Scottish Mining Website

1879 Fatal Accidents

Notes - The information in this page is mainly compiled from appendices to the reports of the Inspector of Mines and Collieries - William Alexander for the Western District of Scotland and Robert Williams 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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Information from Appendix to Inspectors Report
Extra details
Year Month Day Name of Colliery Where situated Owners name Person(s) killed Occupation Age Category (if given) Cause of death and remarks
1879January8BogendKilwinningEglinton Iron CoRobert BuchananBrusher45Falls of roof and sidesFall of roof while engaged building near the face 
1879January9BrowniesideNew Monkland, LKSWm Black & sonsJohn WelshCollier25In shafts – whilst ascending or descending by machineryCage got out of guides while descending, and they fell outNewspaper report - New Monkland pages
William WrightCollier20
1879January11OrbistonBothwell, LKSMossend Iron CoJohn GilliesBricklayer--Underground- sundriesBy the falling of part of an arch which he and others were building for an engine house near pit bottomNewspaper report- Bothwell pages
1879January16Glengarnock No 5KilbirnieM CunninghamMichael DuffyMiner33In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of ironstone and roofNewspaper Report - Ayrshire pages
1879January30Cadder No 9BishopbriggsCarron Iron CoGeorge BurnsFireman60In ironstone/fire clay mines – miscellaneous undergroundSuffocated by gases

From Main body of report:
The victim was an experienced fireman who was suffocated by gases. On the day before the accident, and shortly after the deceased entered the mine, it was discovered that the shaft fittings, &c. were burning. All egress by it being stopped the workmen were conducted to the outlet shaft, and there drawn to the surface. On the following morning it appears that the deceased, who was in charge of the workings, descended the outlet pit for the purpose of making an examination of the burning shaft, and to ascertain whether the fire had communicated with the workings adjoining it. After satisfying himself, he and a neighbouring workman proceeded to explore the state of the lower bottom, eleven fathoms under where the fire originated. In approaching the lower bottom they encountered choke damp which extinguished their lights. They made their way back in the dark, but ultimately both were overpowered with the damp. After waiting for some time their companions who were left on the main return aircourse, finding the air affected, became alarmed, and in proceeding in the direction of the shaft heard a cry which they knew was for help. They advanced as far as the damp would permit, but had to return for assistance. After considerable exertions the deceased and his companion were found, the latter recovered, but the former, who was farther in and so more difficult to reach, was dead.
1879January31HaugheadHamilton, LKSJohn MacdonaldDennis HassonCollier14Falls of Coal & SidesAt “stooping”, head coal. Want of spragsNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1879February1Bathville No 1 pitBathgate, LinlithgowJames WoodJames HarvieCollier16Falls of RoofAt face, crossing a hitch. Rock roof. Long wall 
1879February4Greenfield No 2Hamilton, LKSHamilton Coal Co.James JohnstonRoadsman27Falls of RoofAt “stooping” while drawing propsNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1879February5Hutchison No 2GarscaddenM CunninghamGeorge HamiltonDrawer20In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof 
1879February8MaryvilleBothwell, LKSJohn HendrieJohn McFarlaneWater drawer18Explosion of Firedamp(see report)

From Main body of report:
On 8th February at Maryville, two men were sinking a blind pit to connect a pair of drifts, one of which was 8 fathoms below the other. There was a bore hole in the blind pit through to the lower drift, and gas from the lower drift came up the hole, ignited at the sinkers open lights and caused an explosion in the lower drift. A boy who happened to be leading water there was killed by the explosion. It seemed to me that the manager was to blame for allowing the accumulation of fire-damp to take place, and by your instructions he was tried before Sheriff Birnie, at Hamilton, for breach of the 1st General Rule, but was acquitted.

Newspaper report- Bothwell pages

1879February10AllanshawHamilton, LKSAllanshaw Coal CoHugh BrownlieEngineer35In shafts – miscellaneousStruck on the head by cage while making repairs at the top of shaft. Died 24th MarchNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1879February15Gartshore No 4KilsythW Baird & CoJames ChalmersBoy16In ironstone/fire clay mines – miscellaneous undergroundWhilst riding upon a train of loaded hutchesNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1879February20Muiredge No 1Wemyss, FIFBowman & CoJohn ArchibaldBanksman30On surface- miscellaneousThey were turning the handles of an old crane, heaving up a bucket, when the framework of the crane gave way Newspaper Report - Fife pages NB Date should be 22 February
Jas GordonBanksman23
1879February22Drumuir No 2KilmaursMerry & CunninghamRichd. McLatchieCollier19Falls of roof and sidesFall of coal at face 
1879February25RyesholmDalryM CunninghamJohn ReynoldsPony driver17In ironstone/fire clay mines – miscellaneous undergroundWas riding upon the hutches, fell off and was run over 
1879February27Craighead No 2Blantyre, LKSWm Baird & CoWilliam BlackBrusher--Falls of RoofAt face, fall of “brushing”. Long wallNewspaper report - Blantyre pages
1879February27Hurlford No 15HurlfordPeter SturrockHugh CraigCollier20In shaftsFell into the shaft, in what way not known

From Main body of report:
Took place at a mine on a morning when the men were being lowered to their work. It appears that after a number of them had descended, the pitheadman had arranged for a cage to be stopped at the lower scaffold for the purpose of placing pitwood upon it. He was engaged assorting the wood upon the cage, when it seems, unknown to any one, the deceased had in some way got into the opposite side of the shaft and fallen down to within ten feet of the bottom, where he was intercepted by the cage which was hanging there. The "bottomer" who was near, on hearing a noise and discovering something wrong went to the shaft, but singularly enough though he heard the deceased speaking, he seemed to have lost his presence of mind and failed to signal to the pithead so as to get the cage lowered, and in consequence of the delay, the loaded cage with wood was lowered and the cage upon which the deceased had fallen was raised. It is uncertain, but highly probable that he sustained further injuries whilst being raised in the shaft. He was alive when the cage reached the surface, but died soon after. No-one saw the accident happen, neither did any one see the deceased approach the pit. It was a particularly close and dark morning, and though the pitheadman and others stated that no one could have entered the shaft unknown to them, I think it possible that the deceased, who must have reached the mine in the usual way though unobserved, may also have entered the shaft accidentally and unseen.
1879February27Souterhouse No 1CoatbridgeSouterhouse Coal CoWm Russell



18Miscellaneous undergroundJamm'd against the roof of the mine

From Main body of report:
Happened to a "chainman," whose duty it was to conduct the traffic up and down an incline. It appears that on the morning of the accident, after having signalled away a train of full hutches, and when it was lifted, he leapt upon the front hutch, but had not proceeded far when he was jammed between it and the roof. He managed to remain on the hutch until he reached the landing when his cries attracted the attention of the oversman and others who relieved him, and had him taken to the surface. His injuries proved fatal two days after.
1879March4LoanheadLasswade, EdinburghShotts Iron CoSam. HallidayCollier45Falls of RoofAt face. Stoop and room.Newspaper report - Lothians pages
1879March19HarthillShotts, LKSColtness Iron Co.Alex FindlayEngineman--In Ironstone minesExplosion of steam boiler

From Main body of report:
On the 19th March a boiler explosion occurred at Harthill Pit, belonging to the Coltness Iron Company. There were 10 boilers working at the time, and every one of them was shifted. One man was killed and three injured. Separate investigations were made into the matter by an engineer, on the part of the Procurator Fiscal of Airdrie, and myself but we failed to detect anything which led to the explosion.

Mine Inspector and newspaper report - Harthill page

1879March21GreenbankDalryM CunninghamArchibald BarryMiner18In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof 
1879March21PenicuikPenicuik, EdinburghShotts Iron CoWm PrydeMiner24In Ironstone minesFall of ironstone at face. Edge seam 
1879March22Cleland No 19Bothwell, LKSMonkland Iron & Coal Co LtdJohn McQueenCollier19Falls of Coal & SidesAt “stooping” while holing. Want of spragsNewspaper Report - Shotts pages
1879March24Morningside No 10Cambusnethan, LKSShotts Iron CoThomas GunnCollier19Falls of RoofAt face. Long wallNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1879March24West Benhar No 10Shotts, LKSBenhar Coal Co LtdJas McAlpineCollier43Falls of Coal & SidesAt face while taking down coal. Stoop and roomNewspaper Report - Shotts pages
1879March29BritonCoatbridgeW S Dixon LtdCharles FrewCollier42Falls of roof and sidesFall of roof at face whilst engaged holing 
1879March31MaidenbankMuirkirkEglinton Iron CoJames WatsonCollier28Falls of roof and sidesFall of coal whilst engaged taking it down 
1879April3Arniston, Emily PitCockpen, EdinburghArniston Coal Co. LtdJohn DicksonCollier56Falls of RoofAt face. Long wall 
1879April5Arniston, Emily PitCockpen, EdinburghArniston Coal Co. LtdJas NeillyCollier17Falls of Coal & SidesAt face, while holing. Died 9th April. Long wall 
1879April5Todhills No 3DalryEglinton Iron CoDavid StevensonFireman63In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof at face whilst going his round of examination alone 
1879April12West Benhar No 2Shotts, LKSRobert Addie & SonsJames CowanBrusher27Falls of RoofOn main drawing road, while renewing the gearing. Long wall 
1879April15Dunsyston No 3Shotts, LKSSummerlee Iron CoBernard McBrydeSinker26In shafts – falling from part way downA plank on which he was standing was knocked away by a stone which another sinker pinched off the sideNewspaper report - New Monkland pages
1879April19Espieside No 5CoatbridgeW Baird & CoThomas MurrayCollier26Falls of roof and sidesFall of roof whilst engaged assisting to repair a dook road 
1879April25Motherwell Watsonville pitHamilton, LKSJohn WatsonDavid CaskieCollier36Explosion of Firedamp – died 2nd MaySee report 

From Main body of report:
At Watsonville, on the 25th April, two colliers, father and son, were told by the fireman that he had found a little fire-damp in their place, and that he would go in before them and expel it. They did not wait but went in to commence work. On reaching within 8 yards of the face they left their naked lights and one of them went in the dark and began to "waff''' out the gas; in doing so it was driven upon their open lights, where it ignited and burned them.
Wm CaskieCollier16died 30th May
1879May1Muirhouse No 2Cambusnethan, LKSGlasgow Iron CoJoseph SmithCollier19Falls of RoofAt face while “holing” Died 4th May. Stoop and roomNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1879May7Newbattle, Dickson'sNewbattle, EdinburghMarquis of LothianRobt DavieCollier41Falls of Coal & SidesAt face while holing. Long wall 
1879May8Solesgirth No 1KirkintillochKilsyth Coal CoJames IrvineCollier27In shaftsBy falling from the cage, and getting jammed in the shaft

From Main body of report:
Occurred whilst five workmen were being drawn to the surface in the ordinary way. The cage was double decked, and it was the regulation not to raise more than eight men upon it at a time. It appears that on the day of the accident the cage was signalled away from the bottom with five men upon it. All, so far as is known, went right until the cage was about midshaft, when one of the three men upon the lower deck, called out to stop the cage as one of his companions had fallen down the shaft. Those on the top deck also observed him struggling to prevent the other, who was partly off the cage, from falling away. I understand that an attempt was also made to seize the signal wire in the shaft, to make a signal to the surface to stop the cage, but this failed. The cage was drawn to within a few feet of the surface, when by shouting they attracted the attention of the men engaged at the pithead, and the engineman being made aware that something was wrong stopped the engine. The person referred to as having fallen partly out of the cage, was found with his head hanging beyond the end of it, between the cage and the side of the shaft; he was much injured, though alive, but died shortly after. He who fell away from the cage, about mid-shaft, was found at the bottom mangled and dead. As to how the accident occurred, it is supposed that the man who fell away may, in falling, have grasped at his neighbour, and in that way caused him to overbalance and get in contact with the side of the shaft, but what caused him in the first place to fall can only be surmised. The idea of his having fainted was suggested, but of course that is only conjecture. The shaft fittings were not deranged.

Newspaper Report - Dunbartonshire accidents

Hugh PattersonCollier25
1879May19Springside No 9DreghornA Kenneth & SonsGeorge WilsonBrusher42Falls of roof and sidesFall of roof whilst engaged working at it 
1879May21Blackstone No 1CumnockEglinton Iron CoWilliam BairdMiner28In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof at face whilst engaged taking it down 
1879May22UdstonHamilton, LKSUdston Coal CoJames StewartCollier18Falls of Coal & SidesAt face. Stoop and room.Newspaper report - Hamilton pages
1879May24PenicuikPenicuik, EdinburghShotts Iron CoJohn KellyBottomer54In Ironstone minesFall from mid working. Edge seam 
1879May24Quarter No 1DennyW Baird & CoRobert HendersonFireman28Explosion of FiredampExplosion of fire damp.

From Main body of report:
Took place in a mine known to give off gas. I understand that on the morning of the accident, the fireman found fire-damp in one of the ordinary working places, accounted for by changes which had been made in screens, &c. during the previous day. He very wisely prevented the workmen from entering into, or near the " face." Under this arrangement the day's work was concluded safely, and after the workmen had all left the mine, he and his assistant commenced to displace the gas. As a precautionary measure the furnace at the pit bottom was put out, so as to prevent ignition from the return currents passing over it in an inflammable state ; but unfortunately for themselves, they neglected to withdraw their open lights to a safe distance from the explosive mixture with which they were dealing.
Newspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
Robert CookRoadsman30
1879May26MuirheadShotts, LKSColtness Iron Co.Thos DrugganMiner20In Ironstone minesFall of roof 
1879May26Kilncadzow    John Cowden      Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Lanarkshire pages
1879May26Solesgirth No 1KirkintillochKilsyth Coal CoJames JollyBrusher33Explosion of FiredampExplosion of fire damp whilst engaged brushing and blasting

From Main body of report:
Occurred whilst the brushers, five in number on a night shift, were engaged blasting, and probably was occasioned by the ignition of some fire-damp lying unknown to them in a broken part of the roof, and in a fallen part of which we found gas on the following day.
1979June6Overjohnstone    Alexander Adam      Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1879June14Barncluith No 2Hamilton, LKSArchd. RussellWm KerrPit-head boy14On surface- miscellaneousRun over by waggon. He was at his dinner, and had crept below the waggon for shade on a hot day. Died 22nd JuneNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1879June14Green No 7Cambusnethan, LKSGlasgow Iron CoJames NicholCollier54Falls of RoofAt face, which had just reached a hitch. Stoop and roomNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1879June20Burnfoot No 11DalmellingtonDalmellington Iron CoJames StevensonPony driver51In ironstone/fire clay mines – miscellaneous undergroundHis light went out, the pony ran away, and he got entangled with the hutches 
1879June24RaithAuchterpool [sic], FIFLochgelly Iron & Coal CoJas BainLocomotive fireman19On surface- miscellaneousRun over by waggons while shunting 
1879June26LumphinnansBallingry, FIFLumphinnans Iron & Coal CoCharles AndersonReddsman50In shafts – miscellaneousWhile clearing debris from the bottom of an air shaft it slipped, and he was injured while escaping from the falling debris 
1879July2Blantyre No 1 PitBlantyre, LKSWilliam Dixon, Ltd28 men    Explosion of FiredampSee reportMain site
1879July3Alloa No 2, HoltonAlloa, CLKAlloa Coal CoArchd. BennetDriver14Underground- by tubs and tramsFound dead below the first tub of a rake which he was bringing outNewspaper Report - Clackmannanshire pages
1879July3Dalry No 4DalryEglinton Iron CoDavid GemmellMiner60In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof at faceNewspaper Report - Ayrshire pages
1879July7Enterkine No 7AyrGeo Taylor & CoDavid ImrieRoadsman37Falls of roof and sidesWhilst drawing wood a stone fell upon him 
1879July7Portland No 4KilmarnockAllan GilmourJames FultonCollier18Falls of roof and sidesFall of roof at faceNewspaper Report - Ayrshire pages
1879July10Hurlford No 15HurlfordPeter SturrockThomas RoeCollier15Falls of roof and sidesFall of roof 
1879July14HaywoodCarnwarth, LKSHaywood Gas Coal CoRobt CrawfordTrimmer15On surface- miscellaneousRun over by waggons while shifting them 
1879July20Bent CollieryHamilton  John Allardice   Not listed - not accident at work Death not listed in Inspectors reportNewspaper report - Hamilton pages
1879July22Drumpeller, No 5CoatbridgeHenderson & DimmackJohn ThomsonFireman39Explosion of FiredampExplosion of fire damp.

From Main body of report:
Was, I believe, occasioned by the fireman failing to use a safety lamp whilst making his morning examination, in terms of General Rule 2. He had not unlikely been in the habit of going to what was known as a safe station with his open light, but unfortunately on the morning of the accident, the gas from some cause had been found nearer to the pit bottom. ............................It is a most reprehensible practice, that of carrying an open light to a supposed safe point whilst examining a mine, and often leads to mishaps. The proper way is to descend with a safety lamp and make the examination entirely with it. If that prudent course had been observed in the two cases last referred to, the gas would have been at once detected, and the serious consequences averted.
Newspaper Report - Old Monkland pages
NB - date should be 24 July
1879July22Overtown No 3Cambusnethan, LKSJohn WilsonJohn CoolDriver23Underground- on inclined planesA runaway set of loaded tubs came upon him at the foot of an incline while he was there with the empty setNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1879July23Redburn No 2KilwinningEglington Iron CoWilliam HoldenPony driver15Miscellaneous undergroundBy a kick from a horse whilst grooming it

From Main body of report:
Occasioned by a kick from a horse. The circumstances were a little peculiar; the deceased was a pony driver, and I understand that it was a regulation at the mine for the drivers to attend in turn upon the ponies - six in number - on Sundays. The day of the accident was the deceased's day for attending, and he had been lowered for that purpose for the second time at 2 p.m. As he was alone, correct particulars as to how the accident occurred will probably never be known. So much is certain however, that after being down the pit twenty minutes or thereby, he signalled to the engineman to raise the cage, which was done. It was afterwards found that the deceased was bleeding about the face or forehead, and he reluctantly admitted that one of the ponies had kicked him. The injury was not at the time considered serious, but he died from the effects of it two days after. The practice in this case seemed objectionable, that of allowing a boy such as the deceased, aged 15 years, to go into the mine alone to attend to half a dozen horses, and since the accident I understand that the system has been changed, and two persons now, in place of one, attend at a time.
1879July24Woodsmuir No 2West Calder, EdinburghWishaw EstateAlex CrookstoneDrawer15Underground- by tubs and tramsMet by a runaway hutch on a rise roadNewspaper report - Lothians pages
1879July25LochwoodCoatbridgeW Baird & CoRobert CharlesCollier50Falls of roof and sidesFall of coal and roof 
1879July28Springwells No 2New Monkland, LKSJames SimpsonJas CarsonCollier--Falls of RoofAt face. Long wall 
1879July29Wemyss, VictoriaWemyss, FIFR.G.E. WemyssWalter WelshCollier22Falls of Coal & SidesAt face. Long wall 
1879August5Baltic PitHurlfordJohn HowilAdam S HoustonEngineman22Above groundBoiler explosion

From Main body of report:
Messrs. Taylor and Young practical engineers, Ayr, visited the mine soon after the accident and reported regarding it. After detailing the nature of the construction, &c. they summed up as follows. "We consider that the accident occurred on account of the weakness of the plates at the end of the boiler, and the insufficient manner in which the nearly flat ends were stayed." The question of water, which is frequently introduced in the case of a boiler, explosion, was not suggested, and satisfactory proof remained to show that the accident was not occasioned by an insufficient supply of it.
Newspaper Report - Ayrshire pages
1879August12GartcoshGartcoshJames BinnieWilliam EdmondMiner46In ironstone/fire clay mines – miscellaneous undergroundExplosion of gunpowder whilst blasting 
1879August15Eastfield No 4CambuslangT G BuchananJoseph CarruthersBrusher44Falls of roof and sidesFall of roof 
1879August18Bredisholm, No 2 pitBothwell, LKSProvanhall Coal CoJno McGhieMiner35Explosion of FiredampSee report

From Main body of report:
At Nackerty, on the 18th August, two men were stowing rubbish on the top of an arch where the roof had fallen out 10 or 12 feet. It was near a hitch and a little gas was making. So long as there was a space between the roof and the rubbish air passed over the top, but as soon as it was closed fire-damp gathered, which ignited at their naked lights and burned them.
1879August28North MotherwellDalzell, LKSMerry & CunninghamJas CampbellSinker28In shafts – things falling from surfaceStruck by the skeleton cage, which fell from surface. Sinking pitNewspaper report - Lanarkshire pages
1879August29Mainhill No 2BailliestonW Baird & CoJames PatrickBoy13Above groundBy a waggon passing over his left leg

From Main body of report:
By waggons on the surface a young boy of thirteen years of age was fatally injured. It appears that he was employed as a " picker," to assist in separating the gas coal from the splint. His duties required him to be near to the trimmer whilst the waggons were being filled, but at the time of the accident, I understand he was shifting an empty waggon into a loaded " lye," and in attempting to stop or control it with a " snibble " he was knocked over, and in falling the wheels of the waggon went over his left leg. It was stated by those in charge, that the boy had interfered with the empty waggons contrary to orders, and that he had been check'd for it more than once. I presume this is correct, otherwise it would have been absurd to allow a child of thirteen years, unaided, to move a large railway waggon upon an easy incline, a description of work which should only be intrusted to the active and experienced.
1879August30MaidenbankMuirkirkEglinton Iron CoWilliam HunterBoy15In shaftsFell into the shaft whilst pushing an empty hutch towards it

From Main body of report:
Occasioned by the deceased, who was an assistant at the pithead, pushing an empty hutch in to the shaft whilst the engineman was engaged adjusting the winding rope, with the cage raised a few feet above the usual landing. When the cage requires to be raised above the usual landing at the pithead, as in this case, great care should be observed, as men now trust implicitly to the gates or guards placed at pitmouths, and when they are absent the assumption is that the cage is landed and ready for the return hutch to be placed upon it.
1879September6OrbistonBothwell, LKSMossend Iron CoJas McKennaDrawer20Falls of Coal & SidesAt face. Stoop and room. 
1879September13FauldhouseWhitburn, LinlithgowWm Dixon LtdPeter JardineBottomer55In shafts – miscellaneousHe stepped off the cage too soon, and fell in below it, on descending in the morning 
1879September23CarfinBothwell, LKSWm Dixon LtdCornelius DouganBrusher55Underground – suffocation by gasesChoke damp had on previous occasions come from an old waste but the men were able to retire in safety on being warned of its approach. On this occasion they delayed too long and fell before reaching the fresh air.

From Main body of report:
These men were suffocated by choke-damp in No. l Pit, Splint coal workings of this colliery.

I was in the pit yesterday and saw the place where their bodies were found, and inquired into the cause of the accident. No. 1 is a very old pit. It was opened 35 years ago, and all that remains to be worked is about three acres of Splint coal in the west portion of the grounds, bounded on the south side for 140 yards by the old waste workings of Jerviston, which give off choke-damp, particularly on any sudden depression of the barometer. The ventilating current passes from No., 1 Pit westward along what is called the Big Mine past the Jerviston waste, thence round the whole of the 11 working places, returning outwards and ascending No. 2 Pit, at the bottom of which is a ventilating furnace. The quantity at the bottom of the downcast shaft was said to be 9,000 cubic feet per minute. At the faces yesterday it was only 1,500; the difference being lost in leakages by the way. The quantity was said to be sufficient, under ordinary circumstances, to ventilate the faces ; but on some occasions, as noted in the report book, the men have had to leave work for the day on account of choke-damp coming out from the Jerviston waste. On all these occasions they were able to come out with their lights burning, and without suffering from the effects of the choke-damp. The coal is worked by the "long wall" method. In the one portion of the workings, called the Big Mine Road, the men hewed the coal during the day, and during the night brushers worked, making the roads. In the other, the Wee Mine Road, no one worked at night as the miners made their own roads.
On the evening of the 22nd, John Campbell, night fireman, took down five brushers with him; Neil Dougan, 55, John Strain, 40, James Mitchell, 35, Archibald Gordon, 55, and John Sweeney, 45. After he had examined the faces in terms of the 2nd General Rule, he placed Strain, Sweeney, and Dougan at the face of the low slant road to put in some buildings, while he with Gordon and Mitchell went to the top slant road, about 60 yards further in the workings. About 12 o'clock Campbell felt the choke-damp coming upon him, and he and the other two men proceeded at towards the shaft with their lights still burning. When they reached the,entrance to the road where the other three men were working they stopped, and Campbell went in to tell them to come away. He told Strain, who was the leading man, to come out at once as there was damp coming from the waste. Strain said they would come when they got the building " stopped out." Campbell then left and joined his companions who were waiting. Their lights were still burning, and they passed outwards without waiting longer. On reaching the screens where the air goes up the "bore'' road, the bad air put out their lights, and they made their way out in the dark to the pony lye. They had matches with them and had tried several times before to get a light but could not do so till they reached this point. On getting a light they made an attempt to go back for the three men inside but could not reach more than 20 yards. About 20 minutes afterwards, Sweeney, one of the three men who were left, came out in the dark. He stated that Strain, Dougan, and he had worked 10 minutes after Campbell told them to come out. The damp had then come on them, but their lights were burning. They intended to come out together, but Strain, who had his clothes on first started off by himself. Dougan and he were a little later in getting their clothes, and in the hurry their lights went out. They kept on, however, in the dark but did not overtake Strain. After they had gone about 100 yards Dougan began to succumb to the choke-damp, which had now filled all the workings, and when they reached the screens could move no further. Sweeney urged him on, but he said he was "by with it," and so he left him and made his way out till he found Campbell and the other two men.
It was not till about 4 o'clock in the morning that Campbell thought of sending for Allen, the oversman of the pit. About 5 o'clock Allen arrived, but could not proceed more than 10 yards further than Campbell had done. He at once determined to turn the water pumped by the engine down the pit, so as to create a stronger current of air. This it did so effectually that in an hour they were able to recover Dougan's body, and before 8 o'clock the foul air was cleared out of the workings, and they reached Strain's body. It was found that in coming out of the branch on to the main road Strain turned to the right instead of the left, and travelled about 200 yards towards the face, where his body was found lying at the head of a branch road.
The accident appears to have been a very simple one. If Campbell had made the men come out at once, as he ought to have done, all might have been saved, because none of the first party seem to have suffered from the effects of the damp. At the same time, I do not think that the ventilation of these workings was in terms of the 1st General Rule. There was no necessity for exposing the men at the faces to the risk of outbursts from the Jerviston waste. The air after sweeping the edge of that waste should not have passed the workmen at all. No doubt to effect this a re-adjustment of the air current and new aircourses would have been necessary, which would have entailed considerable expense, but I think these alterations were indispensable for the proper ventilation of the colliery. I am informed, however, that the workings are to be abandoned.
Newspaper report - Lanarkshire pages
John StrainBrusher54
1879October2Dykehead No 1Hamilton, LKSSummerlee Iron CoDaniel FauldsOversman40Falls of RoofAt “stooping” while drawing props 
1879October10NitshillHurletNitshill & Lesmahagow Coal Co.James HamiltonCollier27Falls of roof and sidesFall of coal whilst engaged holing it 
1879October14Blantyre No 3Blantyre, LKSWm Dixon LtdDavid HammillCollier49Falls of Coal & SidesAt face while holing. Long wall 
1879October17Lady PitGlenbuckCavintable Gas Coal CoJohn MillerOversman33In shaftsFall of something in the shaft, his leg was injured, and he died from the effects of the injury 13 days after

From Main body of report:
Caused by a stone falling down the shaft, supposed to be off the side of it, which struck the deceased on his right leg, and broke it. The injury was not supposed to be serious but he died from the effects two weeks after.
1879October17LucknowStevenstonEglington Iron CoRobert McDonaldFireman40Falls of roof and sidesFall of roofNewspaper Report - Ayrshire pages
Francis O'BrienBrusher55
1879October24Dalry No 4DalryEglinton Iron CoHugh AitkenMiner13In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof and ironstone 
1879October27WhitehillLasswade, EdinburghArch. HoodMich. MahonMiner45Underground- by tubs and tramsHe was passing along the level road and was struck by a runaway hutch and jammed against the side 
1879November1Kirkwood No 1CoatbridgeJohn HendrieEdwd DochertyCollier50Falls of roof and sidesFall of coal whilst engaged taking it down Newspaper Report - Old Monkland pages
1879November3Stonelaw No 1RutherglenF R ReidJames MuirFireman55Explosion of FiredampExplosion of fire damp.

From Main body of report:
Happened to an experienced fireman, very much in the same way as the preceding one [July 22 1879, Drumpeller]. Apparently he had been in the habit of carrying an open light so far in the course of his examination, and on the morning of the accident, the gas was encountered at a point where it had not before been found. It is a most reprehensible practice, that of carrying an open light to a supposed safe point whilst examining a mine, and often leads to mishaps. The proper way is to descend with a safety lamp and make the examination entirely with it. If that prudent course had been observed in the two cases last referred to, the gas would have been at once detected, and the serious consequences averted.
1879November8Cavinhill No 5AirdrieW Baird & CoHelen CherrieAssistant at screen38Above groundWere run over by a race of hutches which got disconnected upon an incline

From Main body of report:
The pit is situated upwards of 400 yards from the "screens," and the coals are forwarded in the hutches to them by a self acting incline, on which twelve hutches are usually run in a " race " or train at a time. The hutches are each attached to a chain which passes under them, and is secured to the incline rope at the upper, or end nearest to it. On the day of the accident the chain to which the hutches were attached broke, and eight of them were liberated, that is, they passed down the incline uncontrolled, and across the scaffold at the screen where deceased were sitting. They were driven over the scaffolding along with four of the hutches, and fell a distance of 16 feet or thereby. Their injuries were severe, and both died from the effects thereof ; one of them was a very aged labourer, long engaged about the mine, and said to be upwards of 84 years of age. There was a safety-appliance, or "snecks " in use, which when acted upon, diverted the '' race " off the main line to a side " lye," but the sufferers were not aware of the train being lowered at the time, and could not take advantage of it to protect themselves. For the future it is proposed to reverse the arrangement, and the " race " when being lowered for the screens, unless guided by the " screeman," will pass into a side " lye " prepared to receive it.
Newspaper report - New Monkland pages
James McGuireLabourer84
1879November10PolkemmetBathgate, LinlithgowShotts Iron CoJames QuinBottomer37In Ironstone minesCrushed by cage at pit bottom 
1879November13BellfieldHurlfordBellfield Coal CoHugh StrathearnCollier17Falls of roof and sidesFall of coal at face 
1879November13BellsdykeNew Monkland, LKSBellsdyke Coal CoDavid MenziesCollier23Falls of RoofAt face, while drawing props to allow an upper portion of seam to fall. Long wallNewspaper report - New Monkland pages
1879November13RoslinLasswade, EdinburghGlasgow Iron CoGeo BuchananDrawer14In Ironstone minesFall from mid working. Edge seamNewspaper report
1879November18Bredisholm, No 2 pitBothwell, LKSProvanhall Coal CoJames O'NeilBrusher50Falls of RoofAt face of “brushing” while propping it before leaving 
1879November21Rochsoles No 1New Monkland, LKSJohn A McCallumJohn McMullenDrawer40Falls of RoofIn a communication mine while lifting pavement. Long wall. 
1879November21Woodmuir No 1West Calder, EdinburghWishaw Estate TrustDavid GrahamPit-headman35In shafts – falling into shaft from surfaceWhile “striking” the kettle he overbalanced himselfNewspaper report
1879November25DrumriggendSlamannan, STIJohn Nimmo & SonSarah McAughyPit-head assistant--On surface- miscellaneousCrushed between waggon and screenNewspaper report
1879December5Blackstone No 1LugarEglinton Iron CoJohn SmithMiner40In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof at face 
1879December6WoodyettsDennyR Addie & SonMalcolm LairdMiner22In ironstone/fire clay mines – falls of roof and sidesFall of roof at faceNewspaper report
1879December17Dalzell, BroomhouseDalzell, LKSWishaw Coal CoGeorge WylieMiner43Falls of Coal & SidesIn a stone mine. While holing a large piece of blaes off the “veez” of hitch fell upon 
1879December24Woodend No 5Torphichen, LinlithgowColtness Iron Co.James WaddieCollier16Falls of Coal & SidesAt face while holing. Long wall 
1879December30Quarter No 4Hamilton, LKSColin Dunlop & CoDonald McDonaldbanksman35On surface- miscellaneousCrushed by locomotive against screen 
1879December31Quarter No 7Hamilton, LKSColin Dunlop & CoJohn AndersonCollier13Falls of RoofAt face. Fall of the “veez” of a fault. Stoop and room 

Last Updated 21st January 2011