Misc. Lanarkshire Accidents 1881-1890

This section contains newspaper reports on selected accidents in miscellaneous areas of Lanarkshire between 1881 and 1890 inclusive. Please check the indexes in the Accidents Section for reports by the Inspector of Mines and accidents in other areas.

5 March 1881

Motherwell – Fatal Colliery Accident - On Saturday evening a miner named Charles Law, 45, residing in Newarthill, was instantaneously killed while at work in Carfin colliery, occupied by Messrs Langlands & Co. He was filling his last hutch for the day, when a fall tools place, which completely buried him [Scotsman 8 March 1881]

11 April 1881

Carluke - Fatal Accident at Law - On the afternoon of Monday, while Alexander Scott, labourer, residing at Law, was engaged about the scree at Shawfield Colliery, there were some waggons being shunted. The engineman called out to Scott to keep clear, but he stepped in between two waggons, and was caught between the buffers and killed on the spot. Scott has left a widow and three children. [Scotsman 14th April 1881]

13 April 1881

Motherwell Fatal Colliery Accident - Yesterday afternoon a young man named John Waugh, aged 24, residing in Braeside Cottage, was instantaneously killed while at work in No. 4 Motherwell Colliery, occupied by Mr John Watson. He was engaged in taking away the wooden supports when he was buried under a fall of the roof. [Scotsman 14th April 1881]

10 May 1881

Rutherglen – Fatal Accident – Yesterday morning, a miner named Andrew Izzet was killed in No 6 Pit, Govan Colliery. He had been engaged working at the face when a mass of coal, two tons weight, fell on him, killing him on the spot. [Scotsman 11 May 1881]

13 July 1881

Yesterday morning a miner named James Corrigan, 50 years of age, died in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary from the effects of injuries he had sustained by the fall of a roof in Upper Flemington Colliery on the previous day. [Scotsman 14th July 1881]

29 August 1881

Colliery Accident At Motherwell – Three Men Killed – On Monday afternoon, a shocking accident occurred in No 2 Pit, North Motherwell Collieries, the property of Messrs Merry and Cuninghame, by which three men lost their lives. The unfortunate men are John Brookes, married, aged 25, roadsman, residing in Windmillhill Street; Alexander Jack, aged 29, married, roadsman, residing in St Vincent Street; and John Mulligan, aged 18, miner, residing in Watsonville – all in Motherwell. Brookes and Jack were engaged in the erection of a scaffold in the Pyotshaw seam of coal, and Mulligan was standing by them looking on, when a large piece of the roof, six inches thick and about one ton in weight, gave way and fell, crushing the three to the ground and instantly killing them. A boy named William Menzies had a narrow escape, the debris entirely covering him. He was, however, rescued by his father, little hurt. Their bodies were removed to their homes. Mrs Jack had left in the forenoon to visit some relatives for a few days, and the sad event was telegraphed to her. [Hamilton Advertiser 3 September 1881]

November 1881

An accident has happened to two men at No. 3 Coal Pit, Newlands Colliery, Bothwell. Thomas Reilly and John Carswell, residing at Braehead, had been working at the face, when a large quantity of coal and stones fell from the roof upon them, injuring both men severely about the legs. They were removed to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. [Scotsman 15th November 1881]

Serious Pit Accident - At No 3 coal pit Newlands Colliery, Bothwell parish, Thomas Reilly and John Carsewell were working at the face when a large quantity of coal and stones fell from the roof upon them, and both lost their left legs between the knee and the ankle. Dr Willis, of Baillieston, ordered their removal to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 18 November 1881]

14 November 1881

Fatal Pit Accident - On Saturday William Smith, aged 60, pitheadman lowered a case into the shaft of Craigenhall Limeworks, Lanark. He then ran on a waggon as if the cage had been at the head of the shaft. The result was that he and the waggon fell to the bottom, a depth of twenty-three fathoms. He was dead when picked up. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 14 November 1881]

16 March 1882

Motherwell – Fatal Colliery Accident - Yesterday, when the cage at the Camp Colliery, occupied by Mr Williams, was brought to the surface with 3 men, it ascended several feet above the proper level, and the men, fearing it would be drawn against the pithead, leapt out. One of them, named Matheson Rennie, slipped or was caught by something, and fell down the shaft and was killed [Scotsman 17th March 1882]

5 July 1883

Mining Fatality Near Glasgow – Four Men Suffocated - Yesterday morning two men descended the Gartsherrie pit at Coatbridge, near Glasgow, and, after some time had elapsed without any signal being received from them, other two men went down. As these also gave no signals a search party was organised, and the bodies of all four were found at the bottom of the pit, The unfortunate men had evidently been suffocated by the choke-damp. [Aberdeen Journal 6 July 1883]

NB This accident is not reported in the Inspectors reports or other newspapers.  It is therefore likely that these fatalities are reported in error

5 July 1883

Serious Pit Explosion At Motherwell - A little after seven o'clock yesterday morning an explosion of gas took place in Dalzell Pit, No. 36. The pit is situated about three-quarters of a mile east of Motherwell. The miners were working at three seams of coal-the Virtuewell, Pyotshaw, and splint coal. The depth is upwards of 66 fathoms, the splint seam, where the explosion took place, being about 45 fathoms. It seems that the bottomer, Harry Love, had just signalled to the top of the shaft, when suddenly an explosion took place in the splint coal seam, the gas having, it is supposed, ascended from the Virtuewell seam, going up the shaft with a loud report. The following parties were injured :-Harry Love, Baird's Land, Windmill Hill; John M'Pherson, Park Street; Henry King, Park Street; John Stewart, Watsonville. Several others have received his slight burns. There were about 60 men employed underground when the accident occurred. There is communication between Nos. 2 and 4 Pits, and in this way the men all got safely out The extent of the damage is not known, although the manager considers that, under the circumstances, it will be slight. [Aberdeen Journal 6 July 1883]

29 July 1882

On Saturday, Robert Hamilton, 15, pony driver, son of, and residing with, John Hamilton, engineer, Town Place, Uddingston, met with a fatal accident in the splint coal seam in Maryville Colliery, belonging to Maryville Coal Company. Deceased was driving hutches along the main road to the pit bottom, and it appears that while he was leaping off the first hutch, for the purpose of opening a trap door, the tail chain tripped him, causing him to fall on the rails in front of the hutches. The first and second passed over his chest, literally crushing it in, and death was instantaneous. [Scotsman 31st July 1882]

1 August 1883

On Wednesday night, William McHenry, brusher, Lightburn, Cambuslang, was killed in No 1 pit, Gilbertfield Colliery, belonging to the Cambuslang Coal Company. In descending the shaft to his work in the main seam, he left at the staging leading to the Pyotshaw seam, which is 16 fathoms above the main coal, and after getting something he required, returned to the shaft with the intention of proceeding to his destination. Having no light he accidentally went to the wrong side, and fell to the bottom. Death was instantaneous, his neck and back being broken. Deceased, who was 18 years of age, had worked for two years in the pit, and was well acquainted with the working's. [Scotsman 3 August 1883]

5 September 1884

Carluke – Fatal Coalpit Accident - A fatal accident occurred at Law colliery, Carluke. on Friday last. While two brothers named Andrew Gibb, aged 18, and David Gibb, aged 25, miners, were employed in working at the face in the splint coal No. 1 Law colliery, unexpectedly a piece of coal of about 2 tons came away from the roof, and killed Andrew Gibb instantaneously, while David was injured on the right thigh. [Scotsman 10 September 1884]

30 September 1884

On Tuesday night, while two men named Alexander Allan, Cumbernauld, and J. Welsh, Haggs, were in the act of descending a fire-clay pit the brake of the engine gave way, and the kettle containing the men was shot down a depth of one hundred and eighty feet. Welsh had his leg and ribs broken, and Allan was suffering from internal injuries. [Scotsman 2 October 1884]

3 June 1885

Fatal Pit Accident At Cambuslang - On Wednesday, as John Johnston (33), oversman, residing at Halfway, Cambuslang, was engaged shifting the points in the hutch road of No. 1 pit, Gilbertfield colliery, the wire rope to which a race of six loaded hutches were attached broke. They ran down the level towards Johnston, the first of them knocking him against a stoop, nearly burying him under the coals. He received severe internal injuries, from which he died at 7 o'clock at night. A widow and four children survive him, the eldest only being able to work.. [Scotsman 5 June 1885]

8 September 1885

Motherwell – Young Man Killed – John Hislop, 30, who was employed at clerk at Dr Thomson's collieries, was instantaneously killed there. Deceased had been assisting in removing some waggons, and had been putting on a brake, when some loaded waggons came from behind him, the buffers of which caught him on the back, killing him instantly. [Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser September 12 1885]

Motherwell – Fatal Pit Accident – On Tuesday John P Hislop, unmarried, age 30, above ground manager, Wishaw Coal Company, Dalzell, met with a fatal accident. He had been assisting several of his men in shunting some coal waggons down an incline when he stumble in between two of the waggons. He gave a loud cry and threw up his hands, falling outside of the line of rails quite dead. The corpse was removed to his fathers house, who is stationmaster on the Caledonian Railway at Overtown. [NB Two consecutive reports in same edition of newspaper - Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser September 12 1885]

30 December 1885

Fatal Accident At Carluke – Yesterday morning at eight o'clock at Shawfield Colliery, Law, belonging to Mr John Wilson, and accident occurred which ended fatally shortly thereafter. James Girdwood, aged 60, was engaged working at some loaded waggons when they suddenly closed upon him. He was speedily extricated but he died shortly after [Scotsman 31 December 1885]

11 February 1886

Accident to a Miner - Yesterday afternoon, William Watson, a miner, was knocked down and run over by a runaway hutch at Haywood collieries. He was sent to the Edinburgh Infirmary, where it was ascertained that he had sustained a compound fracture of the left leg and severe injury to his spine. [Scotsman 12 February 1886]

24 February 1886

Pit Accident – On Wednesday afternoon, a miner named John Dollochan, residing in Craigneuk, got himself severely injured while at work in Shields Pit, belonging to Mr Jas. Wood. When he commenced work he carefully sounded the roof and thought it all right; but he had not been an hour at work till a large stone fell on him while he was filling a hutch, striking him across the haunches. He was speedily relieved and taken home in a cart, and attended by Dr Smith, Motherwell, who found that he was very severely bruised. [Hamilton Advertiser February 27 1886]

29 March 1886

Fatal Pit Accident – On Monday afternoon an accident occurred at the Fence Pit, whereby two men lost their lives. It appears that the cage was being raised with four men on it when something went wrong with the gearing. The cage got partly overturned and stuck in mid-shaft, two of the men, named James Hamilton and W. Atkinson were precipitated to the bottom and instantaneously killed, their bodies being frightfully mutilated. The other two men held on and were as soon as possible rescued from their perilous position, and, though injured, were able to walk home. [Hamilton Advertiser April 3 1886]

30 March 1886

Pit Accident – Three Men Injured – A serious accident occurred on Tuesday on No 3 Pit, Ellismuir Colliery, Baillieston. Three miners, named John McGeechan, Patrick Keef, and John Owen, were sitting at breakfast at the causeway head, in the main road, when some of the propping of the roof suddenly gave way, and caused a quantity of stones to fall upon the lads. McGeechan and Keef were severely cut and bruised about the head, face, and legs, while similar, though much more serious injuries were inflicted upon Owen. It is feared that Owens injuries may prove fatal. [Hamilton Advertiser April 3 1886]

15 April 1886

Fatal Accident – A distressing accident happened on Thursday in one of the Cumbernauld Clay Mines belonging to the Glenboig Fire Clay Co. While the workmen were engaged in what is called “driving a mine” la large mass of rock was seen giving way from the roof, and before there was any time to escape, one of them , named John Walker, was caught by the legs. His father, James Walker, seeing the critical position of his son, rushed to drag him out, when a second mass of fell, and killed the father on the spot. The young man is seriously injured, but hopes are entertained of his recovery. The deceased was about fifty years of age, and leaves a widow and grown up family. [Hamilton Advertiser April 17 1886]

22 April 1886

Fatal Accident to a Boy – On Thursday, Robert Frame (13), son of a widow residing at Rankin Street, Carluke, met with a fatal accident in the blaze hill of Hallcraig Ironstone pit, Carluke, belonging to the Coltness Iron Company Ltd. The boy, who had only been a fortnight at work, was engaged at the pithead in attaching hutches to the endless chain which conveys them from the pithead to the blaze hill, a distance of 400 yards. The accident was not observed by anyone, and attention was only called to it by the cries of the boy, when he was discovered lying below a loaded hutch. The hutch was at once removed, but the boy only breathed a few minutes afterwards and expired. It is conjectured that Frame had been attempting to jump on the top of the hutch to get a ride, and had slipped and fell in front of it. [Hamilton Advertiser April 24 1886]

27 May 1886

Fatal Mining Accident – On Thursday, Matthew Robertson (21), miner, Greenbank Terrace, was crushed to death in No 1 Pit Westburn Colliery. He and two brothers were working at the stoops, and his father being anxious to discover how his sons were getting on, as he knew the work was dangerous, was visiting them. While conversing with them, deceased drew a prop when without warning, a large flat stone, weighing 15 cwt., fell from the roof and crushed him on the pavement. He was at once extricated but died in twenty minutes. [Hamilton Advertiser May 29 1886]

June 1886

Serious Pit Accident – A serious pit accident occurred at Bartonshill Pit, near Baillieston, whereby a miner named Lyons had his skull fractured. He had been working a windlass in the pit, when he lost hold of the handle, which struck him a violent blow on the head. He had to be removed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. [Hamilton Advertiser June 5 1886]

28 June 1886

Man Killed in a Pit – On Monday morning a fatal accident occurred to Peter Haggerty (29) in Meadowhead Pit, belonging to the Glasgow Iron Co. He had been engaged in driving a stone mine through one of the coal seams and filling a hutch. In getting one of the hind wheels on the rails the “snibbles” fell out, and Haggerty was dragged before the hutch down an incline, a distance of twenty yards. He was taken up unconscious and expired in the course of the day. [Hamilton Advertiser July 3 1886]

14 July 1886

Boy Killed in Coal Pit – On Wednesday a young lad named Scobbie, about 14 years of age, came by his death in a pit at Aitkenhead Colliery near Baillieston. He had been working along with his father in a part of the workings near the “face” when a fall of stones &c., came down upon him from the roof, and so severely injured him that he died in a short time. [Hamilton Advertiser July 17 1886]

25 August 1886

Fatal Accident – A man named Alexander Roy Blackburn, a miner, residing at Braehead, near Baillieston, was killed on Wednesday in the Aitkenhead (No 4) Colliery. He had been working at the face when a fall of about 16cwts., came away from the roof, part of which struck and crushed him to the ground. He died while being conveyed home. [Hamilton Advertiser August 28 1886]

2 October 1886

Colliery Disaster at Benhar - A disastrous accident occurred on Saturday in No 15 Pit, Benhar, situated about two thirds of a mile north east of the village of East Benhar, and about two miles north of Fauldhouse Railway Station. The main pit has a shaft about sixty fathoms deep, but the accident took place in what is known as the Virtuewell seam, the galleries of which branch off from the main shaft at a depth of about eighteen fathoms. In this seam there are three main galleries. One of these runs west for about three hundred fathoms. A second runs south east for a distance of two hundred fathoms, with a rise from eighteen fathoms at the shaft to ten at the outer end. The central gallery runs south for two hundred fathoms, rising to eleven fathoms at the outer end, where there is an escape shaft. From the escape shaft a fourth gallery runs east for a hundred fathoms, with a dip to ten fathoms at the outer end. It was at the outer end of this gallery that the accident took place. The surface of the ground in the neighbourhood of the pits is the barest of mosses, on the surface of which in wet weather the rain gathers in pools. Two of these, which were filled with the recent rains, were situated over the workings to the south of the eastward gallery.

The accident occurred about half past ten on Saturday morning. There were at the time eight men in that part of the workings. Two of the men – James Howie and Hugh Maccallum – occupied workings branching north from the gallery. The other men occupied workings to the south of the gallery and nearer the escape shaft. Their names are Alexander Rodger, Thomas Malcolm, James Kennaburgh, James Murray, Archibald Ramsay, and David Russell, all residing at East Benhar. While engaged at work, suddenly the roof of the mine in the workings south of the gallery gave way, and a torrent of moss and water poured in. The only warning the men had was a rumbling noise resembling the running of the truck in the gallery, which, indeed, one or two of the men thought it was. The noise continuing, however, the alarm was given, and the men threw down their tools and and ran towards the escape shaft. Maccallum, who had just come into the gallery with a truck of coal, heard the alarm, and, shouting to his companion, joined with the rest in running. On reaching the escape shaft, Howie was amissing. One of the men, Rodger, procuring a light, his own having gone out, ventured back along the gallery in the hope of learning something of Howie. Before he had gone far he was met by the moss, which took him up to his knees, and he was compelled to retreat. On his return he was met by one of the firemen, who had noticed that the direction of the air current in the mine had been reversed, and had come to ascertain the cause. The underground manager, Mr Scott, was immediately sent for, and steps immediately taken under his direction to close the gallery with a strong wooden barricade to prevent the moss from spreading to the rest of the galleries. In the course of the day, Mr Ralph Moore, Her Majesty's Inspector, who had been telegraphed for to Glasgow, arrived on the scene, and it was decided to sink a shaft over the place where Howie was supposed to have been working. The sinking of the shaft was begun on Sunday morning, and has been continued without intermission ever since. The depth to which it will have to be sunk is estimated at ten fathoms, and up till Monday night the depth sunk had been about six fathoms through moss and hard clay. A bore is also being made alongside, with a view to ascertain the nature of the ground to be pierced. No hope, however, is entertained of rescuing the unfortunate lad alive. Howie, who was 19 years of age, was described by his fellow workmen as a quiet and pleasing companion. He was the sole support of his aged parents, who are painfully distracted over the accident.

At the surface of the ground where the accident took place there has been an alarming subsidence. Where the pools formerly were has sunk several feet, and round about for several hundred feet the ground is seamed and scarred, as if an earthquake had occurred. Since the time of the accident large numbers of people from the surrounding district have visited the place.

Great excitement was created in the East Benhar district on Tuesday night by a report that Howie, the entombed man, was still alive in the pit, as some of the workmen engaged in boring operations has heard him cry up the tube. They stated, it is said, that they heard a sort of shuffling noise, followed by a muffled cry. On hearing the report a large number of villagers ran to the pit to learn if there was any truth in the rumour, which, it is stated, they failed to get satisfactorily confirmed – several of the workmen holding by the statement, while others set it down as a piece of imagination. A new bore was put down on Wednesday forenoon, and a tube inserted in the bore. The workmen cried down the tube repeatedly, but got no response. In order to test the state of the workings they put down a lighted candle, which burned satisfactorily, proving the air to be good, and they also put down the pumps and found that there was no water.

At nine o'clock on Thursday morning the sinkers were down on the coal seam, which is four feet thick; but it turns out that the shaft has been put down upon the solid, and the work of making a road from the shaft would occupy a few hours. A search will then be made for the unfortunate man Howie. [Hamilton Advertiser October 9 1886]

4 April 1887

Fatal Pit Accident - At an early hour on Monday morning William Tough, Bell's Rows Wishaw, was found lying dead at the bottom of the shaft of Garibaldi Pit, Netherjohnstone Colliery. How the fatality occurred has not transpired, but deceased is supposed to have fallen from the cage while it was ascending, as it was empty when it reached the pit head. [Motherwell Times 9 April 1887]

21 June 1887

Longrigg – Fatal Accident – The driver of a pug engine at one of the pits at West Longrigg, named George Black,was accidentally killed while engaged in shunting operations there on Monday afternoon. A collision appears to have taken place between his train and another which was being shunted by a North British Railway engine, and in attempting to leap from his own engine Black received such injuries that he only lived for a few minutes. His son, who acted as brakesman, escaped unhurt, and a third party received minor injuries. Black leaves several young children. [Hamilton Advertiser June 25 1887]

28 June 1887

Rutherglen – Fatal Pit Accident – On Tuesday morning, David Hart, miner, about 40 years of age, was instantaneously killed by a fall from the roof while at work in Old Stonelaw Pit here. [Hamilton Advertiser, July 2 1887]

21 January 1888

Miner Killed At Carmyle - By a fall of coal from the roof in No, 2 Ryan Pit, Clyde Iron-Works, Carmyle, on Saturday, a miner named William Winning, 45, was struck on the head and killed on the spot. [Glasgow Herald 24 January 1888]

2 June 1888

Fatal Accident - On Saturday Andrew Robertson waggon-driver, aged 19, residing in Baillie's Square, met with an accident while at work at Broomside Colliery, belonging to the Wishaw Coal Company. He was pinching a waggon of coal when another came up behind and jammed him between the buffers. He was conveyed home, and examined by Dr M'Donald. No bones were broken, but he received internal injuries, to which he succumbed within four hours. [Motherwell Times 9 June 1888]

16 August 1888

Fatal Pit Accident - On Wednesday evening as William Hamilton blacksmith, residing at 6 Burnside Lane, Hamilton, was engaged making repairs on the machinery at Parkhead colliery, Motherwell, he was caught by a wheel. His right arm was almost torn from his body. The injured limb was amputated, but Hamilton died yesterday morning. [Scotsman 17 August 1888]

20 September 1888

Fatal Accident - A brakesman named David Smith Muir, residing at 22 St John's Square, Motherwell, was instantaneously killed on Saturday while at his work at Chapel Colliery, Wishaw. When the accident occurred the deceased was standing on the buffer of a full waggon for the purpose of uncoupling those in front for a flying shunt into Chapel Colliery siding. This he had just done when he overbalanced himself and fell in front of the advancing train, seven of the waggons passing over the lower part of his body, he just breathed his last when assistance came forward. [Motherwell Times 29 September 1888]

12 December 1890

Fatal Pit Accident At Carluke - Yesterday a fatal pit accident occurred in Woodhall Pit, Chapelhall. A youth aged 15, named Alexander Davidson, belonging to Carluke, while going to fill his flask at the “sump”, fell into the water, which was about 12 ft deep, and was drowned. His remains were conveyed to his father's house in Stewart Street, Carluke, in the evening. [Evening Times 13 December 1890]