Scottish Mining Website

1864 Deaths listed in Mine Inspectors Report

This table is compiled from appendices to the reports of the Inspector of Mines and Collieries - William Alexander for the Western District of Scotland and Ralph Moore 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

We welcome information on deaths not listed on this page - please complete a submission form

Year MonthDayName of CollieryWhere situatedOwners namePerson(s) killedOccupationAge if givenCategory of AccidentCause of deathExtra Details
1864January2Braehead No 5LugarW Baird & CoRedman CannanMiner36Ironstone mines – in shaftsFell into the shaft while in a state of intoxication

From Main body of report: It appears that the pit had been stopped at the new year holidays, for the purpose of making alterations; and the tools employed below ground had been sent up, so as to enable the workmen to get employed elsewhere.

The deceased, on the day of the accident, had gone to the pit in a state of intoxication, it is supposed for the purpose of removing his tools, and while attempting to cross the shaft to get into the engine-house he missed his footing, and fell to the bottom, a distance of 86 fathoms.
Newspaper report - Ayrshire pages
1864January4Gartshore No 4KilsythW Baird & CoRobert HowiesonEngineman32Ironstone mines – above groundCrushed between the engine seat and a back balance 
1864January15NewlandsLanarkshireCharles Tennant & CoJohn MillarCollier--ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report:
There has been one fatal explosion. It occurred at Newlands Colliery, by two men going into the face of a place which was driven 10 yards up the "vees" of a hitch, to "chap" or signal to some workmen on the opposite side, who were driving a mine towards it. The "place" was neither fenced off, in terms of the second general rule, nor ventilated, in terms of the first, but contained some fire-damp which exploded at the light of one of the men, burned both, - one fatally, the other slightly.
1864January16Stonecraigs No 3 pitLanarkshireColtness Iron CoJames BowesDrawer26Falls of roofHe was waiting for a loaded hutch at the colliers wall face in splint coal 
1864January16Wellwood No 1 pitMuirkirkWilliam Baird & CoAndrew SteelCollier56MiscellaneousBy the breakage of an incline rope while riding in the hutches attached to it, contrary to orders

From Main body of report: The seams being worked at this colliery are situated to the "dip" of the pit. The main drawing road driven to the dip is formed in the lowest seam. The deceased, father and son, worked in this seam. It appears that on the morning of the accident they had gone in to a train of hutches about to be lowered upon the incline above described. They had advanced only a short distance when the wire rope, to which the hutches were connected, suddenly broke, and they were precipitated towards the bottom of the dook, and dashed with violence against the timber placed along the sides of it.

The rope in this case was employed wholly for winding coals and at the part where it broke was considerably worn.
There was a roadway, distinct from the incline, for the workmen to travel upon, and it was contrary to the regulations of the colliery for any one to ride in the hutches.
Peter SteelCollier21
1864January23Gartshore No 7KilsythW Baird & CoPatrick Gallacherwindlassman25Ironstone mines – in shaftsFell down the shaft 
1864January27NackertyLanarkshireProvanhall Coal CoJohn DennisonCollier--Falls of roofAbout 40 square yards of Pyotshaw coal fell unexpectedly on him while working at it 
1864January28BredisholmBailliestonJohn YoungMichael WardCollier39Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1864January31ComriePerthForth Iron CoRobert DuncanMiner--Ironstone mines – in shaftsHis foot got entangled in a chain which was being run out, and his leg was taken off. He died 3 days afterwards 
1864February3ColinshieldsLinlithgowShotts Iron CoJames FinlayMiner22Ironstone mines – falls of roofFall of roof at faceNewspaper report
1864February5CapeldraeFifeRobert AytownD McLieshPumper19MiscellaneousFell down inclineNewspaper report - Fife pages
1864February7WellwoodFifeThomas Spowart & CoJohn BewickCollier40In shaftsCrushed by cageNewspaper report - Fife pages
1864February10ColtnessLanarkshireA G SimpsonJames ForfarCollier39Falls of roofFall of main coal while taking out pillars 
1864February13KellieFifeLivingston & CoGeorge LangCollier43In shaftsFell out of kettle while ascending pitNewspaper report - Fife pages
1864February20StevensonStevensonMerry & CunninghamDavid NivenEngineer45In shaftsBy a column of “steam jet” pipes falling away upon him in the shaft while engaged securing them 
1864March8Govan No 5GlasgowW S DixonWilliam KeithCollier40Falls of coal and roofFall of coalNewspaper Report - Lanarkshire pages
1864March8RochsollochLanarkshireGeorge CowieThomas WelshCollier35Falls of roofFall of coal in Kiltongue seam 
1864March9Hillhead No 3KilmarnockJohn Gilmour & CoPeter WhyteBottomer45In shaftsFell from a mid working in consequence of the cage having been removed without a signal 
1864March10Gauchalland No 4GalstonGauchalland Coal CoJoseph LintonSinker50In shaftsFell down the pit, which was in the act of being sunk, by the scaffold giving way

From Main body of report: The deceased was a sinker, and on the morning of the accident he and three other workmen commenced their shift in the usual way. On being lowered to the pit bottom they discovered that the scaffold, worked by a crane from the surface, and on which the repairs, &c., in the shaft were made, had got damaged, it was supposed by blasting during the preceding night. Towards the close of the shift it was found necessary to overhaul the pumps, when instead of sending the broken scaffold away to be repaired before being used, or otherwise providing something secure to stand upon, two of them thoughtlessly got on to it, and were drawn up the shaft, when, shortly after, the connection at one side of it gave way, the deceased lost his footing, and fell to the bottom a distance of 60 feet or thereby.

Judging from the shattered appearance of the scaffold, at the time of my examination, it must have been unfit for use; and it is difficult to conceive how men accustomed to pit work could have been so indifferent as to trust themselves upon so insecure an erection.
1864March16PatherLanarkshireBoyd & SpencerWilliam HendersonTrimmer13Above groundFell in before waggonsNewspaper Report - Lanarkshire pages
1864April2Braidwood Meadow Pit    James Chalmers    Not listed in report Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper Report - Lanarkshire pages
1864April7GarriongillLanarkshireColtness Iron CoJohn MunroCollier19Falls of roofFall of roof in splint coal 
1864April11BalgonieFifeCharles BalfourJohn HutchesonCollier18Falls of roofFall at face of “head coal”Newspaper report - Fife pages
1864April16Carnbroe No 8LanarkshireMerry & CunninghamR McWhinnieCollier45Falls of roofFall at face, splint coal 
1864April20Croy No 1KilsythW Baird & CoJames McGilchristMiner27Ironstone mines – miscellaneousAccidental discharge of a shot while engaged stemming it

From Main body of report: The deceased had along with his neighbour been engaged preparing to blast. They had formed a borehole, and charged it with the usual quantity of gunpowder, and while ramming it the powder was accidentally ignited. The unfortunate sufferer received the contents of the shot right in his face.

This description of accident is of frequent occurrence, and as long as iron needles and stemmers are used it will continue to happen.
1864 April 25 Heather Bell Pit, Crofthead     William McKinley     Not listed in report Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Lothian accidents
1864April25BlackbraesSterlingJames Russell & SonJames MarshalCollier--Falls of roofFall at face, splint coalNewspaper report- Stirlingshire pages
1864April26Comrie No 16 pitPerthForth Iron CoDavid CrichtonRoadsman--Ironstone mines – in shaftsJammed by cage while repairing shaft 
1864April29Loanhead    James Young    Not listed in reportDeath not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Lothian accidents
1864April30PenstonHaddingtonJohn Deans junGeorge McCullochCollier22Falls of roofFall of “brushing” (roof) at face 
1864May5Carnachan No 2PatnaDalmellington Iron CoDavid BennieCollier20Falls of coal and roofFall of coal 
1864 May18Motherwell    Hugh Boag    Not listed in reportDeath not listed in Inspectors report  Newspaper Report
1864May21Portland No 5HurlfordWilliam Baird & CoJames McCartneyCollier17In shaftsBy falling down the shaft from a “mid” working

From Main body of report: There were two seams of coal being worked in this shaft. The upper at 46 fathoms and the lower at 66 fathoms. The cages were raised from and lowered to the lower seam, but it was the practice when a hutch required to be raised from the upper seam that a signal was made to the engineman to stop the cage at it.

It appears that the deceased, who worked in the upper seam, had made the necessary signals in this case. There was no person along with him at the time, but it was found that the cage had accordingly been raised and rested at the level of the (major) upper seam, and he had removed the empty hutch which was upon it. However in returning with his full hutch to place it upon the cage, he had inadvertently pushed it in to the wrong division of the shaft, instead of the one where the cage was rested, and fell down with it to the bottom, a distance of 20 fathoms.
It is always dangerous to send away materials from a midworking, where, as in the present case, there is no scaffold to prevent persons or hutches from falling, and under such circumstances the safe way is to arrange a scaffold over one of the divisions of the shaft at the upper or midworking, leaving the other open but fenced off so as to prevent any person from unknowingly passing in to it.
There were gates on the pit at the upper seam, but there was no particular person to look after them.
1864May24StevensonStevensonMerry & CunninghamPhilip CairnsRedsman30Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1864May25Coney ParkKilsythJohn BarrPatrick SamsonSinker34In shaftsBy a piece of wood falling upon him in the shaft 
1864May27Fergushill No 19KilwinningArchibald FinniePeter StewartCollier38Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1864May27Govan No 4GlasgowW S DixonJohn MuirSinker26In shaftsBy a scaffold falling upon him in the shaft 
1864June4Fergushill No 17KilwinningArchibald FinnieJohn RichmondOversman42Falls of coal and roofFall of roof (in air course) 
1864June4Hurlford No 12HurlfordAllan Gilmour & CoJohn RossRoadsman58In shaftsCrushed between the cage and the shaft

From Main body of report: The deceased was a roadsman, and I understand that on the morning of the accident he and other two workmen were lowered to the level of the upper seam. His neighbours went off there, and he caused the usual intimation to be made to the surface for the purpose of having the cage lowered to the major or mid seam, where it is supposed he intended to go off.

It is conjectured that the cage had not been lowered quite far enough to enable him to pass off in the usual way, and that he had been in the act of attempting to get out of the cage by the end of the shaft, when it was raised, and he was crushed between it and the woodwork placed there.
In this case there was a direct violation of the special rules. There were two actions raised by the Procurator Fiscal. The pitheadman, for neglect of duty (not being in attendance when the shift commenced), was sentenced by the Sheriff to 10 days' imprisonment, or pay a fine of 20s. ; but the second case is still before the court.
1864June11AlloaClackmannanAlloa Coal CoThomas Sneddon----25Falls of roofFall of coal at face Newspaper report - Clackmannan pages
1864June11Bargeddie No 1BailliestonBargeddie Coal CoJames InglisCollier38In shaftsFell off a bunting into the shaft while engaged taking the pumps out of it 
1864June16OvertownLanarkshire  James Tait       Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1864June17GreenbankDalryMerry & CunninghamPatrick FagansMiner48Ironstone mines – falls of ironstone and roofFall of roof at face 
1864June28WestmuirGlasgowRobert Gray & CoSamuel OwensRoadsman28Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at the face (while redding)Newspaper Report
1864June29EastfieldRutherglenT G BuchananWilliam RodgerCollier38MiscellaneousExplosion of gunpowder (by going hurriedly in to a shot which had “hung” fire) 
1864July2Cleland No 39 pitLanarkshireRobert StewartThomas CassidyDrawer35MiscellaneousA hutch from a higher level ran over him while he was going out with a loaded hutchNewspaper report - Bothwell pages
1864July4Cleland No 3 pitLanarkshireWilliam DixonH KennedyDrawer12Falls of roofFall of coal (working with his father) 
1864July4Knightswood No 9MaryhillWilsons & CoJohn ScottMiner38Ironstone mines – explosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: This accident happened in one of the usual working places of the mine. It appears that a small quantity of fire-damp lodged occasionally in the roof of the wall, and at the head of the roadway leading in to it.

Contrary to the special rules of the colliery, the deceased, who worked in this place, had been in the habit of waffing out the fire-damp when it was known to exist. And on the morning of the accident I understand that he and his neighbour had been engaged driving it out, and along the face, when the workmen employed in the adjoining wall ignited the fire-damp on passing in to their work.
It seems that the fireman had examined the place in the morning, he knew of the fire-damp, and acquainted the deceased and his neighbour as to the extent of it.
By rule 21 of the special rules, it was his duty to see that the places were in a fit state for working in before allowing the workmen to enter.
1864July6EastfieldRutherglenT G BuchananThomas Conwayredsman24In shaftsFall of a stone from the side of the shaft 
1864July9Common No 2CumnockW Baird & CoJohn CurrantsMiner40Ironstone mines – falls of ironstone and roofFall of roof at face 
1864July15Bogleshole No 2TollcrossColin Dunlop & CoArchd McArthurFireman35ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp (while examining the workings with an unprotected light)

From Main body of report: The deceased was night fireman, and it was his duty to examine the works before the workmen were allowed to enter. It appears that on the evening of the accident he had descended the shaft, and in the course of his examination ignited a quantity of fire-damp, by which he was severely injured and died from the effects of it.

It was understood that the unfortunate sufferer had in this case been making a hurried examination with a naked light when the explosion took place.
1864 July 16 Cumnock Ayrshire   Andrew McMeckin Iron Miner 26 Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors report
Injuries resulting from a fall of stone from the roof of an ironstone pit
With thanks to Kay McMeekin for this information
1864 July 18 Elderslie Ironstone Pit Renfrewshire   Hugh Allan   30 Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors report.  Explosion of fire damp With thanks to an anonymous contributor for this information
1864July23FernigareLanarkshireFernigare Coal CoJohn GilchristLabourer64Above groundKilled by crane handle, crane ran amainNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1864July23Kerse No 1PatnaWilsons & CoCh. McHutchesonMiner35Ironstone mines – falls of ironstone and roofFall of ironstoneNewspaper report - Ayrshire pages
1864July29Coats No 3CoatbridgeWilliam Baird & CoJames MorganCollier40ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: At the time of the accident the deceased was engaged taking out a pillar of coal situated at a short distance from the bottom of the shaft.

I understand that he had worked for three hours previous to the accident, and that the place had been free of fire-damp when he commenced.
The waste was limited and fairly ventilated.
I was of opinion that the gas which caused the explosion had been secreted in a high part of the broken roof, beyond the point where the deceased was engaged, unknown to anyone, and was dislodged by a fall of roof in some part of the exhausted waste, and in that way forced into contact with his naked or unprotected light.
1864August1Britton pitCoatbridgeW D DixonRobert DuncanCollier34ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: This accident happened in the lower or Kiltongue seam. The workings were limited, being confined to two levels and a pair of headings.

The headings were principally worked for the purpose of forming a communication with a "rise" pit, to meet the requirements of the Act 25 & 26 Vict. c.79.
According to the special rules of the colliery, it was the duty of the fireman to descend the shaft and examine the working places before the colliers were allowed to proceed to their work.
It appears that he had gone down the pit on the morning of the accident, and examined the levels, but according to some arrangement which had been made with two men who contracted to drive the headings, his examination did not extend to these places ; that is, they had agreed to examine the headings for fire-damp to suit themselves.
Such an arrangement, though apparently not insecure, has been often proved objectionable, and the present case is a very fair illustration.
The fireman (Love) examined the two levels, but did not proceed into the headings, because the contractors were expected to inspect these places for themselves. The contractors arrived soon after the fireman, and I understand that one of them went into the west heading with an unprotected light (the safety-lamp which he should have used was found after the explosion lying in the case) and there ignited a quantity of fire-damp, by which an intense explosion was produced, resulting in the death of three persons, and serious injury to others.
If (Sneddon) the person who contracted to drive the headings, had taken the precaution to examine them with a safety-lamp, the accident would not have happened; but it is well known that workmen, perhaps little accustomed to the use of safety-lamps, are apt to act incautiously, and they should not be intrusted with such an important duty ; for in making an improper examination, it may be of only a single place, they not only expose themselves to danger, but others who have no control over them.
The special rules admit of no such modification, and it would be absurd to allow the regulations established for the general safety, to be set aside at pleasure. If such a practice was admitted, it would be equally safe in a pit where a number of workmen were employed, to make each collier his own fireman, and this would only be carrying out, on a more extensive scale, the system which appears to have been acted upon on this occasion.
It is of the utmost importance to those who work in mines, that the regulations relating to fire-damp should be strictly adhered to, and that every working-place should be carefully examined in the morning before the workmen are lowered into the mine at all.
Newspaper Article
Robertson CraigCollier27
Francis HamiltonCollier31
1864August4Hillhead No 1KilmarnockJohn Gilmour & CoJohn GuthrieBottomer64In shaftsBy getting in contact with the cage when in motion 
1864August5Auchinbee No 1KilsythW Baird & CoWilliam SamsonSinker45Ironstone mines – in shaftsFell out of a sinking kettle 
1864August8PenstonHaddingtonJohn Deans junN JamiesonCollier20In shaftsFell off a vertical ladder while descending a pit 19 fathoms deep 
1864August15Lockside No 1KilbirnieMerry & CunninghamBarney DowansTrapper10Ironstone mines – miscellaneousRun over by a “race” of hutches

From Main body of report: The deceased was a mere child, 10 years of age, and it was his duty to open a door placed upon an engine plane to allow the passage of empty and loaded hutches.

It appears that at the time of the accident he had either left the door or the place where he usually remained, while the train of hutches was passing, and getting entangled with the rope or hutches, received injuries which caused death soon after.
1864August15MerrytonLanarkshireBrand & CochraneDun FlemingRoadsman34Falls of roofKilled by a fall of roof while repairing horse road Newspaper report - Dalserf pages (NB Date was actually 19 August)
1864August15MorningsideLanarkshireJames BennieGeorge LindsayCollier32Falls of roofFall of roof at faceNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1864August20Tigethaugh No 4DennyW Baird & CoMichael GiffinBoy13Ironstone mines – falls of ironstone and roofFall of roof at the face 
1864August29WemyssFifeH E WemyssR ScottCollier44Falls of roofFall of coalNewspaper report - Fife pages
1864August30CorsefordJohnstoneTrustees of the late Mr HoustonAlexander McNabCollier16Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1864August30SunnysideLanarkshireArchibald RussellRobert SmithDrawer15Falls of roofFall of Pyotshaw coal 
1864September12DalquharranMayboleT F KennedyJohn McMurrayCollier42Falls of coal and roofFall of coal while “robeing” a pillar contrary to the rules of the colliery 
1864September13OvertonLanarkshireJohn WilsonRobert LennoxCollier13Falls of roofFall of coal (worked with his father)A boy working with his father Newspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1864September24Knightswood No 9MaryhillWilsons & CoWm CallichanContractor38Ironstone mines – miscellaneousReceived injuries while blasting by a piece of stone

From Main body of report:
This accident happened while the deceased, contractor of a stone mine, was in the act of blasting. I understand that after igniting the match, he and the workmen engaged with him, retired for protection to a partial recess in the side of the mine, about 50 yards distant. But, unfortunately, part of the rock, displaced by the blast, was driven right out of the mine in the direction of the deceased, and coming in contact with him caused injuries which instantly proved fatal.
1864September27Comrie No 16 pitPerthForth Iron CoJames GlavinDriver14Ironstone mines – miscellaneousCrushed by hutches 
1864September30Rosehall No 5CoatbridgeAddie & MillerAlexander UnderwoodPumper57In shaftsBy attempting to get into the cage at the pit-bottom without giving the proper signalNewspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1864October12HurlfordHurlfordJohn HowieJohn CarrelOversman27Falls of coal and roofFall of coal 
1864October17CraigieAyrRobert BrownJames FergusonCollier60Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1864October21AshyardHurlfordEaglesham & DunlopWilliam McTaggartCollier22Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
John HamiltonCollier17
1864October22Rosehall No 10CoatbridgeAddie & MillerMichael GattonBrusher40Falls of coal and roofFall of roof in an old stow roadNewspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1864October29SkellytonLanarkshireHamilton & McCullochGeorge ArbuckleCollier25Falls of roofFall of top coal Newspaper report - Dalserf pages (NB Actually died 25 October)
1864October31Preston GrangeHaddingtonSir G Grant SuttieThomas GordonCollier12Falls of roofFall of coal

From Main body of report:
A boy working with his father
1864October--BarbauchlauLinlithgowMonkland Iron CoJames WeirMiner59Ironstone mines – falls of roofFall of stone at face 
1864November3ReddingStirlingRedding Coal CoGeorge HunterCollier--In shaftsOverwinding. Engineman drunk

From Main body of report:
At Stirling in April last, William Burr, engineman, was sentenced by Lord Deas to 12 months' imprisonment for having, while in a state of intoxication, so mismanaged the winding engine of No. 17 pit, Redding Colliery, (on 3rd November 1864,) that the cage on which George Hunter was ascending was carried over the pullies and he was so much injured that he died. (Please note this is from 1865 report)
Newspaper report- Stirlingshire pages
1864November4ShieldhallStirlingCarron Iron CoRobert BrownCollier17Falls of roofFall of roof

From Main body of report:
A boy working with his father
Andrew BrownCollier15
1864November5Cadder No 6BishopbriggsCarron Iron CoWilliam LeckieMiner30Ironstone mines – falls of ironstone and roofFall of roof at face 
1864November7Rochsolloch No 2LanarkshireGeorge CowieJohn CrokstonCollier36Falls of roofFall of roof 
1864November8ColtnessLanarkshireA G SimpsonRobert SimpsonBottomer56In shaftsFalling down pit from a mouthing 
1864November23CuttlehillFifeHenderson & WallaceThomas HodgeCollier20Falls of roofFall of roofNewspaper report - Fife pages
1864December8Aikenston No 2BailliestonJames MerryWilliam PrydeCollier18Falls of coal and roofFall of roof, while acting as “chainman” on an engine plane, occasioned by the hutches drawing out wood, which allowed part of the roof to fall 
1864December9ShieldhallStirlingCarron Iron CoRobert ThomsonCollier14Falls of roofFall of roof while taking out stoops

From Main body of report:
A boy working with his father
1864December10Overton No 3 pitLanarkshireJohn WilsonOwen CullenDrawer25In shaftsCrushed by cage while attempting to cross pit-bottom instead of going by road 
1864December12Faskine No 8AirdrieW Baird & CoRobert BaxterLabourer60Ironstone mines – above groundBy a boiler bursting 
1864December26HurlfordHurlfordJohn HowieDavid McIntyreBottomer53MiscellaneousCrushed by the cage when crossing the shaft

From Main body of report: The deceased was bottomer at the colliery, and, in addition to his ordinary duties, he had charge of the ventilating furnace, which was situated near to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears that on the day of the accident he had gone to the furnace, by crossing the shaft, and in returning he was caught by the descending cage and crushed under it.
There was a roadway formed round the end of the shaft, and it was the proper and safe course to pass to the furnace.

Last Updated 18th May 2012