Scottish Mining Website

1872 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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YearMonthDayName of CollieryWhere situatedOwners namePerson(s) killedOccupationAgeCause of death and remarksExtra Details
1872January3BellshillHolytown, LKSMossend Iron CoA WingateOversman60Explosion of fire damp. He went into an old working containing fire damp without a safety lamp

From Main body of report:
The overman of the pit, an old experienced man, went with a naked light into a disused working containing gas. It would appear that he had just been discussing with his companion the propriety of having a safety lamp, when the gas exploded and burned them both. He died, his companion recovered.
1872January6ShieldmuirHolytown, LKSWilsons & CoP McTavishDrawer20Fall of roofNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1872January8AllantonHamilton, LKSJohn Austine & CoJohn SimmonsCollier30Fall of roof at stoops Newspaper report - Hamilton pages [Date given as 11 January]
1872January9Govan No 5 pitGlasgowW S DixonHugh McGareyBrusher50Fall of a “set” of gearing in one of the main roads while engaged making repairs 
1872January12PolkemmetBathgateShotts Iron CoWm StaffordDrawer15Fell down shaft 
1872January13RosehallHolytown, LKSRobert Addie & SonsG FlanaganCollier30Fall of coal 
1872January18KnownobleWishaw, LKSJames DickAlex AndersonLabourer60Fell down shaft with tub 
1872January18Hill of BeathDunfermline, FIFOrd AdamsJames SandersBottomer55Hurt by cage resting on him at pit bottom 
1872January20Solesgirth No 2 pitKirkintillochWilliam WallaceJohn BoyleBrusher42Fall of stone while engaged taking it down 
1872January25Govan No 5 pitGlasgowW S DixonAlexander WaughCollier50Caught at the pitmouth by attempting to go off the cage while it was in motion 
1872January30Rosehall No 10Coatbridge, LKSRobert Addie & SonsJohn NicolCharburner62Fell down the shaft from the surface 
1872February2Dykehead Colliery    PeterGillon24 Death not listed in Inspectors report
Effect of spinal injuries caused by fall of coal 1871
With thanks to Genny Kang for this information
1872February5GrangeBo'nessHenry CadellGeorge GrantMiner25Fall of roofNewspaper report
1872February6CuttlehillDunfermline, FIFHenderson & WallaceWm ShepherdBrusher17Fall of roof Newspaper report - Fife pages
1872February6Gartsherrie No 1Coatbridge, LKSWm Baird & CoWilliam FerrieTrimmer19Fall of wood in the pit while engaged making repairs

From Main body of report: From the evidence of the engineman, the cage in the "rise" side of the shaft, while being brought to the surface, caught against the guides, or wooden midwall, near to the pit mouth, when the cage got displaced, or driven out of the guides.

After the cage had been put into the guides, which took some time to do, the deceased, who was pit-head man, and his assistant went on to the cage for the purpose of examining the guides and machinery, or ascertaining the amount of repair required. They were lowered slowly, and made slight alterations at two places ; after which, at their request they were lowered to the pit bottom. When the opposite cage to that in which the deceased were, approached near to the surface, or at the place where the " rise " cage was displaced, it suddenly caught the guides, and they (four) being bolted together, were carried up for a short distance, and afterwards fell over into the " rise " side, or division of the shaft into which the deceased were being lowered. The cover of the cage failed to protect the unfortunate sufferers, who were both fatally injured. It was inconsiderate of the deceased under the circumstances to go on to the cage, as they were not strictly speaking the persons expected to undertake such repairs. From what I could observe of the state of things after the accident, the woodwork had been overworn, and if not insufficient, was indifferently secured.
Newspaper Report - Old Monkland pages
Thos CreigPithead man60
1872February6Common, No 10LugarEglinton Iron CoWilliam MurdockRoadsman52Crushed by the cage when crossing the shaft 
1872February8StevenstonStevenstonMerry & CunninghamChas MatthewsBrusher40Fall of coal while taking it down 
1872February10Barleith, No 1KilmarnockJohn GallowayArthur FosterBottomer40Fell from a mid-working, six fathoms

From Main body of report:
There were three seams of coal being worked at different levels, and hutches were placed upon the cages at these several landings. From the frequency of this description of accident in some parts of this district, attention has often been directed to the insecurity of the system. By the new Mines Regulation Act, General Rule 14, I trust that a complete stop will be put to this reckless and insecure system of working, or that something effective will be introduced, so as to render such accidents impossible. They are undoubtedly preventible, and should never take place.
1872February14BlantyreHamilton, LKSW S DixonJohn BodmanPithead man30Crushed between cage and frame at surfaceNewspaper report - Blantyre pages
1872February19Common, No 3CumnockEglinton Iron CoAndrew MuirDrawer13Crushed between two hutches while running an empty hutch down an incline 
1872March1LoanheadDalkeith, EdinburghShotts Iron CoSamuel HoskinsCollier24Falling down incline 
1872March1Gartshore, No 5KilsythWm Baird & CoPatrrick LappinsCollier49Explosion of fire damp.

From Main body of report:
Happened in a fiery pit, in one of the usual working places. It appears that the fireman on the morning of the accident reported the place clear of firedamp, and the person usually engaged in it, worked safely till 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It is a question whether the ventilation had not been partially checked by loose coals having been placed in the air course, as after the accident, the deceased's lamp was found hanging within a foot of the roof, near to the face, where it is assumed he had been working with it at the time of the explosion. The seam is unusually steep, and a slight check in the air course would be immediately followed by an accumulation of gas.
1872March9Ellismuir, No 2BailliestonProvanhall Coal CoJohn DoyleBrusher44Fall of roof Newspaper Report - Old Monkland pages
1872March11Heathery Knowe, No 2BailliestonHeathery Knowe Coal CoThos McInneyCollier21Fall of roof 
1872March14RobroystonBishopbriggsJames Dunlop & CoJames StantonSmith63Fell down the shaft 
1872April6GreenhillHolytown, LKSRobert YoungH McGairnMiner30Fall of coal 
1872April10Gauchalland, No 4GalstonGauchalland Coal CoGeorge LindsayBoy13Fall of roof 
1872April13Gadgirth No 1AyrGeo Taylor & CoJohn WelshFireman40Explosion of fire damp.

From Main body of report:
Happened to a fireman, who in the course of his examination went into a heading with his open light, and ignited a small quantity of gas, by which he was burned, and died from the effects. This is the old story, and it is difficult to conceive how an experienced workman should so far peril his life, when by using a safety lamp, which he had with him at the time, his examination could have been made with safety.

The deceased was fireman, and at the time of the accident was engaged going his round of examination. The pit was not fiery, and it appears that the only fire-damp known to exist at the time did not extend to more than one or two places. The deceased had, in the course of his examinations, been in the habit of proceeding with his open light to within a certain distance of the places suspected to contain gas. And, as afterwards explained by himself, he had by some mistake on the morning of the accident gone beyond the point of safety.

The reckless way in which examinations are made, has been so often the subject of comment, that it is scarcely necessary in this case to say more, than that it is another of the same. It is absurd to trust to a mine being free of gas, after a stoppage of 12 hours; and the fireman should proceed with his examination, on the assumption that any part of it may from circumstances not without the range of possibility, have suddenly become dangerous and unsafe.
1872April16ShieldmuirWishaw, LKSWishaw Iron CoPet. CarrolLabourer60Crushed by waggons at screens 
1872April18BonnytonKilmarnockJohn Gilmour & CoDavid BrownBoy drawer15Caught by the cage, which was raised without a signal whilst he was engaged putting a hutch upon it Newspaper report - Renfrewshire
1872April18Drumpeller No 3Coatbridge, LKSWilsons & CoAndrew ClarksonOversman48Fall of roof

From Main body of report:
The pit, Drumpeller No. 3, is 120 fathoms deep to the Kiltongue coal, and is the only seam at present being worked. The roof immediately overlying the coal is strong. The accident took place at the bottom of the main incline, where it joins the pit-bottom level. Lachlan, the "bencher," was constantly employed there, and Clarkson, the underground manager, had just reached the place, in company with one of the roadsmen, when a part of the roof fell unexpectedly, and the manager and "bencher " were both crushed under it. This sad accident happened at one of the busiest points of the mine, where all the persons intrusted with the care of the roadways were constantly passing, and in which the manager was at the time advising regarding the general operations. This description of accident is the most difficult to deal with; the security or insecurity of a roof is a question of judgement, and unfortunately in many cases there is very little to guide, further than the uncertain sounding of the roof, which at the best is but an unsatisfactory test, and often treacherous and misleading.
Newspaper Report - Old Monkland pages
Francis McLachlanBoy16
1872April25MossendHolytown, LKSMossend Iron CoHugh MaxwellCollier65Fall of stone from roof 
1872April25DalhousieDalkeith, EdinburghArch. HoodJ LawsonBoy13A revolving screen was started by mistake when he was inside oiling the machinery 
1872April29Hillhead, No 7KilmarnockJ & M CraigJohn TyreCollier16Fall of roof at face. Newspaper report - Ayrshire pages
1872May1Law CollieryWishaw, LKSJohn WilsonJohn GilliesBottomer25Carried over pullies 
1872May3ClilandHolytown, LKSW S DixonThos JoseBottomer60Cage dropped off rope while he was ascending it

From Main body of report:
A very unusual accident occurred at Cleland, whereby a man was killed by the cage on which he was ascending getting detached from the rope. It appears that the rope had been too long, and when the cage rested at the pit bottom the slack chain wound round the muzzle and bolt, and broke the "split locking," which kept the bolt in its place. By degrees the bolt worked out, and unfortunately about mid-day, when the deceased was ascending the shaft, it came out altogether, and the cage, with the deceased, fell to the bottom and he was killed. I think a nut with a pin through it, or the bolt screwed into the muzzle, is better than a split locking.
1872May8GreenheadWishaw, LKSRobert BrandJas McMurdoDriver17Found drowned in a pond underground 
1872May18WhitehillDalkeith, EdinburghArch. HoodA KerrCollier40Fall of coal 
1872June3Gartshore, No 4KilsythWm Baird & CoAlex HayEngineman20Fell from part way down while assisting to screw up pipes 
1872June4ClydesdaleWishaw, LKSArchd. RussellJohn FarrelLabourer52Carried into pit by a rope which was being uncoiled 
1872June6WestmuirShettlestonRobt. Gray & CoJames RussellCollier18Fall of roof at face. 
1872June11CampsieLennoxtownHurlet and Campsil Alum CoDennis GallacherCollier17Fall of roof 
1872June11Grougar No 4GalstonEglinton Iron CoJames JonesBoy16Fall of coal 
1872June14Twechar, No 1KilsythWm Baird & CoDaniel RalstonMiner40Fall of roof at face. 
1872June14WoodsideHamilton, LKSJas Smith & sonsDavid BrownMiner--Fall of coal 
1872June15TreesBathgateW TorranceC BladeMiner--Fall of coal 
1872June28RobroystonBishopbriggsJames Dunlop & CoJames BroatchSmith30By a fall of stones from the side of the shaft 
1872July3BenharShotts, LKSBenhar Coal Co LtdJ GanghanMiner16Fall of coal at face 
1872July3WellwoodDunfermline, FIFThos SpowartG BrownMiner50Fall of coal at face Newspaper report - Fife Pages.  NB name should be George Bower
1872July13WishawWishaw, LKSWishaw Iron CoJ MartinBoy12Went into an unfenced place containing fire damp; died on 29th

From Main body of report:
Caused by neglecting to brattice a room standing " up stoop." The deceased, a little boy, had either out of curiosity gone or been sent into the face of the room to "chap" or signal to a man who was driving an end over upon it, he went with his naked light and ignited some fire-damp lying there, which burned him so severely that he died a week or two afterwards. It was known to the overman and the fireman that gas had been standing in the place for some days before, but no attempt was made to ventilate or to prevent any one from getting into it. The overman and fireman were tried before Sheriff Spens and a jury for neglect of duty, and fined in five pounds each.
1872July18Calder Bank No 1BailliestonProvanhall Coal CoAdam CookDrawer13Fall of roof at face. 
1872July26Rosehall No 12Coatbridge, LKSRobert Addie & SonsGeorge KerrRoadsman40Fall of roof on a main road Newspaper Report - Old Monkland pages
1872July28No 1 Pit, Trees    EdwardJones  Death not listed in Inspectors report
Fractures sustained in fall on 2 July 1872.
With thanks to Rhonda Steedman for this information
1872July31Govan No 3GlasgowW S DixonJohn ShieldsCollier54While blasting, shot went off unexpectedly 
1872August8FerniegareHamilton, LKSArchd. RussellJas McInnisDrawer14Fall of stone Newspaper report - Hamilton pages
1872 August 12 Addiewell Shale pit     John Lyon     Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Lothians pages
1872August17DarngavilAndree [sic]Patrick RankineA WhyteMiner38Fall of coal 
1872August17PatherColtness. LKSColtness Iron Co.A DonaldsonDrawer22A runaway tub knocked out some props, and the roof fell on him 
1872August22LumphinnansLochgelly, FIFLumphinnans Iron CoJ McDonaldCollier25Fall of roof 
1872August22GreenburnCroftheadGeorge GrayJ DungavilEngineman29Fell down pit while repairing rope 
1872August23LassodieDunfermline, FIFLassodie Coal CoH HoustonDrawer14Run over by tub on inclineNewspaper report - Beath accidents
1872August30BankheadSanquharM WhighamWilliam CowanEngineman52By the fall of a chimney which was in the act of being built Newspaper report - Dumfriesshire pages
1872August30Redburn No 2KilwinningEglinton Iron CoWm KennedyFireman35Fall of roof 
1872September9FoulfordLochgelly, FIFLochgelly Iron CoJohn RoddieDrawer13Fall of stone 
1872September13Fergushill, No 22KilwinningA Finnie & sonDavid HaddonCollier34Fall of coal 
1872September14PolkemmetBathgateShotts Iron CoThos WilsonEngineer44Fell among machinery Newspaper report - Lothians pages
1872September14StarryshawShotts, LKSBenhar Coal Co LtdD SneddonDrawer14Fall of roof 
1872September14Springhill, No 1BailliestonPettigrew & SpencerWm YoungSinker42Fell part way down by a buntin giving way 
1872September16LochgellyLochgelly, FIFLochgelly Iron CoThos MeachyCollier22Fall of roof 
1872September20BroomfieldAirdrie, LKSWm AdamCorny SmithBottomer62Fell from a mid-working. Newspaper report - New Monklands
1872September20LumphinnansLochgelly, FIFLumphinnansJas IzattDrawer49Hutch ran away upon him 
1872September21Palace Craig, No 6Airdrie, LKSWm Baird & CoRobt. McMunCollier22Fall of roof Newspaper report - New Monklands
1872September28Calder Bank No 2BailliestonProvanhall Coal CoAlex McGregorDrawer18Explosion of fire damp.

From Main body of report: Calderbank No. 2, pit is 53 fathoms deep to the Pietshaw and main coal seams. Referring to the
accompanying sketch, Fig. 5, which conveys an idea of the ventilating arrangements near to where the accident happened in the main coal seam, it appears that the " plane " A, to the left of the mine B, was at the time of the explosion, and for some days previous to it, filled with firedamp. Gas also extended sometimes down as far as the pillar C, and along the low side of A, to C2. At the time of the accident there were only two places being worked near to the firedamp, the pillar D, and the " end " E. The "end" was being driven over upon the plane A, for the purpose of forming a communication with it. I understand that the explosion took place at the opening F, and was occasioned by the gas at that point being ignited by John Allison's light, who worked at E, and who was passing with a loaded hutch at the time. The deceased worked at the pillar D ; he was injured by the explosion, and died from the effects of it. The provision in this case for the safety of the workmen was bad, and as might have been expected proved insufficient. The gas was known to exist as above explained, and though it had not been discovered as far out as the drawing road, where Allison had to pass with his loaded hutches at F, it must have been known to those in charge that any slight check upon the current of air passing inwards towards the " plane " A, for the air was split, would allow the gas to occupy a place farther out, or nearer Allison's drawing road. Of this unsatisfactory state of things the underground manager was well aware. He used no effective means for improvement, and took no precautionary steps, but imprudently authorised and allowed workmen to be employed in close proximity to the firedamp with open lights. He was charged by the Procurator Fiscal, Airdrie, with culpable neglect of duty, he pled not guilty, and was tried by the sheriff substitute of Airdrie, and a jury; after a lengthened trial, the verdict of the jury was given not proven.
1872September30TownhillDunfermline, FIFTownhill Coal CoJ AllanMiner20Fall of coalFife accident pages
1872October8TollcrossTollcrossJames Dunlop & CoOwen DuncanBrusher32While blasting, shot went off unexpectedly 
1872October15Coney ParkDennyJohn BarrAlex JaffrayCollier30Fall of roof at face. 
1872October16GreenfieldHamilton, LKSHamilton Coal Co.T DochertyMiner30Breakage of rope while ascending

From Main body of report:
By the breakage of a round wire rope at Greenfield Colliery, Hamilton, three persons were killed. The men were ascending the shaft about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and when near the surface the rope broke, and the cage on which they were ascending fell 100 fathoms to the bottom of the pit. They were all killed. The rope had drawn coals all day, and was not overloaded; it had not been in use 12 months, and had only raised 5,000 tons of coal. The pulley and drum were small (5 feet in diameter), but I could find nothing to account for the sudden fracture.

Newspaper report - Hamilton pages

A CarrickMiner18
W CarrickMiner50
1872October26LanemarkN CumnockLanemark Coal CoWm FergusonCollier20Was struck by the cage in the bottom of the shaft 
1872October29Coney ParkDennyJohn BarrRobt. SommervilleCollier28Was injured by the self-acting fence at the pit mouth

From Main body of report:
The deceased was an underground workman, and had, I understand, arrived at the pithead shortly before the accident, for the purpose of commencing a night shift. He appears to have engaged in conversation with the pit-head man, near to the pit mouth, and, I believe, had arranged to descend by the cage, which was being drawn up at the time. Suddenly, and while the cage was in motion, he stepped forward to the side of the pit and looked over the guard or gate, and before the pit-head man had time to call out or warn him back, the cage raised the guard, and his head was caught between it, and the "beam" or "wall plate" on which the roof of the shed was partly supported. He was killed instantaneously. While these gates have been introduced for the safety of the persons employed in and about mines, it would seem that they do not prevent altogether the possibility of an accident. It is of a kind, however, which should not in any way affect their being in general use, and a similar occurrence will probably not occur again.
1872 October 29 No. 15 shale pit, Addiewell     Jacob Shore     Death not listed in Inspectors report Newspaper report - Lothians pages
1872November5KeltyDunfermline, FIFFife Coal CoJ AddisonMiner32Fell into the pit 
1872November6GalstonGalstonJohn HorneJames HoodRoadman59Fall of roof 
1872November9BalmullochKilsythBrown & RennieJames KyleBrusher40While attempting to draw a shot which had missed fireNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1872November13Huntershill, No 1BishopbriggsW S DixonJohn MontgomerySinker41Overwinding the cage 
Peter GlenSinker--
1872November14Gartnavel, No 7MaryhillRobert Addie & SonsPat GunnDrawer19Fell down the shaft from a mid-working

From Main body of report (NB from 1875 Report): The appliances introduced at midworkings to prevent persons from falling into shafts have not hitherto been so thorough and effective as those adopted to prevent persons from falling into shafts from the surface. This, I believe, is partly owing to the difficulty in constructing an efficient appliance at a midworking which shall at all times act with unfailing certainty. By General Rule No. 14, "The top and all entrances between the top and bottom of every working or pumping shaft shall be properly fenced." The question, what is a proper fence? has received some consideration of late in the Sheriff Court, Glasgow, in a case raised by the parents of a young man who lost his life in one of Messrs. Robert Addie and Sons' pits in 1872. And as the law can only interpret the law it may be of advantage to know the grounds upon which the decision in this case has been arrived at by Sheriff-substitute Clarke. The working in question, a very limited one, was in a thin seam of coal, and the shaft was ostensibly sunk for a seam of ironstone which underlay it about sixty fathoms. The following interlocutor and note explain the grounds of the, decision :

"Glasgow, 28th February 1876. Having heard parties' procurators and made avizandurn for the reasons set forth in the subjoined note: Finds that on or about the date libelled the pursuer's late son, Patrick Gunn, came by his death by and through the fault of the defenders or of those for whom they are responsible. Therefore, finds the defenders liable to the pursuers in damages, assesses the same at one hundred and twenty pounds sterling, and decerns against the defenders therefor : Finds the defenders liable to the pursuer in expenses, allows an account thereof to be given in, and remits the same when lodged to the auditor of court to tax and report and decerns.''
Note.—The evidence in this case is voluminous, but the facts which the sheriff-substitute considers decisive of the question are not numerous, and may be said to lie on the surface. At the pit in question there was at the date of the accident a midworking and a lower-working. The same shaft communicated with both, and it was the duty of the defenders, the owners of the pit, to take sufficient precautions that those employed at the midworking should, when bringing their hutches to the cage, be protected against the risk of falling down the shaft. Patrick Gunn, the deceased, a lad of nineteen years of age, and son of the pursuer, was a miner working at the midworking, and on the day in question he, with his hutch, was precipitated down the shaft, and killed on the spot. The question to be determined is, did this take place in consequence of the fault of the defenders? Was it a damnum fatale for which no one was answerable ? Was it attributable to the fault of a collaborateur? Or was there contributory negligence ? The defenders were bound to take all proper precautions, the best known, and if they did this they would be sufficiently exonerated whatever might eventuate. Now, it is in evidence that there were various means to which they could have resorted, any one of which, whatever might be its disadvantages, would have prevented the accident in question. They might have placed a screen or scaffolding, or even logs;across the pitmouth. at the said midworking, and any one of these contrivances would have rendered falling down the shaft a physical impossibility (see evidence). They might have resorted to a system of blocks and self-acting apparatus which would also, so far as can be seen, have given absolute protection against such an accident taking place (see evidence and model). The defenders did not adopt any of these methods for reasons that will afterwards be noticed, but betook themselves to a method known as that by a trapdoor and bottomer, a method which is perfectly safe, provided the principal part of the mechanism, viz., the bottomer, is fit for and does his duty. According to this system a door is placed in the workings some yards from the open shaft, and is made to open inwards towards the workings. When this door is shut if is physically impossible that either hutch or man can get into the shaft. It is therefore the duty of the bottomer to keep it always shut, except when the cage is down, and a hutch is coming to or leaving the cage. If the bottomer attends to his duty and works this door properly, no accident can occur of the kind in question, because no hutch can pass unless when the pitmouth is closed by the cage. It thus becomes evident that all depends in this method on the bottomer being a man in every way fit for his important duties. The defenders were not bound to adopt this method, for there were many others. They did adopt it, however, and they were in consequence bound to see that the organ upon whose proper working its value for safety entirely depended was sufficient; in other words, that the bottomer was fit for his duty, and if they failed in this, they can no more shelter themselves under the doctrine of collaborateur than if they had failed in providing a sufficient door. Now, in the present case, notwithstanding the adoption of the system of trapdoor and bottomer, the late Patrick Gunn, with his hutch, fell down the shaft and was killed. This of itself indicates something wrong with the apparatus, because if the door were shut and were sufficient such a thing could not have happened. That the door was sufficient there was no doubt, it is abundantly proved by the defenders. That the door was open at the time when it should have been shut is proved as distinctly as any fact is the case. Where, then, was the fault ? Not in the inanimate part of the mechanism, but in the bottomer who failed in his duty, but who was just as much a part of the machine intended for the safety of the workmen as was the door itself. Now that the bottomer was totally unfit for his duty, and that the defenders must be held to have known that is patent all over the evidence. He was an old man who had met with a serious accident that seriously affected his motive powers. In no sense could he be called active or intelligent. A host of witnesses speak to this. Even those who speak of him as fit enough for the work are beaten from this in cross-examination. The very appearance of the man at the proof left no doubt of this in the mind of the sheriff-substitute.
Indeed, a perusal of his evidence will go far to show that the injuries he has received have not affected his physical powers only. It may be asked why the defenders chose the plan of trapdoor and bottomer in preference to all the other modes which were at their service. The reason is very obvious and fully brought out in the proof. Scaffolding in all its forms interfered with the rapid working of the pit, and might have seriously affected the out-put, self-acting apparatus was objectionable for the same reason. You could not use it if you required the hutches to ascend and descend at twenty miles an hour (see evidence). All these contrivances by which perfect safety from the risk of such an accident as occurred would have been secured were rejected by the defenders in favour of a method which was more conducive to their own interests. Surely in such a case they were bound to see that that method was properly carried out. In such a case as this, it is plain that the pleas of damnum fatale and collaborateur are entirely excluded by the facts. But it was argued strongly that here was a case of contributory negligence. The sheriff-substitute is unable to adopt this view. There is no evidence to show that the deceased was in fault at all. The only man who seems to indicate such a thing is the bottomer, McGuire.
For many reasons the sheriff-substitute attaches no weight to his evidence. Indeed, a mere perusal of his deposition, without the advantage of seeing him, will satisfy most minds that he is not reliable, and this becomes very certain when what he states is compared with Clark's deposition. The amount of damage has been calculated with reference to the actual loss by the death of the pursuer's son and also with reference to the injury done to the feelings of the pursuer. £120 in that view seems a fair and moderate sum.
The defenders have appealed.


1872November20NitshillHurletNitshill Coal CoHugh KerrLabourer64Fell before an empty wagon, in motion, in one of the lyes 
1872November25CarfinMotherwell, LKSA.G. SimpsonJ BensonMiner--Fall of roofNewspaper report - Lanarkshire pages
1872November26BlackstoneLugarEglinton Iron CoJohn McFarlandSinker26Fell out of the kettle while being raised up the shaft. It is supposed that the kettle caught against the mid wall at 10 fathoms from the bottom

From Main body of report: The deceased in this case were sinkers, and the pit in which they were employed was about 90 fathoms deep. The sinking was being made in whin, and the midwall, or partition in the shaft could not practically be maintained nearer than 10 fathoms from the bottom. The accident happened when the deceased were ascending the shaft, after having completed their preparations for firing two shots, and was apparently occasioned by the kettle in which they were being raised getting entangled with the midwall and capsizing, about 10 fathoms from the bottom. If not fatally injured by the fall they must have suffered from the effects of the blasting, for both shots went off. When recovered one was found to be dead, but his companion lived for two hours.

In all cases the midwall in a sinking pit must be a certain distance above the bottom, and sinkers have invariably to guide the kettle past it when being raised. In this case the idea is that the deceased's lights had gone out, and in the darkness they had failed to guide themselves and the kettle clear of the bottom of the midwall.
John McAnalySinker30
1872November26EastfieldCambuslangT G BuchananWilliam BrownBrusher22Fall of roof while engaged securing it 
1872December2ColtnessColtness. LKSA.G. SimpsonEd RusselMiner--Fireman did not examine his place

From Main body of report:
Caused by the neglect of the fireman to examine the deceased's working place before he commenced work. The deceased went in with his naked light and ignited some gas which had been lying at the face, which burned him. The fireman was charged before Sheriff Spens and a jury, with culpable negligence of duty. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the sheriff sentenced him to three months imprisonment, observing that the crime, involving as it did the sacrifice of one life, was one which it was impossible to allow the alternative of a fine, and the punishment would have been six months instead of three, if it had not been for the recommendation of the jury.
1872December5Twechar, No 2KilsythWm Baird & CoNeil ThomsonMiner--By attempting to get off the cage before it was properly landed  
1872December6GreenheadColtness. LKSColtness Iron Co.Henry RusselMiner--Fall of roof 
1872December18Boutreehill, No 6IrvineBoutreehill Coal CoThos HowatCollier26Fall of roof at face. 
1872December19Springhill, No 1BailliestonSpringhill Coal CoJames CampbellSinker37Fell from part way down while assisting to change a bucket 
1872December20Govan No 6GlasgowW S DixonJohn CairnsCollier28Fall of roof 
1872December30ClackmannanAlloa, CLKClackmannan Coal Co.W LoveBottomer--Fell off cageNewspaper report
1872December30PrestonhallDalkeith, EdinburghW WoodJas FordDrawer14Crushed by hutch 
1872December31No 7 Barleith & Dollars Colliery    Peter McCulloch    Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Ayrshire pages

Last Updated 18th May 2012