Scottish Mining Website

1868 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
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Year MonthDayName of CollieryWhere situatedOwners namePerson(s) killedOccupationAge if givenCategory of AccidentCause of deathExtra Details
1868January6Barleith No 4 PitKilmarnockJohn Galloway & CoAdam IrvingPony driver15MiscellaneousBy a kick from the pony he was driving 
1868January8Summerlee No 3CoatbridgeWilsons & CoJohn HamiltonCollier60ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report:
The deceased, who was a collier, had been engaged on the morning of the accident for three hours or thereby in his working place, and worked with an open or unprotected light. The place he was extending was near to a dislocation two fathoms down, and he had just driven through a small hitch of 18 inches up, a few feet back from the face. As to how the accident occurred, it appears that the deceased had gone out with his " drawer," a boy, to assist him a short distance with a loaded hutch, and on returning to his place, ignited a little gas which had collected during the few minutes he was absent. A very small part of the " head coal," A,
as per sketch, inside of the 18-inch hitch, had been taken down shortly before the accident, and the gas which was ignited had apparently gathered in that small opening.
1868January14Provanhall No 5BailliestonProvanhall Coal CoRobert PatersonDrawer16Falls of coal and roofFall of roof on main drawing road Newspaper Report 
1868January15BalquhatstoneSlammananJohn WatsonRobert PatersonMiner35In shaftsWhile he was ascending the pit, the pinion wheel of the engine broke and the descending cage being heaviest, he was carried to the pulleys, and fell back into the pit. Brake on fly wheel 
1868February7Hill of BeathDunfermlineOrd AdamsRob. CampbellBrusher24Falls of coal and roofFailing to take down a side piece of sandstone shaken by a shot, it fell over upon him Newspaper report - Beath pages
1868February8Grougar    James Sellars      Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Ayrshire pages (not mining accident)
1868February8StanriggFalkirkAlexr WilsonWm BennieCollier23In shaftsHe was supposed to have fallen at a broken step, while descending traps to the bottom of a 40 fathom pitNewspaper report
1868February10BannockburnBannockburnMrs GeddesAlexander StevensonAssistant engineman68MiscellaneousGot entangled with the underground machinery

From Main body of report:
There is a small engine situated near to the bottom of this pit, and the steam used by it is produced on the surface. The deceased was an assistant engineman. At the time of the accident he was engaged on the night shift, when the surface and underground engines were engaged pumping water. The steam being produced on the surface, the underground engine, when once started to pump water, did not require constant attention further than keeping it moving at the speed required to raise the drainage of the dook. It was the duty of the deceased to visit the underground machinery occasionally, perhaps five or six times during the night, and he was lowered and raised by the winding machinery. Some time before the accident it appears that he had been lowered to the bottom of the pit in the usual way. The engineman, his neighbour, observing that he remained unusually long, went down a "stair" pit to learn the cause of delay, and on reaching the machinery found him lying crushed between the fly-wheel and a cutting formed in the pavement, in which the lower part of the fly-wheel revolved. It is supposed that the deceased had, after being lowered to the bottom of the pit, proceeded down the dook to examine the state of the water in it. His lamp was found about mid-way down, and it is presumed that it had fallen or the light gone out, and in afterwards approaching the machinery without a light, he had unexpectedly got entangled with it. The deceased was 68 years of age, and though he was considered competent, it would have been more satisfactory if a younger person had been appointed to perform the duties.
Newspaper report
1868February10NewtonCambuslangJ P KidstonRichard SneddonManager62Above groundBy falling a few feet off a scaffold at the pit head 
1868February14Grougar No 3GalstonPortland Iron CoJohn CowanBoy13Falls of coal and roofFall of stone at faceNewspaper Report
1868February15Drumpeller No 2CoatbridgeWilsons & CoWilliam EcclesMiner40Falls of coal and roofFall of roof while forming a lodgement off a sinking pit 
1868February26Neilston No 1KilsythJames Wallace & CoJoseph JarvieCollier40Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1868February28Bredisholm No 4BailliestonCharles Tennant & CoWilliam FrameBoy15Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face while engaged undermining 
1868March1Govan No 3GlasgowW S DixonArchd MaxwellCollier19In shaftsFell out of the cage while being raised

From Main body of report:
The deceased at the time of the accident was being raised on the cage, along with other three workmen, and when about mid-shaft he fell from it suddenly to the bottom of the pit, a distance of 42 fathoms. I learned afterwards that the unfortunate sufferer had been subject to convulsive attacks, and it is supposed that he had been seized by one at the time the accident happened. It would be prudent I think to prevent such persons from going into mines unless under special regulations.
1868March2BlackbraesFalkirkJames Russell & SonJames Weir----55Falls of coal and roof------- 
1868March2GreenfieldHamiltonHamilton Coal CoWm McInnisCollier23Falls of coal and roofHe was underholing, and 4 tons of coal rolled over on him. The seam was 4 feet high.Newspaper report - Hamilton pages
1868March7Kilwinning No 2KilwinningEglinton Iron CoThomas ElliotBoy15Falls of coal and roofFall of roof about 10 faths from the face 
1868March9Kirkwood No 2CoatbridgeJohn HendrieThos MackieDrawer23MiscellaneousWas run over by a loaded hutch 
1868March12Carnbroe No 8HolytownMerry & CunninghamR MontaguCollier31Falls of coal and roofHe was underholing the lower leaf of a 3 feet coal under 3 feet of the upper leaf, which fell upon him. He lived 3 days afterwards 
1868March17Darngavil No 5AirdriePat RankinB MontaguDrawer13Falls of coal and roofHe worked with his father and brother, and was passing along the face when the roof fell upon him. Seam 3 feet 
1868March17Neilston No 1KilsythJames Wallace & CoDavid ShawCollier12Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1868March19CapeldraeLochgellyRobert AytounWm MunroCollier23Falls of coal and roofHe was working under a mass of top coal which fell upon him. Seam 6 feet thick, in 2 leaves. Newspaper report - Auchterderran pages
NB Date should be 12 March 1868
1868March30Drumpark No 1BailliestonDrumpark Coal CoJames WeirDrawer14Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1868April7Hillhead No 2AirdrieWilliam Baird & CoPat FowleyCollier18MiscellaneousExplosion of gunpowder 
1868April7ParkheadMotherwellJohn Watson---- HaniganCollier--ExplosionsBurned by an explosion of gas from the goaf. Six men were burned. He died some weeks afterwards.

From Main body of report:
There is not a great quantity of fire-damp in the "goaf" of the Wishaw and Hamilton coal fields, but I have more than once detected it, and the only death from explosion of fire-damp last year was caused, I had reason to believe, from a fall of roof, driving out some gas which was in the "goaf," upon the naked lights of some men working at pillars (stoops), one of whom was the deceased.
1868April8ArmsheughIrvineMerry & CunninghamJames HoldonCollier45ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report:
According to the special rules of the colliery, it was the duty of the fireman to descend the pit before the colliers shift commenced, and to proceed through every drawing road and along the whole coal-faces and working places in the colliery, and minutely examine the same, &c. It appears that the fireman did descend the shaft on the morning of the accident, and, as the pit was not expected to be worked fully for the day, according to his own statement, he examined only two or three of the working places. He afterwards had occasion to go with the deceased, who was to assist him to make some changes in one of the usual working places, but which had not been examined, and ignited a quantity of fire-damp, by which the deceased was severely burned and died from the effects of it. The fireman in this case was charged by the Procurator Fiscal of Ayr with culpable homicide, as also culpable neglect of duty ; he was tried by the sheriff and a jury, when he pled guilty to culpable neglect of duty, and was sentenced to four months imprisonment.
1868April11CommonheadAirdrieColville & GrayJas McDermotCollier40Falls of coal and roofWas underholing, when a blade of sandstone 6 inches thick, 8 feet by 7 feet, fell on him. Seam 30 inches. Roof sandstone. Overman warned him to put up props. 
1868April16AirdriehillAirdrieJas Black & SonJno RankineBrusher22Falls of coal and roofHe was building the roadside when a stone fell out of the roof by a lipe upon him. Seam 4 feet. Roof sandstone. 
1868April20Easter GlentoreAirdrieRobert HunterDd. HunterManager40Above groundFall of sand and gravel in a mine near the surface. Mine not properly wooded. 
1868April21GrangemouthFalkirkGrangemouth Coal CoW ChalmersBrusher36Falls of coal and roofHe was preparing to blast down the roof, 12 feet back from the face, when it fell upon him. Seam 3 feet. Roof shale.Newspaper report
1868April29MeiklehillKirkintillochJames GairdnerGeorge McKayCollier22Falls of coal and roofFall of roof while repairing a roadway 
1868May1MuirhouseWishawArchd RusselJno YuilDriver11MiscellaneousThis boy was passing along with a train of tubs when the roof fell upon him. 
1868May5Bartonholm No 2KilwinningEglinton Iron CoJohn JohnstonCollier23In shaftsFell down the shaft while attempting to leap off the cage after it was raised a little above the usual level

From Main body of report:
In this case, the cage had been lifted a little higher than the usual landing when men were being raised, and the deceased, who was on it along with two neighbouring workmen, leaped off while it was in motion, and on to the platform at the pit-head, where unfortunately he overbalanced and fell back into the shaft. The other workmen remained upon the cage, and got off it safely a few feet higher up. There was something unsatisfactory and irregular with regard to the signals, and though a bottomer was employed to see the hutches placed carefully upon the cage, and to make the necessary signals, he had frequently allowed the workmen to make the signals themselves. The engineman excused himself by saying that only one signal had been made, and in consequence thereof, less caution was observed than if he had been aware that men were being raised upon the cage.
1868May13GreenhillHolytownRobert YoungPat CairneyCollier25Falls of coal and roofA piece of top coal weighing half a ton fell upon him. The seam is 8 feet thick in 2 leaves, the first leaf was 4 feet in advance, and he was working at it. 
1868May14LumphinnansLochgellyLumphinnans Iron CoW BrownCollier43Falls of coal and roofFall of roof by a lipe. The seam was 30 inches. Roof a seam of coal 6 feet thick. Newspaper report - Beath pages
1868May18Hurlford No 12HurlfordAllan Gilmour & CoJames TurnbullCollier24Falls of coal and roofFall of coal when in the act of taking it down 
1868May21Bells DykeAirdrieDundas SimpsonSam MortonCollier26Falls of coal and roofFall of roof (sandstone) while taking out pillars. Seam 4 feet. 
1868May25Stottencleugh MineMuirkirkEglinton Iron CoWm McWhirterBoy14MiscellaneousInjured by a hutch upon a drawing road and died a few days later 
1868June2CanobieCanobieDuke of BuccleuchJames ForratForeman engineer42Above groundWas crushed when loading machinery into a railway waggon

From Main body of report:
The deceased was the foreman engineer at the colliery ; he was engaged with others at the time of the accident loading some machinery into a railway waggon, when a crank weighing about six cwts., suspended by a crane rope, canted suddenly while being lowered, and the deceased was crushed under it.
1868June2KilgramieGirvanJoseph WhitefieldHugh CroallyCollier60Falls of coal and roofFall of coal and roof 
1868June6MossendHolytownMossend Iron CoR BennieDrawer15Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at pit-bottom. Not properly supported. 
1868June16Bogleshole No 4TollcrossJames Dunlop & CoPat NewmanBrusher23MiscellaneousWhile engaged blasting with gunpowder 
1868June16Espieside No 3CoatbridgeWm Baird & CoJames EastonCollier37Falls of coal and roofFall of coal, died a week after the accident 
1868June18WhitehillAirdrieHenderson & DimmackA Sommervilleoverman--MiscellaneousCrushed by cage at pit-bottom when stepping on. 
1868June27RedanStevensonMerry & CunninghamFrank MullenCollier30In shaftsFall from a scaffold while repairing the guide rods in the shaft

From Main body of report:
It appears that the "guide rods," or wooden conductors, in the shaft had got displaced by. the guides upon the cage getting out of place. The deceased and two others, the oversman being one of them, had been engaged for 12 or 14 hours before the accident happened making the necessary repairs upon the shaft, and for that purpose a scaffold was suspended by chains from the bottom of the cage, and hanging about 20 feet below it, for them to stand upon. With the exception of their tools, there was no other weight upon the scaffold except two guide rods, the one 18 and the other 9 feet in length. I understand that the 18 feet length rested upon the scaffold at one end, and was lashed to one of the chains about 8 feet above the level of the scaffold. The accident was occasioned by the scaffold breaking or giving way right along the centre.

The oversman and his neighbour kept their places, or rather held on by the sides of the scaffold, and after great exertions reached the cage by climbing up the "buntons," but the deceased fell from the scaffold to the bottom, a distance of 80 yards. The construction of the scaffold was faulty, and since the accident, cross bars of iron have been added for the purpose of strengthening it.
There was some uncertainty as to the real cause of accident. I was of opinion that it had been occasioned by the guide rod 18 feet long, above referred to, getting displaced or hanging out at the top, and when the cage was raised, such as was being done when the accident happened, it came in contact with the mid wall, and forced the scaffold asunder.
1868July1Cairnhill No 5AirdrieWm Baird & CoR HamiltonSinker32In shaftsFell off the kettle while being raised in the shaft 
1868July14StroneKilsythRichard BrownAlex LorimerManager36ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report:
The deceased, who was the general manager, had on the day of the accident gone in company with the fireman to examine a block of coal near to the pit bottom, with the view of advising as to the mode of working it out. There was an air-course near to it, and as they had occasion frequently to go into the place it was not considered necessary to use the precaution of making an examination with a safety lamp before entering it, and they used open lights. In the course of their examination they ignited a small quantity of gas at a " cutter." The space where they had to travel in was contracted; the fireman made his way out and escaped, but the deceased unfortunately got affected by the gases and combustion, and was left behind. The flame from the cutter communicated with the dry wood, coal, and other loose materials in that part of the mine, not more than 80 or 100 yards from the pit bottom, and though repeated attempts were made to reach the deceased, they proved unsuccessful, and as a last resource the shafts and outlets were closed. Trivial though the matter appeared to be at first, it was some weeks after before the fire was subdued, and when an exploration was made, what was supposed to be the charred remains of the deceased were found not more than 60 yards from the pit bottom. Apparently he had got stupefied or confused by the sudden rush of flame in the contracted course and missed his way.
1868July15SkellytonLarkhallHamilton & McCullochA FlemingDriver--Falls of coal and roofHutch got off rails and knocked out a prop, and the roof fell upon him. 
1868July16CommonCumnockWilliam WalkerJames ParkCollier43Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1868July16Espieside No 5CoatbridgeWm Baird & CoNicol StewartCollier30Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1868July25SkellytonLarkhallHamilton & McCullochJ Loudonoverman40In shaftsWas leaning over pit mouth at low scaffold, when the cage came down, and knocked him in to the pit. 
1868August3Stonecrags ColtnessWishawColtness Iron CoJas ThomsonCollier20Falls of coal and roofFall of roof (coal). Seam 9 feet high. 
1868August6LimeriggSlamannanRobert BairdThos MaxwellSinker--In shaftsStruck on head by the plumb-bob (about 4 lbs) falling off the end of the line. He died 10 days afterwards 
1868August10Stevenston----Stevenston Coal CoJas ClarkCollier40Falls of coal and roofFall of coal of side of a stoop while taking out pillars. Coal 3 feet thick. Roof sandstone 
1868August24DalquharranMayboleT F KennedyThos McCluskySinker44In shaftsFell from a kettle while descending the shaft 
1868August29AuldhouseburnMuirkirkGeorge VallanceWm StevensonCollier67Falls of coal and roofFall of coal while engaged taking it down 
1868August29ByrehillKilwinningEglinton Iron CoRobt PerrieCollier69Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1868September14North BoigN CumnockLanemark Coal CoAdam DickieEngineman23Above groundFound crushed under the crank of the pumping shaft

From Main body of report:
The deceased was engaged as an assistant engineman. It appears that on the night of the accident he had gone to his work in the usual way, there was no one along with him at the time, and about half an hour after he had entered upon his shift he was found lying crushed under the crank of the engine. It was imagined that he had been working about the valve of the "feed pump," when by some overlook on his part his dress had got entangled with the crank of the engine, and he was drawn round with it and crushed against the sides of the recess formed in the floor, in which the crank revolved.
1868September16Lochgelly (Raith)LochgellyLochgelly Iron CoWill. McCaigCollier50Falls of coal and roofThese men were sitting at breakfast about 20 feet back from the face of their room, when the roof (about 12 inches of coal) fell suddenly upon them 
Jno YeatsCollier52
1868 September 19 Ironstone Pit, Whitburn     Alexander McAuley       Fall of stone  
1868September22Dalharco No 2DalmellingtonDalmellington Iron CoJames DicksonBrusher28Falls of coal and roofFall of roof while engaged taking it down 
1868September23CarronFalkirkCarron Iron CoW WilsonDriver12MiscellaneousFell when running between his horse and a race of tubs, and the hutches ran over him 
1868September23PolkemmetBathgateSholla Iron CoJas O'BrienLabourer31Ironstone mines – miscellaneousFell in among machinery, taking a “short cut” to the pithead from the engine house. 
1868October2DalkeithDalkeithDuke of Buccleuch---- HopeEngineman70Above groundHe stepped on the connecting rod when the engine was in motion and got his foot jammed between it and the wall. This man had worked the same engine for 30 years and it is said had frequently been so reckless as to do what at last cost him his life 
1868October9OrbistonBell's HillMossend Iron CoD HaniganSinker31In shaftsHe was working in the bottom of this sinking pit, and something fell down and struck him on the head 
1868October10AddiewellLothians  William Robertson    Not listedDeath not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report
1868October12ParkheadMotherwellJohn WatsonRobert WilsonManager52Above groundExplosion of a steam boiler

From Main body of report:
There were two steam-boiler explosions last year, one at Bo'ness, and the other at Motherwell. Both were high pressure boilers, 5 feet diameter, 3/8 in. plates; the former was 20 years and the latter 15 years in use. It did not appear that either of them had been short of water, and, excepting the worn-out condition of the boilers, there was nothing to account for the explosions.
1868October19Opencast No 2CoatbridgeWm Baird & CoGeorge ClarksonCollier48Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1868 October 24       John Thomson   34   Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper Report
1868October24PrestongrangePrestonpansSir George SuttieR SneddonCollier60Falls of coal and roofHe was underholing and the coal rolled over upon him. Seam 52 inches worked longwall. 
1868October24WhitehillDalkeithArchd HoodD DubiePony driver15MiscellaneousRun over by tubs 
1868October28BinniehillSlamannanJohn WatsonJ McEwanCollier22Falls of coal and roofRoof fell on him while holing. Coal 26 inches thickNewspaper report
1868October30BlackbraesFalkirkJas Russel & SonJ ChalmersCollier35In shaftsThey were descending the pit to examine something at the bottom, when the rope (a round wire) broke.

From Main body of report:
A breakage of a wire rope with a weight of 5 cwts., resulted in the loss of two lives. The rope was afterwards tested and bore a breaking strain of ten tons. The drum and pulley were only five feet diameter, which is rather small for wire ropes, but the working load was only 12 cwts., and it had only raised 8,000 tons. I could not account for the failure.
Newspaper report
John SneddonCollier22In shafts
1868November6Portland No 5HurlfordEglinton Iron CoAlex McDonaldHillman54In shaftsFell down the shaft by pushing a hutch into the wrong division of itFrom Main body of report: In this case the deceased was an assistant pit headman, he had been to the "bing" with a hutch of coals, and on returning with the empty hutch instead of putting it on to the cage to be returned in the ordinary way, he pushed it into the wrong division of the shaft, and fell to the bottom with it. Such accidents occur, I believe, through a kind of forgetfulness or momentary absence, and happen to experienced workmen. There is no way of preventing them but by introducing moveable guards at the pit-mouth, which form a perfect protection when the cage is not there. 
1868November11CleughWilsontownWm Darling's TrusteesJas WatsonCollier30Falls of coal and roofHe worked in a place out of hearing of neighbours 
1868November12HaywoodWilsontownHaywood Coal CoM Steeloverman45Falls of coal and roofFall of roof while knocking out props 
1868November13BenharLinlithgowGeorge SimpsonA HailstonesDrawer14MiscellaneousKnocked against a prop by collision with another drawer, injured internally and died next day. 
1868November13PrestongrangePrestonpansSir George SuttieThos ArchibaldDrawer14Falls of coal and roofThe roof fell on him while pushing his tub out main road. 
1868November16Neilston No 2KilsythJames Wallace & CoJames BrittonCollier19ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report:
It appears that a stone mine had been in the course of extension for a considerable time, but for a day or two previous to the accident it had been discontinued on account of an excess of gas. The roadway leading into deceased's place passed by the end of the stone mine. It seems to have been well known to him, and those who worked in the same limited district with him, that fire-damp existed in the mine, and that it had been partially stopped until an opening, a small " blind pit," could be put down upon the end of it to form a better circuit for the air. Notwithstanding, the deceased went into within a few feet of the face of the mine with an open light, and ignited the gas by which he was burned; at first, it was not supposed to be seriously, but he died from the effects of it about a week after. It is difficult to know whether in this case a fence would have prevented the accident. By the second general rule it was the duty of the owner to use such a precaution, but he failed to do so.
1868December2TennochsideCoatbridgeMonkland Iron CoD HannanSinker23In shaftsHe was struck by a stone which fell off side of pit 
1868December3WellwoodMuirkirkEglinton Iron CoHugh McLachlanCollier45Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at the face 
1868December5StependsAirdrieSummerlee Iron CoJ ParkesCollier43Falls of coal and roofWas holing his coal when stone fell from roof. Seam 30 inches 
1868December9Neilston No 2KilsythJames Wallace & CoThos McKayCollier30Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at the face 
1868December22SheardaleClackmannanJames WingateJ WingateManager27In shaftsHe was descending a pit on a crane rope, the end of which was insufficiently attached (by himself) to the barrel. It surged, and he fell off. 
1868December28SolesgirthKirkintillochJames Wallace & CoJas Gilmourpitheadman16In shaftsFell down a (sinking) pit 
1868December30RigsideDouglasJames SwannA WilsonMiner40Falls of coal and roofA piece of stone fell off wall side and killed him 
Last Updated 9th April 2012