Miscellaneous Stirlingshire Information

Eviction of Miners - In consequence of the strike of miners in the Slamanan district, a large number of the men who have left their work have been ejected from their houses. In the Sheriff Court on Monday, decision was given by sheriff Sconce against about forty men who had been served with summonses by their masters. The Sheriff said that as they held their house only as an appendage of their work, they would require to remove by Wednesday at noon, and pay the expenses of the action. In a similar manner in yesterday's Court the Sheriff decerned against about 140 for the same cause. He trusted that they left their houses with extreme regret for the small cause which had led to their being required to do so, and hoped that they would soon go back to their work again. But in the present action the masters were quite right. [Falkirk Herald 25 August 1870]

Eviction of Miners - At the Sheriff Court on Monday - before Sheriff Bell - actions were brought against ten miners who have left the employment of the Redding Colliery Company on strike, to have them evicted from their houses, which are the property of the company. The Sheriff decerned against miners in nine of the cases, granting warrant of eviction to take effect yesterday. The case of one of the miners, named James Hastie, was continued on account of his pleading the illness of some of his family. [Falkirk Herald 17 September 1874]

Great Colliery Riots at Slamannan – Houses Wrecked and Telegraph Poles Torn Up (From last night's Citizen.) The strike among the miners in the Slamannan district, which has now prevailed for something like five weeks, resulted yesterday afternoon in a series of disturbances more outrageous than any perpetrated in Scotland for many years back. As may be recollected, the men employed in the Airdrie pits, who at first made common cause with the Slamannan men, “went in” at the reduced rate of wages ten days ago, but this, instead of exercising a soothing influence over the latter, only made them more determined to hold out. In order, therefore to bring the strike to a close, the masters of the district resorted to the not usual method of ejecting the men from their houses, a proceeding which, while it was quite within the bounds of legality, seems to have excited the people who were to be ejected to the utmost. A meeting took place yesterday about midday, in Burn Row Quarry, which was largely attended by the men on strike, and at which to judge from results, the most furious councils seem to have prevailed. Shortly after it broke up, several Sheriff-officers, who were engaged in serving ejectment notices on the “rows” were set upon by a crowd of infuriated miners, and seriously assaulted, their papers being taken from them and torn to shreds. This, however, only proved the beginning of the storm. Somewhat later in the day the mob proceeded to the Balquhatstone Colliery, broke open and completely demolished the office of the works, and then, turning their attention to the manager’s house, made a furious assault on it, wrecking the doors and windows, and searching up and down for the manager himself. Having, fortunately, had timeous warning of their approach, the manager succeeded in making his escape, and they were accordingly balked in their apparently murderous design. They heard, however, that he had made his way to an adjoining signal-box on the railway, and an immediate move was made thither. The box was torn from its fastenings and smashed into matchwood, and the telegraph poles and wires in the neighbourhood were all demolished. By this time the craze for destruction seems to have fairly taken possession of the crowd. They rushed from the broken signaIbox to Benniehill House, the residence of Mr M’Killop, the front windows of which were smashed in with stones, and then proceeding onwards they arrived at the house and shop of Mr Gemmell, coalmaster to which they laid regular siege. Mr Gemmell's windows were broken, his doors kicked in, and the contents of his house and shop hauled out and strewed up and down the street When the work of destruction had been fully carried out here, a return was made to Benniehill. On arriving in front of the building cries were at once made for Mr M’Killop, but that gentleman having by this time made good his escape, the savage crowd succeeded in gaining an entrance to the parlour, the contents of which they smashed to atoms. Books were torn from their bindings and strewn about the floor, and portions of furniture were thrown from the windows, while the shrubs on the lawn were wantonly uprooted, the greenhouses were destroyed, and a large flag-pole was broken in two. The house of Mr Pitcairn, the manager of 'West Limerigg Colliery, was next visited, and subjected to treatment similar to that bestowed on Benniehill House, and proceeding in their mad career the miscreants thence wrecked a new house belonging to Mr M'Lintock, joiner, and the dwelling of the clerk of Balquhatstone pits. The only police in the neighbourhood were a few constables belonging to Falkirk, and these men, foreseeing that their lives would be in danger if they fell into the hands of the mob, and knowing that they could do nothing against the overwhelming numbers of the men on strike, wisely betook themselves home at an early part of the evening. To-day, we understand, a general meeting of the Justices of the Peace of the district is being held to concoct measures to prevent any repetition of similar scenes to-night.

ANOTHER ACCOUNT. Last night there was a very serious riot of miners in Slamannan. They have been on strike for some time, and some of the coalmasters took proceedings to eject the miners from their houses. Last night the Slamannan Brass Band was at Limerigg, which is a short distance from Slamannan, and a large crow d of miners assembled to hear the playing. While there, about seven o'clock, intelligence was brought to them that the police had come to serve the ejectments at Balquhatson Works. As soon as they heard the report, from 200 to 300 of the men made a rush to Slamannan Station, where they found the officers, and Mr Thomson, the manager at the works. The crowd began to stone them, and they had to take refuge in a signal-box. From thence finally they made their escape. The crowd then proceeded to the residence of Mr James M'Killop, of the firm of J. Nimmo & Co., coalmasters, and having smashed the windows, they broke into the house, smashed the furniture, tore down the flagstaff, and otherwise wrecked the place. A rush was then made for Mr Thomson's house, where the windows were smashed, and then they proceeded to the house of Mr Roy, manager at Limerigg. That gentleman, getting a hint of what was coming, called his own men together, and asked them to use their influence with the mob to save his house. In this they were successful, for he escaped without suffering damage ; but the windows of the house of Mr Pitcairn, manager at Longridge, were smashed. It was after twelve o'clock before the crowd separated. The police, being few in number, were wholly powerless, but the matter has been reported to the headquarters at Falkirk, and there is talk of calling out the military to-night.

A later telegram damage already done is estimated at over £2000. The men threatened to attack the bank, and precautions are of course being taken to prevent the rioters doing damage in this direction. In addition to the constables sent from Glasgow, men are being taken from all parts of Stirlingshire. The miners are almost starving, and have thus become desperate.

A Glasgow correspondent telegraphs:- From a visit to Slamannan to-day, the destruction of property appears greater than formerly reported. The mansion of Mr M'Killop, coalmaster, is fearfully wrecked. His wife and children had, when the rioters appeared, to hide in a press, and the servants to shelter themselves where they could. Stones as large as turnips crashed through the windows. Mr M'Killop had to run a long distance for his life. Several times he has received threatening letters, with cross bones upon them, and one represented his house, with the word "Dynamite” written below. Four other houses of coalmasters and managers were also wrecked last night. Only three policemen were in town to cope with the rioters, and they hid themselves. Eleven more arrived to-day with the Sheriff, but they also kept out of sight because large crowds of excited miners were going about. A strong body of Glasgow police arrived to-night. A disturbance is apprehended. The Magistrates are prepared to read the Riot Act. The riot arose from the strike, which commenced six weeks ago, against a reduction of sixpence per day. The men and their families are in great destitution, and are enraged at their employers. [Evening Telegraph 20 April 1878]

THE EJECTMENT OF MINERS AT SLAMANNAN. Yesterday at Airdrie - before Sheriff Balfour - the cases of ejectment from the houses at West Longrigg, belonging to Mr James Gemmell, came up for decision. Mr Robert Watt, solicitor, appeared for Mr Gemmell, and Mr A. Y. Rose for the miners. The first case was that of Andrew Campbell. Mr Rose objected that the rule of the work was a fortnight's warning, and that consequently they should get that warning before quitting their houses. Mr Robert Watt produced the rules of the work, and quoted from the eighth rule show that the occupancy was from week to week and day to day. Two witnesses, named John M’Neil and James Johnston, were examined, but they both m answer to the Sheriff, said that they only paid an extra fortnight's rent after they had left their work, when an arrangement was made for them to remain that time in the house. Mr Watt said that the pursuer could not proceed with his operations till the houses were empty, as the colliery was situated in an outlying district where there were no other houses to be had. Sheriff Balfour asked Campbell how long time he would like ? (A Voice in Court- “Say a fortnight.") Campbell - Eight days would suit me. Mr Watt said that the pursuer had no desire to press unduly on the men, and he would consent to eight days in all the cases. Sheriff Balfour said that in all the cases he would give eight days, although four days was the proper time. Warrants were granted accordingly. The other cases were then proceeded with warrants being granted in all the cases except two. A brusher and a roadsman also were entitled to fourteen days' notice from the rules. In one case the miner got fourteen days to remove as his father was ill with chest disease. There were forty-three cases in all and warrants were granted in forty-one cases. The cases from Roughrigg Colliery, Mr J. M. Forrester, proprietor, were then proceeded with, and in this instance also eight days were given in order to remove. In one instance the wife of the defender came forward and offered to leave the house as soon as Mr Forrester would get her another house. The offer, however, was not accepted, and a warrant was granted against her husband. Also, in one case where the miner's daughter was confined to bed by rheumatic fever, the Sheriff agreed to give fourteen days, and Mr Watt assured the Court that in no case would Mr Forrester put the warrant in execution where the parties were from illness not able to move. There were in all 62 cases in which Mr Forrester was pursuer. In each warrant for ejectment eight days were granted. Mr Watt said it was desirable to be known that no later than on Saturday and Monday Mr Forrester had offered to let byegones be byegones and take them back to their work, but his offer was rejected. Sheriff Balfour said that the ejectment cases were all heard now, and he had given the miners twice the number of days they were entitled to. They had got all they had asked, and therefore they had nothing to complain of. [Evening Telegraph 24 April 1878]

Ejecting Camelon Miners from their Houses - In the Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, Mr Andrew Hunter, solicitor, Falkirk, acting for the Carmu Coal Company, Limited, asked Sheriff Ball to grant warrant to summarily eject from the company's houses at Orchard Terrace, Camelon, the following parties, are all miners, formerly in the firm's employ:- Andrew Rae, Joseph Boyce, Thomas Newton, and James M’Guire. Mr Hunter stated that the defenders were employees of the company, and held houses concurrently with their employment, or, on the other hand were bound to leave on getting notice. They had now ceased to work with the company, and had also received notice to quit. Notwithstanding, they had refused, or delayed doing so. Two of the respondents appeared, and said that they had resumed work with the company since the raising of the actions. The Sheriff, however, granted warrant to eject, as craved, on the understanding that if it was the case that they had resumed work, it would not be put in force. [Falkirk Herald 12 August 1899]

Coal Mining In Stirling District – Enormous Development - Within the last half-dozen .years there has been a great development of the coal mining industry between Stirling and Larbert, and Bannockburn district, which is the centre of the coalfield, has trebled in population. Many years ago a good deal of mining went on in the district, in which there are a considerable number of old pit shafts still to be seen protected by low walls in farmers' fields; but in these days, owing to the inferior appliances then in use for mining operations, the working of the coal had to be given up after a certain depth was reached. The Alloa Coal Company were the first to exploit the district anew, and their pit at Cowie is 1160 feet deep, and yields 1000 tons of coal per day. This pit is equipped with the most modern appliances, including electricity, and is one of the best fitted up in the kingdom. Cowie village, where the workmen live, contains a population of 3000 people where a few years ago there was only a field with cattle grazing upon it. The population, however, will be doubled in two or three years, when a new pit which is being sunk at Airth Road, about two miles away, is in working order. This pit will be about the deepest in Scotland, 1800 feet. It will also belong to the Alloa Coal Company, and for the accommodation of the workmen more houses will be erected at Cowie village. In the Plean district, about a mile from Cowie, the East Plean Coal Company have, during the last two or three years gone in for extensive operations. They are also sinking a new pit, and a large number of houses have been and are still being erected for the workmen. Nearer Stirling an even larger development of the mining industry will come about within the next year or two. Mr Archibald Russel, the well-known Lanarkshire coal master, has taken a lease of the coalfield in the Carse of Stirling between Stirling and South Alloa, and intends to sink three pits within three miles of Stirling. The first shaft is at present being sunk, but owing to the soft clay and running sand it has been a costly and protracted affair. However, the sinkers have got through the soft soil, and are at the rock beneath which the coal seam lies. This seam has been discovered to be an anthracite or smokeless coal, equal to the best Welsh, and it is expected will find a ready market in connection with the naval base to be established at St Margaret's Hope. The sinking of the other two pits will be commenced ere long, and the erection of workmen's houses will also be begun. Altogether, when the whole of the Cowie, Plean, and Polmaise Collieries are in full working order, the population of the district, will have been increased by something like 10,000 persons. Even as it is the School Board of the parish of St Ninians, in which all the collieries are situated, have had to build new schools and add to the accommodation of others. [Edinburgh Evening News 23 November 1903]