Scottish Mining Website

1869 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
1869January7Merryton    John Mackie    Not listed in report appendicesFrom body of report - In December 1868, a collier named Millar went into his working place in Merryton Colliery with his naked light and ignited some firedamp which had accumulated in it during the night. He died in the beginning of last year from the effects of the injuries received, and in June last, Alex. Matthie, the fireman, was tried before Sheriff Bell and a jury for permitting him to enter the place when gas was in it. He was fined ten pounds. Newspaper report - Hamilton pages
1869January14Grange No 2KilmarnockRobert Yeats & CoGeorge CrichtonCollier23Falls of coal and roofFall of roof Newspaper report - Ayrshire pages NB Correct name is George Brogan
1869January15Home FarmHamiltonHamilton & McCullochAu. McMinnCollier--FallsBy fall of coal while taking out stoops 
1869January19AshgillLarkhallMerry & CunninghamJas. QuinSinker--In shaftsFell out of sinking kettle while ascending shaft 
1869January23AitkenheadBailliestonProvanhall Coal CoHugh Burnsroadman40In shaftsFell part way down pit. Mistake of signalsNewspaper report - Old Monkland pages
1869January29CorsefordJohnstoneLudovic HoustonJohn SteelCollier29Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869February2ShieldmuirWishawWishaw Iron CoJno Mortonroadman40FallsBy fall of coal while examining pillar 
1869February3NewbattleDalkeithMarquis of LothianJas PatersonCollier29FallsBy upper leaf of great seam falling on him while he was working on it 
1869February6GoatfootGalstonBoyd, Gilmour & CoJames McGeeCollier18Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869February6Heathery KnoweBailliestonHeathery Knowe Coal CoWm PenmanCollier22Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869February18RoughriggAirdrieForester & RobsonGeorge BennieCollier38FallsBy fall of roof at face, Long wall. Seam 30 inches. Roof good 
1869February25Highland ParkKilsythBrown & RennieJohn MitchellCollier63Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1869March1CornsillochLarkhallN Cochrane & CoThos CairnduffCollier25ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report:
There was one fatal accident by an explosion of fire-damp, that of a man who died a few days after he was burned by an explosion of gas at Cornsilloch Colliery, Hamilton, in March last. He was working in a bratticed place, and was re-entering his place, after fifteen minutes absence, with his naked light, and ignited some gas which had accumulated during his absence. The pit had newly reached the coal, the door stoop was not turned, and the ventilating arrangements were only temporary.
1869March9LodgeSlamannanJohn WatsonJohn ChalmersCollier20FallsFall of roof at face. Coal 30 inches. Long wall 
1869March9Rosebank No 1CambuslangJames Dunlop & CoHenry W GarvinBrusher36Falls of coal and roofFall of roof while engaged securing it 
1869March13WishawWishawWishaw Iron CoGeorge HalleyCollier35FallsJammed by a fall of top coal 
1869March16StonecraigsColtnessColtness Iron CoA DalzielDrawer15MiscellaneousCrushed by cage at pit bottom. Mistake of signalsNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1869March17LochfittyDunfermlineBeath & Blairadam Coal CoPeter WebsterCollier30FallsBy the coal he was holing rolling over on himNewspaper report
1869March18NiddrieEdinburghJohn GrieveAnd KingDrawer15FallsFall of roof at faceNewspaper report
1869March20OvertonWishawColtness Iron CoJ McCourtCollier17FallsFall of roof while removing pillarsNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1869March22SwineridgemuirBeithMerry & CunninghamAndrew BarrDrawer12Falls of coal and roofFall of coal 
1869April2AlloaAlloaAlloa Coal CoWm RamayeCollier24FallsFall of coal while removing pillars 
1869April9CoatsCoatbridgeThomas JacksonJames JudgeCollier22Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869April14GovanGlasgowW S DixonPeter ShieldsCollier22Falls of coal and roofFall of coal while undermining itNewspaper Report
1869April14ShottsShottsShotts Iron CoPat MooreCollier20Ironstone mines – fallsFall of roof 
1869April21GalstonGalstonJohn HorneAndrew ConnalRoadsman58In shaftsWas raised by the cage in the shaft when going off at a mid working

From Main body of report:
In this case there were two seams of coal being worked at different levels. The deceased was a roadsman and general assistant, and had occasion to visit both seams. It appears that on the morning of the accident he, along with the manager, had been "signalled away" upon the cage from the lower seam. It was the intention of the deceased to go off at the upper seam, but from some cause the cage was not stopped at it. The bottomer at the upper seam, on being called upon to signal back the cage to that level, did so, and it was lowered accordingly. At this point some unfortunate misunderstanding as to signals took place, and the engine-man, instead of allowing the cage to remain steadily at the upper seam, raised it while the deceased was in the act of getting off. He was caught between the cage and the side of the shaft, and, after being dragged up a certain distance, fell away from the manager, who had partly a hold of him, to the bottom of the shaft.

The opening for getting off the shaft into the upper workings, was narrow and ill adapted for persons going off the cage at, and though it was occasionally used, particularly by the manager and his assistants, it was not the proper inlet from the shaft.
Newspaper report - Ayrshire pages
1869April24Holmes No 3 PitGalstonJohn HorneWm DrummondWaggoner60Above groundWas run over by a waggon from a “back-lye” when shifting the switches near to the screen

From Main body of report:
From miscellaneous causes only one person was fatally injured. He was an experienced workman, and at the time of the accident was engaged putting some empty waggons into a “back lye” at the colliery. In this case the waggons, owing to the construction of the railway, when put in to motion, moved slowly, by an arrangement of switches, in to the different “lyes” alongside the pit. The deceased, it appears, had at the time been shifting the switches, when the waggons came upon him, and he, either by losing his footing or otherwise, was caught and crushed under them. So far as I could learn, the sufferer, who was 60 years of age, had injudiciously persisted in attending at the work while partially incapacitated from having been indulging too freely in the use of intoxicating drink.
Newspaper report - Ayrshire pages
1869April28WestmuirGlasgowRobert Gray & CoDavid GreenshieldsCollier19Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1869April29StroneKilsythStone Colliery CoJohn McKayCollier25Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1869May1ColtnessWishawA G SimpsonR BradleyCollier30FallsFall of “brushing” at road head 
1869May1KinneilBo'nessGeorge Wilson & CoRichd GrantCollier52FallsFall of roof in splint coal at face 
1869May6RosehallAirdrieRobert Addie & SonsJ McNultyBrusher30FallsFall of brushing while working at it 
1869May6SpringsideKilmarnockArchd KennethJohn HutchisonRoadsman40In shaftsWas caught by the signal wire, and drawn off the cage, when about to repair it (the wire)

From Main body of report:
On the day of the accident the "signal wire" in the shaft had broken, near to the connexion formed with the signal hammer at the surface, and the deceased, who was one of the underground assistants, repaired it. I understand that after the repair had been made, the pit had not been worked more than an hour, when the wire broke a second time. The deceased and a neighbouring workman, for the purpose of again repairing the wire, had gone on to the cage, and were in the act of being drawn up when the broken wire, hanging partially loose in the shaft, got entangled with the cage, and in some way coiling round the deceased, he was drawn off the cage, and fell down the shaft a distance of 50 feet or thereby.

It was an overlook on the part of the deceased to attempt to go up the division of the shaft where the wire was hanging loose and broken, without first communicating with the engineman as to the state of things, so that he might have raised the cage slowly, and taken all necessary precautions.
1869May6WallifordMusselburghJ & C ChristieW WrightContractor39FallsFall in main road while receding it 
1869May8DalzellowlieMayboleJames CouparAlexander JonesCollier45Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1869May10CarnbraeCoatbridgeMerry & CunninghamJ McCorachieCollier45FallsFall of roof at face 
1869May11BenharWhitburnGeorge SimpsonRob Baxterpitheadman46Above groundWinding drum was out of gear and ran amain. He was struck by rope 
1869May18BroomlandsIrvineBourtreehill Coal CoAndrew StewartDrawer15Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1869May19EdgeheadDalkeithJno ChristieJ AitkenCollier47FallsHurt by a piece of stone falling off roadside. Died in infirmary 
1869May24BankheadGalstonEglinton Iron CoAndrew HollandCollier19Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1869May24CarfinMotherwellW S DixonD MorrisonStoker40MiscellaneousKilled while greasing a beam in shaft 
1869May26OverdalserfMotherwellR WotherspoonWm AdairLabourer30In shaftsRan “empty” into shaft when cage was not there, and fell in 
1869May31Lochside No 3 PitKilbirnieMerry & CunninghamChas MulharenLabourer55Ironstone mines – in shaftsFell down the shaft by the cage being raised when he was in the act of getting off it 
1869June2BleezeDalryMerry & CunninghamAlex CrawfordCollier40Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1869June4AlvaAlloaJames JohnstoneJames GillespieDrawer15Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1869June4CarfinMotherwellW S DixonJas TrotterCollier40FallsFall of coal 
1869June7LumphinnansLochgellyLumphinnans Iron CoThos BeveridgeCollier--FallsFall of roof Newspaper report - Beath pages
1869June7No.1 Pit Pather CollieryLanarkshire  William Nicol    Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors reportWith thanks to Ian E. Hume for providing this information
1869June8DalzellowlieMayboleJames CouparAlexander PatonEngineman58In shaftsFell down the shaft from the surface

From Main body of report:
It is difficult to understand how this accident happened, and as no one saw the deceased fall into the shaft, it can only be conjectured that, as his oil pourie was found close to him at the pit bottom, he had gone near to the shaft for the purpose of oiling some of the parts of the machinery, and either overbalanced, or in some way fallen in. The parts of the machinery near to the shaft, and occasionally requiring a little attention, were ill situated for getting at, and the deceased, who had long acted as engine-man, and was advanced in years, had probably exposed himself rather more than was really necessary.
1869June15WishawWishawWishaw Iron CoHugh DicksonCollier--FallsFall of roof 
1869June18GilmilnscroftAuchinleckJames WatchmanJames CaddisCollier45Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1869June19KnownobleWishawScott & GilmourWilliam RossCollier30FallsFall of coal at face 
1869June24NethertonWishawScott & GilmourGeo ArbuckleCollier--FallsFall of stone at face 
1869June25AvonheadAirdrieAvonhead Coal Co---- ----------Above groundEngine out of gear and men ran down pit[Men were Michael Queen & James Murdoch-not named in report] Newspaper report
---- ----------Above ground
1869June30AnnbankAyrT J GordonGeorge DunlopPony driver16Falls of coal and roofFall of coal on a roadway 
1869July1DundonaldLochgellyMr NaysmithThos McMahonCollier42MiscellaneousRan down on incline. Place of refuge close by 
1869July3AlloaAlloaAlloa Coal CoJas MitchelRoadsman40FallsFall of stone while repairing road 
1869July10AshyardGalstonJames EagleshamWilliam WhiteCollier22Falls of coal and roofFall of coal 
1869July10LucknowStevenstonMerry & CunninghamJoseph KelsoCollier16Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869July17Dalharco No 2DalmellingtonDalmellington Iron CoRobert HamiltonCollier28Falls of coal and roofFall of coal 
1869July19Tunnel PitCoatbridgeDrumpeller Coal CoRobert GrahamCollier53ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report:
The workings of this pit were principally confined to the broken or taking out pillars. The deceased on the morning of the accident went into his place as directed by the fireman, and continued to work therein for about six hours, when a small accumulation of gas was ignited at his open lamp, and he was injured by it, at first it was thought slightly ; but he was an aged man, and died from the effects of it about a week after,

Apparently the gas had been forced out upon the deceased's lamp ; it may have been by a fall of roof beyond the possible range of the fireman's inspection, but the ventilation at that particular place was weak and barely sufficient to cope with any unusual discharge of gas.
This points to the necessity for the strict use of safety lamps while taking out pillars, if gas is suspected to exist.
1869July23NiddrieEdinburghJ & C GrieveThos DenholmLabourer25MiscellaneousKilled on incline. Mistake of signals 
1869July26BarleithHurlfordJohn Galloway & CoJames YoungFireman50ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: In this case the deceased acted as fireman, and was otherwise engaged assisting in the management of the pit. It appears that one of the working places, A,
fig. 3, near to the extreme of one of the sections of work, had been abandoned for some time.

The brattice by which the air was guided into it was not quite up to the face, consequently the air did not pass farther than the end of the brattice, or about 30 feet from the face of the coal. Between the end of the brattice and the coal a small quantity of gas had accumulated. I understand that on the day of the accident the deceased and an assistant had gone into the place A for the purpose of extending the brattice, to clear out the gas, and getting it put into working order. They had extended the brattice 12 feet, or to within 18 feet of the coal face; they had used safety lamps to work with, but kept their open lights back, as at B, about 38 feet from the face. It is understood that at the time of the accident the assistant had gone from the face to where the open lights were placed with the safety lamp for the purpose of trimming it, and during his absence the deceased had commenced to " waff" or displace the gas beyond the brattice, when either by passing back the " intake" to B, or along the return towards C, and finding an opening through the imperfect brattice, it ignited at the open lights at B. There was a slight explosion, by which they were both burned, and the deceased shortly after died from the effects of the injuries.
This description of accident should never happen. Under the circumstances it was absurd to allow open lights to be near to the gas, although the quantity was small, while in the act of displacing it; and it is difficult to conceive how a steady careful man, such as the deceased is reported to have been, should have acted so inconsiderately.
1869July30RosehallAirdrieR Addie & SonsM CairnsBrusher40FallsFall of brushing he was working at 
1869August5BarrhillCannockEglinton Iron CoAndrew WeirMiner30Ironstone mines – in shaftsWas struck by a kettle which got disengaged while being raised, and fell on him 
1869August18MiddhillHolytownHurl & YoungJames McKinnonBoy13In shaftsRan “empty” in wrong opening and fell down pit 
1869August19WishawWishawWishaw Iron CoJames StarkCollier48FallsFall of roof 
1869August25NewbattleDalkeithMarquis of LothianW MitchelCollier15Above groundRan on to cage while it was in motion and crushed by it 
1869August30MaidenbankMuirkirkEglinton Iron CoAndrew GemmellCollier25Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1869August31CadderBishopbriggsCarron Iron CoJohn AllenPit-headman35Ironstone mines – above groundWas struck by the winding rope in its descent down the shaft, after breaking 
1869September3HaywoodWilsontonHaywood Coal CoRob PillansCollier33MiscellaneousSqueezed by hutch on incline 
1869September3StevenstonStevenstonMerry & CunninghamJohn DuffCollier20In shaftsWas crushed in the shaft while being raised 
1869September8CowdenbeathDunfermlineSmith SligoA HunterCollier52FallsFall of roof at face Newspaper report - Beath pages
1869September11ShieldmuirMotherwellWilsons & CoW McCraeCollier35FallsFall of stone 
1869September15NeilstonKilsythJames Wallace & CoAlex FisherCollier33Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at face 
1869September17MilnwoodHolytownJno ChristieJas McGillCollier18FallsFall of roof at face 
1869September20QuarterHamiltonColin Dunlop & CoW FlemingSinker42In shaftsRope caught on bunton and fell on him 
1869September22ElphingstoneMusselburghDeans & MooreJno FergusonDrawer14MiscellaneousSqueezed while putting something on cage in motion 
1869September28BenharWhitburnR Addie & SonsJ Salsburghpitheadman52In shaftsRan hutch into wrong side of shaft and fell after it 
1869October8Peep o'DayAirdrieMonkland Iron & Steel CoRobert WatsonSinker35Ironstone mines – above groundGot entangled with the crank of the pumping engine 
1869October9NewbattleDalkeithMarquis of LothianJ BuchanLabourer50Above groundWhile putting crane in single gear with weight on, it overpowered 6 men, of which these were two Newspaper report - Lothian pages
J ShimmLabourer50
1869October12Neilston No 1KilsythW Baird & CoAlexander PatrickRoadsman27Ironstone mines – miscellaneousExplosion of gunpowder whilst stemming a shot 
1869October15BrowniesideAirdrieShotts Iron CoG SmillieSinker42In shaftsFall of hanging scaffold 
1869October15CastlehillCarlukeShotts Iron CoJ CameronSinker40MiscellaneousSuffocated by choke damp 
1869October23DrumshangieAirdrieLaw & BrandJoseph EagerDrawer30MiscellaneousCrushed by cage at pit bottom. Mistake of signals 
1869October24LimeriggSlammananRobert BairdW JacksonCollier--MiscellaneousCrushed by cage while attempting to cross the bottom 
1869October30BalquhatstoneSlammananJno WatsonChas MorganCollier22In shaftsFall off rope which he was attempting to slide down 
1869October30GarriongillWishawColtness Iron CoWm McGhieCollier17MiscellaneousJammed by hutches on incline. He had no business there 
1869November11EastfieldCambuslangT G BuchananJames LindsayCollier20Falls of coal and roofFall of coal at face 
1869November15BurnbankGalstonBoyd, Gilmour & CoRichard ArmourLabourer32Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869November15Todds CalderCoatbridgeW S DixonPeter GillespieBrusher37Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869November16GlespinDouglasJames GwannJ McLeanEngine20Above groundFell in between wheels, while greasing them in motion 
1869November16StependsAirdrieSummerlee Iron CoR KnowEngineman40Above groundFell in among machinery 
1869November16TownhillDunfermlineTownhill Coal CoA HyndCollier25FallsFall of roofNewspaper report
Jas MilneCollier29
1869November20Fergushill No 17KilwinningArchd FinnieAlexander BrydenDrawer14Falls of coal and roofFall of roof 
1869November27CadderBishopbriggsCarron Iron CoJohn BankierSinker30Ironstone mines – in shaftsBreakage of a chain, which knocked him off a scaffold in its descent 
1869December8KirkwoodCoatbridgeJohn HendrieThomas WhiteSinker48In shaftsStruck by a stone which fell from the side of the shaft 
1869December9West PleansBannockburnMoyes Murray & CoThomas RobertsonPit-headman23In shaftsFell down the shaft from the surface

From Main body of report:
The deceased was a young man and assistant pit-headman, and at the time of the accident he was engaged emptying a water chest, and returning with it to be placed upon the cage, when he fell into the shaft and was fatally injured.

If self-acting moveable fences, such as are in use at the majority of pits, had been in operation this unfortunate accident could not have happened.
1869December14Burgh CollieryIrvineA G SimpsonWilliam CairnsFireman40ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: The deceased was night fireman, and on the evening of the accident, before allowing the workmen to descend to their work, he in making his examination discovered that the ventilation was defective. He dismissed the workmen on account of the pit not being in a fit state for persons to work in, but after a few hours he again descended with an open light for the purpose of making a farther examination when, as reported, a quantity of fire-damp was ignited at his unprotected light near to the pit bottom. Owing to the situation of the "waste" of this pit, it is difficult to comprehend how an explosion of firedamp could happen at the pit-bottom without being much more destructive than the one in question. And no doubt a flask of gunpowder had been exploded in addition to any other explosion, which of itself might possibly have accounted for the accident.
There was something painful about this occurrence, the poor fellow, on account of a derangement of the "slides" in the shaft, having to lie a considerable time at the bottom of the pit before he could be got up. He lived a few weeks after the accident, but died from the effects of the injuries.
1869December14Mount VernonBailliestonJohn YoungWalter DavidsonCollier16ExplosionsExplosion of fire damp

From Main body of report: The unfortunate sufferer in this case was a young lad who worked with a collier in the "main" seam. It appears to have been arranged with the oversman that they should change their place of work from the main to the " ell" coal, and they had their choice of the walls A, B,
fig. 4. I understand that on the morning of the accident the deceased had gone into the "ell" coal, as explained by the person with whom he worked, for the purpose of examining the roads leading into the walls A and B, to find out which of them would be the most suitable for "drawing" upon, and while in the act of going into the wall-face A, a quantity of firedamp was ignited at his lamp, and by which he and the person who was working in the wall C were seriously injured.

In this case the fireman had wilfully neglected to examine the colliery before allowing the workmen to enter to their work. He was charged by the Procurators Fiscal, Messrs. Hart and Gemmell, with culpable homicide, also culpable neglect of duty, and tried by the sheriff of Lanark and a jury. He was found guilty of culpable neglect of duty, (the charge of culpable homicide was not proven,) and sentenced to one month's imprisonment or pay a fine of £10.
1869December18ClelandHolytownMonkland Iron CoR AdairRoadsman35Above groundStruck on head by a block falling from pulleyPossible Newspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1869 December 20 Nr Falkland Road Station Fife   James Wilson     Not listed Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Fife pages
1869December21FaskineAirdrieWm Baird & CoJames SmithSinker18Ironstone mines – falls of ironstone and roofFall of roof at face while engaged securing it 
1869December22Mount VernonBailliestonJohn YoungJohn ConnollyCollier48Falls of coal and roofFall of roof at faceLanarkshire accidents
1869December23KenmuirAirdrieWilsons & CoPat DevelineMiner26Ironstone mines – falls of ironstone and roofFall of roof 
1869December30KinneilBo'nessKinneil Iron CoR GrantMiner13FallsFall of stone from roof of working place 
Last Updated 26th June 2012