Brownlee Colliery, Law, 5 May 1925
4 men killed in cage accident at Brownlee Colliery, Law, Carluke:-
- Charles Horn, 42, coal miner, married, 1 Greenknowe Street, Overtown
- John Thomson, 49, coal miner, married, 6 Woodlands Square, Law
- John Thomson, 26, pit bottomer, married, 30 Wilsons Row, Law
- Robert McIntyre, 54, married, coal miner, Burkes Place, Law
Pit Cage Crash – Four Miners Killed – Lanarkshire Tragedy - While a cage containing four miners, who were descending to start work at No. 2 Pit, Brownlee, near Law Junction, Lanarkshire, was being lowered yesterday morning, the supporting rope parted, and the cage crashed to the bottom of the shaft, 160 fathoms deep. The four occupants lost their lives. The names of the four men, who were all married, are:-
Robert McIntyre, Burke's Cottages, Law;
John Thomson, sen., and John Thomson, jun., Woodlands Square, Law; and
Charles Horne, Overtown.
The disaster, the most serious of its kind that has taken place in the district, occurred about seven o'clock yesterday morning, Belonging to Wilson's & Clyde Coal Company (Limited), the colliery for many years was in use only as a pumping station, but recently was fitted to draw coal and was equipped with two cages.
Safety Catch Fails - At the time stated the four men, entered the cage with the intention of starting work for the day. When all was ready for the descent the pithead man signalled by bell to the engine-house, and opened the shuts, in which the cage rests at the top. When the cage moved it began to travel upwards towards the beams supporting the winding gear. Below this gear, and about 10 feet above the pithead, safety catches are fitted with the object of preventing overwinding, or, in the event of a mishap of this kind, of catching the cage as it falls back, and keeping it from falling down the shaft. The apparatus at this pit had been renewed last week, and an examination is carried out every morning. While no explanation can be given as to the cause, when the rope was released and the cage fell back, the safety catches failed to operate. With no obstacle in its way, the cage crashed down the shaft at great speed, and all that could be heard was the shouting of the men as the cage started its downward career.
Rescue operations were started immediately, but it was some time before the victims were reached. The cage was completely telescoped, and the remains of the men were found on the top of the compartment, each in the respective corner he had occupied when the descent began. One surmise as to the reason for this is that the powerful draughts of air occasioned by the rapid descent of the heavy cage had blown the men off, and that the bodies had fallen later on the top. The bodies were carefully taken up and conveyed home.
Engineman's Collapse - The manager of the pit, Mr Kerr, was in the office when he heard the crash, and under his directions steps were at once taken to recover the bodies. The engineman on duty at the time, a man of about 60 years of ago, fainted on learning of the occurrence, and had to be conveyed home.
All the victims, as stated, were married, and the Thomsons are father and son. Horne leaves a widow and a family of five, Two of his sons worked in the pit, and after hearing of the accident ascended to the surface by No. 1 shaft, along with other men, and made their way home without learning of the death of their father. John Thomson, jun., leaves a young family. [The Scotsman 6 May 1925]