Scottish Mining Website

Udston Colliery Disaster 28th May 1887

Hamilton Advertiser June 4 1887

Terrible Mining Disaster at Udston
Fire-Damp Explosion and Loss of Over Seventy Lives

On Saturday forenoon, the appalling intelligence was flashed over the district that a disastrous fire damp explosion had occurred at Udston Colliery. Since the calamitous occurrence at Blantyre ten years ago, it is well known that a revolution has been wrought in the management of the deep mines of Scotland. The dreadful lesson that was then taught has borne fruit in the shape of improved appliances, an increasing anxiety on the part of colliery managers and men to secure, by self-knowledge, a more rigid discipline and increased caution, the utmost limit of safety; and it is not too much to say that the sense of security which this and the comparatively lengthy immunity from serious accident had not unnaturally engendered received a sudden awakening by the occurrence on Saturday morning, and gave place to a feeling of gloom almost amounting to despair, intermixed with sorrow and sympathy, widespread and deep, for the lost and their bereaved relations.

Udston coalfield, as local readers are aware, is leased by the Udston Coal Coy. (Limited). It covers about 60 acres, and occupies a commanding site fully two miles to the south-west of the town overlooking the wide, fruitful vale of the Clyde from Carluke to Cambuslang. It marches on the west with Blantyre Colliery, on the north with Greenfield and Earnock Collieries, the dislocation where the coalfield terminates being to the south. Though in such close proximity to Blantyre, and the scene on 15th May, 1882, of a fatal explosion, when the manager, Mr Archibald, and a miner, Charles Morrison, and his son, William, were killed and seven others were severely burned, the Colliery was looked upon as quite a safe one. At the time of the 1882 explosion, the two pits, Nos. 1 and 2, situated quite close to each other, were sunk to the Ell and Main coal seams only, but since then, within the last three or four years, the Splint seam has also been opened up and extensively worked. The three seams lie at the respective depths of 125, 140 and 150 fathoms. While at one time naked lights were partially permitted, latterly nothing but safety lamps – the Scotch gauze - were in use, and only occasionally was a shot fired in the Splint coal. The workings are ventilated by means of a large Guibal fan, the quantity of air passing through them per minute being 68,000 cubic feet. This was thought adequate, and was the ascertained quantity when the air was measured within the last fortnight. The splint coal seam in which the explosion occurred, is worked on the “stoop and room” principle, the workings consisting of a heading, a horse level, and a main dook road, and the air after being split in the main course was carried round the different sections in the usual way. The “rooms” being well advanced, the stoops in the east level had been removed and were in course of being taken out in the west level also.

Before the Explosion
Such was the state of matters when the men to the number of 158 went down into the workings at the usual time on Saturday morning after they had, in the usual way, been examined and reported safe. 66 men were lowered by No 1 shaft into the main seam, 44 went down No 2 shaft into the ell workings, and 75 by the same pit into the splint seam. A number of those in the main coal had made an early “yoke”, and several came to the surface between six and nine o'clock, leaving at that hour some 40 men at work in this middle seam. The explosion occurred about half-past nine o'clock, and was made known to those on the surface by a loud report and a flash of flame from the pit mouth, which set fire to the head gear at No 1 Pit. This was at once extinguished and Mr Gavin, the manager, who happened to be on the surface, at once proceeded to ascertain the extent of the disaster which it was plain at first sight had happened below ground. A rapid examination discovered that both compartments of No 1 shaft and one of the compartments of No 2 Pit were blocked by the cages that were working in them : that in the other compartment of No 2 there was also a cage, on which three men were engaged prior to the explosion examining the shaft, which was not jammed; and that the whole of the men under ground were entombed. After considerable effort the cage in No 2 was raised to the surface only to find that one of the occupants, a lad of 17, named James M'Gourty, had been killed, while the other two, Edward Torley, underground manager, and Archibald Muir, oversman, had escaped - the former with slight injuries, and the latter with a broken arm.

The Spread of The News
By this time, the news had spread with lightening speed, and the wives and children drew round the fated pit-shaft with terror stricken faces bewailing the loved ones who were in the workings. It was still uncertain if any would come out alive, and the scenes to be witnessed at this stage in the groups of weeping women and children were perhaps the most piteous and affecting of the many heartrending sights connected with the distressing occurrence. A little hope was raised among the onlookers as soon as they saw the cage in the open compartment set in motion, manned by volunteers, who are never wanting among the mining class in times of extreme peril. The messages which Mr Gavin sent to neighbouring collieries were also bringing to the scene managers and other experienced men, and they at once put to their hands to assist. Amongst the first to arrive in this was was Mr James Gilchrist, manager, Earnock, and he was closely followed by Mr James Hastie, manager, Greenfield (in the workings of which the detonation of the explosion had been heard), Mr Robert Beith, manager, Clyde Coal Co.'s pits; Mr Archibald Blyth, manager, Bent; Mr J S Dixon, managing director of the Bent Coal Company; Mr Shenton Thomas, Blantyre, and others. These gentlemen actively or by their advice each contributed to forward the relief measures which were now in full progress.

A Descent into the Workings
On the cage being lowered about 30 fathoms, the party – consisting of Messrs Gavin, Gilchrist, Wm. Watson, main coal oversman, Udston, and Daniel McPhail, roadsman, Earnock Colliery – were not a little surprised to find a man on the mid way hard at work climbing in this hazardous way to a place of safety. The man turned out to be James Rankin, who at the time of the explosion was at work in the ell coal seam. He thought that the report and rush of air which heralded the disaster were but the sound of the roof closing where he had previously been stooping, but with the rest made his way to the pit bottom, and discovered what had occurred, and seeing no means of reaching the top, took this mode of securing his own release. After being taken on to the cage, he was wound to the surface, and the relief party recommenced their descent. At a depth of some seventy fathoms they came upon other three men, - James Muirhead, William Gaw and William Elliot – who, following Rankin's example, were also climbing to the hill. These were likewise brought to the top, and conveyed to Mr Gavin the intelligence that further down, a number of the slides on which the cage moves were displaced. A little time was occupied in repairing these, after which the descent to the bottom of the Ell seam was accomplished. On entering the workings, the air, especially in the vicinity of the shaft, was found to be heavily charged with afterdamp, and all who had rushed there – and the most of them had naturally done so – were all more or less affected.

Forty-Five Men Rescued Alive
They were all however, safely brought to bank. Here Dr Robertson, the medical officer of the work, was in waiting ready to administer to them, and their relatives after a little time carried them to their homes wrapped in blankets and part—coloured bed-covers. As, in the bright sunshine of an exceptionally fine summer day, they were borne along the pathway through the green field separating the colliery from the Dykehead Rows, they were the first touch which those hurrying to the scene from the town and neighbourhood received of the dreadful occurrence. All up to this point had been so still, the Dykehead Road so deserted, the pithead as seen from a distance so like what it usually is, it was difficult to realise that this was the scene of a great colliery disaster. These little cavalcades in the pathway at once dispelled the illusion, and the tears and cries of distressed mothers and children assembled near the pit mouth completed the operation, had that been necessary.

Not a moment was lost, after the ell workings had been cleared, to ascertain if the cage could now be sent on to the Main coal seam, this step being, if possible, stimulated and encouraged by the shouts clearly heard of the men entombed in it. The slides and buntons were, however, at once found to be greatly displaced, and several hours elapsed before the cage, with a “kettle” suspended to it, was got down the intervening fifteen fathoms.

The Scene About Midday – Statements of Ell Coal Survivors
During the suspense and lull which was occasioned while the explorers were thus engaged repairing the shaft, those on the surface had time to grasp, discuss, and contemplate the extent of the disaster. The Lanarkshire Constabulary had now arrived, and under the direction of Deputy-Chief Constable Gordon, who acted in the absence from home of Chief Constable M'Hardy, and whose experience in connection with the Blantyre explosion now proved invaluable, at once proceeded to concert measures for the reception and identification of the dead. Taking the most sanguine view, the number it was seen must be close on seventy, and might be more. Dr Robertson, single handed, and with great energy, had already turned the large brick erection used as a smithy into a temporary infirmary, where, for a goodly while, he had been seeing to the sufferers from choke damp in the ell coal seam, and the police now converted the joiners' shop, which separated from the smithy, runs at right angles from it, into a mortuary for the time being. To Sub-Inspector Reid was entrusted the duty of keeping a record of the names of the dead and injured, the cause of death, the productions found upon them, and other particulars of a judicial character, while other members of the force superintended the identification and removal after they had been coffined, of the bodies, first to the smithy and afterwards to the homes of the deceased. The police had also the task devolved upon them of keeping back the ever increasing crowd. To aid them in this, barricades were erected, and nothing could have exceeded the order kept. By means of men drawn from all parts of the county, detachments have been kept on duty, night and day all week, the constables being relieved every 8 hours. On Monday, Chief Constable M'Hardy returned post haste from the South of England, only, however to find that the arrangements of his able subordinate were all that could be desired.

While many such provisions which the disaster entailed were being made, several men who had escaped from the ell coal seam and who were beginning to recover from the afterdamp effects crowded inside the barricades – some to await the fate of sons and relatives still below, others anxious to see what the outcome was to be. A number detailed their individual experiences. One of these was William Queen, who was hanging on to ascertain the fate of his son. His statement was that about half-past nine he felt a very heavy surge of air, and knew that an explosion had occurred. He examined all round to see if there was any gas, and finding none, he remained in his place for nearly an hour. There was no after damp; but wondering why the “cleek” had not been yoked he sent his boy to the bottom to enquire. He returned with the intimation of the explsion, and that all men were up the shaft. Queen left leisurely, and on going through the doors he began to suffer from choke damp. He, however, got safely to the hill. William Eden, Udston Rows, who was at the foot of the dook, about four or five hundred yards from the bottom, stated when he heard the noise of the explosion, he knew there was something wrong, but he thought it was a fall of stones. He waited two or three minutes, thinking what to do. He went up the brae, and saw all the men running. He turned back for an old man's coat, and his own, and ran to the top lift. Whe he got tot the main dook he felt the damp catch him. He was losing his sensed completely, and was almost falling, so he made a run for the bottom and reached it, stood at the shank and got the fresh air till he came to a bit. He passed men lying on all sides. An old man, named John Madden, who had been running with him, fell with the damp when he got to the head of the brae. He ran on and left him lying and then went back and lifted him. Those of them who had reached the bottom then started and brought forward the men who had fallen, and with the fresher air they quickly recovered. Before this he heard some shouting from below and asking if there were men there, and whether they were all right. He answered that there were men dead, for he thought them so at the time. There was a great commotion. They had to wait at the bottom nearly an hour, during which Rankin and four or five more climbed the shaft. Others tried it but had to return. Similar experiences were detailed by others.

Arrival of Officials
While the operations in the shaft to gain access to the main coal level were still in progress, many officials and representative men arrived. These included Mr Ralph Moore, Inspector of Mines for the District; Messrs Johnston and M'Laren, his assistants; Sheriff Birnie; Mr J A Dykes, Procurator Fiscal; Revs. H M Hamilton and F L Thompson, ministers of the parish; T M B Paterson, West Free Church; Gilour, Burnbank United Presbyterian Church; Donnelly, St Mary's R C; Chrystal, Baptist Church; Watt, assistant to the ministers of the parish; Wotherspoon, Burnbank; Dr Glancy, Motherwell, R C; Halkett, R C; Pryde, Stonefield; M'Dougal, Langloan; and Burleigh, Free Church missionary, Stonefield. Several medical gentlemen also put in an appearance ready to assist if required, including Drs Marshall and Lindsay, Hamilton; and Grant, Blantyre. Later in the day, Sheriff- Principal Berry attended, and there were also present the best known mining men in the West; Mr Stephen Mason, MP; Mr Bost, of Bost & Turner, one of the directors; Mr Walter Wilson of the Colosseum, Glasgow; Mr W Small, miners secretary &c. The Hamilton ambulance waggon was by this time brought to the scene.

Clearing the Main Seam – 4 Dead, 37 Saved
At length, the repairs on the shaft were completed, and the explorers got into the main coal workings. An examination was first made of the bottom by Messrs Hastie, Beith, Gavin and Gilchrist, who were astonished to find the roads in perfect good order. The air, however, was heavily charged with choke damp, and one of the first sights was a row of dead bodies, four in number stretched on the floor of the gallery close to the shaft. The men who had thus met their fate were undoubtedly the victims of after damp, for there was no trace of burning about them, and their features, having been cleared of the traces of the death struggle were quite placid. Close to the dead, other miners were huddled together in the awful gloom, where they had been in the presence of death for nearly five hours. One of them, a young man named William Allan, had long been insensible, and appeared to be in his last gasp, and others were delirious, while all were more or less shaken. The arrangements which had been made on the bank were of such a character that they were all taken to the surface in the short space of 10 minutes. On the search being continued into the workings the remaining men were likewise all found in life, and taken to the pit-bank. Dr Robertson, who had to deal with 23 of them, by this time had the assistance of his professional brethren already mentioned. The dead bodies on being raised to the surface were recognised as those of James M'Tavish, James Richmond, William Hughson and Robert Niven, all miners, and while the remains of the first named were taken to his parents home in Burnbank, those of the others were laid in the joiners' shop beside those of M'Gourky, all of them being reverently covered with pieces of cloth.

Survivors' Statements
There is every reason to believe that, as in the Ell seam, the men unwittingly rushed into danger in making for the pit bottom, but it is also clear that but for the exertions of several of their comradesa number of the survivors would not now be alive to tell the tale.

James Weir, miner, Dykehead Rows, says when he heard the report he knew an explosion had occurred, and made for the bottom. He found there ten or twelve men lying overcome with choke damp, and with Thomas Cowan, Richard Cowan and Archibald Sneddon, although himself exhausted, carried them to a point where there was a good current of air. His boy he carried for a distance of several fathoms under his arm. Knowing there was a good current of air, and hearing the rescuers working down to them in the shaft, they felt quite safe, providing a second explosion did not take place.

John Ford, miner, Auchentibber, who was in the main coal seam, says:- About a quarter past nine o'clock, they heard a rumbling noise and concluded that a fall had taken place. Some coal dust came into their faces and blinded them for a time. Some were also deafened, and could not hear for about 5 minutes, but did not trouble themselves about it. Their lights kept in all this time and they did not think it was an explosion. They filled four hutches after the noise in the air, and then he went to his breakfast, leaving one of his neighbours working. About this time George Cowan came and told them to get on their clothes and come as quick as possible to the bottom of the pit so as to get up to the pithead. They all went up the road a piece till they got to the bottom, where they saw the bottomer, James Boreland, lying insensible. The two Cowans and he pulled him through two trap doors into the airway. There he revived considerably, and, he understood, was brought to the surface all right. They went back and took two other persons to the airway, and returning to the bottom, could see nobody; but they heard groans coming from the bottom of the shaft, where the men in the splint coal seam were.

George Cowan, chain runner, High Blantyre says:- About a quarter past nine, he felt what he could only call a shock. He thought it was a heavy fall, but was afraid that something more serious had happened, and went to the bottom, from which direction the sound came. Here he heard moaning, and, fearing the worst, although not sure of anything, ran and warned all the men in the main coal seam. At this time he heard men at the Ell coal bottom crying down; but although they shouted repeatedly, they could not learn anything about the men in the splint coal seam.

Getting Down to the Splint Seam
Without delay the rescuers on clearing the middle seam sought to pierce to the splint coal. They found it blocked in such a way as to leave little room for hoping that many of the workers in this section would come out alive. The repair of the shaft occupied about three hours, or until nearly five o'clock, when, on the rescuers penetrating to the lamp cabin they found alongside a dead body a young man named Alexander M'Lean. On being brought to the surface he was carried on a stretcher to the smithy and being dreadfully burned, was attended by Dr Robertson. He was later conveyed by a special train to Glasgow and taken to the Royal Infirmary. About six o'clock the only other living man that was found in the splint seam was brought to the surface. He was James Lang, a young unmarried man, residing with his father at Burnbank. He was found on he road near the lamp cabin. Though badly burned, he was able with the assistance of four men to walk to the smithy, and after being treated by the doctor was removed home in a cart. On Sunday he had sufficiently recovered to make the following statement:-I was working close to the bottom at the time. The first thing I saw was the flame of the explosion. I was knocked down, and when I came to I found that I had been thrown some distance from the bottom. I had lain for six or eight hours – or, as it seemed to me at the time, all night - when the exploring party came across me. There was not much wrong with me then, but from sitting so long in the cold my arms had become swollen in places. Three or four men were working with me at the time. M'Lean, who has been taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was close by me.

Recovering the Dead – Forty Hours Exploration
Subsequent examination brought home to the other practical parties present that no more men were likely to be found alive. It was first resolved to thoroughly repair the shaft so that the cage might be lowered to the splint coal bottom this having previously only been possible by means of the kettle, and while this was being done, and men employed “redding” the fall at the bottom, under the direction of Mr Twaddle, manager, Ross Colliery, a conference was held in the office at which a plan of systematic exploration was resolved upon. The explorers were formed into two sections, with three colliery managers in charge of each. The managers individually remained eight hours on duty, and selected their followers, for whom shifts of four hours were appointed. This arrangement was adhered to throughout the whole time the exploration lasted, viz., from Saturday night to Monday morning, and Messrs Gilchrist, Beith and Hastie were in charge of the first shift, and Messrs Parks (Allanshaw), Blyth, and Hogg (North Motherwell), of the second. Before commencing operations, the plans of the colliery workings were thoroughly discussed with Mr Moore and a plan of operations laid down, which was kept to throughout, and proved the best under the circumstances.

Midnight had settled over the scene before the operations connected with the repair of the shaft to let down the cage to the splint coal bottom were completed, the work being skilfully executed, under the direction of Messrs Gilchrist, Hastie and Beith, by Messrs M'Bride, oversman, Earnock; Bowie, oversman, Blantyre Collieries: and M'Phail, roadsman, Earnock Colliery. Upon the completion of the repairs, the shift was changed, and Mr Blyth and his followers were detailed to search for the dead in the “dook” section, while Messrs Hogg and Park, with their men, repaired to the Blantyre section. During the eight hours they remained in these parts of the workings, Mr Blyth's party recovered seven bodies and that of Messrs Hogg and Park, six in addition to sending up the shaft the dead body found lying near M'Lean at the lamp cabin. They were relived about 8 o'clock on Sunday morning by a new batch of explorers, under Messrs Hastie, Gilchrist and Beith, the first two named taking Messrs Park and Hoggs section, and the latter that of Mr Blyth. After the two bodies had been recoevered in the first division and six in the other, the dook and Blantyre workings were exhausted. It was buy this time one o'clock on Sunday; and following the plan already referred to, the air was shut off these parts, and conveyed down the west, or horse road section. Here a short distance from the pit bottom, three dead bodies were found at the stable, three dead ponies being near at hand. The squad had just completed the carrying forward of the stoppings for a short distance on both sides of the road when the hour arrived for again changing the shift. Half the new explorers, under Mr Blyth, took the heading, and on reaching the level found seven bodies. Mr Hogg, with the other half, proceeded to the south of the section, from which they recovered 15 bodies. The shift was changed at twelve at night, and in the course of the next six-and-a-half hours the entire workings had been thoroughly explored, and all the bodies, except those buried under falls, taken to the surface. The explorers were accompanied by Mr Ronaldson, Inspector of Mines for the Western District; and received able assistance from Messrs Twaddle; Faulds, Dalziel; Mowat, Summerlee; and J S Pitcairn, Eddlewood. Mr G B Begg, M E Motherwell, rendered good useful service at the pithead in sending down material for use in the workings.

The first of the dead bodies from the splint seam was received in the mortuary at twenty to three o'clock on Sunday morning. Coffins had already been sent out from Glasgow, and the bodies, after being divested of their clothing, were carefully examined by Dr Robertson previous to being coffined. The relatives or others were then brought in the purpose of, and the police at the same time took possession of any articles found upon the bodies, and noted the names and various other particulars in a book kept for the purpose. The coffin, with the clothes of the deceased laid in a bundle on the lid, was then carried to the smithy, where it lay until removed to the home of the departed. This weary round of work was kept up night and day until all the bodies had been disposed of. Dr Robertson, after an arduous time of it, extending nearly to twenty-four hours, was relived by Dr Lindsay about none o'clock on Sunday. There were also in attendance during the day Drs Loudon and Beath, C B Hamilton; and Dr Goff, Bothwell. Dr Robertson came on duty again in the afternoon, and saw the greater part of the bodies that were brought up during the concluding twelve hours of the exploration. The weather was bright, sunny, and warm, and probably not less than 10,000 to 15,000 people visited the pit. Many came in conveyances long distances, and the Dykehead Road was literally alive with pedestrians the whole day. Outside the barricades at the pit, the onlookers climbed upon the trains of coal waggons and took possession of every possible vantage ground in their eagerness to see what was proceeding inside. One man got his leg broken by falling over the signal wires at the side of the railway and a girl had her arm dislocated by at the shoulder by a fall. Both were promptly attended to by the medical gentlemen present. Inside the enclosure were assembled a large number of officials and well known mining men, including Mr William Robertson, Mr James M'Creath, M.E.; Mr James Barrowman, M.E.; Mr Charles Thomson, Calder, Mr Colin Dunlop, jr., Quarter; Mr Johnstone, Bothwell &c. The most perfect order characterised the crowd and the whole proceedings.

Caution and Intrepidity of the Explorers
It was well that the work of rescue was in the hands of men whose courage was tempered with caution, for a single step in advance of the current of pure air was dangerous. Notwithstanding all precautions, and explorer now and again got a sniff of the deadly after-damp, and staggered back to be led or borne by his comrades to a purer atmosphere till he would recover. So difficult was it to remove the after-damp in some places, that those who were setting up the props on which to fasten the brattice cloths or deals for guiding the air had to hammer them into position having their heads near the floor of the mine, while the after-damp hung over them. One brawny fellow, Peter Gibson, miner, Burnbank, in giving the finishing stroke to a a prop, raised his head a trifle too high, and was at once overcome, and had to be led away in a helpless state.

Singular Character of the Blast
The suddenness of the catastrophe is shown in the fact that the bodies of the miners have been got at their working places; some of them when found being in the recumbent position usual when undercutting the coal, with the hand still grasping the pick. The explorers remark on the few traces of fire that are in the workings. The marks of burning are not apparent on props, brattices, hutches, or other combustible things, and yet the bodies of the victims tell too surely of the scorching blast that must have swept the workings from end to end. It seems that the blast was most severe at those places where the men were at work. It would appear that there the conditions for supporting the flame of the explosion were most favourable. It has been alleged the pit was dusty, and in this may lie the explanation, but in the present incomplete state of exploration a definite opinion cannot be arrived at regarding the origin and cause of the explosion. In all likelihood, it will lead to the banishment from fiery mines of the Scotch gauze lamp, which, though a favourite in the past, has for some time been regarded as scarcely adequate in mines where gas is being given off in quantities so large as to require strong currents of air to dilute and render it harmless.

List of Explorers
Udston Colliery – Charles Sneddon, James Weir, Alexander Ward, Richard Cowan, Thomas Cowan, James Sneddon, Gavin Laird, James Eadie, John Kerr, Bernard Madden, Robert M'Crum, Harry Smith, John Sharp, John Broadley, William Watson, William Fotheringham, and George Cowan. These men were in the pit at the time of the explosion, but having escaped uninjured volunteered afterwards as explorers. The following men had left the colliery, it seems, before the disaster, but afterwards came and offered their services :- Robert Watson, James Gilmour, James Kennedy, and Thos. Watson
Bent Colliery – James Adams, John Donaldson, Alexander Rankine, Thomas Sorbie, Richard Marshall, Alexander Cuthbertson, James Cullen, James Forsyth, Robert Dunn, Joseph Whiteford, Patrick M'Guire, John Williamson
Clyde Coal Coy.'s Colliery – Wm. Millar, David Ross, Wm. Smith, John Wilson, Robert Keays, John Gibson, Peter Gibson, Isaac Collison, Hugh Service, Patrick Thomson, Isaac M'Cullop, Archibald M'Neil, Jas. Dunsmore, John Morran, Thomas Turnbull, Robert Smith
Allanshaw Colliery – George Gray, George Murray, James Nimmo, William Wilson, William Lawson, William Lawson, jun., Walter Stewart, M. M'Donald, Peter Lawson, John Shorthouse, George Pritchard, John Millburn, James Lees, Robert M'Neil, John M'Nulty
Eddlewood Colliery – Thomas Ramsay, John Clarkson, Jas. Baird, Wm. Robertson, Wm. Reid, Edward Murphy
Auchinraith – John France, James Murray, J B Croft, William Irvine, Joseph Emerson, David Russell, David Gibson, George Wilson, William White, Andrew Wilson, Henry Semple, D. Williamson, D. King, Alexander Shaw, George Gibson, William M'Call, John Kyle, John Anderson, George M'Call, Thomas Murray, James Canning, J. Beecroft, Hugh M'Kechnie
Bothwell Park Colliery – Thomas Watson
Bothwell Castle Colliery – Robert Cavanagh
Blantyre Colliery – John Wotherspoon, John Archibald, George M'Lachlan, William Kirkwood, Robert Orr, Arthur Lamond, Alexander Peat, John Watson, Thomas Cook, John Bowie, George Bowie, Alexander Matthews, John Berry, William Brodie, Hugh Conway, Robert Robertson
Earnock Colliery – Daniel M'Phail, James Dick, Alexander M'Dowall, James M'Fadyen, R. Carmichael, M. M'Donald, John Calligan, William Morton, John Williamson, Andrew Waddell, John Holmes, James Wyper, John Dailly, James Peters, Samuel Mowbray, and Alexander Gillespie, David Anderson, John M'Bride
Greenfield Colliery – William Rainnie, Alexander M'Roy, Hugh Richardson, Robert Wilson, Walter Cullen, James Wood, William Robertson, James Morrison, Wm. Jardine, Daniel Stalke, and Henry Hunter
Cadzow Colliery – Peter Lamb, Walter Stewart, John Millburn, Hugh M'Guire, and Edward Kelly
High Blantyre Colliery – John Lee
Silvertonhill Colliery – George Morrison
Quarter Colliery – James Snow
Newton Colliery – Andrew Aird, Robert Groset, William Frame, George Howie, and Robert Issett
Craighead Colliery – Andew Frame, L. Nimmo, Thomas Gibson, David Dickson, John Paterson, David Neilson, Hugh Anderson, James Maxwell, James Boyd, John Hill, Thomas Fraser, William Hill, James Wood, Peter Livingston, and James Strachan
Ross Colliery – Thomas Nisbet, William Lindsay, Alexander Paterson, John Pollock, David Henry, William Weir, William Twaddle, jun.
North Motherwell Colliery – John White and Dugald M'Nicoll
Spitalhill Colliery – John Symons, Daniel Crane, William Symons, James Todd, Robert Crane, Walter Gibb, James Watson
Lettrick Colliery – George Pritchard
Garibaldi Colliery – Peter Lawson, John Hilly

Withdrawal of the Explorers – Permanent Work Commenced
As soon as the emergency explorers were withdrawn, Mr Gavin assumed full charge of the new operations for the repair of the shafts, clearing of falls and restoration of the general workings of the pit. These have been prosecuted vigorously since and considerable progress has been made. One formidable part of the task was the redding of a fall thirty yards long, and the “gearing” of the roof overhead. The rebuilding of the stoppings has also been pushed on by a party of bricklayers under Mr James Tinto, Stonefield. The stoppings number about eighty, in the construction of which some 35,000 bricks will be used.

Several more bodies have been recovered in the course of the week. On Monday night, shortly after eleven o'clock, that of Andrew Watson, the bottomer, was found in No 2 Pit “sump” or space in the bottom of the shaft for holding water, whither he had been precipitated by the force of the explosion. He was slightly burned, and one of his arms was nearly wrenched from his body. He was about fifty years of age, and leaves a widow and one son. At 2.20 on Tuesday morning the body of Alexander Torley (26), fireman, Udston Rows, was discovered buried in the debris to the rear of the bottom. Deceased, who leaves a wife and one child, was the son of the underground manager who was injured by the explosion, having been engaged at the time of the occurrence examining No 2 shaft. Alexander was attending classes to qualify as a manager, and was very highly esteemed by all who knew him. On Wednesday afternoon, the body of Andrew Buddy (32), fireman was reached amongst a mass of broken hutches near the bottom of the shaft. He was not greatly burned. He was married and leaves four children, the eldest about 7 years of age, the youngest seventeen months. He belonged to Fifeshire, and had been working at Udston for about 2 years. He was principal fireman in the splint seam, and a very careful workman. Conversing with a friend some time ago as to the character of the mine, he said it could not be described as fiery, but he would not like to see any workman open his lamp to light his pipe, as he had seen done in other pits. At the time of his death he was working his notice, a brother having promised to secure employment for him at Newton Steel Works. The fact that both firemen were found at the bottom of the shaft is held to be conclusive disproof of the suggestion of some that the explosion originated by the firing of a shot. They were the only authorised shot-firers in the mine.

Yesterday morning about 6 o'clock another body was found 900 feet from the pit bottom, lying underneath a mass of broken hutches, the iron work of which was bent and quite twisted round him. It was that of James Allison, 45, residing in Udston Rows. Deceased who was chainman in the splint coal dook, was married, and has left a widow and five of a family. He only started work about a fortnight ago after being off eleven weeks with a broken arm. A number of matches ignited and not ignited were found in his vest pocket. From the extent to which decomposition has now set in, Dr Robertson gave orders that this and all future bodies should be coffined before being brought up the shaft. This was done by the undertakers, assisted by the pit officials and the police. The brickwork being now far advanced, the remaining bodies are expected to be reached by tonight. There is some uncertainty as to the number still in the pit, but it is feared that the following fall to be included in the list:-
1. Thomas Berry, 22, miner, Auchentibber
2. James Neilson, 17, miner, High Blantyre
3. John Neilson, 14, drawer
4. William John Boyce, Auchentibber
5. John Noble, 31, miner, High Blantyre
6. John M'Guiness, drawer, 17, Dixon's Rows, Blantyre
7. Richard Torley, 40, miner, Blantyre
8. Alexander M'Lean, 22, miner, Auchentibber
This would bring the dead up to 74

The Procurator Fiscals Inquiry
On Wednesday, Mr J A Dykes, Procurator Fiscal, commenced his private inquiry into the cause of the explosion. He has bee occupied ever since precognoscing witnesses. It has been intimated by the Home Secretary that a public inquiry will also be held.

The Bereaved Families – Need for Relief
As usually happens in connection with such a disaster, there is hardly a family represented in the pit but has contributed more than one member to the death list. This is due to the fact that most miners have working along with them either a boy or some one related to them, and they generally fall together when an explosion comes. As an instance of the desolation caused in one family circle by the present catastrophe, it may be stated that a labourer at Auchentibber, Blantyre, of the name of Boyce, has lost his three sons, William, Christopher and Joseph; his three sons-in-law Wm. Harrison, James Crichton and David Crichton; his nephew, William John Boyce. Prominent among the relatives hanging round the door of the mortuary on Sunday for the purpose of the identification were a boy and girl from Greenfield of the name of Cook, whose case called forth much commiseration. The girl could not be more than twelve, and the boy was younger. One kind lady during the day came forward and comforted them, handing them at the same time what she said were her “childrens savings”. Before the day was out, they were called on to identify their father and two brothers. This leaves them alone in the world. Mrs Torley, the wife of the fireman in the splint seam, has to mourn the loss of her husband, brother and nephew, William Lawson and his son Andrew. Many other similar cases could be quoted. In the village of Auchentibber, Blantyre, almost all the male population have been swept away, and none but widows and children have been left. Blantyre has indeed suffered severely, its population contributing 33 of the total dead. In every instance the need for instant assistance is clamant and no time should be lost in meeting it. It is to be hoped that the appeal that is to be made for the establishment of a fund for the permanent relief of the sufferers may meet with a hearty response.

The Funerals
The sad work of burying the dead was commenced on Monday. The funerals were all to the beautiful cemetery of Hamilton, the undertaker being Mr Wallace, Hamilton, who, in conjunction with Messrs Wylie & Lochhead, Glasgow, has at the instance of the company, supplied the coffins for the killed. The first to be interred was John Reid. He was a married man, but, his wife residing in Glasgow, he lodged in Beckford Street, Hamilton, from whence the funeral party started. The others were the funeral of James Leadbetter, from Barrack Street, Hamilton, and of Francis and James M'Gurty, from Dykehead Rows. Peculiar sympathy is felt for Leadbetter's family, his son, a grown-up lad, ,being delicate in health. All the funerals were private.

On Tuesday, no fewer than 42 interments of the victims of the explosion took place, 16 being buried in Blantyre Cemetery, three or four at Dalbeth, and the remainder in the cemeteries of Hamilton, Cambuslang, Stonehouse, East Kilbride, and Baillieston. Appropriate religious services were conducted by various ministers at the houses of the deceased and at the graves. In one or two cases where the deceased belonged to the Salvation Army, their surviving comrades, male and female, followed the funeral corteges, with flags flying and singing of hymns.

Seven funerals took place on Wednesday – three at Hamilton, two at Blantyre, one at Glassford and one at Dalbeth. On Thursday, Buddy was interred at Motherwell, and Allison at Dalziel yesterday.

An Unclaimed Body
One body, that of a young man, was unclaimed. Having lain in the smithy all week, several persons from a distance came to see if they could find in it a lost friend. On Wednesday, an exiting scene was caused by Mrs Neil, wife of a miner from Dreghorn, Ayrshire, claiming the unidentified body as that of her son Andrew, aged 18, who left his home about a fortnight before the New Year. She fell down by the side of the coffin, and for a time could not be comforted. Her husband, who accompanied her, failed to recognise in the corpse his lost son. As it could not be kept any longer, the burial took place on Thursday to Hamilton cemetery. A short religious service was, previous to the funeral, conducted in the smithy by Mr John Murray, missionary. The Assistant Inspector of Mines and leading officials of the pit were present.

Mr William Turner of Bost & Turner, the chairman of the company (who was on holiday at the time of the occurrence and returned at once on hearing of it) was at the pit from late on Saturday night until Sunday afternoon, and again on Monday. Along with Mr Bost, Mr John Gourlay, CA, and Baillie Colquhoun, Glasgow, directors of the company. Mr J Morton, secretary, and Mr Thomas Barr, sen, manager were also present. The directors gave instructions that in every instance where it was desired the expenses of the funerals of the deceased should be borne by the company. During the whole course of the proceedings, some representative of the company was always present.

After Sunday, the attendance of the public greatly fell off. Mr Moore, inspector of mines, his assistant (Mr Johnstone), and the Procurator Fiscal were in daily attendance. Amongst other visitors were Mr Sinclair, MP for the Falkirk Burghs; Rev. Dr Fergus Ferguson, EU Church, Glasgow; Rev Mr Wallace, Free St John's Church, Hamilton; Rev Mr Duncanson, Auchingramont UP Church; Rev Mr M'Kenzie, UP Church, Blantyre; Messrs J Weir, R C Robertson, and J K Hardie, representing the Scottish Miners' Federation, and many others.

At a meeting of the miners of Blantyre and Burnbank on Monday – Mr James Furie in the chair – a resolution was passed, on the motion of Mr Small, expressing sympathy with the bereaved families and relatives, and hoping that every effort would be directed to afford them succour, comfort and assistance. Mr Samuel Colville, as the son of one who was lost in the first great explosion in Scotland, namely at Nitshill, near Paisley, moved the following resolution, which was also adopted:- “Recognising in this painful catastrophe another proof of the disagreeable, dangerous, and uncertain nature of the miners' occupation, this meeting would desire to express its firm conviction that more than ever legislation should be directed to secure to it safety and comfort, combined with remuneration in proportion to the risk of the calling.” Mr William Bulloch proposed another resolution which expressed appreciation and approval of the courageous and devoted labours of the search party. The last resolution, which was likewise adopted, was moved by Mr Cunningham. It instructed the secretary (Mr Small) to communicate with the Home Office to secure a thorough inspection of Udston Colliery and an investigation into all the circumstances of the disaster. Similar resolutions have been passed by the Scottish Miners' Federation and other bodies, while a meeting convened at Stonefield, Blantyre, on Tuesday evening, to condemn the Crimes Bill, was turned into one of sympathy for the bereaved. Ex-Bailie Burt presided, and Mr Stephen Mason, MP, and Mr John O'Connor, MP for Tipperary, were among the speakers.

Messrs Costigane Brothers of the Granite House, Trongate, Glasgow, were among the first to suggest a relief fund, towards which they have contributed £50.

Of the 75 victims, 22 were insured with the Scottish Legal Life Assurance Society. Mr W Bain, the secretary, together with Mr James Thomson, the Hamilton agent, and Mr Thomas M'Bride, the East Kilbride agent, were on the scene of the accident on Saturday afternoon making the necessary arrangements. All the claims, amounting to £200 were paid by Monday night. The unfortunate man Berry was one of the society's local agents.

Immediately on receipt of news of the disaster, the manager of the Pearl Life Assurance Company wired their representative, “Go over to district where dreadful colliery explosion has occurred and settle all claims on forthwith, that the bereaved may be put to no trouble or expense.” Their representative was early at the scene of the disaster, and settled each claim as soon as the body was identified. The Prudential Assurance Company had 13 claims, amounting to £161 10s., which were all settled at once. Among these were for two men killed who had only joined the society the same week, and whose policies had not been issued.

The Message from the Queen
On Sunday evening, Mr Ralph Moore, Inspector of Mines, received the following message from the Queen:-

“The Queen is greatly distressed to hear of the terrible accident. Please express Her Majesty's deep sympathy with the sufferers and their families. The Queen hopes that many more will be rescued – Pemberton, Secretary of State.”

Immediately on receipt of the telegram Mr Moore forwarded a reply to the Queen as follows: - “All hope of more men being rescued has been abandoned; 34 bodies have been recovered, and it is believed 27 are still in the pit.”

The Churches and the Disaster
On Monday, before the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland proceeded to the business of the day, the Rev. Dr Phin called attention to the terrible calamity that had befallen many of their countrymen in the West of Scotland. He was sure the Assembly entered into the prayers which the moderator had that morning offered up on behalf of the afflicted families, and he thought the supreme Court of the Church should take a similar step as that taken by the Queen. He moved that the assembly record their deep sympathy with those who had suffered by the recent colliery explosion at Udston, and recommend any movement for the supply of temporal wants of the bereaved to the liberal support of the Christian community (Applause)

Mr Charles Dalrymple, MP, seconded the motion, which was unanimously agreed to.

At a subsequent stage of the proceedings it was agreed, on the motion of the Rev Professor Stor to at once grant an extract of the deliverance to Rev. Stewart Wright, Blantyre, who was then in the House, but who had been telegraphed for , and was about to return home to assist in ministering to the wants of the bereaved.

The Rev. Stewart Wright said the disaster was not so great as that which visited Blantyre ten years ago, but it was terrible enough. Of the 56 bodies recovered, no fewer than 20 were those of his parishioners, and the greater number of them belonged to his own congregation. In going over the list of those killed, he found a father who left a wife and six children destitute; the names of two lads belonging to his own Bible Class; a father whose children he had last week baptized; and the names of young people to whom he had recently given communion.

In the Free Church Assembly, on Tuesday, the Rev Dr Adam, Glasgow, drew attention to the Udston Colliery accident, and said it had been felt by not a few members of Assembly that, before bringing the sittings to a close, some public and special notice should be taken of that sad event. It was difficult for them to conceive what sufferings were involved; and surely it was fitting that the Assembly should take the opportunity of expressing its sympathy with those who had been so terribly bereaved. There were temporal wants too, that cried out, and would cry out, for relief. In the circumstances he proposed:-
“That the Assembly have heard with the greatest pain of the terrible explosion in the Udston Colliery, Hamilton, which has been attended with so heavy a loss of life, and has brought bereavement and desolation into many families, they deeply sympathise with the widows, fatherless children, and other relatives of those so suddenly taken away, and they express their earnest desire and hope that any fund which may be found necessary to raise for the relief of the sufferers will receive the general and liberal support of the members of this church. The Assembly pray that so appalling a visitation may be sanctified, not only to those immediately concerned, but to the whole community; and that this event, though most grievous in its own nature, may, in the hands of an all wise and gracious God, yield in large measure the peaceable fruits of righteousness.”

The Moderator – Does the Assemby accept this motion? (Applause)

The members of the United Presbyterian Presbytery of Hamilton, at its meeting on Tuesday put on record an expression of their deep regret at the terrible calamity that has taken place in its immediate neighbourhood through the colliery explosion at Udston and that has involved so many of their fellow creatures in so great a sorrow. They seek to commend those on whom this event has brought suffering to the help and loving kindness of Him who is the God of all consolation, to the sympathy of the public, and the liberality of those who may in any way be able to help them.

Letter from the Home Secretary
The following communication has been received from the Home Office relative to the Udston explosion:-
“Whitehall, June 2, 1887 – Sir – I am directed by the Secretary of State to acquaint you, for the information of the Lanarkshire Miners Association, with reference to previous correspondence, that it is his intention to order an inquiry under the Coal Mines Act, 1886, to be held, By an Inspector of Mines and a gentleman possessing legal knowledge, into the circumstances attending the fatal explosion at Udston Colliery, and that he will cause a further communication to be addressed to you when the time for holding such an inquiry is fixed, in order that arrangements may be made for the representation of the miners therat. I am to add that the Procurator-Fiscal's inquiry will go on independently of the inquiry ordered by the Secretary of State. - I am, Sir, your obedient servant – Leigh Pemberton – to Mr Wm. Small, Lanarkshire Miners' Association”

The Udston Coal Company's Position
A meeting of the shareholders of the Udston Coal Company was held on Thursday to discuss the disaster at their pits. It was resolved to subscribe £250 to the proposed relief fund, and it was stated that the company had taken upon themselves the entire cost of the funerals of the men killed. The cost of putting the mine in order was roughly estimated at about a thousand pounds, and this, with the other outlays, will, it is calculated, swallow up all the profits of the company for the current year.

List of the Dead
The following is a complete list of the dead, so far as recovered from the pit:-
Killed in Shaft
1. James M'Gourty, 17, miner, Udston Rows

In Main Coal Seam
2. James M'Tavish, 20, oncost man, 22 Ann Street, Burnbank. Single. Suffocation from choke damp.
3. James Richmond, 60, miner, Kirkton, High Blantyre. Widower. Suffocation from choke damp. Small key for unlocking lamp found in trouser pocket.
4. Wm. Hughson or Houston, 44, miner, Udston Rows. Suffocation from choke damp.
5. Robert M'Niven, 25, miner, High Dykhead. Married. Suffocation from choke damp.

In Splint Coal Seam
6. John Reid, 24, miner, 24a Beckford Street, Hamilton. Married and two of a family.
7. Hugh Auchterlonie, 41, miner, Kirkton, High Blantyre. Married. Suffocation. Key for opening safety lamp attached to button-hole. of drawers.
8. George Parker or Harkness, 30, miner, 42 Gladstone Street, Burnbank. Married. Suffocation.
9. Wm. Berry, 22, miner, Auchentibber. Single. Burning and suffocation.
10. John Crewe, 22, miner, Auchentibber. Single. Burning and suffocation.
11. Felix Torley, 40, miner, Long Calderwood, East Kilbride. Married. Burning and suffocation.
13. Gavin Malcolm, 15, miner, Auchentibber. Single. Burning and suffocation.
14. Michael M'Dade, 34, miner. Auchentibber. Married. Burning and suffocation.
15. Terence Rooney, 55, miner. Auchentibber. Burning and suffocation.
16. Francis M'Gourty, 54, miner. Udston Rows. Married. Burning and suffocation. Father of No. 1.
17. James Gaw, 15, miner, Udston Rows. Burning and suffocation.
18. Izaac Cameron, 24, miner, Udston Rows. Married. Suffocation.
19. Christopher Boyce, 22, miner, Auchentibber. Single. Suffocation.
20. James Crichton, 31, miner, Daisy Knowe, Auchentibber. Married. Burning and suffocation.
21. James Wilson, 50, miner, Udston Rows. Married, seven of a family. Burning and suffocation. Key for opening safety lamp in pocket of trousers.
22. Joseph Cunning, 39, miner, High Blantyre. Single. Burning and suffocation. Three used matches found in trouser pocket.
23. William Drain, 19, miner, Udston Rows. Married. Burning and suffocation.
24. Not identified
25. William Lawson, 42, miner, Little Udston Farm. Married. Burning and suffocation. Left leg broken.
26. Andrew Lawson, 21, miner, Little Udston Farm. Single. Burning and suffocation. Much bruised left side. Two nails for opening lamp found in trouser pocket. Bottom all that remained of his safety lamp. Son of No 25.
27. Washington Crewe, 25, miner, Udston Rows. Single. Burning and suffocation. Body much mutilated, brother of No 10.
28. Thomas Cook, 21, miner, Greenfield. Single. Burning and suffocation.
29. James Cook, 17, miner, Greenfield. Single. Burning and suffocation. Brother of above.
30. Richard Cook, 50, miner, Greenfield. Married. Burning and suffocation. Clay pipe and two nails for opening lamp. Father of Nos. 28 and 29. Leaves two orphan children.
31. Peter M'Guinnes, 22, miner, 47 Hall Street, Dixon's Rows, Blantyre. Single. Burning and suffocation. Face torn and smashed.
32. George Dingsdale, 21, miner, Udston Rows. Married and one of a family. Burning and suffocation. Right leg broken at knee and ankle.
33. Walter Penman, 22, driver, High Dykehead. Single. Slight burning and had suffered from after-damp.
34. James Leadbetter, 40, ostler, 15 Barrack Street, Hamilton. Married and five of a family. Slight burning and had suffered from after-damp. Clay pipe, knife, tobacco pouch found in trousers pocket.
35. David Shanks, 45, miner, Auchentibber. Married and four of family. Burning and suffocation.
36. David Shanks, jun., 15, miner, Auchentibber. Slightly burned and suffocation. Right leg broken. Key for opening safety lamp, nail, and lemonade wire found in trousers pocket. Son of above
37. James M'Culloch, 15, miner, East Kilbride. Single. Burning and suffocation. Both arms fractured.
38. James M'Culloch, 36, miner, East Kilbride. Married and five of family. Burning and suffocation. Father of above.
39. Allan Sterling, 22, miner, Earnock Colliery New Houses. Single. Severely burned and suffocation.
40. William Murdoch, 26, miner, Udston Rows. Married and one of a family. Burning and suffocation.
41. David Fleming, 27, miner, Udston Rows. Belongs to Sandknowes, Strathaven. Single. Severely burned on head and suffocation. Nail for opening lamp found in trousers pocket.
42. George Davies or Davis, 26, miner, Udston Rows. Married and one of a family. Nail found in pocket of trousers.
43. Joseph Neilson, 22, miner, Udston Rows. Single. Burning and suffocation.
44. James Kane, 14, miner, Udston Rows. Single. Burning and suffocation.
45. John Wilson, 20, miner, Udston Rows. Single. Burning and suffocation.
46. Michael Quin, 21, miner, Aikenhead's Land, High Blantyre. Severely burned and suffocation.
47. John Harkness, 24, miner, 42 Gladstone Street, Burnbank. Married. Suffocation. Key for opening safety lamp found in trousers pocket.
48. Alexander M'Lean, 48, miner, Auchentibber. Severely burned and suffocation.
49. John Dodds, 14, miner, Springwell, Blantyre. Single. Burning and suffocation.
50. Edward Jones, 15, miner, Craig Row, Auchentibber. Single. Suffocation. Nail fond in vest pocket.
51. Thomas Penman, 20, pony driver, High Dykehead. Single. Burning and suffocation. Brother of No. 33.
52. William Brown, 52, miner, Auchentibber. Married. Burning and suffocation. Key for opening safety lamp found in pocket of trousers.
53. Robert Jarvie or Jarvis, 31, miner, Maxwelltown, East Kilbride. Single. Burning and suffocation.
54. John Smith, 26, miner, Larkfield, Blantyre. Single. Burning and suffocation.
55. William Babes, 41, miner, East Kilbride. Married and seven of a family. Burning and suffocation.
56. Daniel Robertson, 14, miner, Auchentibber. Single. Burning and suffocation.
57. Wm. Denniston, 23, miner, Turner's Buildings, Stonefield, Blantyre. Single. Burning and suffocation.
58. Thomas Denniston, 18, miner, Turner's Buildings, Stonefield, Blantyre. Single. Burning and suffocation. Large wound on back. Brother of above.
59. Wm. Harrison, 34, miner, Auchentibber. Married and six of a family. Severely burned and suffocation.
60. David Crichton, 20, miner, Auchentibber. Single. Severely burned and suffocation. Two nails found in trousers pocket. Brother of No. 20.
61. Joseph Boyce, 18, miner, Auchentibber. Single. Shock and suffocation. Nail in trousers pocket.
62. Walter Winters, 22, miner, Udston Rows. Single. Burning and suffocation. Legs broken.
63. Andrew Thomas Watson, 48, bottomer, 16 Udston Rows. Married, three of family. Burning and suffocation. Left arm fractured. Pocket knife and key for opening safety lamp found in trousers pocket.
64. Alex. Torley, 26, fireman, 11 Udston Rows. Married, one of a family. Burning and suffocation. Left arm and left leg fractured. Pocket knife, tobacco, lamp key, padlock key, and quantity of small nails found in trousers pocket.
65. Andrew Buddy, 29, fireman, Burnbank. Married, and four of a family. Burning and suffocation. Tobacco and box, lamp key and knife, and a watch which had stopped at 9.7am.
66. James Allison, 44, chainman, residing at Udston Rows. Married, with wife and five children. A number of matches ignited and not ignited were found in his vest pocket.

The Injured
Alexander M'Lean, driver, unmarried. Burned about face and hands. Removed to Royal Infirmary, Glasgow.
James Lang, 72 Burnbank. Burned about face and hands. Removed home.

The Rescued
Forty-six men went down the Ell Coal Seam in the morning, and all were recovered uninjured. The following are their names, so far as ascertained:-
James M'Ilvennie, Udston Rows. Unmarried
Archibald Muirhead, Greenfield. Unmarried
Charles Muirhead, Greenfield. Unmarried
John Muirhead, Greenfield. Unmarried
John Miller, Springwell, Blantyre, married. This man was much affected by the afterdamp, and was unconscious when brought to the pithead. His face had to be buried in the ground for a short time before he recovered. Miller had one man with him.
Donald M'Lean, jun., Dykehead
William M'Lean, Dykehead. The father of these two men works in the mine with them, but on Saturday he was not down.
William Eden, Udston Rows, unmarried
James Muirhead, Burnbank. This man climbed up the shaft half way, a distance of nearly 75 fathoms, and was met by the cage and taken to the pitmouth. Muirhead had an assistant with him.
William Elliot, Burnbank. He also climbed up the shaft with Muirhead, and was taken to the surface with him.
Patrick Kane, Udston Rows, married, with one assistant whose name is not known.
James Rankin, Dykehead. Married. This man climbed up three qaurters of the shaft – close on 100 fathoms – and was met by the cage and taken to the surface, being the first man brought up after the explosion.
John Haggerty, Blantyre
____ Haggerty, son of above
James Smith, Blantyre, unmarried, with assistant, whose name is not known.
John Madden, Udston Rows, Married
Bernard Madden, Udston Rows, Married
William Crewe, Udston Rows, Married
John Kerr, Udston Rows, Married. He had three assistants, whose names are not known.
John Boloson, Udston Rows. Married. Had three assistant, whose names are not known.
John Tonour, Auchentibber. Married. Had one assistant, name unknown.
Charles Horne, Blantyre
William Queen, Blantyre, married
Francis Wilson, Udston, unmarried with 2 brothers
Archibald Muir, oversman, Udston Rows. Married. Had his arm broken in shaft
James M'Kenonch, Udston Rows, unmarried
James Eadie, bottomer, Greenfield, widower
John Gall, bottomer, Udston Rows, unmarried
William Cathcart, fireman, Udston Rows, married
William Haggart, driver, Blantyre, unmarried
Harry Smith, Udston, married
Peter Scott, oncostman, Greenfield, unmarried
Robert M'Crimm, driver, Udston Rows, married

Main Coal Seam
Forty-two men were in the main coal seam, and of these four succumbed to the after-damp. The following are the names of the men who were more or less affected by choke-damp:-
James Weir, Udston Rows, married
John Weir, son of above
Robert Weir, son of above
John Richmond, High Blantyre. Married. His father was found dead.
James Mann, High Blantyre, married
James Benson, High Blantyre, unmarried
James Smith, High Blantyre
James Smith, jun, his son
Thomas Cowan, Gladstone Street, Burnbank, married
Richard Cowan, brother of above, Blantyre, married
George Cowan, oncost man, another brother, Blantyre, married
William Cowan, another brother, who is unmarried and resides with his widowed mother at Auchentibber
Robert Cowan, a fifth brother, who also resides with his mother.
Joseph Boyce, Auchentibber, unmarried
William M'Millan, Auchentibber
____ M'Millan, son of the above
John Boyd, Auchentibber
Michael Daily, Blantyre
James Daily, son of above
James Sneddon, Burnbank, married
Charles Sneddon, his brother, also married
William Fotheringham, Burnbank, married
Patrick Dorrington, Blantyre
_____ Dorrington, boy, son of above
James Jack, Blantyre, married
James Borland, bottomer, Auchentibber, Married. This man was found at the bottom by Weir and the Cowans, and at the time was insensible. When brought to the surface he was in a comatose state, but latterly recovered.
James Allan, assistant bottomer, Udston Rows. This man was also greatly affected by the after-damp, and was rescued by Weir and the Cowans.
Thomas Redpath, Udston Rows, married
George Grant, Dykehead, brother-in-law of M'Niven, one of the men who lost his life in the main seam
*Thomas Paterson, fireman, Udston Rows
*John Ward, fireman, High Blantyre
*William Watson, oversman, Udston Rows
*James Watson, assistant bottomer, son of above
(*These men came up 10 minutes before the explosion)
James Cameron, Udston Rows. Unmarried
and two strangers, who only started work on Saturday morning, and whose names had not been ascertained.

Hamilton Advertiser June 11 1887

The Disaster at Udston Colliery
Since our last issue, the repair, redding and search operations in the splint coal seam at Udston Colliery have gone on continuously. In the work nearly 250 men have been employed in shifts, and nothing has been left undone to bring the missing bodies to the pitbank for identification and burial. The task has not been an ordinary one, the poisoned atmosphere from the presence in inaccessible parts of the carcasses of dead horses making the position of the workers almost unendurable. After the recovery on Friday morning of the sixty-sixth body, it was seven o'clock on Saturday before more were reached. They were those of William John Boyce, 28, miner, Auchentibber, married, two of a family; William Boyce, 22, miner, Auchentibber, single; James Neilson, 16, miner, Kirkton, High Blantyre; John Neilson, 14. They Boyces were found below the cousey wheel at the top of the brae, in the mouth end of the pit. In William John's trouser pocket was a well finished lamp key. The Neilsons were got inside of a stoop in the low level. James was not much burned, but John was decapitated, and the head was not found. The bodies were left at the bottom of the shaft until the arrival of the undertaker at ten on Sunday morning, when they were brought to the surface and coffined. The funerals took place at three o'clock, a short service being conducted at the smithy in presence of a large concourse of spectators. The coffins were then placed in two hearses supplied by Mr Wallace, Hamilton, and the cortege, followed by mourners and others on foot, proceeded to the place of internment, Blantyre Cemetery. Here there was a vast but orderly crowd, and the four men were interred near by where lie the victims of the two explosions at Blantyre. William Boyce, being a member of the Blantyre Coy., 2nd L.R.V., his comrades turned out and with military honours paid their last respects to his memory. On Monday, nothing worthy of note occurred until ten minutes past one o'clock when another body was reached. It was found in the north level of the Blantyre section and proved to be that of John M'Dade, 21, single, who resided with his mother at Auchentibber, High Blantyre. He was buried in Blantyre cemetery. On Tuesday, the body of Thomas Berry, 24, miner, Auchentibber, High Blantyre, was come upon buried under 14 feet of debris, to clear away which occupied the greater part of the day. On Wednesday his remains were interred with military honours in High Blantyre Cemetery, the firing and funeral party being furnished by the Blantyre Company, 2d L.R.V., of which deceased was a member.

List of Dead
The following is the continuation of the death list since last issue:-
67. William John Boyce (23) Miner, Auchentibber, married and two of a family. Suffocation. Had key for opening lamp.
68. Wm. Boyce (22), miner, Auchentibber, single. Suffocation.
69. James Neilson, (16), miner, Kirkton, High Blantyre. Suffocation.
70. John Neilson (14), miner, brother. Suffocation.
71. John M'Dade (21), miner, Auchentibber. Suffocation.
72. Thomas Berry (25), miner, Auchentibber. Married, leaving a widow and one child. Suffocation.

The Presbytery of Hamilton and the Disaster
Before proceeding with business at the meeting of the Presbytery of Hamilton on Tuesday, the Rev. H. M. Hamilton made appropriate reference to the disaster, the widespread character of which, he said, none but those who were present and witnessed the scenes could form an idea. He expressed the extreme sympathy which he was sure they all felt for the sufferers from the calamity, and said it was their earnest prayer that they might be strengthened to bear their burden patiently. After expressing the hope that the relief fund might be a and advocating the establishment of a national fund for the relief of all sufferers from all mining accidents, he moved that the Presbytery should record their sincere and deep sympathy with the sufferers from the explosion and resolve to recommend the fund being raised in their relief to the Christian liberality of their people. The motion was at once agreed to.

The Queens Own Yeomanry and the Sufferers
Amongst the subscriptions to the relief fund, is one from the Duke of Montrose, lieutenant-colonel and other officers of the Queens Own Glasgow Yeomanry Cavalry. His Grace writes as follows:-
“My dear Lord Provost – I have the honour to enclose a cheque for £31 10s., the subscription of the officers and men, Queen's Own Glasgow Yeomanry Cavalry, in aid of the distressed families of the miners who lost their lives in the unfortunate Udston Colliery disaster. The regiment will be much obliged if you will place the amount to the credit of the fund to be raised in Glasgow.” Lord Provost King has sent the following reply to the Duke of Montrose:- “I have been much gratified by the receipt of the letter of your Grace enclosing on the part of the officers and men of the Queen's Own Yeomanry Cavalry, a cheque for 30 guineas in aid of the fund for relieving the wants of the widows and children who have been rendered destitute by the sad and serious explosion at Udston. I beg your Grace will express to the senders my thanks for their prompt and generous assistance.

The Military Funerals
As already noticed, on Sabbath last Private Wm Boyce, and on Wednesday last Corpl. Thos. Berry, members of the Blantyre Coy. 2nd L.R.V., both victims in the disaster, were interred with military honours in High Blantyre Cemetery. Over sixty members attended on each occasion. Owing to short notice the band of the regiment was not present on Sabbath, but it turned out on Wednesday, and played the “Dead March” as the cortege passed through the village. Crowds lined the roads and all appeared affected by the solemnities of the occasion. Three volleys were fired over the graves. Rev Stewart Wright, chaplain to the corps., conducted a service. Major Ness was in command of the parties on both days, assisted by Lieut. Minto. It may be mentioned that Corpl. Berry has been connected with this corps for a number of years, and was held in high esteem by all his comrades. Private D. Crichton, another victim, was also a member of the corps and was buried last week, immediately his body was brought up. Several other members had narrow escapes, particularly Pioneer Mann who was present at both funerals.

Last Updated 4th February 2012