenoon a young man named John Dryburgh, miner, twenty-one years of age, while engaged in the underground workings at the Duncan Pit, Wemyss Colliery, was instantly killed by a piece of coal falling from above, breaking his neck. Deceased was un- married, and resided with his parents on the Wemyss estate. [Dundee Courier 12 March 1890]

21 November 1890

Alleged Culpable Homicide In Fife - In Cupar yesterday - before Sheriff Mackay and a jury - Hugh Lynch, a shale miner at Binnend, near Burntisland, was charged with having, on 21st November last, in No. 1 Shale Mine, of the Burntisland Oil Company, while working in company with the deceased Patrick Kelly, a drawer or miner, also employed there, and being engaged in filling and lowering hutches of shale at an upset brae in said mine to Kelly, and, it being his duty to see that the chain by which the hutches were lowered was properly hooked or attached to the hutches before pushing off or lowering them, he did, in breach of that duty, push over and lower down said brae a hutch with loaded shale without hooking or attaching or seeing that it was properly done, in consequence of which the hutch ran violently down the brae, at the foot of which Kelly was working, and, coming into contact with an empty hutch at the foot of the brae, compressed Patrick Kelly between the empty hutch and the stoop side or shale wall, causing internal injuries from which he shortly thereafter died. On the charge being read, Lynch pleaded not guilty, and evidence was led, Mr Pagan, "W.S., acting as agent for the accused. Patrick Monaghan, a miner, said accused and another man were engaged that evening, in filling the hutches at the top of the brae. It was the duty of the deceased to remove the hutch when it came to the foot of the brae. That night witness was working at a little distance from Kelly, and he had an opportunity of seeing what he was doing. He heard Kelly give the signal, and the full tub came down without the chain attached. It came down like a shot, the empty one not being away. The deceased jumped behind the empty one, and the force of the full hutch against the empty one compressed Kelly against the wall. Witness ran and was helped by others to extricate the deceased, who only breathed and expired almost immediately. Mr Pagan cross-examined the witness at some length as to the methods of working. He considered it a very dangerous thing for Kelly to have gone behind the empty hutch. Supposing the chain had broken, he would have been killed. There was room for him standing at either side, where he might have escaped. Witness had seen hooks come out of the chains on a few occasions. In answer to the Sheriff, witness said that in an ordinary way there were no hooking of the hutches at the top. Something must have gone wrong with the chain if it was necessary to attach it to the hook. It was the duty of the man at the top to put it in if he saw it. In a general way the hutches were pushed off without being examined. Hugh M'Leish, a miner, gave evidence. For the defence James Corigan and James Simpson, miners, were examined, who gave instances in which they had known such hooks to get detached. The Fiscal and Mr Pagan having addressed the jury, the Sheriff summed up. While he thought it right in such cases that an inquiry should properly be made, he was distinctly of opinion that that case was one for inquiry only, he did not think that they could, as reasonable men, arrive at a conclusion which would attach a criminal responsibility to the prisoner. It was for the jury to consider whether on the whole evidence that there was that gross negligence to entitle them to make a verdict that would compel him to pass a criminal sentence on accused. The jury having retired, returned, after an absence of five minutes, with a unanimous verdict of not guilty. His Lordship, in dismissing Lynch from the bar, said he trusted nothing that had occurred at the trial would at all relax the necessary vigilance which should be given by man in such works as they were employed, and though there was no criminal responsibility attaching to him in this instance it did not at all follow that there was no moral responsibility, and he hoped that the trial would lead to increased carefulness in the future. [Dundee Courier 20 January 1891]

26 January 1892

Fife Miner Killed - As a miner named William Elder was engaged in the limestone mine at Cults on Tuesday afternoon, a piece of rock suddenly came away, and, falling upon him, he was fatally injured. Deceased was about 50 years of age and resided at Crossgates, near Pitlessie, where he leaves a widow and family of eight to mourn his demise. Medical aid was called, but to pronounce life to be extinct. [Aberdeen Journal 28 January 1892]

13 February 1892

Fatal Accident In A Fife Pit - On Saturday, Richard Stewart, miner, emp1oyed in the Fife Coal Company's Leven pit, was killed by a fall of coal from the roof. Deceased was twenty-five years of age. [Scotsman 15 February 1892]

8 April 1893

Fatal Pit Accident In Fife – Abraham Moffat, a roadsman, 59 years of age, was fatally injured in No 2 Pit, Kingseat Colliery, near Dunfermline, on Saturday. He was walking up an incline, when he was struck upon the forehead by one of the race of loaded hutches, and his skull was fractured. [Scotsman 10 April 1893]

20 June 1894

Fatal Accident At Fife Colliery - At Wellsgreen Colliery, Wemyss, yesterday morning, David Kay, shunter, met with a fatal accident. While endeavouring to sprag a ballast train while in motion the sprag slipped and threw Kay across the rail. One of the waggons passed over him, causing almost instantaneous death Deceased, who was 25 years of age, resided with his widowed mother in Windygates, and was highly respected. At the colliery work was suspended for the day. [Evening Telegraph 21 June 1894]

30 April 1895

Fatal Accident at a Fife Colliery – An accident, which terminated fatally, occurred yesterday in one of the pits of Muircockhall Colliery, near Dunfermline. John Oswald, a miner, was working at the face, when a quantity of coal came away suddenly and fell upon him. His back was broken and he died while being taken to his house at Townhill. The deceased, who was 50 years of age, leaves a widow and grown up family. [Scotsman 1 May 1895]

20 May 1895

Mining Fatality In Fife - Yesterday a pit accident occurred at the Lena Pit, Dunnikier Colliery, Kirkcaldy, resulting in the death of John Sinclair, miner, residing in Todd's Row, Dunnikier Road, under peculiarly sad circumstances. Yesterday was the miners' idle day, but Sinclair and his brother were engaged in the underground workings of the pit clearing up the roads and doing other odd jobs. The unfortunate man was in the act of shovelling out some small coal when the part above which he was working gave way and knocked him down. His brother ran to the rescue, and made an attempt to ease up the falling debris with a pick which was fixed underneath. Sinclair called to his brother to keep the falling material off him, but the weight was too much, and he was compelled to let go. The result was that Sinclair was crushed to death. Deceased leaves a wife and family to mourn his untimely fate.
[Dundee Courier 21 May 1895]

18 June 1895

Fatal Pit Accident near Dunfermline - A fatal accident occurred yesterday at No. 7 Pit, Townhill Colliery. While a miner named Wm. Anderson (53), residing in Rose Crescent, Dunfermline, was engaged "holeing," a large block of coal, weighing nearly two tons, came away unexpectedly, and falling upon him, caused instantaneous death. A son of Anderson was working a few yards distant from, where the fall took place. Yesterday was deceased's first day at Townhill Colliery. [Falkirk Herald 19 June 1895]

20 July 1896

Fatal Accident At A Fife Colliery - An accident occurred at the William Pit, Fordell colliery, early yesterday morning, by which one man was killed and another sustained injuries. Robert Birrell, contractor brusher, Crossgates, and James Wardrop, underground manager, were engaged in replacing pumping pipes in the shaft, when a pipe which was used as a -back balance got detached and fell into the kettle by which the men were being lowered. The kettle was upset, and both men ware thrown out. After assistance arrived Wardrop was found in the shaft not much hurt, but Birrell was lying dead at the bottom , his skull being fractured. The deceased, who was thirty-five years of age, leaves a widow and five children. [Scotsman 22 July 1896]

23 September 1896

Fatal Colliery Accident - An accident of a peculiar nature, which has terminated fatally, occurred at the Oakley Collieries, Fifeshire, on Wednesday Philip Coyne, a labourer, was engaged in removing waggons from a coal screen as they were filled. One of the waggons stuck at the points of a crossing, and a horse was employed to restart it. Coyne was in the act of removing the tail chain from the centre hook after the waggon was again under weigh when his left foot was caught in the points. He way knocked down, and the wheels of the waggon passed over the entire length of his leg. On his removal to the Dunfermline Cottage Hospital the limb was amputated at the thigh. Death occurred within a few hours of the operation being performed. Coyne was twenty-four years of age and unmarried. [Scotsman 25 September 1896]

21, 24 & 28 December 1898

Fife Fatal Accident Inquiries - Yesterday Sheriff Armour and a jury held a public inquiry at Cupar relative to the deaths of John Forrester, labourer, East Wemyss ; Robert Penman, signaller, Balgonie Square, East Wemyss; James Nicolson, jun., pit drawer, Milton of Balgonie; and Thomas Pearson M'Donald, labourer, Kingsbarns, which occurred on 21st, 24th, 28th, and 29th December respectively. In the first case the jury unanimously found "That, on 21st December 1898. John Forrester, labourer, who resided at East Wemyss, met with an accident while in his said employment at the pithead at Wellsgreen Colliery, parish of Wemyss, wrought by the Fife Coal Company, Limited, his right leg having been drawn into what is known as the “dross conveyer," and he thus sustained serious injuries, necessitating amputation of said leg, in consequence of which he died on 21st December, 1898, in the Cottage Hospital. Kirkcaldy." The jury also added that in their opinion the said dross conveyer ought to have been protected. Mr J. E. Grosset, Cupar, appeared for the relatives of the deceased, and Mr John C. Chisholm, solicitor, Edinburgh, on behalf of the Fife Coal Company. The jury found in the next inquiry. "That on 24th December, 1898, Robert Penman, a signaller at the Julian Pit, parish of Markinch, who resided at Balgonie Square, met with an accident while engaged in his said employment on the Balgonie Colliery railway, near the under bridge which crosses said line, a short distance from said pit, he having fallen from an engine on which he was then travelling, and been run over by said engine and the waggons attached thereto, and thus killed him instantly." In the third inquiry the jury found, "That James Nicolson, jun.. pit-drawer, Milton of Balgonie, met with an accident while engaged in his said employment, in the underground workings of the Lochtyside Pit, parish of Markinch, the property of Mr Charles B. Balfour of Balgonie, a quantity of coal weighing between 12 and 15 cwt. having fallen upon him in his working place, and killing him instantly." [Dundee Courier 18 January 1899]

11 May 1899

A Fife Colliery Accident - Claim In Court of Session - Lord Kincairney in the Court of Session yesterday closed the record in an action by James Kelly, miner, 34 Diamond Row, Cowdenbeath ; Private John Kelly, of the Cameron Highlanders; and Mary Ann Kelly, millworker, 114 Trongate, Glasgow, the children of the late John Kelly, pit sinker, Dysart, against the Earl Rosslyn’s Collieries Limited, Dysart. The pursuers sue for damages for the death of their father. The defenders were engaged in the deepening of the shaft of their Francis Pit, at Dysart, and John Kelly was in their employment. On 11th May 1899, Kelly fell down the extended portion of the pit a depth of fathoms, and was killed. It is maintained that there ought to have been a platform across the mouth of the extended depth, or that other reasonable precautions should have been taken for the safety of the workmen. The defenders say that Kelly walked into the pit when he ought to have seen that the month of it was uncovered and they deny fault. Issues were ordered for trial by jury. [Dundee Courier 17 January 1900]

29 May 1900

Miner Killed In Fife - Yesterday morning a miner named Thos. Christie, residing in West Wemyss, was killed by a fall from the roof while at work in Victoria Pit, Wemyss Collieries. Deceased's son, who was working beside him, was also struck down, but sustained no serious injury. Christie, who was between 50 and 60 years of age, leaves a widow and grown-up family. [Dundee Courier 30 May 1900]

8 September 1900

Fatal Pit Accident. - Andrew Cunningham, pit-bottomer, Saline, was killed on Saturday at No. 2 Kinneddar Pit, Oakley Collieries Company, Limited. The deceased was employed in the five-feet seam, and was in the act of pushing a loaded hutch on the cage, with a view its being drawn the shaft, while an assistant at the opposite side the shaft was taking empty hutch off the cage. The full hutch derailed the empty one, and deceased was endeavouring to set right the empty hutch, and was standing with one foot on the cage and another foot on the bench the side of the shaft, when the winding engine at the pithead was in motion, and the cage began its ascent. The deceased and the hutch were precipitated to the pit bottom, a distance eleven fathoms. One of the unfortunate man's legs was severed from his body, and death was instantaneous. The deceased was 29 years of age. He leaves a widow and four children. [Dundee Courier 10 September 1900]