Quarter 16th March 1841
On Tuesday last, the town of Hamilton and neighbourhood were thrown into great consternation on hearing of an extensive explosion of fire damp in the coal mine near Quarter, accompanied with the loss of 11 lives. It appears that about 8 o'clock that morning (the breakfast hour) there were six men and a boy in the mine, all of whom, it was too plain, must have perished instantly by the explosion. On the alarm being given, the overseer of the mine not being at hand, seven men who were on the outside of the mouth of the mine spontaneously, and under the impulse of humanity, and vainly hoping to aid their fellow creatures in the midst of this dreadful calamity, rushed thoughtlessly into the pestiferous atmosphere of the newly exploded mine; three of whom were dragged out alive and four dead, by a third party who, becoming alarmed for their safety, went to their assistance. Unceasing exertions were made to relieve the mine of the noxious vapour, but it was not till Wednesday morning that the bodies of the seven first sufferers were recovered, some of whom were shockingly mangled by the explosion, in a way that evidently showed that the death of the whole must have been instantaneous. Of the 11 sufferers, nine were married, who have left widows and families behind them to deplore their loss. The noble proprietor of the mine, the Duke of Hamilton, who is now at the Palace, was in the greatest distress on obtaining intelligence of the sad event, and immediately himself sent pecuniary assistance to the families of sufferers, and has caused every exertion to be made on their behalf, and arrangements to be made, at his own expense, as to their funerals and otherwise, suitable to the melancholy occasion.
The terrible accident, it appears, was in no degree owing to the negligence or want of skill of his Grace's overseers or engineers. The mine, where the explosion occurred, was completely ventilated, being open at both ends to the day, with a current of air constantly passing through it; and, on the morning when the accident occurred, had been carefully examined by two oversmen, and reported to be free of danger. It appears that the carbonated hydrogen had been instantly generated from certain fissures connected with a rise in the metals, the sad effects of which no human foresight could prevent.
For the satisfaction of those at a distance, who may have friends employed at the Quarter Coal works, we subjoin a list of the sufferers. The seven first were in the mine at the time of the explosion - the remaining four went in to their rescue: - William Brounlie and his son, a boy of 10 years of age; James Duffie; John Duffie; Hugh McLean; John Smith; William Wotherspoon; James Fleming; George Pate; James Fisher; James Fyfe.
By this most painful catastrophe about 60 individuals have been deprived of their bread winners, and it is hoped that their bereavement and consequent destitution will not be overlooked by the benevolent. [Glasgow Herald March 19 1841]