Scottish Mining Website

1857 Fatal Accidents

Notes - The information in this page is mainly compiled from appendices to the reports of the Inspector of Mines and Collieries - William Alexander for the Western District of Scotland and Robert Williams for the Eastern District of Scotland.  Additional details from the main body of the report are given where available. Many accidents are not listed in these reports and additional names have been added from newspaper reports and other sources - information not sourced from the mine inspectors reports is indicated by a shaded gray background

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Year Month Day Name of Colliery Where situated Owners name Person(s) killed Occupation Cause of death Extra Details
1857January9Hamilton FarmeRutherglenColin Dunlop & CoJames O'DonnelBrusherFall of stone while blasting in one of the drawing roads 
1857January10RedburnKilwinningWilliam Baird & CoThos Goodman (boy)DrawerExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: The seam of coal in which this accident occurred is known in the district as "Kilwinning Main"; in general its roof is bad, and heavy fells often occur. The openings made by these falls form receptacles for gas, where it collects and is not dislodged by the general ventilation. The underground oversman and fireman were aware of a particular part of the colliery where an accumulation of firedamp did exist in one of these openings. It would appear the men also were aware of it, and sometimes orders were given to lower the lights while passing under that particular opening. For three months at least this system had been pursued, until one morning deceased, who was a boy, came in contact with the explosive mixture, when "drawing" along under it. After examining into the cause of accident, I suggested that the air should be directed to the uppermost recesses of the opening. This is the only practical mode of treating with such accumulations of firedamp situated above the general current of the air, and is well known to oversmen of any experience. The notion of fixing the height of the firedamp from one day to another, at four, five, or six feet above the level of the pavement, where naked lights might innocuously be carried, is too absurd, when it is considered how very variable and uncertain such an imaginary line of safety must be. J. F. Murdoch, Esq., Procurator Fiscal, Ayr, founding upon the general and special rules of the colliery, charged the oversman and fireman with culpable neglect of duty, who, on being tried by J. Robinson, Esq., Advocate, Sheriff Depute, and a jury, were found guilty, and sentenced each to one month's imprisonment.
1857January12WhitehillNear DalkeithR B Wardlaw RamsayWilliam KerrOversmanBy coming in contact with cross beams while descendingNewspaper report
1857January15Palace Craig No6AirdrieWilliam Baird & CoJohn CairnsCollierBy a “race” of hutches upon a dook, the bottom bar of the first broke

From Main body of report: At this Colliery there is an engine placed near the pit bottom which draws the coal from a dook; the load is collected and arranged at the foot of it; a person, called "chain man" who travels with the load and returns with the empty hutches, gives the signals to the engineman and superintend the connections or couplings. Chokes are placed at two points on this dook, one near the top and the other near the bottom, for the purpose of arresting the load in case of any accident to the winding chain or connections. Unfortunately this does not give all the security required; for, in the event of a breakage at any point between the chokes or under the lower one, accidents may occur. The accident took place near the bottom of the dook, and before the full load had reached the lowest choke. The cause of accident was the bottom bar of the first hutch giving way, when deceased, who was at the bottom of the dook taking an empty hutch out of the lye was crushed by the descending load. No incline like this is safe to travel on; in all such cases I think it would be advisable to have a separate foot road, and to prohibit all, except those immediately connected with the working of the incline, from going upon it. There are in general use a variety of apparatus for attaching to the last hutch of the load upon an incline, which stop or arrest it in case of the chain breaking or otherwise. They do not always prevent accidents, but generally they will; and I suggested to the underground manager that some such apparatus should be introduced.
1857January17CarronhallNear FalkirkCarron CoThomas RobertsonCollierFall of roof at face of working Newspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1857January21DalryAyrshire  James Lowrie  Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Ayrshire pages
1857January23BlackbraesNear FalkirkJames Russell & SonJohn CarslawEngine-manFalling off scaffold at pit-head 
1857January28SpringhillBailliestonSpringhill Coal CoHugh McIntyreTrapperFall of roof 
1857 February9Quarter    James Wilson  Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1857February14AitkinstonBailliestonJames MerryPatrick McGowanCollierFall of roof  
1857February19LochgellyNear DunfermlineLochgelly Iron CoJames MacquirieDrawerFall of roof at face of working  
1857February21StevenstonNear HolytownStevenston Coal CoAndrew LeesCollierFall of roof at face of working  
1857February22Palace Craig No6AirdrieWilliam Baird & CoJames LynchCollierExplosion of fire damp  
1857March2BannockburnStirlingJohn Geddes & CoDavid OgilvieCollierFall of coal  
1857March2CarfinNear HolytownWilliam DixonWilliam QueenBrusherFall of stone at face of workings  
1857March4BoutriehillIrvineYoung and BlackJames McCarleCollierFell from the cage, occasioned by a fall of stone in the shaft

From Main body of report: The winding shaft in this case formed also the upcast, and the heat from the furnace had to a certain extent loosened part of the more friable strata.
Contrary to the rules of the colliery, at the time of the accident seven men were being raised upon the cage. A fall of loose stone from the side of the shaft was the cause of accident, and from the effects of which deceased, a young man, fell from the cage to the bottom, supposed upwards of 20 fathoms.
Accidents of this description are easily prevented. I suggested to the owners that covered cages should be introduced ; they give additional security to the men while ascending and descending; and that the special rules which provide for the number of men to " ride " upon a cage at a time should be strictly enforced. In this case the owners paid damages to the parents of the deceased.
1857March7StonelawRutherglenJohn R ReidWilliam JohnstoneBottomerFell down the shaft while engaged disconnecting the rope from the cage

From Main body of report: This is one of the few pits in Scotland where the precaution is taken to shut off the natural feeders of water in the strata by tubbing.
An accident occurred to the iron tubbing while the pit was at work, which occasioned a slight derangement of the wooden conductors, and one of the cages got fastened or jammed in the shaft, near to the level of an upper or " mid" working.
The deceased, who was " bottomer" at this upper working, finding the cage fastened, went on to the top of it to disconnect the rope, so that the cage on the opposite side might be lowered to raise the men, when, owing to his weight, and a quantity of "slack" rope which had collected there, the cage fell to the bottom, a distance of 20 fathoms.
Deceased in thus placing himself in such a perilous situation, without making the slightest provision for securing the cage, acted very unwarily, indeed, exposed himself unnecessarily; and this is another striking illustration of the fearless manner underground workmen often go about their work.
1857March14MorningsideNear WishawShotts Iron CoWilliam SmithHorse-driverFall of stone in main horse road  
1857March16PercetonIrvineJohn H WattHugh McLeanSinkerFall of stones from the side of the shaft  
1857March21CardowanBailliestonBlochairn Iron CoMurdoch McKinlay (boy)DrawerJammed between 2 hutches while drawing

From Main body of report: The unfortunate sufferer and his brother were drawers. At the time of the accident they were each pushing a hutch to the pit-bottom ; deceased was first. From some slight cause his hutch was checked, and his brother being rear to him, and following at the usual speed, jammed him between the hutches. They were both young. Deceased was not eleven years of age.
1857March21LegbrannockNear HolytownMonkland Iron & Steel CoHenry MorganDrawerFall of roof at face of workings  
1857March30BroadfieldDuntocherAlexander DunnAlexander WalkerOversmanBreakage of the winding rope

From Main body of report: I examined this colliery a day previous to the accident,, and found one of the winding ropes a good deal worn. It had been cut and a clasp inserted. Before going on the cage to be lowered by it I directed the manager's attention to the unsafe state of clasped ropes. In reply, he informed me they had a new one in store, and would put it on immediately. The rope broke at the clasp, and the oversman lost his life by it. In this district the ropes are generally well attended to, but I find a disposition on the part of some owners, when a rope fails, to cut off the worn part and get it clasped, then wear it against a good rope, the men being directed to " ride" upon the new one. I have always pointed out that this is an objectionable practice. It is safe so far as the underground workmen are concerned, but I have observed that when a rope breaks, men at the pit-head run-perhaps the greatest risk. Clasped ropes are unsafe wherever they require to pass over the "pullies" and the "drums," particularly where pullies or drums of small diameter are used. I believe however, those who give minute attention to details of cost find that it is not economy, even keeping safety out of view, to use bad or overworn ropes; and there can be no doubt they do form an unnecessary and preventable source of danger.
1857April2AlloaNear AlloaAlloa Coal CompanyJoseph PatersonCollierFall of roof at face of workings  
1857April3CorsehillKilwinningWilliam Baird & CoJames CairnsCollierFall of coal and stone  
1857April11AnnandaleKilmarnockArchibald FinniePeter McKie (boy)CarterBreakage of rope which killed the deceased at the pit mouth  
1857April16DalzielNear HamiltonJohn Watson junBarnard KinnonCollierCrushed betwixt the cage and side of pit  
1857April21LochgellyNear DunfermlineLochgelly Iron CoWilliam McKnockerCollierFell off the cage while ascending the pit  
1857April23HarthillNear BathgateMonkland Iron & Steel CoSamuel WilliamsonCollierFall of coal and ironstone at face of working  
1857April23Quarter    Thomas North  Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1857May5WellwoodCumnockWilliam Baird & CoJames SharpeCollierFall of stone at the coal face  
1857May11AnnocklodgeKilmarnockMerry & CunninghamJames McCallumCollierFall of coal  
1857May15FairlieKilmarnockJohn Gilmour & CoDavid SimCollierExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: Hitherto the workings of this colliery have been carried on in " upper coals." Recently a shaft has been continued to one of the underlying seams, and previous to the accident the preparatory work of opening out and turning the pit-bottom stoop had just been completed. Deceased went to his working place in the morning, when some firedamp which had collected there during the night exploded upon him. The management, so far as the ventilation was concerned, appeared to have been very lax, and the only fireman was a working collier, who got two shillings and sixpence a week for examining the state of the ventilation, which duty he performed in the morning before going to his work. Such an arrangement could not fail to lead to accident, particularly in case of fire-damp. The collier, the assumed fireman, had no particular interest in looking after the state of the ventilation. His examination, at best, would in all probability be a hurried one, so that he might get to his ordinary work ; and it transpired on inquiry that the deceased had occasionally examined his own place. I directed the owners' attention to the state of their works, made several and at a subsequent examination I found the ventilation and other arrangements considerably improved. In this case the owners made an arrangement with the widow of the deceased regarding damages.
1857May23Mount VernonShettlestonAndrew BuchananJohn BlackCollierFall of roof  
1857May26StevenstonNear HolytownStevenston Coal CoRobert CarreyCollierStruck by something falling down the pit while ascending  
1857May29EastfieldRutherglenJ G BuchananLauchlan CallagherCollierFall of coal and roof  
1857June15Ayr CollieryAyrJ T GordonStewart StrachanCollierExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: Ayr Colliery has been as little affected by modern improvements as any one throughout this district. The present accident was occasioned by an explosion of firedamp in or near to the deceased's working place. It would appear the current of ventilation had always been inadequate. To illustrate; it was customary for the drawers in the morning to put out their lights at a certain point in one of the drawing roads, and during the day to carry them near to the level of the pavement, so as to prevent ignition of the gas which was lodged in the roadway above the ventilating current; and this very improper practice had continued for months, not seemingly to meet an emergency, but as a part of the system of working. The air-course at some points did not exceed three square feet, and the only means for producing ventilation was a fire-lamp placed in the bottom of the upcast end. The "fireman" and "oversman" were charged by J. F. Murdoch, Esq., Procurator Fiscal, Ayr, with culpable neglect of duty, and libelled accordingly. The case was heard by J. Robinson, Esq., Advocate, Sheriff Depute, and a jury, found proved, and they were each sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment. I had occasion in my last Report to point out that this was the only colliery throughout this district where cages and conductors were not in use. When I visited it in December last I found that with a change of management arrangements were also being made for introducing cages and conductors. This, when completed, will clear away from this district the last relic of a very barbarous winding system.
1857June17StevenstonStevenstonMerry & CunninghamBiggart AdamCollierFall of roof at face  
John Duff (boy)Drawer
1857June23BridesholmNear CoatbridgeBartonhill Coal CoDaniel HandcockSinkerFell off a scaffold whilst repairing midwall of pit  
1857July1CoathillCoatbridgeMerry & CunninghamPeter Burns (boy)DrawerFell down the shaft from a mid working

From Main body of report: The deceased was a "drawer" and engaged in a mid-working about 24 fathoms above the level of the bottom of the shaft. There was a "bottomer" placed in this working, and the hutches were put on the cage in the open shaft, that is, the cage was not rested upon a scaffold or otherwise. The bottomer, on the day of the accident, have gone on some trifling business to the opposite side of the pit from which the coals were put on; deceased seeing the light in front, had, I imagine, trusted to the bottomer being at his usual place, and unknowingly ran his hutch into the shaft, with which he was precipitated to the bottom. This description of accident something occurs; to prevent it, the chain or spar is frequently drawn across the front of the pit and the roads are sometimes so arranged that the drawer cannot push on direct to the cage, but is obliged to draw slightly back before getting to it, and this arrangement, not depending upon any person's attention, cannot fail to check or arrest the thoughtless.
1857July10CarronhallNear FalkirkCarron CoRobert HunterCollierFall of roof at face of working Newspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1857July13GartgillCoatbridgeWilliam Baird & CoRobert SneadonOverseerA crowbar fell down the shaft upon him while putting in a buntin

From Main body of report: Deceased was one of the overlookers connected with the works; he and the oversman had gone down the shaft at the dinner hour to repair a buntin, when a crowbar, which had been about the pit head, fell down and passed right through his body. This accident appeared rather mysterious, and though there were two men near the pit mouth at the time, they could not give any particulars of how it occurred. Shaft work is always attended with danger, and I do not think such a description of work should ever be performed without the regular pit head man or some steady workman being in constant attendance.
1857July16Bank PitCoatbridgeWm Dixon & CoRobert TennantCollierFall of roof  
1857July25Muirhouse DykesNear BathgateJames SmithRobert AdamsCollierFall of roof at face of working  
1857August1BarrhillKilsythMatthew Wallace &CoJames BuchananCollierFall of roof  
1857August6WarrickhillKilmarnockMerry & CunninghamAndrew FultonSinkerExplosion of fire damp in shaft

From Main body of report: The pit had been sunk a short time previous to the accident. It was 58 fathoms deep; 41 fathoms to what is locally termed the "Ell" coal, and 58 fathoms to the "Main." The latter had been worked for a few feet and abandoned; the former was the seam to be worked, and the oversman had there constructed a scaffold to enable the workmen to commence operations. The deceased (Fulton and Neil) had only worked about an hour at this seam after the scaffold was put on when an explosion of firedamp took place, forcing away the scaffold and a quantity of the midwall to the bottom of the shaft, among which the unfortunate sufferers were found. The direct cause of accident appears to have been the scaffold placed at the "Ell" coal seam; it was entirely displaced by the explosion, but the cuttings for the " needles "or joists to rest in showed that the scaffold deals, if not close, had been constructed without any estimate or idea of the ventilation required. The consequence was, the supply of air finding its way through the scaffold to ventilate the lower part of the shaft, which was well known to give off firedamp, was so much reduced that, in mixing with the gaseous products in the shaft, it reached the explosive point an hour after the scaffold was laid. To keep a shaft safe under such circumstances regular ventilation is necessary, and openings proportioned to such ventilation should be formed in the scaffolding on each side of the midwall; the one opening to act as a downcast for the air, and the other as an upcast for it, and, practically speaking, there is no other safe way-that is, where the lower part of the shaft is kept for the use of pipes, water lodgment, or otherwise. In this case the water has since been allowed to rise to the level of the "Ell" coal, which simplifies the ventilating arrangements.
William NeilSinker
1857August7KinnielNear LinlithgowWilliam Wilson & CoJohn HamiltonCollierDrowned by workings communicating with an old waste, standing full of water

From Main body of report: Accident occurred at No. 24 Pit, Kinneil Iron works, in the county of Linlithgow, on the 7th August, where two men and two boys were drowned by the workings communicating with the waste of an old colliery standing full of water. These workings were abandoned about ninety years ago, and it seems there was no plan to show the extent of these old workings; but it was well known that a quantity of water had accumulated in them, as a steam engine was erected on one of the pits for pumping water out of it to supply a distillery. When the owners of this colliery were working the upper coal in No 24 pit, three horizontal bores were kept ahead of the advance workings, in the direction of the old pit. One of these bores went through on the old waste 120 yards from No 24 pit and 71 yards from the old pit. When working the under coal in No 24 pit, no bores were kept in the direction of the old workings, and the consequence was, the advance mine went through on the old waste standing full of water 53 yards from No 24 pit and 138 yards from the old pit thus showing that the under had been worked 67 yards further to the dip of the old pit than the upper coal. From these circumstances, there seems to have been a great want of ordinary precaution on the part of the manager, in not causing bores to be kept in advance of the workings, for the safety of the workmen.
Newspaper report - Lothian pages
Joseph AirdCollier
Robert RussellDrawer
John HastieDrawer
1857August31WallyfordNear EdinburghC & A ChristieJames LoshCollierFell down pit by a crane rope not being securely attached to the crane

From Main body of report: This accident occurred at Wallyford Colliery, in the county of Edinburgh, on the 31st August, and was caused by a rope not being properly secured to the barrel of a crane used in drawing pumps out of a pit. The rope slipped and ran amain, and the deceased, along with the pump that was being drawn up, was precipitated to the bottom of the pit.
1857September11HurlfordHurlfordAllan Gilmour & CoThomas ParkCollierWinding shaft getting out of gear

From Main body of report: This description of accident has always appeared to me of the kind that might easily be prevented. The engine at this work, like many others here, is arranged to pump water and wind coals. In general such engines are not engaged at both at the same time, and the " plumber, blocks," being moveable, admit of the wheels on the pumping or winding shafts being put out or in gear when required. As some degree of mystery is generally attached to these accidents, I think it proper to draw attention here to a few of the more prominent points suggested at some of these investigations; but premising, I would remark, that nearly all these accidents happen after a cessation of pumping and immediately after the driving shaft is connected or put into gear with the one which winds. I have made several experiments with this description of machinery, arid they generally prove that the wheel if left free (to move with the plumber block upon the sole plate), will not keep in gear with the driving wheel, unless the weight of the winding rope and load considerably exceed the friction of the plumber block upon the sole plate. To prove it practically, in this particular case I experimented with the wheels in gear without the winding rope, and found that they kept in gear, with the engine at work, although the key was out, and the plumber block not screwed to the sole plate. I next connected the rope and cage to the winding apparatus, when the resistance in plumber block screwed down to the sole plate and without the key ; in this state the engine worked correctly while raising or lowering the cage at a considerable velocity. The last experiment was with the plumber block loose, not screwed down to the sole plate, and the back key in its place. I may remark, the key used in the experiment was soft wood, for the purpose of showing more clearly the tendency of the engine to throw it out, and the moment the engine was started, the plumber block was driven full up to the key ; and in working in this state there was not the slightest possibility of its getting out of place. These trials satisfied me that had the engineman in the present case screwed down the plumber block to the sole plate, without putting in the key, the accident would not have happened ; and that had he only put in the key, without screwing down the plumber block to the sole plate, the machinery would have remained equally secure. It is, perhaps, superfluous to remark that the key should always be put in, and the plumber block made secure to the sole plate. That these accidents should nearly always happen immediately after the changes I have stated, viz., when the engine is put off pumping, and into gear to wind, clearly bear out these experiments; and it may be inferred, when such an accident occurs, that it is owing to the culpable neglect of the engineman, or person in charge of the gearing, as the case may be. A popular notion exists that when the winding shaft is placed behind the driving shaft, the tendency of the rope and load to move forward will keep it in gear. This, to a certain extent, is correct, particularly when overwinding, but it is entirely a mistake to trust to it, and the present case is a fair illustration. Various schemes have been devised to obviate mistakes independent of the engine-man's care, while changing the gearing of this kind of machinery; and a strong screw fixed in a stud, connected to the plumber block, has been successfully used. I do not know of an accident from this or a similar arrangement. Keys are also made, so that they can be screwed down with the same nut that secures the plumber the sole plate. This, I believe, is also safe. I have observed in use keys, arranged so as to fall into their place own gravity, when the winding shaft was put into gear ; in working, the key can be lifted up just so far as to allow the plumber block to pass ; it then rests on it, and when the machinery again requires to be reversed, it falls back to its original position. Each of these schemes appears to me efficient, and I am of opinion an accident like [this] could not happen by them ; or if an accident did happen under such arrangements, it could at least be clearly shown who had been the culpable and negligent party ; but at present all such accidents are so involved in mystery that the guilty parties escape with impunity.
John BlackCollier
1857September13NitshillHurletJ & G CoatesJohn HobsonCollierA shot fired by accident while engaged driving a stone mine

From Main body of report: The two unfortunate men survived the accident a few days, but gave no satisfactory account of how it occurred. However, it appears they had been engaged driving a stone mine, situated at some distance from the rest of the works. The fireman of the colliery, in going his rounds, had visited them on the morning of the day on which the accident happened, about 7.30 A.M. They had also been seen about 11 A.M. and 1 P.M. From that time nothing further was known of them till 6 P.M., when a labourer, whose duty it was to draw their rubbish, went to his work, and on entering the mine found them both lying insensible, and bleeding about the face and head. He went directly for assistance, and they were raised to the surface without delay. It was not possible to arrive at the particulars of this accident, but there can be no doubt as to the cause. The deceased, at the time of the accident, must have been engaged preparing to blast. My opinion is, their shot, as originally prepared, had missed fire, and in endeavouring to " draw" it, or otherwise make the necessary preparations for blasting, a spark from the "needle" had ignited the powder. During my inspections of collieries, it often comes to my knowledge that accidents happen in this way (if non-fatal of course they are not reported), resulting in lameness or partial loss of sight. Workmen are not disposed to abandon a borehole, particularly if it is made in hard stone; but as regards safety, there can be no doubt that when a borehole charged with gunpowder misses fire, it should be abandoned at once, and another commenced at a suitable distance from it. I am not sanguine that the majority of workmen will adopt this view of it and as such a precaution depends in a great measure upon themselves, I fear accidents will so continue to happen, which are, and I conceive ought to be, classed in the preventible list.
Peter YoungCollier
1857September28SpringbankGlasgowGeorge WilsonJohn NeilsonCollierExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: This accident occurred in a very limited waste, and in a seam of coal which was not at the time intended to be worked, but where a few openings were made to serve as a water lodgment. A " cutter" had been laid open in the pavement of the coal, a week previous to the accident, which gave off a quantity of firedamp, and at the time of my inspection I could ignite it readily near to the level of the pavement. On the day of the accident a partial explosion of firedamp had blown down the brattice and deranged the ventilation (accounted for by the trapdoor having been left open.) The oversman and four others immediately descended to make the necessary repairs,- the damage done was of a trifling kind,-but during the time these repairs were being made, and while the current of air was necessarily off the heading, a quantity of firedamp collected in it. As soon as the brattice and doors were replaced and the ventilation had commenced to take its usual course, it would appear the oversman had gone hurriedly into the inside of the trapdoor with his naked light, and met the air in an explosive state, when it ignited, and he and those who were along with him were all less or more burned. In this case the oversman at last acted very thoughtlessly, although there was no want of care and consideration on his part previously ; I can scarcely call it neglect, for he had kept a man attending with a safety-lamp watching the progress of the air during the time the repairs were being made, and at the time of the explosion the person with the safety-lamp was standing beyond the " cutter " and near to the heading face.
1857October1BenstoneJohnstoneLudovic JohnstoneJohn FreillDrawerFall of coal near to the face  
1857October3GlenclelandNear WishawKerr & PenderFrances HillDrawerFall of coal at face of working  
1857October7EdmonstoneNear DalkeithJohn WauchopeDavid NeilsonCollierFall of roof at face of workingNewspaper report - Lothian pages
1857October8DunnikeirNear KirkcaldyJ & A GoodallJohn SummersCollierFall of roof at face of working  
1857October28DalzielNear HamiltonJohn Watson junJames ClarksonCollierFall of coal at face of working  
1857October28DysartNear KirkcaldyEarl of RosslynJames ChrystelCollierCrushed whilst attempting to get on the cage when in motion  
1857October28NewarthillNear HolytownJohn WatsonJohn HagertyCollierFall of roof at face of working  
1857November3DrumpellerCoatbridgeJohn Wilson's TrusteesDavid MooreSinkerFall of stone in a sinking shaft  
1857November5Shotts Iron WorksNear WishawShotts Iron CoWilliam McPhailCollierFall of coal at face of working  
1857November14Little ReathNear DunfermlineLochgelly Iron CoThomas DrummondCollierFall of coal at face of working  
1857November16TitwoodPollokshawsSir John MaxwellEdward McBrydePit-head manFell down a sinking shaft  
1857November19Carnbroe Iron WorksNear AirdrieMerry & CunninghamThomas HarperCollierFall of coal at face of working  
1857November21Coltness Iron WorksNear WishawColtness Iron CoDavid HallidayCollierExplosion of fire damp, going into a place that had been stopped

From Main body of report: Only one death was caused by explosion of firedamp in this district during the past year, No. 28 in Schedule, at Coltness Iron Works, near Wishaw, on the 21st November. A collier, named Halliday, had gone with a naked lamp into a place that had been stopped in consequence of firedamp being in it, when a small quantity of inflammable gas exploded, and burned him so severely that he died in a week after. Previous to this accident, no proper signals for warning the workmen of the danger of going into such places had been used at this colliery.
1857November23WindyhillJohnstoneWm Dixon & CoJames KeanCollierFall of coal and roof  
1857November24DunnikeirNear KirkcaldyJ & A GoodallWilliam MathisonCollierFell down pit whilst ascending, owing to the hooks for suspending the bucket not being secured

From Main body of report: Accident occurred at Dunnikeir Colliery, near Kirkcaldy, in the county of Fife, on the 24th November, at a pit newly sinked. The guide rods and cages had not been put in at the time of the accident; the workmen were letdown and taken up the pit in a barrel (or bucket); this barrel was attached to the rope by two short chains, with hooks at the ends; these hooks were passed through a swivel ring in the centre of the cross-bar of the barrel, and loosely tied in with a piece of string, which allowed the points of the hooks to come out of the ring, leaving only the string to suspend the barrel and the two men in it; which not being of sufficient strength to sustain that weight, broke when they had ascended about fifty yards, and they were precipitated to the bottom. Had proper spring hooks been used, this accident could not have happened.
Peter MarrCollier
1857November28HolehillNear AirdrieRobert BairdJames HamiltonCollierCrushed by cage at pit bottom, owing to a mistake of signals  
1857November30BarglachanCumnockWm Baird & CoJohn StirlingEnginemanFell down the shaft

From Main body of report: At the time this accident occurred various rumours were current about it of a mysterious kind. A partial combination was stated to exist among the enginemen of the district, and it was understood the deceased was not a member of it. According to the evidence of parties, the engineman had left his work on the afternoon of Saturday (28th November last), and with some acquaintances had afterwards been indulging at a public-house till a late hour, after which he went with two of them to the colliery to " draw " some men who were engaged on a night shift, but the person in charge of the works had visited them during the engineman's absence and drawn the men out of the pit. When the engineman with his two associates reached the pit, one of them accustomed to underground work was lowered, to see if the men had finished their shift and were ready to be taken up. Whether the engineman had been getting uneasy about the return of his acquaintance, or had been listening at the pit-mouth for the signal of his return when the accident happened, no one can say; he was found the following morning in the sump of the pit, and his acquaintance who had been lowered to inquire after the men on the night shift, though in the pit all night, knew nothing of it. A singular part of the case was, one of the deceased's boots was found in a hutch about nine feet along the level road from the bottom of the pit. This, coupled with other circumstances, and that one of the two who were with the deceased could not give any information of where he had been or anything connected with the mysterious affair, caused a considerable amount of speculation, and a strong feeling existed that there had been foul play in some way or other. I took a good deal of trouble, along with the Procurator Fiscal, in investigating this case, and I felt satisfied that the deceased fell down the shaft accidentally while in a state of intoxication, and that his companion who was last seen with him in the engine-house had not been sober enough to remember anything of it.
1857November30EastfieldRutherglenJ G BuchananWm ThomsonCollierExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: At this colliery the workmen had been allowed to go into their working places in the morning contrary to the special rules, which provide for a fireman, when a partial accumulation of firedamp near to deceased's working place was ignited by his naked lamp.
A strict investigation of a criminal kind is at present being made by the Crown agent as to the culpability of the parties.
1857December2GarthamlockBailliestonHenry GrahamRobert SpencePit-head manFell down a sinking shaft  
1857December6Boghead  James Neish    Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Hamilton pages (injured 25 November)
1857December8KinnielNear LinlithgowWilliam Wilson & CoRichard SneddonCollierFall of roof at face of workings  
1857December17PolkemnetNear BathgateShotts Iron CoWilliam HaddowBottomerFalling from a mid-working to pit bottomNewspaper report - Lothian pages
1857December19Race Course Pit, Airdrie    Andrew Rumgay   Death not listed in Inspectors report.  Accidental death (death certificate)With thanks to the anonymous contributor who provided this information
1857December24Preston GrangeNear EdinburghSir George Suttie, Bart.Alexander WatsonCollierFall of coal at face of workings  
1857December25PolkemnetNear BathgateShotts Iron CoBenjamin PolkinghornCollierBy the gunpowder igniting whilst stemming a shot  
1857December31DrumpellerCoatbridgeJohn Wilson's TrusteesMichael Hodgecase (boy)DrawerFall of coal off a stoop on the side of a drawing road  
Last Updated 29th September 2013