Scottish Mining Website

1860 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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Information from Appendix to Inspectors Report
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YearMonthDayName of CollieryWhere situatedOwners namePerson(s) killedOccupationAge if givenCategory of AccidentCause of death
1860 January 3 Airdrie Race-course Pit     John Jamieson Ironstone miner 38   Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - New Monkland pages
Leonard Dunwoody Ironstone miner 23
1860January4BonnytonKilmarnockMerry & CunninghamPeter MilliganWaggoner22In shaftsBy recklessly attempting to slide down the pit rope (37 fathoms) for the purpose of disengaging the cage in the shaft

From Main body of report: The deceased was a waggoner at the colliery, and on the day of the accident, the ascending cage had got jammed about 37 fathoms from the surface, by a piece of coal falling between the hutch and the side of the shaft.

In the absence of the oversman, or other party in direct charge, the unfortunate young man had recklessly taken hold of the rope with the view of sliding down it to disengage the cage, but unluckily he lost control of himself and fell upon the cover of the cage, by which he received fatal injuries.
It is not an uncommon thing for underground workmen to " run the tow " in shallow pits, independent of the great risk. I am not aware that any thing can be done to prevent workmen from foolishly exposing themselves; the present case however, ought to be a striking example of the danger and absurdity of such reckless practice.
1860January19KennmuirhillTollcrossJohn HorneMartin McCormickCollier36Falls of roof and coalFall of coal at the coal face 
1860January19StonelawRutherglenJohn R ReidPeter McGourlayCollier57Falls of roof and coalFall of roof 
1860January23BridisholmNear HamiltonProvanhall Coal CoJohn PenmanPitman In shaftsBy something falling down pit whilst repairing pumps Newspaper report - New Monkland pages
1860January24StevenstonStevenstonMerry & CunninghamWilliam MeikleCollier22Falls of roof and coalFall of roof 
1860January25CraigieAyrRobert BrownJames SillarsBottomer30In shaftsBy the cage being raised when he was pushing an empty hutch across it at the bottom of the shaft

From Main body of report: The sufferer in this case was bottomer at the colliery, and it was his duty to arrange the loads at the pit bottom, and make the signals to the surface when required. He was engaged at the time when the accident took place, pushing an empty " hutch " across the cage at the pit bottom.

There were no loaded hutches in the bottom at the time, and several workmen, who were near to the deceased when the accident happened, stated without hesitation, that no signal had been made when the cage was raised ; and from the situation of the signalling apparatus, no person could come in contact with it, and unknowingly make a false alarm.
1860January25RochsullochNear AirdrieGeorge CowieHenry WalkerCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of roof at face of working Newspaper report - New Monkland pages
1860February1DrumpellerCoatbridgeTrustees of John WilsonJames KellyRoadsman46Falls of roof and coalFall of roof while engaged clearing away a fall[NB This report most probably refers to James Gillick, redsman, killed 1 Feb 1860 by a fall of roof . Many thanks to Fred Hawkins for this information] Newspaper report - Old Monkland pages (also in name of Kelly)
1860February16Omoa Iron WorksNear HamiltonRobert StewartJohn McDonaldDrawer ExplosionsBy going into an old working with a naked lamp

From Main body of report: Only one explosion of firedamp, which caused the death of one person, occurred in this district during the past year, at Omoa Iron Works in Lanarkshire, by a drawer having gone into an abandoned unfenced working with a naked lamp, and ignited a small quantity of inflammable gas; he was but slightly burned, was able to walk home, but died in 10 days after.
1860February20Carron BankNear FalkirkCarron CompanyDavid MathewsonCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of coal at face of working 
1860February23BalbirnieNear KirkcaldyJohn BalfourGeorge SteedmanPitheadman Above groundStruck by handle of a crane whilst lifting pumps 
1860February23BraeheadBailliestonCharles Tennant & CoJames FrewCollier53Falls of roof and coalFall of coal while taking it down in the working place 
1860February23FauldhouseNear BathgateWm Dixon and Coltness Iron CoWilliam McDonaldCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of roof at face of working 
1860February24HillheadKilmarnockJohn Gilmour & CoEdward HarveyCollier30Falls of roof and coalFall of roof 
1860 March 3 Curriemyre     John Young     Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1860March5ClunnieNear KirkcaldyJ & A GoodallDavid BalfourCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of stone from roof at face of working Newspaper report - Fife pages
1860March8EglingtonKilwinningWm Baird & CoJohn AndersonDrawer30MiscellaneousSupposed to have been run over and jammed against a coal pillar by a hutch on a heading road, while in the act of lowering it 
1860March16BonnytonKilmarnockMerry & CunninghamJames McLayCollier30Falls of roof and coalFall of “breast” coal while working under it at the face 
1860March17FordellNear DunfermlineG W M HendersonWilliam RockvieCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of roof at face by neglecting to put up props 
1860March28ChapelNear WishawWilliam AitkenWilliam ThomsonCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of coal at face of working 
1860March29Airdrie Cotton MillNear AirdrieJohn BrownPatrick FanningDrawer Above groundCrushed by a loaded hutch on incline 
1860March29BenniehillNear FalkirkA C BrownJames RobertsonCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of stone from roof at face of working Newspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1860April2ProvanhallBailliestonProvanhall Coal CoHugh GemmellDrawer16Falls of roof and coalFall of roof in one of the drawing roads 
1860April11WallyfordNear DalkeithA & C ChristieJohn NeillCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of coal at face of working 
1860April16HillheadKilmarnockJohn Gilmour & CoJohn ArmstrongCollier51In shaftsBy going onto the cage at the pit bottom when it was in motion and got crushed between it and the shaft

From Main body of report: According to the special rules of the colliery, "Where a bottomer is not constantly employed, the oversman shall appoint some person to attend and see the men properly off and on the cage at the pit bottom, and to give the signals when not himself present, at the regular hours for descending in the morning, and ascending when the work is over."

Previous to the accident it did not appear that there had been a person stationed in conformity with this rule; and when men were requiring to ascend, they either made the signals themselves, or got some neighbouring workman to do it for them.
On the day of the accident one of the miners had gone on to the cage, for the purpose of being raised to the surface; the proper signals had been duly made, and just when the engine was in the act of lifting the cage, the deceased reached the pit bottom, and attempted to get on to it. He was caught between the cage and the side of the shaft, and before the engine could be reversed, he was crushed to death.
The accident was occasioned by the rashness of the sufferer himself, but it is proper to explain, that the owner had been violating the special rule above referred to, which provides for the safety of the workmen while being lowered or raised; and it is but reasonable to expect that where the management is conducted regardless of the special rules providing for the general safety, that the workmen, who under the most rigorous discipline are not too careful, will be very apt to imitate and become equally reckless.
The oversman of the colliery was charged by the Procurator Fiscal of Kilmarnock with a contravention of the special rules established for the colliery; he pled guilty, and Sheriff Anderson, after making some very pointed and suitable remarks upon the necessity for strict attention to the rules established for the safe working of coal mines, particularly on the part of those in charge of the operations, whose duty it was to set an example to the men employed under them, found the oversman liable in the statutory penalty, but modified the fine to 40s.
1860April18ClydesdaleNear WishawArchd. RussellFrances DavidsonDrawer Falls of roof and coalBy fall of coal at face of workingNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1860April20BogheadNear BathgateJames Russell & SonGeorge SneddonCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of stone from roof at face of working 
1860April20DalquharrenMayboleT K KennedyWm McMinnCollier53Falls of roof and coalFall of coal in his working place while engaged taking it down 
1860April20DrumbathieNear AirdrieRobert LevinstonePatrick McGouleCollier In shaftsBy falling down pit whilst assisting to repair conductors in pit 
1860 April 20 Airdrie     William Miller pit engine keeper 29   Death not listed in Inspectors report newspaper report
William Ramage pit oversman 50
James Symons pit engine fireman 73
1860April25HurlfordHurlfordAllan Gilmour & CoDavid WyliePitheadman30Above groundBy getting entangled with the winding rope while adjusting it 
1860April27AyrAyrJ T GordonPeter O'HaraDrawer15In shaftsCaught by the cage in the bottom of the shaft 
1860April27CowdenNear DalkeithDuke of BuccleuchAbram ReidCollier Falls of roof and coalBy stone falling from roof at face of working 
1860May2MorningsideNear WishawShotts Iron CoWilliam JohnstonCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of stone from roof at face of workingNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1860May10CrowwoodsAirdrieMonklands Iron & Steel CoDun. FergusonLabourer60In shaftsBy pushing an empty hutch into the wrong side of the shaft and falling down with it 

From Main body of report: The deceased was a labourer and engaged about the boats which were employed for taking away the coals from the colliery. On the day of the accident he had not been engaged, but was waiting the arrival of a return boat. He had gone on to the pit head, and while there , in the absence of the pit head man, in endeavouring to put an empty hutch on to the cage to be returned to the bottom, he unfortunately pushed it into the wrong side, and fell with it to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of 49 fathoms.  This description of accident does occasionally take place, not to strangers, as in the present case, but with the most careful and experienced pit head men. In my report for 1858 I described and gave drawings of a very simple contrivance for preventing such accidents. The cost of such an apparatus is trifling; in practice, it works most effectively, and wherever it has been introduced, the workmen seemed well satisfied with it.
1860May10PalacecraigAirdrieWm Baird & CoJames Kellyroadsman53Falls of roof and coalBy a fall of roof in a drawing road 
1860May11AirdriehillNear AirdrieTod & ColquhoneWilliam WrightSinker In shaftsBy falling off scaffold whilst repairing pit pump 
1860May24ReadingNear FalkirkJames Russell & SonRichard ThomsonDrawer Falls of roof and coalBy fall of coal at face of working Newspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1860May29CarfinNear HolytownWilliam DixonStiven LaughlandCollier Above groundBy fall of stone from roof of draw roadBased on information provided by Edward McGinnis we believe this may refer to Stephen Toll or Tollan
1860May29Carnbroe Iron WorksNear AirdrieMerry & CunninghamAndrew HutchisonHorse driver MiscellaneousBy falling into a small well whilst lifting a pail of water 
1860June2HillheadKilmarnockJohn Gilmour & CoAlex. DykesCollier30Falls of roof and coalBy a fall of roof in his working place 
1860June3Lassodie  Thomas Paterson   Not listedDeath not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Beath accidents
1860 June 14 Candren Ironstone Pit Inkermann   Thomas Sommerville     Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Renfrewshire pages
George Mitchell    
Thomas Muncey    
1860 June 15 Not listed     William Langan     Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1860June20ArnistonNear DalkeithJohn ChristieThomas CornwellDrawer Falls of roof and coalBy fall of stone from roof at face of working 
1860 June 21 Woodend, Torphichen     Gavin Watson     Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Lothians pages
1860June25TownhillNear DunfermlineAndrew ChristieMargaret PatersonPitheadwoman Above groundBy falling off scaffold at pithead Newspaper report - Fife pages
1860June28ArmidaleNear BathgateShotts Iron CoRichard Wardropepitheadman Above groundStruck by rope getting detached from winding drum 
1860June28EastfieldRutherglenJ G BuchananArch. MillerCollier36In shaftsBy falling down a “blind” pit about 6 ½ fathoms 
1860July3No 5 Pit (ironstone)Old MonklandNKJames GrahamIron miner30NADeath not listed in Inspectors report
Fall of ironstone shale
Many thanks to Caroline Farquhar for supplying details of this miner New Monkland pages
1860July4BartonholmKilwinningWm Baird & CoAlex. NewburghCollier58Falls of roof and coalFall of roof 
1860July5BalyonieNear KirkcaldyCharles BalfourRobert HutchisonCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of stone from roof at face of working 
1860July7CarfinNear HolytownWilliam DixonHugh DolloughanCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of stone from roof by removing a propNewspaper report - Bothwell pages
1860July11WallyfordNear DalkeithA & C ChristieWilliam WattersCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of coal at face of working 
1860July20AirdriehillNear AirdrieTod & ColquhoneW M ColquhouneEngineman In shaftsBy coming in contact with a pumping crankNewspaper Report
1860July21MuirhouseNear WishawJohn DavidsonPatrick BuckeSinker In shaftsBy falling down pit whilst ascending from a shot 
1860July24DalharcoDalmellingtonDalmellington Iron CoPeter BennetSinker35In shaftsBy the pinion wheel of a single power crane getting out of gearNewspaper Report
1860July25BenstoneJohnstoneLudovic HoustonJames KellandBoy14ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: The seam of coal where the accident took place ranges from four to eight feet in thickness; the mode of working it is by "stoop and room;" and the system of ventilation is "face airing."

For the purpose of ventilation, the pit is divided by a wooden partition, one part forms a downcast for the air, and the other an upcast.
The colliery is not known as "fiery," though small accumulations of firedamp do sometimes take place throughout the waste where the roof is fallen.
The deceased were young lads, and worked with an experienced collier, in a room near to the pitbottom. On the morning of the accident, instead of going in to their own working place, they had gone back, into an abandoned part of the waste, in search of "fallen" coal from the roof and pillars of the mine, and there ignited a small quantity of fire-damp which had accumulated in a high part of the roof.
It is not customary to allow workmen to go into coal wastes in search of fallen coals without orders. I inquired, but could not learn that this objectionable practice had been allowed at this colliery; and there was a special rule which strictly prohibited it.
There was no appliance in use to aid the natural ventilation of the mine when I visited it on the 27th of July last. At that season of the year, when the temperature of the atmosphere approximates to the temperature of the mine, I think that a ventilating furnace is indispensable at all collieries, and I suggested to the general manager that such an apparatus should be introduced. At my second visit, a few days after, I found a well constructed furnace in operation
Newspaper Report
George HodgartBoy14
Johnstone BarrBoy15
1860July29GartgillCoatbridgeWilliam Baird & CoRobert GilmourBoy16Falls of roof and coalFall of roof 
1860August4EglintonKilwinningWilliam Baird & CoCharles McManusCollier55ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: The "Kilwinning Main" coal, locally so termed, is found at this colliery 80 fathoms from the surface.

The roof in connection with the seam is very tender, and falls of roof frequently occur. These falls, while they seriously interfere with the air-courses and general ventilation, also form natural receptacles for firedamp; and on account of its specific gravity, small quantities of it get lodged in these openings and crevices.

The night fireman found fire-damp in the deceased's working place when he made his round of examination, and in the morning he prevented him from going in to it, till the oversman or his deputy would make a second examination. The deputy, some time afterwards, in company with the sufferer, made a second examination, the firedamp was confined to the extremity of his wall face, and after examining and understanding the extent of it, he commenced to his work in the usual way, and continued at it till about 4 o'clock p.m., when a small quantity of fire-damp was ignited, it is supposed while he was in the act of putting on his clothes, and leaving his place.

In this case the parties seem to have acted with a certain amount of care, and notwithstanding the impropriety of the practice, it frequently happens that men work in such places where a partial accumulation of firedamp is known to exist in openings and rents of the roof.

The present case is a striking illustration of the difficulty of working with an unprotected light within an ideal line of safety, and where very often the range may be limited to a few feet. In such cases the proper way, indeed the only way, is to displace the firedamp before the workmen are allowed to enter, or otherwise give them safety lamps to protect themselves.
1860August4Omoa Iron WorksNear HamiltonRobert StewartBarnard BrucletCollier Falls of roof and coalBy fall of coal at face of workingNewspaper Report
1860August6WarwickhillDreghornMerry & CunninghamJames Walkerroadsman45Falls of roof and coalFall of roof in drawing road while engaged securing it 
1860August8LugarCumnockWm Baird & CoJohn CarlanCollier40In shaftsFell from a mid-working

From Main body of report: This pit, wholly sunk for ironstone, is 124 fathoms deep. A seam of coal is partially worked at 54 fathoms above it, or 70 fathoms from the surface.

The excavations in it are very limited, a few tons being worked daily for the use of the engine.

The shaft being sunk principally for ironstone, it was only when coal was required to be raised that the cage was rested at the level of the coal, and there was a signal hammer by which the workmen could communicate with the engineman.

The deceased and his neighbour were the only workmen engaged in the coal on the day of the accident, and it would appear that they had been both at the landing from which the coal is raised when the cage was rested. The survivor drew off the empty hutch, and the deceased a few moments after had gone forward with a full one to place it on the cage. During this short time the engineman, without any signal, had raised the cage, so that the deceased in pushing the full hutch in to where the cage should have been, fell down the open shaft with it, a distance of 324 feet. 

In this case it does not appear that any signal had been made when the cage was raised. The machinery was of the usual description, and under the control of the engineman. I am therefore of opinion that the accident was occasioned by the neglect of the engineman in either raising the cage or injudiciously allowing the engine to reverse.

The proper way to conduct a "mid-working " such as the present, is either to set apart so much time during each day for drawing the materials from it, taking care that a moveable scaffold is placed over the pit at that time, or to fix a scaffold on one side of the shaft at the required level, and provide a "tow" for the direct use of the workmen there engaged.
1860August9AuchinheathNear LanarkJames Ferguson & CoJames BriscoeCollier MiscellaneousBy fall of stone from side of drawing roadNewspaper Report
1860August16WestmuirGlasgowRobt. Gray & CoMichael BaxterCollier29Falls of roof and coalFall of roofNewspaper Report
1860September10DalharcoDalmellingtonDalmellington Iron CoJohn KennedySinker25In shaftsOver winding, the engineman having put on steam when the kettle was near the surface instead of shutting it off

From Main body of report: This pit, at which a fatal accident (July 24 1861) occurred a few weeks previous, is in the act of being sunk, and is 60 fathoms deep, or thereby.

The fittings and erections generally are of the best description, and according to modern construction.

The accident was occasioned by the engineman raising the kettle containing the sufferers beyond the usual landing at the pit mouth, and bringing them in contact with the pithead framing, and from which they were dashed to the bottom of the shaft.

It happened that one of the regular enginemen was unwell, and unable to attend his work. The person who was engaged to take his shift was what is termed a "spare hand," that is, he was not directly engaged as an engineman at the time. He attended with and assisted the engineman on the shift preceding the accident; but shortly after he was left to himself the accident took place.

In this case the engineman appears to have got confused, and it is supposed that in attempting to shut off the steam as the kettle reached the surface, he had done the reverse, and turned it full on.

At sinking pits, where so much depends on the prompt and cool action of the enginemen, it is of the greatest consequence that none but able and experienced men are engaged.
Newspaper report
Hugh McGrubbinSinker34
1860September20BarleithKilmarnockJohn Galloway & CoJohn FullertonCollier18Falls of roof and coalFall of coal in his working place 
1860September22SpringsideDreghornArchibald KennethCharles BanksBoy12In shaftsCrushed by the cage in the shaft 
1860September29GovanRutherglenWm Dixon & CoWm KerrForeman46ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp in the shaft

From Main body of report: An upper seam of coal, about 70 fathoms from the surface, had been partly exhausted at this pit, and at the time of the accident alterations were being made in the shaft for the purpose of enabling the "splint coal," about 101 fathoms from the surface, to be worked. Though the pit had been sunk to the "splint coal," there were no workings in it, with the exception of a narrow mine connected with a stone mine at a lower level, which forms a water lodgement.  During the time that the upper seam was worked, a wooden midwall, placed near to the middle of the shaft, formed the division for the air, the one side acting as a downcast for the air and the other as an upcast.  Since the abandonment of this working the wooden midwall was being replaced by a very substantial brick wall, nine inches thick; and at the time of the accident it was upwards of four fathoms from the bottom. At that point it was discovered that a part of the sides of the shaft was loose and insecure. It was considered advisable to line it with brick before proceeding farther with the midwall, and a scaffold was placed across the shaft for the workmen to stand upon, and also to lay the cuttings and loose stones from the sides of the shaft previous to being sent up the pit.  The wooden midwall was taken out for about 13 feet above this scaffold, and I understand that this arrangement had been in operation for 48 hours previous to the unfortunate occurrence. The accident was occasioned by an explosion of firedamp, which appeared to have been ignited by the workmen while engaged upon the scaffold.  The direct cause of accident was the scaffold, and the opening in the wooden midwall above it, which diverted the course of ventilation. The scaffold was entirely displaced by the explosion, but the cuttings for the joists to rest on showed that the scaffolding, if not close, had been constructed without any correct estimate of the ventilation required, and also without a proper means of maintaining a ventilation at all. The consequence was, that the rubbish or cuttings from the sides of the shaft spread upon the scaffold, checked any little ventilation that could have passed through the openings between the deals of which the scaffold was constructed, and the fire-damp, which under those circumstances was kept from passing off, accumulated under the scaffold, and ignited at one of the workmen's lamps.  The force of the blast displaced the scaffold, and the unfortunate sufferers were afterwards found partly covered by the wood and rubbish in the bottom of the shaft, having fallen a distance of four fathoms or thereby.  To keep a shaft safe under such conditions a system of ventilation is necessary, and openings in proportion to the ventilation required should be formed in the scaffolding on each side of the midwall, and constructed so that they cannot be closed with rubbish at otherwise, 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.  This colliery is one of the best managed in the west of Scotland. In the present case, however, it was evident that the responsible party entrusted with carrying out the details of management had failed to take the necessary precautions to secure the safety of the workmen, by not providing means for diluting or carrying off the firedamp generated below where the workmen were engaged.  I understand that the proprietor has paid damages to the families of the deceased
Newspaper Report
John MarshallSinker24
John JacksonSinker24
1860September29RosehallCoatbridgeAddie & RankineMichael BurnsBrusher38Falls of roof and coalFall of roof in drawing road while engaged taking it down 
1860September29RosehallCoatbridgeAddie & RankinePatrick GooldieBrusher36ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp by going into a place which had not been examined and before the fireman had finished his examination

From Main body of report: The deceased was a brusher and worked in the splint coal situated at 136 fathoms from surface.The workmen engaged as brushers work during the night, and generally commence work shortly after the colliers shift has finished, in this case about 6:00pm.  It was the custom for the night fireman to examine the working parts, where firedamp was known or suspected to exist, before the workmen are allowed to enter or proceed to their working places.  I understand that the fireman on the night of the accident, when about to proceed with his examination, particularly requested the deceased not to go into his working place till after he had examined it, as firedamp did exist at a certain part of the roof.  According to the evidence of one of the workmen who was in the pit at the time, as soon as the fireman left, the deceased went with an unprotected light into his working place, and there ignited a quantity of firedamp, by which he was severely burned.  I have frequently directed attention accident of this description, and I am perfectly satisfied that there is no way of putting a complete stop to them but by prohibiting all workmen from being lowered to their work till after the fireman has completed his examination.
Newspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1860September29RosehallLanarkshire Michael Burns    Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1860 October 3 No 14 Whifflet Lanarkshire   Thomas McKimm       Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1860October9Omoa Iron WorksNear HamiltonRobert StewartWilliam ThomsonCollier MiscellaneousBy breaking down of winding engine whilst ascending 
1860October10GartsherrieCoatbridgeWm Baird & CoJames McGeeBoy12Falls of roof and coalFall of coal at the faceNewspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1860October13DundyvanCoatbridgeTrustees of John WilsonJames HodgecaseCollier18MiscellaneousBy a hutch upon an incline Newspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1860October23BenstoneJohnstoneLudovic HoustonJohn McMillanCollier40MiscellaneousAn irruption of water from old works

From introduction to report:

The loss of life from miscellaneous causes has been such as might have been expected to happen at works connected with colliery operations, the most deplorable being an irruption of water from an old and abandoned work in the neighbourhood of Johnstone.
In this case the colliery was situated to the "dip "of old works, which were well known to contain water, and a feeling of distrust had existed for a considerable time among the workmen regarding it.
The plans connected with this work, taking them as a whole, were perhaps more complete than is generally found at old collieries, and extend to sixty years back.
The workings, with reference to the water, were conducted partly from plans and partly by tradition obtained from aged workmen and others who had been long engaged about the works.
Unfortunately this information was incorrect, and one of the mines approached the waste at a point where no one suspected danger. The water rushed in with great velocity, but with the exception of five who were engaged at a lower level, all the workmen escaped. In the meantime all operations are abandoned ; the water which in a few moments closed upon the unhappy sufferers has risen to within a few feet of the surface, and the natural drainage is now discharging itself by a "day level." The suspension of the works has intensified the gloom which pervades this small quiet colliery village; and until the works are again drained and the bodies recovered, there cannot be otherwise than a subdued feeling of grief and suspense on the part of the relatives and companions of the deceased.
See main page for newspaper reports and more from Inspectors report
John AlisonCollier20
John HendryCollier20
Robert AlexanderCollier20
Alexander StewartCollier14
1860October26EglintonKilwinningWm Baird & CoThomas BurkeBrusher36In shaftsWent into the shaft at midnight in a state of intoxication 
1860October31Coltness Iron WorksNear WishawColtness Iron CoJames Kanepitheadman In shaftsBy pushing an empty hutch into a wrong division of pitNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1860November8AyrAyrJ T GordonJohn Lowrieengineman40In shaftsFell off a hanging scaffold while engaged in the shaft taking out pumps 
1860November10HurlfordKilmarnockAllan Gilmour & CoPeter StrachanBoy12In shaftsWas thrown out of the cage by the engine raising it unexpectedly

From Main body of report: The deceased was a young boy about 12 years of age, son of the underground oversman. He had not been forward at the pit to be lowered to his work with the rest of the workmen on the morning of the accident, and after the "cleek" had commenced, he had got into an empty hutch on the cage to be lowered to the bottom.  It was known to the engineman and others that the boy had gone on to the cage in the "rise" division of the shaft. An upper seam of coal is worked from this division, and when the cage is required to be rested at that level it is the practice to signal to the surface, and the person making the signal closes the " folding boards " or " shuts " for the cage to rest upon.  A young lad about 17 years of age was engaged in this seam on the morning of the accident; he had signalled to the surface for the cage to be lowered to that level, and accordingly the engineman did stop the cage at that seam. The deceased was sitting in the hutch upon the cage, but as the cage was rested at the "mid-working," according to the signals given, the lad stationed there commenced to take it off, and while he was in the act of doing so the engineman raised the cage, which first canted the hutch, and afterwards allowed it to pass under and down the shaft, a distance of 30 fathoms.  The suggestion made regarding accident No. 26 is equally applicable in this case.
1860November24CampShettlestonAndrew BuchananRobert DarlingCollier17Falls of roof and coalFall of coal and roof

From Main body of report: The "main " coal of this colliery, which is reached at 43 fathoms from the surface, has been exhausted as a stoop and room working for some years past. Of late it has been reopened, and a few men have been engaged taking out coal pillars.  The deceased were young lads, and worked with an experienced collier, Daniel Maclachlan, father of the youngest. The accident took place a short time after they had gone in to their work, and was occasioned by a heavy fall of roof and coal near to the coal face. It is the practice in this and the majority of collieries for the workmen to set up wood to support the roof, and otherwise protect themselves at the coal face.  It seldom happens that complaints are made by the workmen regarding the supply of wood ; it may be satisfactory to know that this is only the second case of complaint which has come under my observation.  I made a minute examination, and felt satisfied that the complaint was well founded. It was proved by two of the colliers that they had been without wood for four days (from Saturday till the following Thursday), and that on the morning of the accident one of the deceased had been sent into the old waste to see if he could find wood, and had only returned a few minutes before the accident took place.  Pillar working under any circumstances is a very dangerous operation, and a plentiful supply of pit-wood is indispensible for such work.  One of the special rules of the colliery (and indeed of the district) is, " If from accident or other cause, colliers are at any time unable to find a sufficient supply of propwood at the pit-head, when it is unsafe to continue their work without it, they are expressly forbidden to remain at their working places."  This rule properly interpreted may be quite judicious, but to seek protection from such a provision in the present case, seems to me a mere subterfuge.
See Newspaper report - Old Monkland pages
Dan. MaclachlanBoy15
1860November25BonnytonKilmarnockMerry & CunninghamThomas StevensonCollier26MiscellaneousA “shot” which had hung fire

From Main body of report: The deceased had contracted to drive a narrow coal mine, and I understand that at the time of the accident he had prepared to blast a portion of the coal in it; the match had not ignited the powder as quickly as was expected, and the unfortunate sufferer went back to examine into the cause of delay, when the explosion suddenly took place, and the contents of the blast was lodged right in his face and body.  This description of accident frequently happens about quarries, mines, and sinking pits, resulting often in lameness and loss of sight. It is of that class which no system of management can correct, the way to prevent them is well known, and if workmen, when a borehole charged with gunpowder misses fire, were to abandon it and commence another at a safe distance, accidents of this character could not by any possibility take place.
1860November25CommonCumnockPortland Iron CoJames GrahamCollier28In shaftsFell off the cage in the shaft 
1860November27BredisholmBailliestonJohn YoungJohn BadgerFireman36Falls of roof and coalFall of roof at coal pillar 
1860November28CraigieAyrRobert BrownRobert HarrisonBoy12ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp 
1860November28KnackertyNear AirdrieJohn Stewart & CoAndrew KerrDrawer In shaftsBy fall of stone from roof at face of working 
1860December6WishawNear WishawJohn Watson junArch. Prenticepitheadman In shaftsBy pushing an empty hutch into a wrong division of pitNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1860December22DrumlembleCampeltownDuke of ArgyleJohn McGechie----23Falls of roof and coalFall of coal 
1860December24GartsherrieCoatbridgeWm Baird & CoJames BellCollier23ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: The section of the colliery where this accident happened was in the act of being opened out, and had only lately been " win " by a stone mine.  According to the special rules of the work, " The fireman shall descend the pit before the colliers' shift shall begin, and where firedamp is known or suspected to be, shall proceed with a safety lamp through every drawing road and along the whole coal faces and working places in the colliery, and shall minutely examine the same,'' &c.  This very judicious rule seems to have been carried out by the fireman, but the deceased, who were employed by a small contractor to cut through a dislocation, and who, when thus engaged, worked during the night, and at different hours from the regular colliers' shift, were allowed to go to their work before the fireman, and consequently they were provided with a safety lamp.  In the present case the deceased must have failed to use the safety lamp while approaching their working place; and the result showed that a considerable quantity of fire-damp had been ignited, which swept the brattice and ventilating arrangements out of the mine, and among which the lifeless bodies of the two men were afterwards found.  It does occur in collieries that work of a certain description, such as driving stone mines and other exploring rooms requires to be pushed forward with perhaps two or three shifts of workmen in the 24 hours.  Under such circumstances, when a mine is being driven continuously, it is unnecessary for the fireman to carry out any formal examination of the place, as in fact, the men are never all out of it.  The mine in question, though carried on with two shifts in the 24 hours, was not worked continuously.  The accident took place on a Monday morning, and under ordinary circumstances there must have been a cessation of work from the preceding Saturday. In mines such as I have described, when they are kept going continuously, the responsibility relating to firedamp may properly be thrown upon the workmen therein engaged, with the exception of Monday mornings, when it is evident that the safe course to pursue is to prohibit any person from going into the works till after the fireman has made a thorough inspection of every working part; or if at any other time a cessation of work does take place in such a mine, no workman should be allowed to enter it till the fireman or some responsible person has made a satisfactory examination of it; and such an arrangement if carried out would prevent incautious or unskilled workmen from destroying themselves, and in many cases save valuable property.
Newspaper report - Old Monkland pages
Alex. WilsonCollier24
1860December28Coltness Iron WorksNear WishawColtness Iron CoThomas LiddleCollier In shaftsBy falling off cage whilst ascending the pitPossible Newspaper report - Cambusnethan pages

Last Updated 17th June 2012