Blantyre Area Accidents to 1880

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

21 November 1867

Melancholy Accident - About eight o'clock on Thursday morning, a miner , named Arthur M’Cormick, met with a fatal accident in Seafield Crescent Pit, in the parish of Blantyre. He and another miner, named David Jones, residing in East Kilbride, were being lowered into the pit by means of a "gin." The two men by whom it was wrought having been overpowered, they lost hold and the cage went to the bottom of the pit a distance of eighteen feet, with a fearful crash. M'Cormick had a pick in his hand at the time, and v/hen the cage struck the bottom, the end of the pick-shaft came violently in contact with his abdomen, injuring him so severely that he died, early yesterday morning. Dr Lennox attended. The other man Jones escaped with some slight injuries. Deceased was unmarried. [Scotsman 23 November 1867]

14 February 1872

Hamilton – Fatal Coal Pit Accident – Between 5 and 6 o'clock yesterday morning, John Bodsman, pitheadman, Almada Street, Hamilton, was killed at No 1 pit, Priestfield, the property of Mr W S Dixon. The deceased had charge of the valves which opened and shut the water-chest at the pit mouth. A chestful of water had been drawn, and Bodman went on to the cage for the purpose of turning the valve handles, when, in some unaccountable way, he was suddenly jammed between the cage and the “shuts” or woodwork at the pit head. Death resulted in about 4 hours after the accident. The deceased, who was 30 years of age, has left a widow and two children. [Scotsman 14 February 1872]

27 February 1874

Blantyre - Found Dead - Yesterday morning, Bernard Roy, about 80 years of age, employed as a night watchman at No 1 ironstone pit, was found dead in the lodge at this pit. When the men employed at the pit came upon the ground at half past five am, they noticed that the old man was not to be seen, whereupon they proceeded to the lodge which they found to be jammed from the inside, and on forcing open the door, discovered the unfortunate man lying upon the ground quite dead. The cause of death is supposed to have been apoplexy. [Hamilton Advertiser 28 February 1874]

2 March 1874

Serious Pit Explosion at Blantyre – Two Men Killed – An alarming explosion occurred at an early hour yesterday morning, whereby two brushers named Hugh Pollock and John Kerr, were instantly killed. They had been employed in one of Dixon's pits at Priestfield, and shortly after midnight had proceeded to their work in repairing and clearing the roads for the entrance of miners at 5 o'clock. They both were provided with safety lamps, and had not been half an hour in the pit when those residing tin the neighbourhood were startled by a loud explosion. On search being made, the body of Pollock was found resting against one of the pit props, having been blown a distance of 20 yards, and that of Kerr was discovered near the mouth of the shaft. As no one was in the pit except themselves t the time, it is not known how the explosion was caused. The deceased were 50 and 30 years of age respectively [Scotsman 3 March 1874]

30 May 1874

On Saturday morning a labourer named John Morrison was killed in No 2 coal pit, Priestfield, Blantyre, by falling from the cage to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of 42 fathoms. [Scotsman 1 June 1874]

Melancholy Coal Pit Accident – At an early hour on Saturday morning, a labourer named John Morrison, residing in Lamb Street Hamilton, was killed in No 2 Pit, Priestfield Colliery, Blantyre, wrought by Wm S Dixon (Limited). The miners at the works have for some time been on strike, but the “oncost” men are still employed about the pit, Morrison being one of them. He was in the act of removing one of the wooden planks across the shaft in the soft coal seam, on which the cage rests, when one end suddenly falling away, he lost his balance, and was precipitated with great violence to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of 42 fathoms. His body was found shortly afterwards in about ten feet of water. Deceased, who was 32 years of age, was married and has left a widow and family. [Hamilton Advertiser 6 June 1874]

19 June 1874

Yesterday, Robert Paxton, pit-sinker, Blantyre, was killed by falling down Greenhall coal pit, near Hamilton, while engaged making some repairs. His body was found in three feet of water at the bottom of the shaft. [Scotsman 20 June 1874]

Blantyre – Melancholy Accident – About 8 o'clock yesterday morning, a melancholy accident occurred at No 2 Pit, Greenhall Colliery, in the course of being sunk by Messrs. Colin Dunlop & Co., Quarter Iron Works. Two sinkers – Wm. Gallacher, and Robt. Paxton, residing at Hunthill, were working together in the pit (which had been put down to the extent of 15 fathoms) and wer standing on a scaffolding when the kettle in descending caught on a plank about seven feet above them. The rope attached to it somehow slackened, and the kettle freeing itself suddenly, fell with a violent jerk, striking Paxton severely on the head, and throwing him to the pit bottom in an accumulation of 8 feet of water, where his remains were afterwards found. Deceased, who was 28 years of age, has left a widow and family. [Hamilton Advertiser 20 June 1874]

18 August 1874

Blantyre – Pit Accident – About 1 o'clock on Tuesday last, James Readie, miner, Dixon's Rows, got his leg broken above the ankle in consequence of a large quantity of coal having fallen upon him form the roof of his working place, in the soft coal seam in No 2 Pit, Blantyre Colliery. He was removed home and attended by Dr Marshall. [Hamilton Advertiser 22 August 1874]

16 September 1875

Blantyre – Fatal Accident at a Colliery – An accident occurred at the Blantyre Collieries, owned by W S Dixon & Co, yesterday, by which David Crawford, aged 28, lost his life. The deceased, along with another man, was engaged shanking No 3 pit, now in course of sinking at the above works. While removing a wooden water tank, the tackle by which it was being hoisted broke when on a level with the surface, and the tank, with Crawford in it, was precipitated to the bottom of the shaft, between 50 and 60 fathoms deep, falling into 10 fathoms of water. Assistance was procured, but when the unfortunate man was brought to the surface life was of course quite extinct. [Scotsman 17 September 1875]

15 February 1876

About 2 o'clock yesterday, a waggon shifter, named James Carroll, 53, residing at Stonefield Blantyre, was instantaneously killed while at work in No 1 Pit, Blantyre (Messrs W Dixon & Co Ltd). It seems he was engaged shifting waggons at the scree, and while in the act of coupling two waggons which were in motion, his head got jammed betwixt the buffers and was crushed to a jelly.[Herald February 16 1876]

6 December 1876

John Ward and John Grant, brushers, have been severely burned in the main seam of No. 1 pit, Blantyre Colliery (Messrs Wm. Dixon, Limited), through the explosion of a flask of gunpowder which one of them was carrying. [Scotsman 8 December 1876]

28 March 1877

Man Killed – On Wednesday, a man named William Neilson, a labourer, residing at Stonefield Blantyre, was employed along with several other men at No 4 Pit, Blantyre Colliery ( W S Dixon Ltd) unloading heavy logs of timber from a waggon, when one of them, about 22 feet long and 15 inches square, fell upon him, crushing his head and killing him on the spot. He was 26 years of age and unmarried. [Hamilton Advertiser March 31 1877]

2 May 1877

Pit Accident – At No 1 Pit, Blantyre Colliery, W S Dixon Ltd, on Wednesday, a collier named Thomas Irvine 49, was badly hurt. It seems that Irvine was engaged in the ell coal seam, when a large piece of coal, weighing about 8 cwt, came away from the face, falling upon the poor man, whereby his right leg was broken above the knee and dislocated at the knee joint. His left arm and side were severely lacerated and bruised, as well as being injured about the head. Dr Grant of Blantyre was called in, and sent the sufferer to the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow. [Hamilton Advertiser May 5 1877]

7 May 1877

Accident – On Monday, James Findlay, 15, a stone picker at Auchenraith Colliery, while “spragging” a waggon at the incline at the scree was struck on the leg by the sprag. His injuries were so severe that the limb had afterwards to be amputated. The operation was performed by Dr Grant. [Hamilton Advertiser May 12 1877]

24 May 1877

Child Killed – A sad accident happened at Auchinraith, Blantyre, on Thursday. James aged 4, son of John Shaw, engineer, was playing at the works with other two children, when he fell into the space where the endless rope used in hauling the coals to the pithead works. He was caught by the rope and drawn against a wheel. His back was broken and he only survived a few minutes after being extricated. [Hamilton Advertiser May 26 1877]

20 August 1877

Explosion of Fire Damp at Blantyre – Between 7 and 8 o'clock on Monday morning an explosion of fire-damp occurred in a pit at Blantyre colliery, by which two miners, Joseph and Andrew M'Inulty, residing at Hall Street, Dixon's Houses, Stonefield, Blantyre, were severely burned. [Scotsman 22 August 1877]

Death of Joseph McNulty, and Injury to Francis McNulty, 21 and 16, by Explosion of Firedamp, at Blantyre Colliery, on 20th August 1877. - Report By Ralph Moore
I descended this pit today, and examined into the circumstances. The accident happened in No. 2 pit, in the splint coal workings, The pit is about 150 fathoms deep, and the splint coal, which is between seven and eight feet in thickness, is worked by the stoop-and-room method, the pillars (stoops) being left about 20 yards square, with the view of being worked out again. The accident happened in the southern part of the workings, about 500 yards from the shaft, at a point where they have come in contact with a large off-throw dyke, and where they have commenced to remove the stoops. The deceased and his brother were engaged at this work, and about half-past seven o'clock in the morning, while they were working, a fall of roof took place in the waste close to them, which brought down some firedamp. It ignited at their naked lights and burned them both. Joseph was most severely burned, and died the same day. William Black, the fireman, states that he examined the place in the morning, and found no firedamp there. He admits, however, that on the Wednesday, the 15th, and Thursday, the 10th, he saw a little firedamp in the roof where they were working, but on none of the succeeding days. He was working within 15 yards of the place when the accident happened, and heard the fall take place: immediately afterwards the explosion took place, and the flame came towards him, but he was not burned. I think there was a vacancy in the inaccessible waste where the gas lodged, and it was brought down by the fresh fall. Black, the fireman, states that he told the oversman about the gas on the Wednesday and Thursday previous; and I think both of them have displayed some slackness in not at once providing the men with safety lamps, which is the only safeguard against discharges of gas from inaccessible falls, which cannot be swept out by the air current. In stooping operations, in this district, safety lamps are generally used, and since the accident the men working there are all provided with them, and no naked lights are permitted near the place, although there is a good current of air, and no gas visible. (signed) Ralph Moore. Rutherglen, 23 August 1877.
[See Diagram attached.]

11 September 1877

The Craighead Colliery Explosion – The exploring party engaged in the search for the bodies of Burns and M'Gill, the men who were buried at the bottom of the shaft by the explosion at Craighead Colliery on Tuesday night, continued their labours all yesterday. The water rose in the shaft on Wednesday night, and to keep it down has been a task of great difficulty. The water had to be brought up by means of the " kettles" and it was only after it had fallen to a certain level that the pumps were available. This process went on during the greater part of yesterday, and at a late hour last night the bodies of the unfortunate men were still in the pit. The sinkers expected to reach them in the course of the night. [Scotsman 14 September 1877]

The dead bodies of Burns and M'Gill were late on Thursday night recovered from the bottom of the pit at Craighead Colliery, where the explosion occurred on Tuesday night. [Scotsman 15 September 1877]

13 January 1879

Pit Accident – On Monday morning, while a young man named Frank Wilson, residing at Stonefield, was employed in No 2 Coal Pit, belonging to Messrs Merry & Cunninghame, a fall took place from the workings, and injured him so severely that little hopes are entertained of his recovery. He was removed on Thursday to the Infirmary. Wilson's father and two brothers were killed in the Blantyre Explosion, while a third was killed some time ago in Greenfield Colliery. [Hamilton Advertiser January 18 1879]

19 February 1879

Accidents at Blantyre Colliery – On Wednesday morning, Matthew M'Laren, 30, underground labourer, whilst engaged at the top of the “Causey” Brae, in the splint coal seam of No 2 Pit, High Blantyre Collieries, attaching a wire rope to rakes of hutches as they came up, one of the hutches ran off the rails, and coming against him, broke his right leg a little above the ankle. By order of Dr Grant, he was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. In the afternoon of the same day, Michael Donnachie, 24, collier, was taking a hutch from the face in No 3 Pit, when a neighbour lost control of his hutch, which came down the incline at great speed. Donnachie was jammed between the hutches and was severely injured. [Hamilton Advertiser February 22 1879]

27 February 1879

Blantyre – Fatal Accident at Craighead Colliery – On Wednesday night, a brusher, 33 years of age, named William Black, residing at Henderson's Buildings, Stonefield Blantyre, was killed in Craighead Colliery, Blantyre (Messrs Wm Baird & Co). He had fired a shot and was redding up, when a stone from the roof weighing 5 tons fell upon him. Death was instantaneous. [Scotsman 28 February 1879]

Fatal Accident – On Wednesday night while William Black, 36, residing at Henderson's Buildings, Springwell, Stonefield, was employed “brushing” at Craighead Pit, belonging to Messrs Baird, a heavy fall of stones etc, took place, and killed him on the spot. Deceased leaves a widow and 5 children. [Hamilton Advertiser March 1 1879]

12 May 1879

Pit Accident at Craighead – On Monday morning James McNamara, 23, miner, Bairds' Rows, was rather seriously injured by a fall from the roof of No 2 pit, Craighead Colliery. He was conveyed home and attended by Dr Goff. [Hamilton Advertiser May 17 1879]

7 June 1879

Pit Accident – On Saturday morning, John Fenney, 23, miner, Merry & Cunninghame's Rows, had his left shoulder severely bruised, and his left leg broken above the ankle, by a fall from the roof of the ell coal seam of No 1 pit, Auchinraith Colliery. [Hamilton Advertiser June 14 1879]

26 June 1879

Blantyre – Accident – On Thursday night, Mary Evans, about 4 years of age, daughter of Wm Evans, miner, was severely injured, while playing underneath some standing waggons at the railway siding at No 4 pit, Blantyre Colliery. [Hamilton Advertiser June 28 1879]

14 March 1880

The Late Fire at Blantyre Collieries – Recovery of McLean's Body - In the fire in No. 4 Pit, Blantyre Collieries, on 14th March 1880, it will be remembered that a pony driver named Andrew McLean, twenty-one years of age, while with others attempting to put out the flames at the early stages of the burning, ran to the stables on the other side of the fire, and was never more heard of. On Tuesday afternoon, while workmen were engaged "redding"a fall from the roof near the coal face in the south side of the pit, and about 300 yards from where the fire raged they came on McLean's dead body. There was no mark of burning about his body or clothes, and a silver verge watch found in his pocket was standing at 5:51, being about the time he was last seen. Deceased's funeral took place yesterday. The extent of the damage to the pit may be gathered from the fact that although conducted vigorously from a short time after the fire, the operations for opening up the workings are not yet completed. [Scotsman 14th January 1881]