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Newspaper Accounts of Accidents

Both local and national newspapers regularly reported the many accidents and injuries that occurred in shale mines and oil works. These accounts often included lurid details of injuries that were sustained, and described the suffering of victims and their families. The extracts on this page focus on short accounts of smaller tragedies that were once accepted as part of working life, and usually contain details of their victims. Larger incidents that resulted in multiple loss of life or major damage to property are described elsewhere.

The extracts are arranged chronologically.

 

| 1860 | 1861 | 1862 | 1863 | 1864 | 1865 | 1866 | 1867 | 1868 | 1869 |
| 1870 | 1871 | 1872 | 1873 | 1874 | 1875 | 1876 | 1877 | 1878 | 1879 |
| 1880 | 1881 | 1882 | 1883 | 1884 | 1885 | 1886 | 1887 | 1888 | 1889 |
| 1890 | 1891 | 1892 | 1893 | 1894 | 1895 | 1896 | 1897 | 1898 | 1899 |
| 1900 | 1901 | 1902 | 1903 | 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 |
| 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913 | 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 |
| 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 |
| 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 |
| 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 |
| 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 |
| 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 |

 

 

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up 1865

ACCIDENT – Early on the morning of Friday last week, an engineer named William Duff, 35 years of age, met with an accident at the new Oil Works, situated in Keith Place. It appears that there is a certain period after the parrafine oil has been run out of the still before any person can approach it, especially with a light, and Duff incautiously went with a lighted candle to the man-hole at the still (although previously warned) before the time had elapsed, when the vapour arising therefrom took flame, whereby he was severely scalded on the face, breast, and arms. Dr Bartholomew was immediately in attendance, and we are happy to state that he is in a fair way of recovery.

The Fife Herald, 12th January 1865

 

SHOCKING COAL-PIT ACCIDENT – It is our melancholic duty to record another coal-pit accident, very shocking in its details, and resulting in the death of a miner in the prime of life. About midday, yesterday, as Patrick Campbell, a miner residing at Gavieside, parish of Midcalder, was descending into the Gavieside coal-pit, he suddenly sprung from the cage in which he was being lowered on to an intermediate landing. The cause of what followed is not precisely known, but it is supposed that, as he made the leap on to the landing, the iron guards of the cage had caught him, and in a minute had ripped up his abdomen in a fearful and shocking manner, besides breaking his thigh bone. The poor fellow was carried to the pit-head; but although medical aid was promptly rendered, his injuries were too severe a nature to admit of curing, and he expired in about nearly an hour.

The Caledonian Mercury, Saturday 18th February 1865

 

UPHALL - GUNPOWDER ACCIDENT - On Friday Joseph Neille, aged about eighteen years, employed at 2 Pit, Stewartfield, near Uphall, was severely injured by an explosion of gunpowder in the lodge adjoining the pithead. It appears that at breakfast hour, Neille placed a tin flask on the fire, supposing it to contain his tea, which after heating he intended to partake of, but unfortunately he made a serious mistake, and placed on the fire a flask containing about two lb. of gunpowder. An explosion almost immediately took place, and the unfortunate lad was dreadfully scorched about his head and face. He was at once conveyed to his father's house, where he lies in a condition not free from danger.

The Scotsman, 3rd April 1865

 

Death of John M'Gown following a fire at the British Asphalte Co. works. Read full account

The Glasgow Daily Herald, Thursday, November 30th 1865

 

up 1866

MINER KILLED IN A SHALE PIT - An accident occurred at Broxburn Shale Works, about midday on Monday, by which a miner named John Shields, about forty years of age, was almost instantaneously killed. Shields was at his usual employment in No.2 shale pit, and, while engaged 'holing' in a face of shale, a large mass became detached, and crushed him so severely that he almost immediately expired.

Dundee Advertiser, 26th January 1866

FATAL ACCIDENT - Bridget Mahon, 22 years of age, a pithead worker, residing in Alexander Street, Airdrie, was killed between 9 and 10 O'clock yesterday morning by falling down the shaft of No. 2 Ironstone Pit, Drumshangie, occupied by Messrs James Struthers & Co., paraffine oil manufacturers. From what we could learn it appears that the deceased was engaged in dragging a hutch along to the pithead backwards, but the cage not being on the pithead but the scaffolding above, she fell down the shaft of the pit, a depth of over 70 fathoms, carrying the hutch with her. She was killed on the spot. Source;

The Glasgow Herald, 22nd February 1866

 

FATAL PIT ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER - On Wednesday, about mid-day, while a miner named William Wardrop was engaged at his usual employment in the Shale Pit, No. 5, situated at Addiewell, on the property of Mr. Young, of Limefield, a large quantity of shale and loose earth fell from the roof of the pit and killed him on the spot. The poor fellow was completely buried among the debris, which is supposed to have been about eight tons in weight. The other miners on hearing of the accident quickly mustered and dug the body out. Dr. Home, of West Calder, examined the body and found that one of the legs was broken, the head, shoulder, and other parts of the body being severely bruised. Deceased, who was forty-three years of age, leaves a widow and nine children.

The Glasgow Herald, Friday 2nd March 1866

 

DROWNED IN AN OIL TANK – Yesterday, Peter Smith, labourer, aged 17 years, and residing at Calder Ironworks, was drowned in an oil tank at the Palacecraig Oil Works. It appears that on the 10th of last month deceased had gone into the work to ask for employment. On being told that he could not get work, he turned, and as was supposed, went out at the gate. Since then he had not been seen, and every search was made among friends and others, until yesterday, when on searching the tank where the oil and ammoniacal liquor is run into, his body was found. No one can tell how he fell into such a place.

The Glasgow Herald, 2nd March 1866

 

FATAL ACCIDENT TO A MINER - On Friday morning while Andrew Philips, a miner, residing at Loanhead, was employed in a shale pit at Straiton, a quantity of rubbish, weighing about three tons, fell upon him from the roof. An hour elapsed before he could be extricated, and he was then found to be quite dead.

The Dundee Courier, 9th July 1866

 

FATAL PIT ACCIDENT AT ADDIEWELL – On Sunday morning, while John Ralstons, a fireman, residing at Addiewell, near West Calder, was employed at No. 2 Pit there, belonging to Mr James Young, of Limefield, he incautiously came in contact with the crank of the pumping-engine. His right leg was in consequence severely cut and injured, and severe internal injuries were sustained. The poor man was immediately assisted home, and medical aid sent for; but the injuries were so serious a nature that he expired on Tuesday morning in a great agony. Source:

The Dunfermline Press, 15th September, 1866

up 1867

JURY TRIAL – Thursday (Before Sheriff Davidson and a Jury.) CHARGE OF CULPABLE HOMICIDE. James Lind was put upon his trial, charged with culpable homicide, or culpable neglect of duty in his capacity of engineman at the Paraffin Oil Works Colliery, Addiewell, West Calder. It was his duty to set the engine in motion on receiving a signal from below by a person named the "bottomer." Upon the occasion in question the engine was set in motion when the bottomer was assisting in getting a truck upon the carriage at the bottom of the pit, when it suddenly began to rise, taking him with it. He was driven violently against a door with such force that he died almost immediately. A number of witnesses were examined for the prosecution, and nine for the prisoner. It was declared, in defence, that the signal was given, for the witnesses admitted that though they did not hear it, the bell might have rung. After addresses by the Procurator Fiscal and Mr Dundas Grant, who appeared for the prisoner, and the charge by the Sheriff, which was adverse to the prisoner, the jury returned a verdict of not proven.

The Caledonian Mercury, 8th March 1867

 

WEST-CALDER. FATAL ACCIDENT IN A MINE – On Monday afternoon, a miner, named Wm. [William] Mathers, forty years of age, was killed in No. 1 shale pit, Addiewell, West Calder, by a piece of shale, about a ton weight, falling upon him from the roof of the pit. It was a quarter of an hour before he could be extricated from the mass which had fallen upon him, and when this was accomplished, he was found to be quite dead.

The Falkirk Herald, 16th May, 1867

up 1868

FATAL ACCIDENT AT BATHGATE - On Monday evening, an accident occurred at Bathville Chemical Works, whereby a man named Wilkie was killed. The man was employed as a waggoner at the works, and at about six o'clock on the night mentioned he was engaged shifting waggons, when the horse, which was a strange one, and unaccustomed to such employ, began to move, and Wilkie got jammed between two waggons, receiving injuries of so serious a nature that he died about an hour after.

The Dundee Courier, 23rd January 1868

 

COATBRIDGE – ACCIDENT – An accident of a serious character occurred at the Coatbridge Oil Works on Thursday afternoon, whereby Mr Rennie, manager, and Mr Graham, of Messrs John Graham and Sons, boiler makers, Glasgow, were both severely burned. Mr Graham was making an inspection of the works in company with Mr Rennie, who was showing him something about the furnace, and had raised the damper for the purpose when the sulphurous gas was forced into the furnace and an explosion followed, burning the two about the face and neck, and also Rennie's hands and wrists, Dr Adams attended on Rennie, and Mr Graham was sent home.

The Glasgow Herald, 8th February 1868

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN – On Friday last, a miner named Daniel Forrest was dreadfully burnt by a gunpowder explosion at Mr Robert Bell's shale work, Broxburn. A hole about two feet deep had been prepared for a blast, and while Forrest was charging it an explosion took place. He was seriously burned on the face, breast, and arms. Not being directly in front of the blast, he fortunately escaped being hurt by the boring rod and needle, which were in the hole at the time of the explosion. He was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary.

Edinburgh Evening Courant, 4th May 1868

 

On the above date (9th October 1868), Robert Hare, 23 years of age, was slightly burned at City Side Oil Works, belonging to Bell & Hamilton, near Greenhill, in the parish of Shotts. Hare was working at one of the retorts, and having lifted the lid of an oil tank a portion of gas escaped, and coming in contact with a burning lamp carried by Hare, an explosion took place, but fortunately without doing much injury either to person or property.

The Glasgow Herald, 15th October 1868

 

up 1869

AIRDRIE. ACCIDENT – Edward O'Boyle, labourer, Rawyards, got his skull fractured yesterday morning by a brick falling on his head from the top of a stalk in course of erection at Stanrigg Oil Work. He was attended by Dr. Rankin, Airdrie.

The Glasgow Herald, 15th June 1869

PIT ACCIDENT – A somewhat serious accident occurred in a shale pit at West Calder on Monday morning. A man named James M'Taig had gone into a cutting to examine it prior to beginning to work in it when the roof suddenly gave way, and he was buried beneath a mass of eleven or twelve tons of shale. On being extricated, it was found that he was much cut about the head and face, and that he had also sustained severe internal injuries. He was conveyed to his house in West Calder, where he still lies.

The Falkirk Herald, 1st January 1870

up 1870

THE STARLAW PIT DISASTER; Seven lives lost following a fire in the pit. Read full account.

The Falkirk Herald, 16th April 1870

 

EXPLOSION OF FIRE-DAMP. SIX MEN BURNED. – On Wednesday morning, 18th inst., between eight and nine o'clock, an explosion of fire-damp took place at Starlaw, near Bathgate, in the pit where the great fire broke out last year. It appears that for some time past the manager of the pit had suspected that there was danger of an explosion, and for safety employed two firemen, named Robert Brash and Archibald M'Nicol, to take charge of the pit. This precaution seems not to have proved effectual, and when Brash and M'Nicol entered the pit at the time above stated a terrific explosion took place, the effects of which were felt throughout the whole workings. Besides Brash and M'Nicol, there were other four persons near the spot where the explosion took place, who were all severely burned in various parts of their bodies. M'Nicol and a miner named Francis Berry are so seriously injured that doubts are entertained of their recovery. The explosion broke down brick buildings, overturned hutches, and rent the workings in various places. The names of the sufferers are:- Robert Brash, bricklayer, Livingstone, burned about the head, neck, both arms and body; Francis Berry, miner, Barracks, Livingstone, burned on head, face, each arm, and lower part of the body, not expected to recover; James Clelland, brakesman, Blackburn, slightly burned on face and arms; Pringle Linton, Starlaw (a boy), severely burned on face and both arms; John Campbell, miner, Starlaw, burned severely on face and both arms; Archibald M'Nicol, fireman, Starlaw, very severely burned on every part of the body and not expected to live. The men were all married, and with the exception of Clelland, leave children. Brash thinks that the fire-damp was ignited by his safety-lamp in which he supposes there was a flame at the time. Mr W. H. Henderson, Procurator-Fiscal of Linlithgowshire, visited the scene of the accident in the afternoon of the same day and is investigating the case.

Source [Occurred 18th April 1870]

 

ACCIDENT - Between seven and eight o'clock on the morning of Monday last, Henry Comiskie, a brother of Peter and Patrick Comiskie, who lost their lives in the Starlaw Pit accident, got himself severely burned at the Bathgate Chemical Oil Works. Comiskie, who is a retort-man, was employed discharging one of the retorts, when a gas-pipe in connection with the retort burst, and the flames leapt up, burning him severely about the hands, arms and face. He was conveyed to his own house in Bathgate, where he was attended to by Dr Longmuir, Bathgate. The hope is entertained that he will recover.

The Falkirk Herald, 21st April 1870

 

WEST CALDER - EXPLOSION OF FIRE DAMP - Yesterday week a rather serious explosion of fire damp occurred in No. 11 shale pit, West Calder, whereby two workmen named M'Cormick and Watson, both residing at West Calder, were severely burned. From the information we have received, it appears that about nine o'clock at night, when the men on the night shift were at work, the two men above named were at the face of the "rise" workings. Some gas which had accumulated in the workings was ignited by the lamp and exploded, burning the men badly. The injured men were immediately conveyed home, and medical aid procured. The injuries sustained by Watson are considered dangerous.

The Falkirk Herald, 28th April 1870

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENTS - On Saturday afternoon, a man named George Newton, a shanker, residing in Bathgate, was employed sinking a pit at Starlaw. He went into the engine-house to communicate something to the engineman, and when in the act of stepping over the piston-rod he was caught by the machinery, and his leg was seriously fractured.

The Falkirk Herald, 9th June 1870

 

QUEENSFERRY - ACCIDENT - John Carlin, miner, Hamilton's Close here, was severely bruised by the fall of 7 tons of rubbish from the roof of Dalmeny shale pit about 7 a.m. On Saturday, 18th inst., while employed in his working compartment in that pit. His cries brought his fellow workmen to his assistance. They conveyed him home, where he was attended by Dr Greig. He is now progressing favourably.

The Falkirk Herald, 25th June 1870

 

UPHALL SERIOUS ACCIDENT - On Tuesday, while a miner named John Beveridge was working in the shale pit at Uphall, belonging to the Uphall Mineral Oil Company, he observed a deficiency in the brushing in his working, and was in the act of putting up some support when the roof gave way, and about two tons of material fell down and buried him, with the exception of his head. His cries for help were heard by a fellow-workman, who brought more assistance, and after considerable exertion, the poor fellow was extricated. It was then found that his back and legs were fearfully crushed, and he was at once removed to the Edinburgh Infirmary.

The Falkirk Herald, 14th July 1870

 

BROXBURN - SHOCKING ACCIDENT - On Friday afternoon an accident of a distressing nature occurred at Mr Bell's works at Greendyke, near Broxburn. A young man named Wm. Linn, jun. [William Linn, Junior], had the contract for removing the shale from the breaking machine in trucks, and while thus engaged he went up a ladder to the scaffold where the machine is fed. While coming down his left foot slipped and was caught by the fly-wheel of the breaking machine and dragged partly among the machinery, his left leg and part of the left side being stripped of the flesh. He lived only 15 minutes.

The Falkirk Herald, Thursday 1st December 1870

 

BATHGATE - SHOCKING ACCIDENT – A MAN FALLING DOWN A COAL PIT – On Tuesday morning, 27th ult., while some of the men employed at No. 11 Shale Pit, near West Calder, the property of Messrs Young & Co., paraffin and mineral oil manufacturers, Addiewell, descended the pit to commence their work, they were horrified to find the mangled body of a man at the pit bottom. On the body being removed to the pit-head, it was identified as that of William Moon Jackson, a pointsman at Cuthill siding of the loop line of the Caledonian Railway. From what we have been able to learn, deceased had gone to West Calder on the previous night to attend the annual festival of St John's, and was seen to leave the lodge after midnight a little the worse of liquor, and nothing more was heard of him until his body was discovered. It is supposed he had wandered and fallen down the pit, which is 105 fathoms deep. The body was much mutilated, one of the arms being torn away from the body. Deceased was about thirty years of age, a native of Ireland, and unmarried.

The Falkirk Herald, 31st December 1870

up 1871

 

BATHGATE. FATHER AND SON KILLED – On Monday morning week, an alarming accident happened at No. 2 Pit Gavieside. A father and son, both named John Shaw, had just stepped on the cage for the purpose of descending. Just at the moment the rope, which was a wire one, snapped, precipitating them to the bottom, a distance of 20 fathoms. They were both killed instantly. The boy was only 11 years of age, and the father 34.

The Falkirk Herald, 26th January 1871 [A court case relating to these deaths is detailed in The Scotsman, 25th November 1886, p7]

 

On Tuesday morning, at the North British Oil and Candle Company's Works, Lanark, a boy named William Egan, thirteen years of age, accidentally fell into a barrel of boiling oil and water, and but for being taken out instantly, he must have perished. It appears he had been sitting on the lid of the barrel taking his breakfast, when the lid slipped and fell in, causing the accident.

The Dundee Courier, 26th January 1871

 

FATAL ACCIDENT – On Wednesday 22d ult., at Bathville Works, near Bathgate, a sawyer named Peter Stewart, aged 60, was engaged with several others endeavouring to replace three waggons that had gone off the rails, when an engine game up and jammed his head between a buffer and the coupling hook of one of the waggons that was off the rails. Death was instantaneous.

The Falkirk Herald, 2nd March 1871

 

WEST CALDER - ACCIDENT – Thomas Adams, forty years of age, was on Thursday afternoon severely injured about the back by an explosion of fire-damp in No. 11 shale pit, West-Calder. He was brought to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh.

The Falkirk Herald, 13th April 1871

 

AIRDRIE – SERIOUS ACCIDENT – Yesterday, a steam boiler burst at Loanhead Oil Works, near Airdrie, and two men – Mr John Aitken, manager, and John Bulloch, labourer- got themselves much injured. The boiler was thrown with great force a considerable distance, scattering bricks and other debris in all directions. The two men were struck by the flying stones and severely cut on the face and legs.

The Glasgow Herald, Thursday 26th October 1871

 

EXPLOSION OF FIRE DAMP IN A SHALE PIT. An accident of a serious nature, involving danger to the lives of eight men, occurred yesterday afternoon in Blackston Pit, near Linwood (of which Messrs Allan Craig & Son are the proprietors), by an explosion of fire damp. The occurrence took place about four o' clock when the men were working in the pit, and apprehensions were entertained that the whole number were killed. It was some time before any men could venture down the pit to ascertain whether the men were dead or alive, and messengers were at once despatched to Johnstone for medical assistance. Dr.s M'Laren and Gardner were soon on the spot to render any assistance required. It was not till the lapse of several hours, however, before the men were got up, when they were all fortunately alive, though some of them were severely burned. The names of the men who were working in the pit at the time the occurrence took place are Mr Allan Craig, one of the partners, who was much burned both, on the face and hands; Thomas M'Cabe, living in Johnstone, also much burned, particularly on the face, Dougal M'Dougal, also much burned; Michael Killin, Jas. M'lnnes. Patrick M'Ewan and his son, and James M'Glynn, all living in Linwood. The scene of the disaster was visited by a large number of people from Johnston and Linwood. The pit is not an old one, and has not been long in operation.

The Glasgow Herald 7th November 1871

 

up 1872

JOHNSTONE - ALARMING ACCIDENT - Yesterday afternoon, about five o'clock, an exciting accident occurred at Binning's Shale Mill Pits, near Johnstone. A number of bricklayers, while building an oil-house, on a scaffolding at an elevation of twenty feet, were suddenly alarmed by the scaffolding giving way. Two Labourers, named James M'Callum, residing at Rankin Street, and Edward M'Ginn, Dimity Street, Johnstone, were precipitated to the ground, and the later former sustained severe injuries about the head, while the latter had his right foot considerably injured. A large number of bricklayers who were on the framework at the time escaped by climbing to the top of the wall.

The Scotsman, 28th May 1872

 

BROXBURN – ACCIDENT – About 4pm on Thursday week, Richard Snedden, a miner employed at Greendykes oilworks, in this neighbourhood, sustained a fracture of his right ankle and two ribs on the right side, and was severely bruised on his left leg and thigh, in consequence of his falling down a shaft, termed the water level shaft, about 42 feet deep, and containing nearly 5 feet of water. The manager had been about to descend the shaft to inspect the workings, and Snedden was to precede him to adjust a piece of wood to stand upon. In order to effect this, the bucket ordinarily used for descending was removed, and a loop made of the chain by fastening the hook into one of the links, but the hook sipping from the link as Snedden put his foot into the loop, caused him to fall to the bottom of the shaft and receive the above injuries.

The Falkirk Herald, 15th June 1872

 

SERIOUS ASSAULT IN SHALE PIT – At the Sheriff Summary Court, Edinburgh, on Saturday, before Sheriff Hallard, Donald M'Kay and Alexander M'Kenna were charged with assaulting John Demsie, signalman in No. 2 shale pit, Addiewell. From the evidence it appeared that Demsie was responsible for the working of the cages sent up from the pit bottom. The prisoners who are "drawers," and bound to obey Demsie, came to the pit bottom with some hutches filled with shale, and, after having been forbidden to do so, shoved the hutches on the cage, notwithstanding that Demsie had signalled to the engineer at the top that the cage was coming up with men. Demsie, after a struggle, got the hutches out of the cage, when the prisoners attacked him with great ferocity, knocking him down and unmercifully beating him. The Sheriff said this was not an ordinary case of assault; it was also a breach of discipline, where human life was endangered by the conduct if the accused; and as it was essential that an example should be made to prevent the recurrence of a similar offence, he sentenced each of the prisoners to thirty days' imprisonment.

The Falkirk Herald, 27th June 1872

 

WEST CALDER - FATAL PIT ACCIDENT – A miner, named John Lyon, residing at West Calder, on Monday met with a fatal accident while employed at No. 15 Shale Pit at Addiewell. He was engaged at the time of the accident in putting timber into the shaft, and was standing on a platform halfway down the shaft, while a piece of timber was being lowered down the shaft. The rope by which it was hung broke, and, falling on the scaffolding on which Lyon was standing, precipitated both to the bottom of the shaft, a fall of thirty feet. The unfortunate man was killed instantaneously.

The Falkirk Herald, 15th August 1872

 

BATHGATE - SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT YOUNG'S OIL WORKS – ONE BOY KILLED AND THREE INJURED – On Friday morning a very serious accident occurred at the above works, whereby a boy named George Rolland, aged 12 years, lost his life, while three young lads were injured. It appears that while some of the workmen were in the act of lifting an iron still by means of a crane and block-and-tackle, the rope gave way near to the still, which came down with a fearful crash, severely injuring the four parties. The young lad Rolland expired shortly after being brought home. The other three are still alive.

The Falkirk Herald, 22nd August 1872

 

AIRDRIE - Fatal Accident – On Tuesday, a young man named James Walker, residing at High Riggend, Airdrie, was accidentally killed on a siding near Stand Oilworks. The deceased was employed as a waggon driver, and was taking some waggons from the siding, and in shifting the points, he slipped and fell before the wheels, which went over him, killing him on the spot.

The Falkirk Herald, 21st September 1872

 

PIT ACCIDDENT – TWO MEN SEVERELY BURNT – On Monday forenoon an accident of a somewhat serious nature occurred at West Calder in No. 15 Shale Pit, belonging to Messrs Adams & Co., Addiewell. It appears that the two sinkers or borers named James Fairlie and James Patterson, after igniting a fuse, at the end of which was a quantity of powder for the purpose of blasting, ascended the pit as usual in order to avoid the explosion. After waiting for some time, they, thinking, perhaps, that the train had failed, descended and commenced to reopen the bore. The powder immediately exploded, severely burning Fairlie on the face and arms, and Patterson on the face, chest, arms, and legs. The former was taken home, and Patterson was conveyed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he lies in a critical condition. The latter is thirty-seven years of age, and had only been engaged five days at the pit.

The Falkirk Herald, 17th October, 1872

 

WEST CALDER -FATAL PIT ACCIDENT AT ADDIEWELL – On Tuesday morning, at six o'clock, Jacob Shore and John Morgan, pit sinkers, residing at Mossend, West Calder, were lowered in the "kettle" down No. 15 shale pit, Addiewell, for the purpose of commencing work. When about 70 fathoms down, Shore mistook the instructions of Morgan, and the "kettle" being thus misguided, came in contact with a scaffolding, and was upset. Shore was thrown out, and falling to the bottom, a depth of 15 fathoms, was killed instantaneously. Morgan saved himself by catching the chains, and holding on until rescued.

The Falkirk Herald, 31st October 1872

 

AIRDRIE. Sudden Death - On Sunday, a labourer named John Biggarstaff, while at work at Raebog Oil Works, complained of being unwell. As he seemed to be seriously ill, he was put into a cart to be conveyed to his home at Glenmavis, but on the way he died.

The Falkirk Herald, 30th November 1872

 

up 1873

EAST CALDER – On Thursday afternoon a boy named John Waddell, employed at the Oakbank Oilworks, East Calder, had his left arm caught by the machinery, and so severely crushed that on removal to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary amputation near the shoulder was found necessary.

The Falkirk Herald, 8th March 1873

 

JOHNSTONE – FALL OF A BUILDING - Five men were somewhat seriously injured yesterday at the Clippens Shale Oil Works (Mr. Bunning's), near Johnstone, by the falling of a large archway of brick built over a kiln. The men were seated at their meal inside when the catastrophe occurred. John Gillespie, Canal St, Johnstone; and James Grant, High Street, Johnstone, are the most dangerously injured, and were removed by Dr. Cunningham to the Paisley Infirmary. It is feared Gillespie will not rally, being severely cut about the head, and seriously injured internally. The other were removed to their homes in a cab. The walls stand intact. The accident is attributed to the state of the weather and the softness of the lime.

The Scotsman, 28th June 1873

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENT – On Saturday evening, as a lad named John Melrose, 15 years of age, residing in East Calder, was tending an engine at the Oakbank Oil Works, the engine, while drawing up some hutches, suddenly came to a stand still. Melrose and a man went forward to the fly-wheel and commenced to push it round; but in doing so the former lost his balance and fell amongst the machinery. When extricated it was found that the unfortunate young man had got his left arm and left leg fractured, and he was otherwise dreadfully injured. Medical assistance was speedily procured, and it was found necessary to amputate the fractured arm.

Falkirk Herald, 28th June 1873

 

CHARGE OF CULPABLE HOMICIDE – On Thursday at the Sheriff Criminal Court, Edinburgh – before Sheriff Davidson and a jury – William Knox, engine-man, residing at Mossend, West Calder, was charged with having on the 5th June at No. 15 Shale Pit, Addiewell, culpably and carelessly, and in neglect of his duty, failed to stop his engine when a cage which was being drawn up the shaft had reached the landing, in consequence of which a sinker, named James Black, was thrown down the shaft, a depth of 115 fathoms, and killed. The prisoner, who was defended by Mr Dundas Grant, advocate, pleaded not guilty, and the case went to trial. Twelve witnesses were examined, and in the course of the evidence it came out that the indicator referred to in the indictment was out of order on the occasion of the accident – that even when in order it did not indicate correctly the position of the load in the shaft; that it didn't move until after the load had been raised by the engine from two to six feet; and that it was repaired about a week after the accident occurred. It was also proved that the view of the engineman to the pit-mouth was obstructed by a fly-wheel and its railing, and that the scaffold or cage on which the man who was killed by falling to the bottom of the pit was coming up had been changed since the prisoner left in the morning, and returned in the evening to his work. Other changes had also been made which had not been intimated to him before he resumed work. After addresses from the Fiscal and Mr Grant, the Sheriff summed up against the prisoner. The jury, however, after a very brief absence, returned a verdict, by a majority, of not guilty. The trial lasted the entire day.

The Falkirk Herald, Saturday 26th July 1873

 

In a large shale pit at Clippens, near Johnstone, on Saturday, five miners who had just descended sat down to smoke, before beginning work, in close proximity to a large cask of blasting powder. This was accidentally ignited, and a frightful explosion ensued, in which all five were dreadfully injured, two so seriously that they have since died.

The Falkirk Herald, Thursday 25th September 1873

 

WEST CALDER – ACCIDENT IN A PIT – The other morning, a miner named John Spence, residing at Gavieside Row, West Calder, was seriously injured in No. 2 shale pit. While standing at the face of the workings about a ton of shale unexpectedly came away and fell upon him. He was extricated as speedily as possible, and on being removed home it was ascertained by a medical man who had been called in that his spine was so severely injured that he is not expected to recover.

The Falkirk Herald, Thursday 16th October 1873

 

DREADFUL ACCIDENT – On Tuesday morning a lamentable accident occurred at the paraffin oil and shale works at Pitcorthie, near Anstruther. At midnight on Monday, two men, named Thomas Baker and Andrew Thomson, took charge of the retorts and stills for refining the oil. Shortly after two o'clock in the morning a leakage was discovered in one of the stills, and this being reported to Mr Norton, the manager, he enjoined the men not to attempt to raise the cover of the still. It is supposed that Baker had disregarded this order, and had attempted to raise the lid, the result being that the flames from the fires caught hold of the oil in the still, and an explosion followed. Both the men were at once enveloped in the burning oil set free by the explosion, which set fire to their clothes. Thomson ran to a stream in the vicinity of the works, and threw himself into the water; but Baker had to crawl along a narrow brick wall before he could reach the ground, and by the time he had done so he was literally covered with fire. The injuries he received were so severe that he died at ten o'clock. Thomson is severely burned, but his injuries are not believed to be of a dangerous nature. Baker was about 55 years of age, and leaves a widow and several children. The still which exploded contained about 1,200 gallons of oil, which was entirely consumed.

Grantham Journal, 13th December 1873

 

up 1874

DEATH FROM SUFFOCATION IN AN OIL TANK – Yesterday afternoon, a man named Thomas Nelson was suffocated in a tank at the Oakbank Oil Works, Midcalder, and three other workmen narrowly escaped with their lives. The deceased and a man named Thomas Lamb entered the tank, which is about six feet in depth, for the purpose of cleaning out a quantity of tar and refuse which had accumulated in the vessel. The fumes of the hydro-carbon gas, set free by the removal of the tar, soon overpowered them, and both men fell insensible at the bottom. Two fellow workmen, named Johnson and M'Cann, descended to assist their comrades, but they likewise were overcome by the gas and rendered insensible. A fifth man, named Kelly, volunteered to go down to rescue the sufferers. He had a rope tied around his waist and was lowered into the vessel, but he also was soon overpowered, and had to be drawn to the top. Ultimately, hooks were procured, and men were got out. Efforts were made to resuscitate them, but in the case of Nelson they proved unavailing. M'Cann revived after being a short time in the open air, and was able to walk home. Lamb and Johnson remained in a critical state late last evening, but the medical men who attended them expected they would recover. Nelson was unmarried and 25 years of age.

Edinburgh Evening News, 15th April 1874

 

COURT OF SESSION OUTER HOUSE – SATURDAY, JUNE 5 (Before Lord Gifford) - Ferguson v. Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company. The pursuer in this action, Charles Stewart Ferguson, resides at 3 Graham Street, Addiewell, near West Calder, is 50 years of age, and, after being a blast-furnace keeper at Wishaw and other places for 32 years, came to Addiewell in February 1870, and was employed by the defenders to charge a furnace in the refining department of the defenders' works there, and to discharge the same of soda tar. A short time previous to the 30th June 1870, he says, he observed that the furnace was getting apparently into a bad state of repair, and he at once communicated the fact to the foreman of the department and other officials. He was, however, he adds, told to continue working until there should be time and materials to repair the furnace, and he accordingly continued to work on very cautiously. But, between twelve and one o'clock on the morning of the 1st July 1870, the furnace exploded, and he was struck down by the heated mass and some of the bricks and sustained severe injuries. The accident, he avers, was caused by the negligence of the defenders' servants, for whom they are responsible, and he asks damages, which he lays at £1000. The defenders' resist the notion on the pleas that the explosion in question (1) was not due to any cause for which they are responsible. (2) but was caused, or (3) was materially contributed to, by fault and negligence on the part of the pursuer. The record in the case has been closed, and issues ordered. Counsel for the Pursuer – Mr Millie. Agent – Thos. Lawson, S. S. C. Counsel for the defender – Mr Balfour. Agents – Webster & Will, S. S. C.

Falkirk Herald and Linlithgow Journal, Saturday June 13th 1874

 

WEST CALDER - SERIOUS COAL-PIT ACCIDENT AT ADDIEWELL – A pit-sinker named Thomas Kennedy sustained very severe injuries, on Tuesday morning last, by the falling of a large quantity of coal in No. 19 Coal Pit, belonging to Messrs Young & Co. Kennedy was engaged in the pit mining out coal to commence the workings of the pit, when about half-a-ton of coal fell from the roof upon him. One of his fellow workmen managed to extricate him from the mass of coal, and got him removed to the pit mouth. On being taken to his house (at Murchison Buildings, Muirhall), Dr Hope, of West Calder, was called in, and that gentleman found the unfortunate man's back was broken, and that the lower part of his body was paralysed. Kennedy lies in a very precarious condition.

The Falkirk Herald, 8th August 1874

 

up 1875

MID CALDER - FALL DOWN A PIT – On Wednesday morning about seven o'clock, while Alexander Calderwood, son of Mr Robert Calderwood, mining manager of the Oakbank Mineral Oil Company, was descending the Calder Hall Pit, for the purpose of inspecting the roads, &c, he was struck by a heavy fall of stones and earth from a burst near the pit-mouth, and fell from the cage in which he was standing to a depth of about 15 fathoms, when his further fall was arrested by a cross beam in the pit. When found he was dead. He was a fine young man, about 22 years of age, and unmarried.

The Falkirk Herald, 1st January 1876

 

up 1876

A pitheadman, named David Beveridge, was killed at the Pyothall Pit, near Broxburn, on Wednesday by falling down the pit-shaft, a distance of 86 fathoms.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 11th February 1876

 

up 1877

FATAL ACCIDENT TO A BOY AT PAISLEY - On Thursday, while a boy named Neil Leitch, residing at Linwood; was emptying a waggon of coals at the Clippens Shale Oil Works, near Paisley, he fell off the waggon, and a piece of coal striking him on the chest inflicting injuries from which he died shortly afterwards. The boy's father was killed in a similar manner several years ago at Bridge of Weir.

The Evening Telegraph, 18th August, 1877

 

up 1878

ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK OIL WORKS – Yesterday afternoon, a labourer named John M'William received severe injuries while employed at the above works. It appears that he was in the act of crossing at the incline leading to the shale works, where the chain was in motion driving the hutches, when his feet caught in the chain and he was knocked down. He had his left leg broken, the ankle of his right leg dislocated, and sustained severe injuries on his head.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 9th February 1878

 

MINING ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER – A young lad named Patrick Duffy, while working in No. 2 Shell [sic] Pit, Addiewell, near West Calder, on Tuesday, had one of his legs broken between the ankle and the knee. It is stated that Duffy, who is drawer, was in one of the dips when the hutches were being run down, and that one of them left the rails and struck him on the leg.

The Edinburgh Evening News, Thursday 4th July 1878

 

MAN KILLED AT BURNTISLAND - Yesterday morning Richard Marshall (Green?) was killed instantaneously at the Whinniehalle Shale Mine near Burntisland. Marshall was a workman in the mine and had leaped upon a bogey which was being drawn up, when his head came in contact with the rood of the tunnel, and the force of the collision nearly doubled him up. The deceased was unmarried, aged about 24, and belonged to the neighbourhood of Bathgate, whither his remains were conveyed yesterday afternoon.

The Dundee Courier, 5th November, 1878

 

up 1879

FATAL EXPLOSION AT UPHALL - Yesterday an explosion occurred the Uphall Mineral Oilworks, Uphall, by which two men lost their lives and four others were more or less injured. It stated that Robert Rodger, an engineer employed the works, had been sent remove the joint of pipe attaches to the worm of the oil-distilling apparatus, and that, in order to remove the solder by which the joint was fastened he had, instead of using a cold chisel and hammer, used red-hot tongs. This caused the oil and gases in the worm to ignite, but through the efforts of the workmen the fire was subdued.

Rodger, it is alleged, again set about removing the joint, and, notwithstanding repeated warnings, the red-hot tongs were again brought into requisition, with the same effect as previously. The workmen immediately rushed to the spot to endeavour to put out the fire, and while they were engaged in this operation the end of old boiler, which was used as the receiving apparatus, and which contained about 1500 gallons of crude oil, burst, pouring out the boiling oil all directions, and causing the immediate death of two men who were near it at the time- one them being engaged in shovelling up sand on the flames - and the other coming round to assist. Four others, who were also engaged putting out the flames, were seriously injured.

The names of the killed are James Gayner and Simon Kerr. The former was a widower, without family, but the other leaves a widow and six children. Rodger was apprehended and taken to Linlithgow, pending an investigation into the cause of the accident. The names of the injured men are William Fletcher, John Bremner, Donald McInnes, and John Dunlop. Dunlop died at 6 o'clock this morning. The others have shown no sign of improvement, and their condition is considered somewhat precarious.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 20th September 1879

 

up 1880

FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT MID-CALDER - TWO MEN AND A BOY KILLED - Yesterday afternoon, between two and three o'clock, an accident resulting in the death of two men and a young lad, occurred on the Camps and Uphall branch of the North British Railway near Mid-Calder. The line is a single one, and is used entirely for goods and mineral traffic. As the train, consisting of eight waggons and van, and loaded with limestone, was nearing the viaduct spanning the Almond water, the axle of the fourth waggon broke, causing the hinder part to leave the line. The disjointed waggons rushed along at full speed, tearing up the rails for 20 or 30 yards, and, dashing against the parapet, broke it, and two waggons and the van were precipitated into the river below, a fall of something like 120ft. The names of the deceased are:- William Turner, goods guard (35), married. He belonged to Coatbridge, and leaves a family. William Craigie, goods guard (34), married. Belonged to Airdrie. Thomas Bishop, ticket collector (15), belonging to Uphall. He was returning home, having been sent to East Calder with a telegram. Turner has been about seven years in the service. Both the fireman and engineman escaped unhurt.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 14th February 1880

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER – James Campbell, 22 years of age, a miner, residing at 10(?) Gavieside Row, West Calder, died about half past three o'clock on Saturday afternoon from injuries received while at work in a pit. It appears that while engaged in No 11 shale pit, between 10 and 11 o'clock on Saturday forenoon, a quantity of shale fell on Campbell, inflicting the injuries which resulted in his death.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 9th August 1880

 

ACCIDENT TO A SHALE MINER – On Saturday, Robert Gillies (30), while firing a blast in the mine at Binnend Oil Work, was severely injured - several of his ribs being broken, his right leg broken, and ankle dislocated. The shot went off unexpectedly, and Gillies was the only workman near the spot at the time. He was attended by Drs Craigie and Welsh, and conveyed to his house at Kinghorn.

Dunfermline Saturday Press, 18th Seoptember 1880

 

up 1881

FATAL ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN – A man named Alexander Higgins, employed in Broxburn Oil Works, fell from a gangway to the ground, a height of 30 feet, while engaged in filling the retorts with shale on Saturday night, and received fatal injuries.

Edinburgh Evening News, 7th June 1881

 

up 1882

ACCIDENT AT THE OIL WORKS – R.W. Toshack, son of our respected citizen Constable Toshack, met with a severe accident at the Shale Works on Monday. While he was unloading some material from a cart, it tilted, and a barrel of white-lead rolled upon one of his legs, breaking it in two places. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Fifeshire Advertiser, 29th April 1882

MINE EXPLOSION NEAR BROXBURN. FIVE MEN BADLY INJURED – About two o'clock yesterday afternoon a terrific gas explosion took place in Hey's Graig shale pit [Haycraigs], occupied by the Broxburn Oil Company, Limited. The mine was full of men at the time, but fortunately only one portion of the mine exploded. Francis Danks, the oversman; John Neill, fireman; and three miners have been dangerously burned, and are not expected to recover. They were taken home in carts and carried to their homes in sheets.

Dundee Courier, 31st August 1882

 

FATAL RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT – Yesterday, the man named John Imrie, who was severely burned on Wednesday afternoon by an explosion of fire-damp in one of the Broxburn shale pits, died in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, whence he had been removed.

Glasgow Herald, 1st September 1882

 

up 1883

FATAL PIT ACCIDENT AT ADDIEWELL – A miner named Alexander Forsyth, 14 years of age, and residing at Gavieside Row, West Calder while drawing hutches at No.11 shale pit, Addiewell, on Wednesday, was killed by a large quantity of earth falling upon him.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 16th November 1883

 

up 1884

At the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, on the 1st inst., the result of an accident at Burntisland Shale Works, James Stewart, aged 28 years.

Fifeshire Advertiser, 9th February 1884

 

MINING ACCIDENT AT MID-CALDER – Yesterday forenoon a lad named James Brown, a miner, residing at Oakbank, Mid-Calder had his right arm fractured, and his face severely burned by an explosion of a quantity of blasting powder which he carried, while working in a shale pit. A spark from his lamp caused the explosion. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 1st March 1884

 

FATAL ACCIDENT - James Wallace, aged sixteen, a miner, residing at Gavieside Row, received such injuries on Saturday, by a fall of rubbish from the roof of a shale pit at Addiewell in which he was working, that he died shortly afterwards.

The Motherwell Times, 5th April 1884

 

WM. MITCHELL v. WESTFIELD OIL COMPANY – The record was closed and issues ordered to-day in this action, in which the pursuer, a miner at Westfield, Fifeshire, sues the Westfield Oil Company, 44 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, for £120 damages in respect of injuries received by him at the defenders' shale pits at Westfield. The pursuer states that he was in the Company's employment as fireman for ten months, and he had various duties to perform, part being to inspect the pumps and, with assistance to make repairs which did not require the skill of a mechanic. On the 5th April last, while he was engaged placing rollers below the pump rods about half-way down the incline, up which the hutches are drawn by steam, an empty hutch escaped from the top of the shaft, and, running with great speed down the incline shaft, dashed against him, striking his side and breaking his left arm, and otherwise injuring him. He alleges that the defenders were to blame for not having appliances at the top of the incline, such as blocks and brakes on the hutches, to prevent their escape. The defenders state that pursuer was foreman of the pit, in addition to being fireman, and that it was his duty to have stopped the working of the mine altogether while he was engaged at the pumps; that there are many manholes down the mine, into one of which the pursuer stepped when he saw the hutch approaching, but that he negligently remained at the entrance instead of going to the back of the manhole, although they allege he had plenty of time to do so. They further state that after the accident the Government inspector reported his entire satisfaction with the whole plan and arrangement of the mine; and they plead that the pursuer's injuries were caused entirely through his own culpable negligence.

The Scotsman, 5th April 1884

 

SERIOUS EXPLOSION IN A SHALE PIT. A rumour prevailed in Glasgow on Friday that an explosion had occurred in a pit near Paisley, and seven men were killed. Happily the accident was attended with no loss of life. The facts are these. Fire damp collected in a shale pit of the Walkinshaw Oil Company. The manager ordered over 100 men out of the pit, but 17 returned. An explosion occurred shortly afterwards. Three men were injured, named Hugh and Archibald Donnelly (brothers), who were conveyed to Paisley infirmary. The third man could go home.

The Dundee Courier, 5th September 1884

 

MID-CALDER - A DANGEROUS EXPEDIENT - A miner named Hugh Stobbs, who is twenty-five years of age, and resides at Pumpherston Houses, Mid-Calder, has received severe injuries to his left hand by an explosion of dynamite. Wishing to dry three cartridges of dynamite, before descending one of the pits at Pumpherston, he held them before the fire which was burning in the "miners' lodge". They became heated and burst.

The Dundee Courier, 11th November 1884

 

up 1885

TWO MEN INJURED - DAMAGE £2500 - Last night a disastrous explosion and fire occurred at the extensive works of the Walkinshaw Oil Company (Limited), about a couple of miles north-west of Paisley, where two men were injured and damage was done to the extent of £2500. In the centre of the works stood a brick building about 80 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 20 feet high, used as a paraffin refinery, and the whole of the mischief was confined to the south-east end of the structure. The occurrence was attended with some degree of mystery, or rather uncertainty, and in the excitement which followed a great many conflicting statements were made, but the facts, as far as they could be gathered on the spot, are embodied in the following narrative: - Towards half past five o'clock, a young man whose name is believed to be Pollock went to examine the works of a clock, set in the southern wall of the refinery, for the purposed of repairing them, and in order to effect this object he mounted a ladder in the interior of the building. One of the employees named Robert Dean, who along with him, is alleged to have, in contravention of the rules laid down for the guidance of those engaged in the works, taken a naked light into the place, in order that the inspection of the machinery of the timepiece might be more easily made. It is believed that Dean had ascended the ladder on which Pollock stood, and had held the flame over his head with the view of sending the light inside of the clock. It is surmised that the flame thus raised aloft had ignited the light vapours from the oil in process of refining, and at any rate, either from this or from some other cause, a terrific explosion took place..... The actual effects of the explosion were milder than could have been reasonably expected, seeing that the force of it was sufficient to lift the heavy corrugated iron roof from one half of the erection several feet in the air and hurl it to the ground, and also to produce a shock which was felt a great distance..... The roof of one-half of the refinery having been blown off, the crude oil in four cylinders, each capable of containing about ten thousand gallons were set ablaze.

The Scotsman, 14th January 1885

 

FATAL FIRE IN CLIPPENS OIL WORKS - An explosion and fire, by which one man lost his life, occurred on Saturday night in the Clippens Oil Works, about three miles west of Paisley. The outbreak occurred in a brick shed situated near the centre of the works, and known as No. 4 paraffin refining shed. It contained a considerable quantity of machinery and other appliances for carrying on the process of mineral oil refining. The content of one of three refining drums became ignited, and immediately afterwards an explosion took place. The roof was blown off and the fire rapidly spread through the building. The workmen who were engaged in the shed at the time, with the exception of a refiner named Thomas Stranachan, were successful in reaching the doors and making their escape. Stranachan is said to have stumbled over a wheelbarrow and been stunned while endeavouring to reach the doors. Rescue was impossible from the fierceness of the fire, and the unfortunate man was burned to death. The shed contained a large quantity of oil, and the fire continued to burn late last night. All the machinery has been destroyed, and the damage, which is covered by insurance, is believed to amount to £2000 or £3000. Stranachan, who was about 27 years of age, resided in Johnstone, and was married about a month ago.

Edinburgh Evening News, 2nd February 1885

 

FATAL PIT ACCIDENT AT PENTLAND SHALE PIT - A miner, named James McKinlay, 22 years of age, residing at Loanhead, was accidentally killed on Thursday through the coupling of some loaded hutches, which were being drawn up an incline at Pentland Shale Pit, having given way. Four of the hutches came down an incline and struck McKinlay, killing him almost instantaneously.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 14th March 1885

 

FOUR PERSONS KILLED AND TWO INJURED - Intelligence was received this forenoon at the County Chief Constable's office in Edinburgh of a terrible accident at No. 11 Gavieside Shale Pit, West Calder, whereby three boys and a man lost their lives, and another man and boy were seriously injured. It appears that while a shift of workers was being lowered into the pit this morning the descending cage left the slides, it is supposed through coming in contact with an ascending cage at the other side of the shaft. The jerk threw out some of the occupants, who fell to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of 80 fathoms, and were killed. Meanwhile the rope was being uncoiled at the pit-head, and the cage having got clear of the obstruction fell at once to the bottom of the shaft, and some of the other occupants were also killed. Full particulars have not yet been received, but so far as has been learned, three boys and a man were killed, another man has had one of his legs broken, and another boy has got one of his jaw-bones broken. The pit belongs to Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company. A telegram this afternoon gives the following list: Killed – Andrew Sanderson, 15 Gavieside Row; Samuel M'Curley, 20, Mossend; Thomas Duggan, 19, Mossend; Alexander Bulloch, 14, West Calder. Slightly hurt – Matthew Howieson, 23, Mossend; Thomas Reid, 14, Mossend. Mr Robson, assistant inspector of mines, has arrived to investigate the circumstances. Over 200 men are idle to-day in consequence of the accident.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 16th March 1885

 

TERRIBLE PIT CAGE ACCIDENT - One man and three boys were killed and several others injured at a shale pit at West Calder on Monday morning. The accident occurred through the cage conveying them down the pit coming to a standstill and then starting again with a rush. Two of the boys were jerked out of the cage and, falling to the bottom, were instantly killed. A man and another boy were killed through the smashing of the cage at the bottom.

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 21st March 1885

 

TWO MEN SCALDED AT DALMENY OIL WORKS – This morning while two middle-aged men named James Johnstone, a labourer, residing at Queensferry, and Henry White, a boilermaker, residing in Edinburgh were at work inside a boiler at Dalmeny Oil Works, the fireman turned off the steam from a boiler connected with the one in which the men were at work. The steam entered the boiler in which they were, and Johnston was severely scalded about the face and all over his body, while White had both arms and hands rather badly scalded. Both men were conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where White had his wounds dressed and was afterwards taken home, while Johnston was kept in the Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 25th March 1885

 

SERIOUS COLLIERY ACCIDENT – On Friday afternoon, Mark Murphy, employed in one of the mines belonging to the West Lothian Oil Company at Bathgate, was seriously injured by a fall of shale from the roof.

Dundee Courier, 31st March 1885

 

ACTIONS AGAINST THE LINLITHGOW OIL COMPANY - In the Second Division of the Court of Session today, issues were ordered to be adjusted for trial by jury of an action at the instance of Terence Golligley, labourer, Winchburgh, against the Linlithgow Oil Company. Pursuer sues for £600 as damages for personal injuries. He states that during the night of 29th of May last he and another man were propelling a loaded hutch down an incline to the "tip," when they observed that the chain by which it was to be hauled back when empty, was too short. They shouted to engine-keeper to "heave out," but, he, mistaking their cry, thought the hutch had been "tipped," and began to wind the chain. The result was that the hutch was suddenly jerked back upon the men in charge of it, and pursuer was thrown down and dragged backwards, and his head was hurt by coming into contact with a bridge. He maintains that the signalling arrangements were defective, and that the bad condition of the road prevented his getting out of the way. Defenders say that signalling apparatus was not required in a short distance of less than 40 yards, that pursuer knew that everything was of a temporary nature, the works being only in course of erection, and that he ought to have used precautions in his work. The accident, they allege, was greatly owing to his want of caution. Issues were also ordered for trial of an action by Terence Donnelly against the same company. Donnelly sues for £100 as damages. He states that on the night of 5th of June, while he and another man were turning a loaded hutch at the "tip" it suddenly came against him, and hurt one of his legs. The road was, it is stated, in a defective condition. Defenders say that the road was known to pursuer to have been only a service one, and that if he knew it was defective, he ought not to have worked upon it. Pursuer's counsel, Mr Gunn, Agent, John D. Duff. W.S. – Defender's agent, John Macpherson, W.S.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 21st November 1885 [Realting to an incident on 29th May]

 

PIT ACCIDENT AT LASSWADE - On Thursday afternoon a miner named Robert Christie had his skull fractured by a fall of stone from the roof of No. 2 Pentland Shale Pit, Lasswade, where he was working. Faint hopes are entertained of his recovery.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 13th June 1885

 

ACCIDENT TO A LOANHEAD MINER - A miner named Andrew Watson, 15 years of age, was somewhat seriously injured on Saturday evening by a mass of shale which fell on him from the roof of a level in No. 2 Pentland Shale Pit, where he was engaged at work.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 30th June 1885

 

MINER INJURED BY GUNPOWDER EXPLOSION - Thomas Hamilton, 28 years of age, a miner, residing at Old Pentland, Lasswade, was rather severely hurt about the arms, body, and legs through an explosion of gunpowder in a shale pit at Pentland on Saturday night. Hamilton and another man were blasting shale. They put in a charge of 2lbs of powder, and when Hamilton was igniting the fuse the shot accidentally went off. Hamilton was taken to Edinburgh Infirmary to-day.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 28th September 1885

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK OILWORKS – On Thursday afternoon the gas-pipes from the condensers at Oakbank Oilworks, Mid-Calder, having become choked with frost, David Penman, a foreman retortman , and others went up to the top, and tried to remedy this by pouring boiling water down the pipes. While doing so Penman was suffocated through inhaling the noxious fumes of the gas. Hugh Wallace, a retortman, observing Penman become unconscious, went with others to his assistance, and Wallace inhaling the gas also, lost balance and fell from a ladder to the ground, a distance of over 20 feet, breaking his left thigh and collar bone. Penman resided at Mid-Calder, and Wallace lives at Oakbank Huts.

The Edinburgh Evening News, Saturday, December 12th, 1885

 

AIRDRIE.- FATAL RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT.- The young lad Richard McKeown who was on Thursday blown 30 feet from the top of an oil refinery at Whiterigg in consequence of an explosion, died on Friday from the effects of his injures.

The Glasgow Herald, 14th December 1885

 

up 1886

SERIOUS PIT ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK - A large mass of shale, weighing about a ton and a half, fell from the roof of No. 2 Shale Pit, Oakbank, Kirknewton, yesterday afternoon, and alighted on a miner named James Millar, who was at work in the pit, breaking his right collar-bone, cutting his head, and injuring him severely internally. The unfortunate man was extricated by his fellow workmen as speedily as possible, and was attended by Dr Watson, Mid-Calder, but little hops are entertained of his recovery.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 25th March 1886

 

PIT ACCIDENT AT BONNYRIGG - While Alexander Brown, 43 years of age, a miner, was at work in a shale pit at Bonnyrigg to-day, a quantity of shale fell from the "face," and compeltely covered him. When Brown was extricated, it was found that his spine was severely injured, and that he was hurt internally. He was removed to Edinburgh Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 1st April 1886

 

FATAL RESULT OF A PIT ACCIDENT – John Cameron, fifteen years of age, had died in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from severe burns on the face and body sustained by him through an explosion of fire-damp, which occurred about ten days ago in the Pentland Shale Pit of the Clippens Oil Company. The fireman at the pit was fined £1 by Sheriff Hamilton in Edinburgh, on the 6th inst., for his carelessness and neglect of his duties in the pit, which, in part at least, caused the explosion.

Edinburgh Evening News, Friday 16th April 1886

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT NEWLISTON - This morning, a labourer named Charles Preston, aged 28, residing at Newliston, was seriously injured at the shale pits there. The unfortunate man, who is one of a number of chain shifters, had wandered along the line where the waggons were moving along at a comparatively rapid pace, when he was knocked down on the rails, several of the waggons passing over his body before they could be pulled up. He has sustained severe injuries, it having been found, on his arrival at the Royal Infirmary, that he had a compound fracture of the legs, while his arms and body are much mutilated. His condition is dangerous, but it is hoped that he will survive.

Edinburgh Evening News, 9th June 1886

 

ACCIDENT AT A SHALE MINE - John O'Brien hit by shale which fell from a hutch and rolled down incline. Mine owned by Holmes Oil Company Ltd, Broxburn.

Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 28th July 1886

 

KILLED AT BATHGATE OIL WORKS - Daniel Campbell, 20, killed in works from broken neck.

Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 15th September 1886

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A MINER AT UPHALL - Early this morning, a miner named Walter Paterson, residing at Uphall, sustained very serious injuries on the railway line between Glendinning and Uphall. The man, who had been working in the Glendinning mines all night, was returning home, and for the purpose of expediting his journey he got on to the front of an engine, which was going along the private line from the mines to Uphall. The engine, when nearing Uphall, had some shunting to do, and slackening speed suddenly, Paterson was knocked from his seat on to the rails below. The huge vehicle passed over the man's two arms, mutilating them so terribly that amputation must ensue, his right leg is also seriously fractured. Dr Stewart, Uphall, was on the spot in an incredibly short time, and after attending to the man's injuries, ordered his removal to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he arrived a few hours later.

Edinburgh Evening News, 2nd October 1886

 

MINER SUFFOCATED AT OAKBANK - Robert Gibb overcome by fumes.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 28th November 1886

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT BURNTISLAND OIL WORKS - James Dunachie killed by hutches when trespassing across works.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 13th December 1886

 

ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK OIL WORKS - John Whitfeather.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 29th December 1886

 

up 1887

FATAL RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK - Charlie Gallacher, retortman, died on 9th February from internal injuries due to an accidental fall.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 10th February 1887

 

EXPLOSION OF FIREDAMP AT BROXBURN HAYSCRAIG MINE - James Sneddon, Thomas Rate, James Chapman and George Carrol burned.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 3rd March 1887

 

ACCIDENT NEAR BATHGATE - Yesterday morning, about seven o'clock, an accident of a rather strange nature occurred at Holmes Oil Works, whereby three men were severely injured. It appears that a miner named John Boag, residing at Broxburn, went into the smithy at the Holmes works to order his picks to be sent into the mine. He had a bag containing a quantity of powder under his arm which got ignited by the sparks from the anvil, causing an explosion. the blacksmith, named Alexander Sym, residing at Broxburn, was thrown down, and the hammerman, named Manus Ward, residing at Pumpherston, was severely burned about the arms, face, and neck. Strange to say Boag was the least injured, being only slightly scorched on the face and arm.

The Glasgow Herald, 4th March 1887

 

FATAL PIT ACCIDENT - Death of Peter Anderson (33), roadsman at Clippens Oil Company's Pentland Shale Pit on 28 March, hit by hutches underground.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 29th March 1887

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK - John Smiles, miner, killed at Oakbank Shale Pit by premature explosion.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 6th April 1887

 

ACCIDENT TO A MINER - Hugh McCree, miner, hit by stone from the roof in Champfleurie Mine.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 9th April 1887

 

EXPLOSION OF FIREDAMP AT BROXBURN - Three men burned in Broxburn Oil Company's Albyn Mine.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 21st April 1887

 

EXPLOSION IN BATHGATE OIL MINE - Death of Samuel H. Haywood in Deans Mine.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 6th June 1887

 

FIRE DAMP EXPLOSION AT BROXBURN -On Thursday, a severe explosion of fire-damp took place in the Sand Hole Pit, belonging to the Broxburn Oil Company, whereby two men, named William Wilson, the oversman, and Andrew Beith, Contractor, Portobello (late of Bathgate), lost their lives. Thursday being a holiday among the shale miners, the pit was not working; but a party of seven men went down the pit in the forenoon. The oversman had left some miners to procure some shale samples at the bottom seam, while he and Mr Beith ascended to the upper seam to mark off a new mine which was to be driven to Hayscraigs. They had only proceeded some six yards from the shaft when an explosion of fire-damp took place. Mr Kennedy, underground manager, and Mr N.M. Henderson, works manager, were speedily on the spot, and had a rescue party organised. This was about twelve o’clock. Those in the bottom seam were speedily rescued, being uninjured; but three hours elapsed before Wilson and Beith were brought to the pit-head, the force of the explosion having brought down a large portion of the roof above them. Both the bodies were badly mutilated. Wilson, who was much respected in Broxburn, leaves a wife and a young family.

Dunfermline Saturday Press, 9th July 1887

 

ACCIDENT AT CLIPPENS OIL WORKS - William Wright, carter, run over by wagons on slope.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 25th July 1887

 

ACCIDENT AT PUMPHERSTON OIL WORKS - Thomas Galven injured by premature shot in No. 2 Pumpherston.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 15th September 1887

 

AN INTERESTING MIDLOTHIAN MINING CASE - James Robertson, fireman, Pumpherston No. 1 Mine fined £2 or 14 days for not inspecting all workplaces on 3rd October. Three miners were burned as a result.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 9th November 1887

 

ACTION AGAINST THE BROXBURN COMPANY - sued by Andrew Craig who was injured by a wagon at Hayscraig Mine.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 3rd December 1887

 

A BROXBURN MINER KILLED - William Lyon killed at Holmes Mine in a blasting accident.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 15 December 1887

up 1888

EXPLOSION IN A SHALE MINE - Patrick (25) and William (23) Clark injured at Clippens, Loanhead.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 2nd March 1888

 

CONTRAVENTION OF THE COAL MINES REGULATION ACT - Yesterday, in the Edinburgh Sheriff Summary Court, before Sheriff Rutherford, Robert Calderwood, manager of the Oakbank Shale Pit, was charged with having on the 13th January 1888, while manager of the pit, failed to have the top and all entrances of the shaft properly fenced, in consequence of which a runner named John Wight fell from the pit-head scaffold to the ground – a distance of 45 feet – and sustained injuries. The charge was under the 49th section of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887. The accused admitted the contravention, and an agent who appeared on his behalf, in asking a modification of the penalty, explained that the fence in question was under repair at the time the accident happened. It was, he pointed out, the first occurrence of the kind which had taken place at this pit, and no serious injury had resulted to the boy. The Procurator Fiscal remarked that it was a marvel that the lad escaped. The Sheriff said pit managers should pay the greatest attention to the regulations of the statute because their purpose was to protect boys and men who did not know the danger they ran. In the circumstances, he would restrict the penalty to one of £10.

The Scotsman, 13th March 1888

 

ACTION AGAINST THE WEST LOTHIAN OIL COMPANY - Claim on behalf of John Russell jnr re burns caused by explosion at works on 30 November 1887. The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 16th March 1888

 

MAN DROWNED AT UPHALL - Joseph Hume, enginekeeper (60) at Pumpherston Oil Works, fell into a pond of hot tarry water from plank and drowned.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 19th March 1888

 

A miner, Frank Morgan, killed at Burntisland Oil Company's Work, Binnend, by fall of shale.

The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 22nd March 1888

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK - Yesterday, Alexander Wilson Sharpe, aged 15, son of William Sharpe, Oakbank, while engaged in emptying weights out of the waggons which convey the shale from the Oakbank Pit to the works, was accidentally killed. The lad fell in front of the waggon while it was in motion, and was run over. His back was broken, death being instantaneous.

The Scotsman, 2nd June 1888

 

PUMPHERSTON - MAN KILLED - On Saturday night, about 10 o'clock, while John Shaw (19), a retortman at Pumpherston Oil Works, was placing a chain in motion upon a hutch to convey the latter down an incline platform to the breakers, the hutch left the rails, and swinging round fell over the platform, a distance of about 20 feet, carrying Shaw with it. When picked up the poor fellow was dead, his back having been broken at the spine and other injuries inflicted. He only came to this country about a month ago from County Antrim.

The Glasgow Herald, 3rd July 1888

 

UPHALL - PAINFUL ACCIDENT AT THE OILWORKS – On Sunday night a serious accident took place to a young man named Alexander Brown (19), residing at Uphall, and employed at Young's Oil Works. He had been engaged near the tanks of hot paraffin in the refinery department, when his feet slipped and he fell into one of the tanks up to the waist. He was immediately rescued, but the liquid being some 180 degrees of heat, he was severely burned. The unfortunate lad was carried home and attended by Dr Stewart. Source:

The Glasgow Herald, 3rd July 1888

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT DALMENY - About a month ago Dalmeny Shale Works were completely stopped by a large portion of the roof falling. Since then the miners have been engaged night and day at clearing the workings. Yesterday afternoon, while the Sunday staff were at work, a huge piece of shale fell from a height of six feet and jammed James Kane against the stall of the pit. When extricated his right arm and leg were lacerated and bleeding profusely. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary. On examination it was found he sustained severe internal injuries, and that his spine was badly hurt. He lies in a very precarious condition. A workman who was alongside of Kane had a very narrow escape.

The Dundee Courier, 13th August 1888

 

SAD ACCIDENT NEAR BATHGATE - Last night William Brown, miner, about thirty years of age, residing at Starlaw, near Bathgate, was brought to the Royal Infirmary having sustained severe injury to the head, face, and arms. While engaged at the Dean Shale Works in preparing for an explosion the charge suddenly went off, and the unfortunate man was almost killed. He is severely hurt about the head, and it is feared his eyesight has been destroyed. The left arm is frightfully shattered, and the right is sorely injured. He received every attention from Dr Keith, and now lies in a precarious condition.

The Dundee Courier, 1st September 1888

 

 

up 1889

QUEENSFERRY - ACCIDENT TO A SHALE MINER – On Wednesday Michael Morn, miner, residing at South Queensferry, was admitted to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, suffering from internal injuries sustained early in the day while he was working in the Queensferry shale pits. The accident was due to the sudden fall of a quantity of shale while Morn was at work.

The Falkirk Herald, 25th May 1889

 

On Friday a fatal accident occurred in Dalmeny Shale Mines. A miner named John Grant, aged about fifty, while engaged at the face, was buried beneath a fall from the roof weighing over two tons, and when taken out he was quite dead.

Southern Reporter, 22nd August 1889

 

ACCIDENT AT BURNTISLAND OIL WORKS – On Monday, one of the Burntisland Oil Company's workmen, named James Thomson, residing in Kinghorn, met with a serious accident at the shale works, by falling from a scaffolding of a great height. Dr Welsh, Kinghorn, who was telephoned for, was early in attendance, and found that Thomson had sustained serious injuries, one of his legs being broken.

Fife Herald, 4th September 1889

 

NARROW ESCAPE OF A WORKMAN - On Thursday a workman named John Sharp, employed in connection with the shale breaker, at Linlithgow Oil Works, narrowly escaped with his life. It appears that at the time of the mishap, he was bending to pick up a shovel, when a hutch from No 1 mine came against him and pushed him into the breaker. A fellow workman, however, lent timeous assistance and dragged the man from his dangerous position. With the exception of slight injuries to his head and arms, Sharp was otherwise unscathed, although the escape was a somewhat miraculous one.

The Falkirk Herald, 26th October 1889

 

ALLEGED CULPABLE HOMICIDE AT BURNTISLAND - Hugh Lynch, miner, residing at Binnend, near Burntisland was judicially examined before Sheriff Henderson at Cupar yesterday, charged with culpable homicide. It is alleged against him that, while working in No. 1 shale mine of Burntisland Company, on 21st November last, he failed to attach a chain to a loaded tub before pushing it to the brae, in consequence of which the tub ran with great force down the brae, and, coming in contact with an empty tub, compressed the deceased Patrick Kelly, drawer, Kirkcaldy, against the wall, in consequences of which he died shortly thereafter.

The Dundee Courier, 16th December 1890 [Accident on 21st November 1889]

 

up 1890

BOILER EXPLOSION AT PUMPHERSTON - Three men killed and two injured. Read full account

The Glasgow Herald, 3rd March 1890

 

COURT OF SESSION - SECOND DIVISION – WEDNESDAY, JULY 2 (Before the Lord Justice Clerk, Lords Rutherfurd – Clark and Lee). Appeal – Aitken v. Airdrie Iron Company. The Airdrie Iron Company are here sued by James Aitken, labourer, Broomhouse, by Winchburgh, for payment of £500 for injuries received while working for the defenders at Young's Paraffin Light Oil Works at Addiewell, on 7th November, 1889. One of the planks of the platform on which the pursuer stood broke from its fastening, and be dropped suddenly a distance of about ten feet, landing astride on an iron plate about three feet high, and which was seen standing on edge. He was badly injured, and permanently incapacitated for work to a great extent. He avers that the plank was secured with only a single nail to the platform, and that it was defective in length. The defenders reply that the pursuer walked along the scaffold without the instruction or authority of the foreman while it was in course of erection, and the accident was caused by the pursuer recklessly springing upon a part of it which was then in an unfinished state. Issues were ordered for jury trial of the case. Counsel for Pursuer and Appellant - Mr Rhind. Agent – Wm Otagear, S. S. C. Agent for defenders and respondents – Macpherson & Mackay, W.S.

The Glasgow Herald, Thursday 3rd July 1890

 

Courts of Justice, Outer House, (Before Lord Kincairney) - MRS CURRAN V. THE LINLITHGOW OIL COMPANY - In this action, which was down for jury trial, Mrs Bridget McInty or Curran, 225 High Street, Linlithgow, and her two children sued the Linlithgow Oil Company for £500 damages for the loss of Patrick Curran, labourer, the husband of the principal pursuer, who, on 21st October 1890, while working a bank in the defenders' works at Champfleurie making an excavation for the reception of a shale-breaker, was severely hurt by a fall of material, and died from his injuries. The action, it was intimated today, had been settled, the pursuers having accepted £50 and expenses.

The Scotsman, 4th June 1890

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENT ON SHALE MINE - Two young miners employed at Newliston shale mines met with a serious accident this forenoon. They were engaged in filling hutches in the mine when the roof fell in. One of them Jas. Denholm, miner, Old Town, Broxburn, sustained severe injuries to the back and legs, from which it is not exopected that he will recover, while the other, Daniel Sweeney, miner, residing at Newhouses, by Broxburn, got a nasty scalp wound. Both were immediately conveyed on a goods train to the Waverley Station, whence they were taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Edinburgh Evening News, 31st October 1890

 

up 1891

ADDIEWELL - FATAL ACCIDENT - Patrick Walsh, labourer, residing at Addiewell, died in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary last night from injuries received during the day at Addiewell. He fell in front of a coal waggon and sustained a compound fracture of the left arm, which had to be amputated.

The Glasgow Herald, 6th February, 1891

 

ACCIDENT AT LINLITHGOW - At Champfleurie Oil Works, Linlithgow, yesterday afternoon, Robert Dingwall, while engaged uncoupling waggons, had his hand crushed between two buffers. The man was removed to Edinburgh Infirmary, where amputation was found necessary.

The Scotsman, 10th March 1891

 

Thomas Tracey, employed at the Tarbrax Oil Company's Works, Cobbinshaw, while walking along the Caledonian Railway line near Cobbinshaw on Saturday night, was run over by a special train. He died in teh Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from his injuries.

Dundee Courier, 8th June 1891

 

BURNING ACCIDENT - John Murphy met with a severe burning accident at the oilworks on Sunday morning last by falling into a pond used for cooling the burnt shale, which is drawn hot from the retorts.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 24th October 1891

 

A fatal accident occurred early on Saturday morning in No.2 (Stewartfield) mine, Broxburn. A man named John Stewart had been working at low shale, when he accidentally dislodged a support, bringing away a quantity of upper shale. He received shocking injuries to the head and upper parts of the body, living only for some minutes. Deceased was about 45 years of age.

The Scotsman, 23rd November 1891

 

MAN KILLED ON THE RAILWAY AT LINLITHGOW – A young man named John King, employed at Linlithgow Oilworks, and residing in Glen's Land, Linlithgow, was knocked down and killed by the Forth Bridge train, due at Linlithgow at 5.30 last night. King had returned with the workmen's train from the oilworks, and while leaving it, had jumped in front of the passenger train and thus met his death.

The Scotsman, 24th November 1891

 

A LABOURER CRUSHED TO DEATH - Action by Mrs Mary Airlie or O'Rorke, 122 Kingscavil Rows, Linlithgow, against the Linlithgow Oil Company, for £1000 damages for the loss of her husband, James O'Rorke, who on 9th December 1891, while in the employment of the defenedrs, at their works as a labourer, was crushed to death between two shale waggons.

Linlithgow Gazette, 14th May 1892

 

SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST A LABOURER - At Linlithgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday - before Hon Sheriff-Substitute Gilkison – William Gardner, labourer, Linlithgow, was charged with attempting to commit suicide by throwing himself down in front of a train and waggons on the railway at Linlithgow Oilworks. He emitted a declaration, in which, we understand, he admits the charge, but stated that he is an old soldier, and while serving in India the heat of the climate had affected his head, and that at the time he was not responsible for his actions. Gardner was committed to prison pending further inquiry.

The Falkirk Herald, 26th December 1891

 

up 1892

TONER V. YOUNG'S PARAFFIN LIGHT AND MINERAL OIL COMPANY (LIMITED) - Issues were ordered to be adjusted for trial by jury of an action by Michael Toner, crofter, Fearla, Armagh, against Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company (Limited). Pursuer sues for £234 as damages. On 23rd July last his son Arthur [Toner] was working in defenders' No. 2 Pits at Addiewell, when, it is stated, he was instructed by the fireman to follow him. He did so, and on arriving at his working place he was thrown down and fatally injured by an explosion of gas. It is averred that although the working place was 36 feet from the level pursuers had neglected to carry the bratticing into the roadway farther than seven feet, and that the absence of air current allowed gas to accumulate. Defenders state that the fireman ordered the workman not to enter the working place until the gas was expelled, and that the explosion occurred while the fireman was in the act of clearing the place from impure air.

The Glasgow Herald, 11th January, 1892

 

PUMPHERSTON WIDOW'S ACTION – Action by Mrs Maria Graham or , 110 Pumpherston, against the Pumpherston Oil Company, in which she sues for £400 for herself and £600 for her three children or for £259 2s as damages for the death of her husband, Robert Galloway, who was mining oversman in one of the defenders' pits. Galloway was injured by the fall of material from the roof of an upset in the mine on 7th March last.The upset, it is maintained, was not properly timbered. Defenders say the deceased's injuries were t of him falling off a plank..

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 22nd October 1892

 

AN OIL COMPANY FOUND LIABLE IN DAMAGES – In the Linlithgow Sheriff Court John Hamilton, miner, Mossend, West Calder, sued the Hermand Oil Company, West Calder, for £100 in respect of the death on 19th March, 1892, of his four-year-old boy, William Hamilton, through his head being crushed in by the pumping gear at defenders' No.1 pit Breich Works, near West Calder. After a lengthened proof Sheriff Melville has now issued an interlocutor awarding the pursuer the full sum, with expenses. In a note to his interlocutor the Sheriff says the defenders were bound to foresee such a likely occurrence as that which befell the child, and to provide against it. They might have done so by fencing the whole shafting so as to prevent the child going near the pit. If the gate at the opening of the shaft had been in position the boy could not have put his head in danger. But the engineman had removed the gate, and the defenders were responsible for his act. Agents for pursuer, Mr James F. Macdonald, S.S.C., Linlithgow; for defenders, Messrs Drummond & Reid, Edinburgh.

The Glasgow Herald, Monday 20th March 1893

 

ACCIDENT - Before Lord Low and a jury in the Court of Session to-day, the trial of an action by James Shaw, Tarbrax near Cobbinshaw, against the Caledonian Railway Company for £500 as damages for injuries was finished. The pursuer, who is 18 years of age, was in the employment of the Caledonian Mineral Oil Company, in their works at Tarbrax as a "breaker hand." A branch line of railway belonging to the defenders runs to the village of Tarbrax. On 28th March last the pursuer was crossing the siding on his way to breakfast, and got his left hand jammed between two waggons which the defenders' employees were shunting. His hand had to be amputated, and damages were claimed on the ground that the accident was caused by carelessness on the part of the defenders' workmen, and by their failure to give the pursuer warning. Fault was denied by the defenders, who said that the occurrence was the unavoidable result of the pursuer attempting to cross the siding when he saw, or ought to have seen, the waggons approaching. The jury unanimously found that there was contributory negligence

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 17th December 1892

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT ADDIEWELL - Yesterday while a workman named James Sweenie, in the employment of Messrs Young's Oil Company at Addiewell, was engaged at work near the dipping pond, through which the hutches of red-hot spent shale pass, he was caught by the leg by one of the passing hutches and precipitated into a hole about 12 feet deep. In falling he sustained such serious injuries that death ensued in about ten minutes. The deceased was an old man, and had been in the Company's employment for a very long time.

The Scotsman, 14th April 1892

 

ACCIDENT TO A MINER - On Thursday a miner named Macdonald met with an accident while engaged at work in No.2 shale mine, Champfleurie. A fall from the roof inflicted serious wounds on his head and body. He was conveyed home, where he was treated by a medical man.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 21st April 1892

 

FATAL ACCIDENT - Early on Tuesday while a man named John Smith, aged 20, residing at East Street, Mossend, was engaged in working plaching(?) a piece of shale in Young's Oil Company's No.21 pit a large portion of the roof came away, and before he had time to escape he was crushed beneath the mass of shale and killed.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 23rd April 1892

 

FATAL EXPLOSION - A shale miner named Patrick McLaughlin, residing at Upper Holygate, Broxburn, died on Sunday morning in the Edinburgh Infirmary from injuries received in an explosion which occurred in No.2 mine of the Holmes Oil Coy, on the Friday previous. He is said to have entered a place in the mine with a naked lamp, and the result was an explosion of accumulated gas. He was fearfully burned about the head, arms and neck while almost all his clothes were burned from him. He was soon after conveyed in a cab to the Edinburgh infirmary, where he succumbed to his injuries, as already stated, on Sunday morning.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 25th June 1892

 

GALLOWAY v. PUMPHERSTON OIL COMPANY - Their Lordships ordered issues for trial by jury of an action by Mrs Maria Graham or Galloway, 110 Pumpherston, against the Pumpherston Oil Company (Limited), in which she sues for £400 for herself and £600 for her three children, or for £259 2s, as damages for the death of her husband, Robert Galloway, who was mining oversman in one of defenders' pits. Galloway was injured by the fall of material from the roof of an upset in the mine on 7th March last, and died two days afterwards. The upset, it is maintained, was not properly timbered. Defenders say the deceased's injuries were the result of his falling off a plank.

The Glasgow Herald, Monday 17th October 1892

 

An accident of a painful character occurred to a lad named Wm. McCraik, residing at Stewartfield, on Sunday night. It appears that whilst assisting another youth to remove some hutches of shale from the breaker another came in upon him with considerable force from an opposite direction, and knocked him down passing over his legs, with the unfortunate result that one of them was found broken. The injured lad was conveyed home and his injuries attended to by the local surgeon.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 17th December 1892

 

up 1893

EXPLOSION IN MOSSEND PIT - Between 11 and 12 o'clock today an explosion of fire-damp took place in Polbeth, No 11 shale pit Mossend. A miner named Alexander Reid, was in the vicinity, was severely burned on the back, face, arms and hands. He was removed to Edinburgh Infirmary which was reached about two o'clock. Reid resides at 42 Mid Street, Mossend.

Edinburgh Evening News, 21st January 1893

 

MRS NAILEN V. PUMPHERTSON OIL COMPANY - Lord McLaren and a jury to-day tried the action by Mrs Mary Bryce or Nailen, 35 East Calder, Mid-Lothian, and her six children, against the Pumpherston Oil Company (Limited), 24 St Vincent Place, Glasgow, for £1000 damages for the loss of her husband, John Nailen, miner, who on 6th June 1893, while in their No.1 mine at Pumpherston, was killed in the main road by a shale carriage crushing him against the wall. The defence was the deceased had no right to be in the main road. After evidence had been partly led, the case was settled for a payment of £50 to the pursuers, and of consent the jury returned a verdict for the pursuers, and assessed the damages at that amount.

The Scotsman, 21st November 1894 [Accident occurred 6th June 1893]

 

MAN KILLED AT PUMPHERSTON - Yesterday morning a miner named Walter Hislop Currie, aged 19, and residing at Pumpherston, was killed at No. 1 mine by a mass of shale falling on him.

The Glasgow Herald, Thursday 22nd June 1893

 

BURNED WITH HIS LAMP - While in the course of inspecting No.1 shale mine, Philpstoun, on Monday, David McLean, fireman, tripped and fell. The safety lamp which he was carrying exploded, and he was seriously burned about the face and arms.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 20th November 1893

 

A YOUNG man named John McPhillips, residing at Stewartfield, Broxburn, was severely hurt about the back in Hayscraigs mine by a fall from the roof.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 21st November 1893

 

up 1894

ACCIDENT TO A MINER'S DRAWER - By a fall from the roof of No. 3 shale mine, Champfleurie, on Wednesday a lad named Thomas McGregor, engaged as a drawer, sustained serious injury. Over half a hundred-weight of material fell upon him, bruising him severely about the head and fracturing his leg near the thigh. He was removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 3rd February 1894

 

FIRE AT OAKBANK OIL WORKS - Read full report

The Evening Telegraph, Monday 25th June 1894

 

SAD MINING ACCIDENT - On Tuesday night an accident of a melancholy character, and one which terminated fatally, occurred to a miner named Thos. M'Gowan, in No. 1 mine belonging to the Linlithgow Oil Company. The deceased, it appears, was engaged on the night shift, and had only been a short time at work when a fall of "top" shale came upon him, crushing him severely. As showing the extent of the "fall," it might be mentioned that the material measured something like five feet square and eighteen inches in thickness, and was computed to be about two and a half tons in weight. In consequence of this some difficulty was experienced in having the unfortunate man extricated. After the accident he was conveyed by several of his fellow workmen to his home at Strawberry Bank, Linlithgow. Dr Gilmour and his assistant, Dr Cameron, were summoned, and on making examination it was ascertained that the spine had been seriously injured, his legs were broken, and also his ribs, while there were other external and internal fractures of a more or less serious nature, from the effects of which he succumbed shortly after being taken home.

The Falkirk Herald, 25th August 1894

 

ACCIDENT TO A MINER - John Canning, a miner at Roman Camp shale mine, Broxburn, was brought to-day to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, suffering from a compound fracture of the left leg. At an early hour this morning he was working at the mine, when a shot went off which he thought had already exploded.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 15th November 1894

 

LINLITHGOW FATAL ACCIDENT AT THE OILWORKS - On Thursday night a miner named John McLaren, residing at Linlithgow, met with an accident in one of the mines belonging to Linlithgow Oil Company. He had been walking up the carriage brae when a hutch came up behind him and knocked him down, and passed over his body. He was taken home and attended to by Dr McKenzie's assistant. The injuries sustained were found to be of a very serious nature, and they unfortunately proved fatal, Mr McLaren having died on Friday morning.

The Falkirk Herald, 19th September 1894

 

CONNOLLY V. YOUNG'S PARAFFIN LIGHT AND MINERAL OIL COMPANY (LIMITED) - The second division disposed of an action brought by Mrs Ellen Hughes or Connolly, 43 Livingstone Street, Addiewell, and her three children, against Young's Paraffin and Mineral Oil Company (Limited), Glasgow, for payments of £500 damages in respect of the death of her husband. The deceased, who was a labourer, died from the effects of inhaling poisonous gases while employed at the defenders' works. The pursuer contended that her husband's death was caused by the gross negligence of the defenders. The Court to-day held that the action was irrelevant as common law, and that sufficient notice had not been given for an action under the Employers' Liability Act. The action was accordingly dismissed, with expenses. Counsel for pursuer – Mr Campbell. Agent – Win. Considine. S. S. C. Counsel for defenders – Mr Comrie Thompson and Mr Wilton. Agent – John Rhind, S. S. C.

The Glasgow Herald, 19th November 1894

 

FATAL ACCIDENT - On Friday night a man met with a fatal accident by falling into what is known as a shale quarry or open cast at Bridgend, near Linlithgow. The man had evidently been making his way to the oilworks, and must have gone over the embankment at the open cast, the depth of which is about 30 feet. When discovered the unfortunate man had two handkerchiefs tied round his head, showing that death had not been instantaneous, but life was extinct when the body was found. A society card found on the person of the deceased showed that he had evidently belonged to one of the workmen's societies, presumably to that for bricklayers, and which card bore the name of Daniel Wyse. The body of the deceased having been conveyed to the Linlithgow mortuary, inquiries were instituted by the police, with the view of the body being identified. The results of these inquiries was the identification, by a son of the deceased, of the body as that of Daniel Wyse, a bricklayer, aged 69, and formerly resident in Edinburgh. Deceased's son had last seen his father on 5th December, on which occasion deceased told him that he intended to make his way to Lanarkshire to look for work.

The Falkirk Herald, 22nd December 1894

 

up 1895

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN - Yesterday morning a serious accident happened to a young lad named Thomas Alexander, son of Peter Alexander, carrier, Stewartfield, Broxburn. He had been engaged driving ashes from Broxburn Oil-works, and when coming down Greendykes Road he missed his footing on the slippery road, and falling to the ground, one of the wheels went over the lower part of his body. He was very severely injured internally.

The Dundee Courier, 9th January 1895

 

ACCIDENT TO A SHALE MINER - Robert Knowles, shale miner, while working at No.1 pit, Pumpherston, received what is believed to be a fractured leg through some shale falling on him. He was brought to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary this afternoon.

Edinburgh Evening News, 27th April 1895

 

ACCIDENT IN CHAMPFLEURIE MINE - On Saturday a young lad named Robert Muir, pony driver, met with a mishap while at work in one of the mines, by which he sustained slight injury to his head and side. He was able, however, to resume work on Monday.

The Falkirk Herald, 18th May 1895

 

FATAL RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT - The man Archibald Finlay, labourer, Uphall, who met with an accident on Thursday last week while "trimming" a waggon of shale at the Roman Camp Works, succumbed to his injuries in the Royal Infirmary on Sunday morning. It had been ascertained that, by falling on the sharp edge of the shale at the side of the waggon, Finlay had fractured his back-bone.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 8th June 1895

 

ACCIDENT TO A SHALE MINER – Robert Duff, shale miner, residing at Tarbrax, was admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to-day suffering from a fractured leg, caused by a quantity of shale falling on him while engaged in boring operations at the Caledonian Oil Works.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 16th July 1895

 

ACCIDENT TO A SHALE MINER – James Mungall, 17 years of age, a shale miner, residing in Linlithgow, was admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary yesterday morning suffering from a compound fracture of one of his legs, caused by 1 ½ cwt of shale falling upon him while working at No. 3 Pit, Champfleurie, belonging to the Linlithgow Oil Company.

The Glasgow Herald, 13th August 1895

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT THE OIL WORKS – On Thursday night a serious accident occurred at the Linlithgow Oil Works. It appears that while a man named Jas. McGuire, who was employed at the breaker in connection with the retort, was endeavouring to get out of the way of a loaded hutch, which he had mistaken for an empty hutch, he was caught by it and knocked down, the hutch passing over his body. His injuries were of such a serious character that he died shortly after the accident.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 21st Septemeber 1895

 

EXPLOSION IN PHILPSTOUN MINE – On Friday last a miner named James Anderson (36) got himself severely burned while at work in No. 1 mine, Philpstoun. It appears that Anderson had been in the act of fixing a fuse into a cartridge, with which he was to fire a shot. While doing this one cartridge went off in his hand and ignited a quantity of gunpowder which he had in a canister beside him. The consequence was that he was burned on the face, chest, and arms. He was taken home and medical aid summoned.

The Falkirk Herald, 28th September 1895

 

THE ACCIDENT AT CHAMPFLEURIE - The authorities have received intimation that the man, Hugh Logan, who met with an accident last week in No. 3 mine, Ochiltree, is recovering satisfactorily. When he met with the accident Logan had been clearing away loose shale at the face, when a piece of top shale, weighing about 1½ cwts, suddenly came away from a flat “lipe.” He was injured on the back and that left shoulder. The injured man was attended by Dr M'Kenzie.

The Falkirk Herald, 12th October 1895

 

BURIED UNDER TWO TONS OF SHALE - A public enquiry was held to-day in the Edinburgh Sheriff Court House respecting the death of a miner named George Bertram Forsyth, employed at Clippens Oil Works. Forsyth was working in Number 8 shale mine on 22nd November. A fall of the roof took place, and he was buried under two tons of shale debris. He died three days afterwards. The jury returned a verdict according to the evidence. The jury asked if they were to pronounce any opinion whether the blame of the accident was referable to anyone. The Sheriff replied that they were required only to state the time and place of the accident and the cause of death.

Edinburgh Evening News, 5th December 1895

 

up 1896

RAILWAY ACCIDENT - An accident occurred on the Linlithgow Oil Company's railway siding at Linlithgow on Sunday afternoon. A train of empty and loaded wagons was being conveyed from Linlithgow Oil Works to the Company's siding adjoining the North British Railway Company's line. The train ran into a number of wagons which were standing in the siding, and through a crossing being blocked six wagons were thrown off the rails. Several of the wagons were thrown so near the North British Railway line that great care had to be exercised in taking the 5.30 P.M. from Edinburgh past them..

Falkirk Herald, 11th January 1896

 

MINING ACCIDENTS AT BROXBURN. ONE MAN KILLED ; TWO INJURED. On Tuesday morning an elderly man named John Gordon, a miner, residing at Eastend, Broxburn, met with a fatal accident in Roman Camp Mine, Broxburn. He along with another miner, had been trying to tree up a large piece of shale in the roof, when it came away upon them. Gordon was terribly crushed, but the other man escaped. The former was at once conveyed to the surface, but expired immediately.

Source

 

George Fraser, a miner, residing in Old Town, Broxburn, met with a serious accident in the New Liston Mine, Young's Oil Company, near Broxburn. In proceeding to this place he had occasion to go past the bottom of the dook, which lets down the men. It is said that the bottom of this dook was full of steam, and, instead of going round the mouth, he went under it, and a cage full of men came down on him. His spine was severely injured.

Source

 

ACCIDENT AT DALMENY OIL WORKS - On Saturday morning Peter Beveridge, a miner, residing in South Queensferry, suffered rather serious external injuries in consequence of a heavy fall of shale from the roof of a pit. He was removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 18th April 1896.

 

OAKBANK MINER INJURED - About nine o'clock on Wednesday morning while working at the Oakbank mine, Mid-Calder, John Delaney, a miner employed by Messrs Haddow & Sons, contractors, received a compound fracture to one of his legs besides internal injuries, caused by some shale falling upon him. He was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 30th May 1896.

 

A Dangerous Trick - At Linlithgow Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Manus Bonnar, drawer, residing at Stankard Rows, Uphall, was charged with having, on 17th June, at Uphall Oilworks, set an empty hutch in motion and allowed it to run down an incline, where he knew that men were employed, without attaching it to the endless chain. The hutch came in violent contact with James Walker, labourer, and injured him severely. An agent stated on behalf of accused that he had put the hutch on the chain. Evidence was led, which went to show that accused had simplay pushed on the empty hutch without attaching the chain, and when noticed by a workman near hand, who wanted to pull the bell to stop the chain, accused had replied that was all right. The Sheriff said it was very difficult to know what to do with accused, because his conduct had not been the conduct of a sane man. Why he should have down what he did he (the Sheriff) could not understand. Accused's duty was to attach the chain to the hutch, and he could not understand why accused should endanger the lives of his fellow-workmen by not taking the trouble to attach it. He thought prisoner must have been under some insane delusion. He did not say that accused had done this crime maliciously, but he could not believe that he was in his mind. He would impose a penalty of £3, with the alternative of three weeks' imprisonment.

The Falkirk Herald, 15th July 1896.

 

MINING FATALITY - Yesterday morning an elderly man named John Gordon, a miner, residing at East End, Broxburn, met with a fatal accident in Roman Camp Mine. He, along with another miner, had been trying to free up a large piece of shale in the roof when it came away upon them. Gordon was terribly crushed, but the other man escaped. The former was at once conveyed to the surface but expired immediately after.

Dundee Advertiser, 29th July 1896.

 

George Fraser, a miner, residing in Old Town, Broxburn, met with a serious accident in Newliston Mine, Young's Oil Company. In proceeding to his place he had occasion to go past the bottom of the dook which lets down the men. It is said that the bottom of this dook was full of steam, and instead of going round the mouth he went under it, and a cage full of men came down on him. His spine was severely injured.

Dundee Advertiser, 29th July 1896.

 

In Sand Hole Mine, Broxburn, a young man named George Simpson was badly hurt about the chest while working there.

The Dundee Courier, 30th July 1896

 

BROXBURN MINER KILLED - This morning a miner named Edward Reynolds residing at Church Street, Broxburn, was fatally injured by a heavy fall of shale from the roof of Broxburn mine [Pumpherston No.1]. He only lived a few minutes after being extricated. Deceased leaves a widow and three children.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 26th August 1896

 

up 1897

MINE EXPLOSION AT ADDIEWELL - At 11 o'clock this forenoon, a middle-aged miner named George Robertson, who was employed in the mines [No.32] at Young's Paraffin Oil Works, Addiewell, was admitted to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from severe injuries caused by an explosion. It seems that Robertson had been working along with another man, who was also injured, but who was removed to his own home. The couple had set two charges, but only one exploded, and they, thinking that both had exploded, returned to their work just as the second went off. Robertson was scorched about the head, and badly cut about the face and hands.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 6th January, 1897

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT UPHALL - Early this morning a young man named Patrick M'Carron met a shocking death at Uphall Works. He was employed at the shale-breaking machine, and in passing it his coat became entangled in the cog wheels, and he was drawn through them. One of his legs was wrenched off, while he was also fearfully mutilated about the body, death immediately taking place. Deceased was 18 years of age..

The Edinburgh Evening News, 10th January, 1897

 

EXPLOSION AT CLIPPENS OIL WORKS - A fireman named James Brown employed by the Clippens Oil Company was admitted to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary about half past two o'clock this afternoon suffering from severe burns about the face and arms and also a cut head caused by an explosion of fire damp in the pit where he was working about 11 oclock this morning. It appears that Brown was the only person in the part where the explosion occurred, or the result might have been more serious.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 15th March 1897

 

LINLITHGOW FATAL ACCIDENT AT LINLITHGOW OIL WORKS - A young man named Hugh Law was killed on Saturday morning at No. 3 Pit belonging to Linlithgow Oil Company. He was employed as a brakesman, and had charge of the winding drum for drawing hutches up and down an incline in the pit. It is supposed that he had omitted to check his brake after letting down a loaded hutch, with the result that before an empty hutch had been attached to the chain the back balance had set the drum in motion, and the poor fellow was drawn round it and killed.

The Falkirk Herald, 7th April 1897

 

MINER KILLED AT BROXBURN - A miner named James M'Nee, West Street, Broxburn, was this afternoon accidentally killed in Sand Hole Mine, Broxburn. He had been engaged propping his place when roof came away upon him. The man's body was only extricated after two hours' work, when life was extinct. Deceased's son was working beside him when the sad occurrence took place.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 7th May 1897

 

A SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK - A serious accident happened yesterday in the shale pit of the Oakbank Oil Company, whereby a miner named John Callander sustained serious injuries. He was working at the face of the shale seam when about a ton of debris fell upon him, breaking three of his ribs and causing concussion of the brain. He was carried home, and lies in a precarious condition.

Edinburgh Evening News, 28th May 1897

 

THE BROXBURN OIL WORKS FIRE - See full report.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 20th August 1897

 

up 1898

FATAL ACCIDENT AT OAKBANK SHALE MINE - A sad accident occurred this morning in Oakbank shale mine, East Calder, whereby a young man named Peter Turnbull, residing with his parents at Oakbank, lost his life. He was in the "Dook", when a number of full hutches broke away down the incline, and before Turnbull could get out of the way they were upon him, crushing him fearfully. Dr Glegg descended the pit and Turnbull was brought to the surface, but he soon expired. The accident cast a gloom over the place, and the pit was idle all day.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 22nd January 1898

 

BROXBURN MINER'S WIDOW'S ACTION - The Lord President and jury in the Court of Session to-day heard evidence in an action by Mrs Catherine Reynolds, Greendykes Row, Broxburn, for herself and her two pupil children, against the Pumpherston Oil Company, Ltd, 24 St Vincent Place, Glasgow. The pursuer sued for £500, or otherwise, under the Employers' Liability Act, for £257 8s, as damages for the death of her husband, Edward Reynolds. The deceased was a miner in the employment of the defenders. On the morning of 26th August, 1896, the deceased started work in No.2 level road in No. 1 shale mine at the defenders' works, and shortly after a large piece of roof, weighing about two tons, feel on him and crushed him to death. The pursuer averred that there had been frequent falls from the roof previous to the accident, and that the danger had been increased by a shot having been fired the evening previous to the accident, but the fireman informed him that the place was quite safe. The defenders averred that the deceased was a contractor; that the accident occurred in the deceased's working place, which he ought to have examined prior to commencing work; and that the accident was caused entirely through the deceased's own carelessness in failing to take due precautions. The deceased, they stated, was not bound to conform to the orders of the defenders' fireman. After twenty-five minutes' absence, the jury unanimously returned a verdict for the defenders.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 24th January 1898

 

PIT ACCIDENT AT BATHGATE - William Strathern, a miner, residing at 75 North Bridge Street, Bathgate, was admitted to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary this afternoon suffering from severe burns about head and shoulders, caused by an explosion of fire-damp while working in No. 2 shale pit, Dean's Works, Bathgate, yesterday afternoon. He was there attended to by Dr Tennant, who dressed his injuries, and ordered his removal to the Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 27th January 1898

 

ACCIDENT TO A MINER - On Saturday last Malcolm McCulloch, miner, residing at Kingscavil Rows, met with an accident while at work in No. 2 Shale Mine, Ochiltree, connected with Linlithgow Oilworks. M'Culloch, it appears, had been making up a shot, when it is supposed that a spark from his lamp had been blown on to the powder and ignited it. As a consequence M'Culloch was rather severely burned about the face, hands, and arms. He was conveyed to his home, where his injuries were attended to by Dr Easson, assistant to Dr Mackenzie, the works surgeon. The injured man is progressing favourably.

The Falkirk Herald, Saturday 26th February 1898

 

A Miner named David Jamieson, residing at Stewartfield, Broxburn had one of his legs severely crushed in the Cawburn Mine this morning by a fall of shale.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 13th May 1898

 

A BOY'S CLAIM FOR £750 - In the Court of Session to-day Lord Pearson closed the record and ordered issues in an action at the instance of John Noble formerly residing at Mid-Calder, and now at 9 Waddell Place, Leith, against the Oakbank Oil Company for £750 damages for personal injuries. The Pursuer, who is 15 years of age, while engaged in oiling the crank head of the donkey-engine, had part of his clothing caught by the nuts. His left leg was caught and fractured. Pursuer attributes fault to the defenders in respect that proper precautions were not taken to prevent accident. Defenders denied fault, and alleged negligence.

The Edinburgh Evening News, Tuesday, May 24th, 1898

 

ACCIDENT TO A WEST CALDER MINER - Yesterday afternoon a miner named Joseph Gibson, employed as a repairer in Messrs Young's Oil Company's No.32 shale mine, met with a very serious accident. Gibson was working in one of the levels at the time when an empty hutch broke loose from a "rake" of empties descending a steep incline. Dashing on to the level, the hutch caught Gibson before he could get out of the way, and severely crushed him. The injured man was at once removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where it was found he had sustained a compound fracture of the right leg, and had also some of his ribs broken.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 23rd September 1898

 

MINER KILLED AT BROXBURN - About 10 o'clock this forenoon fatal accident occurred at No.1 Mine, Holmes' Works, near Broxburn, whereby a miner named Dennis Macaulay, a married man, aged about 30 years, and residing at Station Rows, Uphall, lost his life. Macaulay had been working in his place when a considerable quantity of shale fell upon him. He only lived about 15 minutes after being extricated.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 8th October 1898

 

ACTION FOR DAMAGES - An action was recently raised in the Linlithgow Sheriff Court at the instance of Thomas McCabe, jnr., miners' drawer, son of Thomas McCabe, miner, formerly of Bankhead. Niddrie, and now of Barleyside Rows, near Falkirk, against Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company, for £500 at common law, or £156 under the Employers' Liability Act, being, it was stated, the amount of damages for injuries sustained by pursuer on 14th April while in their employment at Addiewell. The Sheriff Substitute has issue an interlocutor in the case. His Lordship sustains the first plea in law stated for defenders, and dismisses the action, finding the pursuer liable to the defenders in expenses. In a note his Lordship says: - According to the averments of the pursuer, the accident in question happened under the following circumstances: - The pursuer, a lad of 15, was employed as a drawer in one of the defender's shale mines, and it was his duty to descend the incline of a main haulage road which loaded hutches of shale. At a certain point in this road, which is working on the gravitation principle, there is a ventilating screen suspended from the roof and reaching the rails. When the accident took place, a descending hutch loaded with shale, of which pursuer was in charge, was dragging up on the other set of rails a hutch loaded with rails, and just before the accident took place, while the ascending hutch was passing through the screen, which was frayed and torn, and in a defective and dangerous condition, one of the rails with which the ascending hutch was loaded became entangled in the screen, was dragged off the hutch, and fell across the set of rails on which the pursuer's hutch was descending. The fact that a rail had thus fallen was unknown to the pursuer, and the fallen rail was concealed form his view by the screen. When the pursuer's descending hutch came in contact with the fallen rail, it caused that part of the fallen rail which projected over the one-foot way between the two sets of rails to strike violently against the leg of the pursuer, who was then walking in the one-foot way and caused the injuries for which damages are sought. There is no avernment of fault against the defenders, in respect of the manner in which the ascending hutch was loaded, and this is worthy of notice, because there is no avernment as to how it was probably for the screen to life one off, neither is there any averment that the pursuer was in the one-foot way in the discharge of his duty. I have read with care such averments of fault as are made, and I have not been able to satisfy myself that they are made with such distinctness and specification as to justify inquiry.

The Falkirk Herald, 12th November 1898

 

BOY KILLED AT ADDIEWELL WORKS - An accident occurred at Messrs Young's Oil Works, Addiewell this morning, whereby a young lad named Cummings lost his life. He was engaged placing a belt on the pulley of a revolving shaft, when he was caught by the machinery and killed.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 3rd December 1898

 

up 1899

BROXBURN MINER KILLED - A fatal accident occurred yesterday at the Roman Camp Mine, the property of the Broxburn Oil Company. A miner named Patrick Brown, residing at Uphall, while engaged in drilling a hole for the purpose of blasting, was accidentally killed by a quantity of shale falling upon him.

The Dundee Courier, 14th March 1899

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN OIL WORKS. An accident occurred on Saturday morning at Broxburn Oil Works, involving the death of Henry Mitchell and slight injury to another man named Shaw. Both men were employed as chargers at the retorts, and it seems that a hutch had slid off the carriage while travelling on the gangway leading to the top of the retorts. The men were replacing the hutch, when, through some misunderstanding on the part of the engineman, the carriage was set in motion. Mitchell was knocked down and frightfully injured, especially about the head. He only lived a short time. Shaw escaped with a scalp wound.

The Evening Telegraph, 8th May 1899

 

FIRE AT LINLITHGOW OIL WORKS FIVE MEN INJURED - Read full report

The Falkirk Herald, 20th May 1899

 

SUDDEN DEATH AT THE OIL WORKS - About three o'clock on Thursday afternoon a hutch runner employed at the Champfleurie Oil Works died suddenly at his work. He had been engaged running hutches on the top of the retorts when he was observed to fall down at the side of a hutch. He was removed to a dross bing, and a stretcher having been obtained he was conveyed to his lodgings in Linlithgow, and Dr Mackenzie, who was summoned, certified that life was extinct. Death is supposed to be due to heart disease.

The Falkirk Herald, 13th September 1899

 

DEATH OF A MINER AT COBBINSHAW - An inquiry was held in Edinburgh Sheriff Court to-day regarding the circumstances of the death of Walter Robertson, a miner, in the employment of the Caledonian Mineral Oil Company at Tarbrax. The deceased had been assisting in the fixing of a shaft weighing about 25 or 30 cwts. Into a wheel, which was to be used in connection with pumping arrangements at Cobbinshaw shale mine. The shaft somehow slipped in the operation, and one end fell on Robertson's left foot and crushed it badly. The accident occurred on the 9th October, and on the 11th he was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he died on the 21st October from lockjaw as the result of the accident. The jury found that the accident occurred as stated, but added the rider that probably it might have been averted had a pulley or some other means been taken for the support of the free end of the shaft.

Edinburgh Evening News, 2nd November 1899 [Compensation case detailed in Edinburgh Evening News, 21st February 1900, p2]

 

up 1900

DIED TO SAVE A COMRADE - AN EX-SOLDIER'S SACRIFICE - A sad fatality has occurred at Tarbrax Oil Works, Cobbinshaw. George Robertson, a workman, was employed cleaning out a vitriol cracker when he was overcome- with the fumes. A cry for help was raised, and a workman named Charles McKenna, employed in the ammonia house, rushed the ladder and jumped into the cracker to the assistance of his comrade. McKenna was also overcome with the fumes. Assistance was procured, and both men were got out. Robertson recovered, but McKenna, who went to his help, was dead. He leaves a widow and six of a family. Both men were old soldiers, having been in the Artillery.

The Dundee Telegraph, 9th February 1900

 

MINING ACCIDENT - On Friday morning last Thomas McKelvie had one of his ribs broken, and sustained other slight injuries, in the south mines by a fall of shale.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 6th July 1900

 

ACCIDENT TO A MINER – On Tuesday forenoon Robert Heeps, miner, residing at the Foresters' Buildings, Linlithgow, met with an accident while at work in No.1 Champfleurie Shale Mine, belonging to the Linlithgow Oil Company. Heeps, it appears, had been working in what is known as "stooping," when a quantity of top shale came away from the roof upon him. Several of the workmen assisted in having the stuff removed, when it was found that one of his legs had been broken above the knee. He was also bruised about the side, and sustained certain internal injuries. He was attended by Dr Mackenzie, works surgeon, who ordered his removal to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Falkirk Herald, 25th August 1900

 

FOREMAN KILLED AT SEAFIELD WORKS – A sad accident occurred at the Seafield Works of Pumpherston Oil Company early yesterday morning whereby the foreman of the retorts, John Fairley, residing at Seafield, lost his life. The endless chain by which the spent shale is taken from the retorts to the bing had got out of gear, and Fairley was attempting to put it right, when he slipped and fell a distance of 15 feet. Assistance was at hand, but he succumbed shortly after the fail. Deceased leaves a widow and family.

The Glasgow Herald, 25th September 1900

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT AN OIL WORKS.- Yesterday afternoon a sad accident took place in the shale mine at Seafield Oil Works, near Blackburn. A shot was being fired, and a young man named Sanderson, residing in Blackburn, met the full force of the shot. His head was blown off. 

The Scotsman, 28th December 1900

 

up 1901

KILLED BY EXPLOSION. MINER'S SAD DEATH. Our West Calder correspondent writes: The most serious pit accident that has taken place in the village for a considerable time; occurred this morning. In Messrs Young's Oil Company's No.32 shale mine a miner named Richard Sneddon was firing shot, and the explosion had evidently taken place before he expected it, as he was so near he received the full force of the shot, and was killed on the spot. Another miner named Boyce, who was working alongside of him, also sustained injuries, but not of a serious nature.  

The Evening Post, 11th January 1901

 

ACCIDENT TO A MINER - On Friday a drawer named Thomas Shaw, residing at Bridgend, met with an accident while at work in No.2 Shale Mine, Champfleurie. The accident was due to a fall from the roof, and by which Shaw received a scalp wound, and also injury to one of his wrists. After the accident he was seen by Dr Mackenzie, who ordered his removal to the Royal Infirmary. It was thought at first that Shaw might lose one of his hands, but luckily this will not be the case. We understand he is making satisfactory recovery.

The Falkirk Herald, 2nd March 1901

FATAL ACCIDENT ENQUIRIES - The next case was that of Thomas Sneddon, a miner, lately residing in Dickson Street, West Calder, who, while working in one of the shale mines of Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company, was instantaneously killed on Monday, 4th inst., by about two tons of shale falling upon him.

Edinburgh Evening News, 21st March 1901

 

SAD MINING FATALITY AT PHILPSTOUN - On the afternoon of Tuesday a sad mining fatality occurred in No.1 shale mine, Philpstoun, belonging to James Ross & Coy., whereby a miner named Magnus Dickson lost his life. It appears that Dickson, who had just left off work for the day, was walking up the main dook, Dickson was leaving his work and proceeding along the main dook. A rake of hutches was being drawn up, when the cleek of the last hutch broke and ran down the incline, striking Dickson and knocking him down. He was very seriously injured on the head and lower part of the body, and died within a quarter of an hour after the accident. The deceased, who was unmarried and resided with his parents at Philpstoun, was well known and much respected. He was an enthusiastic member of A Company (Linlithgow) Volunteers. The sad accident caused much regret in the village.

The Falkirk Herald, 20th April 1901

 

ACCIDENT AT THE OIL WORKS - On Wednesday morning a workman named James Hopkins met with a rather serious accident at Linlithgow Oil Works. Hopkins was employed about the shale breaker, and while, it is said, adjusting some part of the machine, he was struck by what is called the back balance or lever, which inflicted a deep wound on the head. The injured man was seen by Dr Mackenzie, the works surgeon, who ordered his removal to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Falkirk Herald, 1st June 1901

 

SAD TRAGIC FATALITY AT LINLITHGOW OIL WORKS - On Sunday morning a gloom was case over Kingscavil and Linlithgow district by the intelligence that a young man, named John Dewar, aged 25, and engaged as an engineer at the Champfleurie works, had met his death under somewhat tragic circumstances. It appears that the deceased had gone to do some repairs about the machine on the Sunday morning. Before proceeding to work, he naturally went to the machine to see what was required, and on ascertaining this he left the engine-house at the breaker to go to the shop for his tools. In doing this he had occasion to cross the line and pass between two empty waggons. When in the act of doing this a loaded waggon came down and struck the empty one. The young man was caught between two of the waggons, and so severely injured that death ensued almost instantaneously.

The Falkirk Herald, 15th June 1901

 

THE SAD FATALITY AT LINLITHGOW OIL WORKS - In the Sheriff Court on Monday - before Sheriff Macleod and a jury - a public inquiry was held as to the death of John Dewar, engine fitter, employed at the Linlithgow Oil Works, who was killed by being jammed between two waggons at the Oil Works on the 9th June. Mr J. Main, Procurator-Fiscal, conducted the inquiry.

James Beveridge, manager to the Linlithgow Oil Company, said he lived near the works. He heard of the accident that morning about ten minutes after it happened, and he at once went to the spot. On this occasion there were eight empty waggons which had passed the breaker, and there was a space between it and the eighth waggon. The next loaded waggon that came down would push this empty waggon, which was standing at the breaker, against the others. Deceased was employed on Sunday, 9th June, to do some repairs to the engine. Witness understood that Dewar had been crossing the line between the waggons when a full waggon was brought down, and came against the empty one, and deceased was jammed. Before witness arrived deceased had been taken away home. Had he gone round the end of the waggons nothing would have happened. The empty waggons were usually allowed to stand until there were nine or ten, and then the locomotive took them away.

John Conlin, winding engineman, said on the date in question he was to be assisted by John Dewar, the deceased, to repair the engine. The empty waggons were in front of them, and they expected to find a space between the waggons on the west side. They passed the engine-house, and they got up on a brick wall, and from there he could have seen any waggons that were being moved down, had he been looking. Deceased was in front of witness. Witness saw Dewar step off the wall and go between the waggons. At that moment he saw the full waggon strike the empty one, and called out, but it was too late. The waggon struck Dewar before witness had the word out of his mouth. Deceased fell down, and never spoke afterwards. Witness ran through the waggons and called to the men that Dewar was killed, and afterwards went and informed deceased's brother. James Marshall, breaker engineman, stated that he was on duty that morning along with Thomas Marshall bringing down the waggons. It was the tenth waggon that was coming forward when the accident happened. Witness did not see the men coming. The first thing that drew his attention was Conlin crying that Dewar was killed. Witness went and got assistance.

The Sheriff said he was afraid they all had a habit of taking a short cut when they could get it, even although they ran a little risk, and it was wonderful how little advantage made them run the risk. It appeared, on this Sunday morning, the two men had been there in connection with repairs and they had occasion to leave the place where the repairs were going on, and proceed along a place where they had full view of what was going on if they had chosen to look. If they had looked they would have seen these waggons being shunted down, and one by one emptied into the breaker. When they came to this spot there were two ways they could have gone. They could have got safely round the empty waggons, but unfortunately the little space between the two front waggons caught Dewar's eye, and he stepped in, but at that moment they bumped together and he was caught. He suggested the following verdict:- "The accident to John Dewar, engine fitter, employed at the Linlithgow Oil Works, took place about 7.30 a.m. on Sunday 9th June, while deceased was attempting to pass through a narrow space between two empty waggons, when a loaded waggon came up and struck one of the said empty waggons, causing him to be jammed between the buffers of the empty waggons, that the cause of death was the injuries received through being jammed as aforesaid" This verdict was adopted by the jury.

Linlithgow Gazette, 5th July 1901

 

MINING ACCIDENT - On Saturday morning a miner named Neil McMillan, residing at Holygate Rows, had one of his legs fractured by a piece of shale falling upon it in Roman Camp Mine. He was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 9th August 1901

 

FATAL RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT - A miner named John Fleming, residing in Uphall, was seriously injured in Young's Paraffin Oil Works on Tuesday, and was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where, after one of his arms had been amputated, he succumbed to his injuries.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 9th August 1901

 

MID-CALDER SHALE MINER INJURED – James Haddon, a shale miner, employed in one of the Oakbank Oil Company's pits at Mid-Calder, was shockingly injured on Thursday afternoon in an explosion. He had been ramming a shot, when it is supposed that the friction caused it to explode. Haddon was terribly injured about the head, arms and body. He was conveyed in the ambulance to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 6th September 1901

 

FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRIES IN EDINBURGH - The next inquiry was with reference to the circumstances attending the death of a boy named David Scott Telford, who was engaged steering a train of bogies, containing shale, on a haulage cable from Cobbinshaw shale mine to Tarbrax Oil Works, when he fell over one of the bogies and was almost instantaneously killed. The accident occurred shortly before eight o'clock on the morning of the 11th inst. One of the witnesses spoke to hearing a noise on the railway about half a mile from the shale mine, as if of the hutches going off the rails. On looking round he saw the body of the deceased thrown out from under the hutches, the first three apparently having passed over it.

The Scotsman, 27th September 1901

 

up 1902

MINING ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER. This morning a mining contractor named Robert Sneddon was seriously injured in Messrs Young's Oil Company's No. 32 shale mine at West Calder. Sneddon had the contract for sending up all the shale from the mine bottom to the surface, and had got in the way of the large bogey on which this shale is drawn up the mine, thereby sustaining serious injuries.  

The Edinburgh Evening News, 1st March 1902

 

FATAL ACCIDENT INQUIRIES - In Edinburgh Sheriff Court today, Sheriff Rutherfurd and a jury conducted an inquiry into six cases of fatal accidents... Robert Sneddon, a mining contractor, in the employment of Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company, Addiewell, who, while engaged in work at one of the shale pits, was on 1st March knocked down by two empty bogies and received injuries from which he died later in the day. Alexander Innes, a miner, residing at Gorebridge, who sustained fatal injuries on Tuesday, the 24th of December last, while riding on a hutch at one of the pits at Arniston, through his head being jammed between the hutch and roof of the roadway.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 20th March 1902

 

MINING ACCIDENT - Early on Wednesday morning an accident occurred at Hayscraigs mine whereby Adam Thomson, contractor, was badly hurt. Thomson was engaged filling the waggons with shale from the hutches, and was in the act of uncoupling an empty hutch from a full one when he was dragged some distance and sustained severe internal injuries. He was conveyed to his home at the East End, and medically attended to by Dr Scott.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 18th April 1902

 

PUMPHERSTON MINER KILLED - A young man named Hill Thompson, residing at Pumpherston Mid-Calder, succumbed yesterday to severe internal injuries received in No.5 mine of the Pumpherston Oil Company, Ltd., cause through a large piece of shale falling on him which at work.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 12th July 1902 [The Linlithgowshire Gazette lists him as Hill Wilson]

 

MINING ACCIDENT - On Saturday afternoon a miner named Nicol Reid, 50 years of age, residing in Old Town, while working at the stoops in the South Mine, had his leg severely injured by a fall of top shale.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 1st August 1902

 

PIT EXPLOSION AT PUMPHERSTON - THREE MEN HURT - An explosion of fire damp occurred this morning about half-past seven o'clock in No.4 Pumpherston Pit, Mid-Calder, when three men were seriously injured by burning. Their names are: Walter Wallace, miner, East Calder; James Reid, miner, East Calder; and Robert Wood, oversman, Pumpherston. The men were conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Wallace's injuries are of a serious character, he being badly burned about the face, head and arms.

The Daily Record, 1st August 1902

 

The remains of James Reid, and Walter Wallace, East Calder, victims of the Pumpherston mine explosion, were to-day interred in the village churchyard. Both funerals were largely attended, places of business being shut during the time of the interment. The local lodge of Free Gardeners and the St John's Lodge of Free Masons, Mid-Calder, of which Reid was a member, took part in the funeral arrangements. Reid leaves a widow and seven children – all under twelve years of age. Wallace was unmarried.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 4th August 1902

 

MINING ACCIDENT - On Friday afternoon, in the No.32 shale mine of Messrs Young's Oil Company, West Calder, David Crookstone, King Street,t Calder, had his leg broken. A large piece of loose shale got dislodged and fell with much force on Crookstone. He was conveyed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 22nd August 1902

 

ACCIDENT TO A PUMPHERSTON MINER - An accident took place in No.5 mine, belonging to Pumpherston Oil Company, whereby a miner named Samuel Shields, residing at Livingstone, was burned about the arms and forehead by an explosion of gunpowder. The man was removed to his home and medically attended to.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 11th September 1902

 

ACCIDENT AT HERMAND OIL WORKS - An accident took place this forenoon at the new Hermand Oil Works, West Calder, whereby a shale miner named Smith was seriously injured. Smith was employed in the mine when a fall took place, and he sustained severe injuries. He was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 11th September 1902

 

BROXBURN MINER ENTOMBED FOR 14 HOURS - Details of an exciting affair in a Broxburn mine have just transpired. Yesterday morning while Patrick Jordan and two other miners were working in No.1 Roman Camp mine, a large fall of waste material took place, which entombed Jordan. His companions at once gave the alarm, and the officials took steps for his release. It was found dangerous to interfere with the waste in case of further rush, and the only other method was to drive a passage through the solid shale the thickness of which was from 10 to 12 feet. The use of explosives was prohibited, in case of shaking the roof and sides, which were in a friable state. Consequently the passage had to be hewn out by pick and wedge. A number of miners worked in relays, and were cheered in their work by the knowledge that Jordan was safe and unhurt, he being heard distinctly to say so. From the nature of the work, progress was slow, and fourteen hours elapsed ere Jordan was reached. He was weak from want of food and his cramped position but otherwise was unhurt. He was conveyed home in a cab.

Source: Edinburgh Evening News, 2nd October 1902

 

MINING ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN - Henry Brown, an elderly man, residing at Broxburn, had a narrow escape in Broxburn South Mine this morning. He was knocked down by two runaway hutches on the dook road, and sustained a scalp wound and a rather severe crushing about the body, one of his ribs being broken.

Source: Edinburgh Evening News, 4th December 1902

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT COUSLAND - On Monday an unfortunate accident in No.2 shale mine, Cousland, whereby a miner named Robert Hoggan, residing at Seafield Rows, lost his life. It appears that the deceased had fired a shot and had been pincing down some of the loose stuff, when a large piece came away and knocked him down. When down, a second piece, weighing about 4 cwts., fell upon his leg, and crushed him against the stoops. The injuries he sustained were so serious that he was ordered to the Royal Infirmary, but died on the way.

The Falkirk Herald, 6th December 1902

 

MINING ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN - Early this morning a miner, named William Birrell, senior, residing at Middleton Place, Uphall, was severely injured by a fall of shale in Cawburn Mine belonging to Broxburn Oil Company, his right thigh being fractured. The injured man was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Edinburgh Evening News, 20th December 1902

 

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST WEST LOTHIAN DOCTORS - At Linlithgow today a public enquiry was held, before Sheriff Macleod and a jury as to the death of Robert Hoggan, miner, who was fatally injured at No.2 Cousland Mine, Seafield Works, belonging to the Pumpherston Oil Company, on 1st inst. While deceased was punching some loose shale from the roof of this working place a large piece of shale fell upon him, breaking his left leg and inflicting other injuries, from which he died on the way to the Royal Infirmary. In his evidence, Mr Renwick Cowan, manager, replying to Mr McLaren, H.M. Inspector of Mines, said the accident occurred between twelve and one o'clock at night. He heard of it between one and two in the morning, and on going to the pit he sent to Bathgate for the deceased man's doctor. The doctor, however, did not arrive till nine o'clock. The man had lost a lot of blood, he (Mr Cowan) who had had an ambulance training rendered first aid. Another works doctor was sent for, but he refused to come, the messenger said, as he was not the deceased's medical attendant. The manager then sent for two Mid-Calder doctors, and they also refused to come, the messenger said. As a matter of fact, at least three doctors refused to come. The deceased paid for Dr Simpson, Bathgate, and he arrived eight hours after the accident. Mr McLaren asked the Sheriff to pardon him for bringing this matter up, but he could not help thinking that this poor man died through that terrible curse in this country – professional etiquette. He did not blame the poor man, but the doctors. The Sheriff said the felling which Mr McLaren had give expression to was a very proper one, but there was one thing above all other that they had in a Court of Justice to be careful of, and it was not to condemn a man unheard. The doctors might be right or they might be wrong, but it would not do to condemn them in their absence. Mr Cowan stated that it was afterwards ascertained that Dr Simpson had been engaged in another case, and when he returned his servant neglected to inform him of this accident. A formal verdict was returned, the Sheriff remarking that he did not think that the jury could say whether the doctors had done anything wrong until they had heard their own statements. A juryman thought the doctors and messenger who went for them might have been present at the inquiry. The Sheriff said he rather thought that was outwith the scope of the inquiry, but no doubt if the parents thought the doctors had not done their duty there were other courses open to them.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 23rd December 1902

 

MINING FATALITIES AT LINLITHGOW - An accident of a rather serious character has happened to a miner named [Robert] Barnes [or Barns] in one of the mines connected with the Philpstoun Oilworks, Linlithgow. It appears that Barnes had been firing some shots, and one of these had gone off before he had time to get out of the way, with the result that he was knocked down and very seriously injured. By an effort he succeeded in ringing a bell and attracted the attention of some men of the night shift, by whom assistance was rendered. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary, where it was found necessary to amputate one of his legs. Barnes subsequently succumbed to his injuries.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 26th December 1902

 

up 1903

MINER BURNED BY GAS AT WEST CALDER. A miner named Michael Rennie, employed in Young's Oil Company's No.32 shale mine, has been burned about the chest, on the right arm and face, by an explosion of gas in the workings. Assistance was at hand when the accident took place, and Rennie removed to the surface and taken to his house at Mossend.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 24th February 1903

 

BURIED ALIVE - Last night about five o'clock a sad fatality took place in Broxburn Oil Works, a man named James McCann, residing at Stewartfield being the victim. He along with two other men named Joseph Laughlan, residing at Niddry, and John Donaldson, residing at Stewartfield, was engaged digging a deep drain in the eastern portion of the oil works, where large alterations are going on at present, when the wall gave way, and over 10 tons of earth and stones fell upon the men. Laughlan and Donaldson were rescued without much difficulty, and with but slight injuries, but McCann was found to be jammed against the side of the drain by a large stone, and a considerable time elapsed before he was released. On being examined by Dr Scott life was found to be extinct. Deceased leaves a widow and family.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 7th April 1903

 

ACCIDENT IN DALMENY SHALE PIT - On Monday Robert Bett, miner's drawer, residing in Clark Place, met with a severe accident in Dalmeny Shale Pit. Bett had been pushing along a hutch when, without warning, a large piece of shale fell from the roof upon him whereon he had his collar-bone fractured, and sustained injuries to his head. [See court case below]

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 17th April 1903

 

ACTION AGAINST DALMENY OIL CO. - In the outer House of the Court of Session on Tuesday, the record was closed and issues? ordered for the trial of an action in which Robert Bett, miner's drawer, Clark Place, Queensferry, sues the Dalmeny Oil Company (Limited) for £500 damages for personal injuries. The pursuer is seventeen years of age. On 14th April, 1903, he was working in Dalmeny shale mines, of which the defenders are lessees, and was injured by a fall from the roof of the level road. Damages are claimed in respect that the defenders failed to take the necessary steps to protect workmen using the road. Fault is denied by the defenders. All ordinary precautions were, they say taken to keep the pit safe. The roof was of strong shale, and if the accident was caused by the fault of anybody, which is denied, it was that of those in common employment with the pursuer.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 27th May 1904

 

MINER'S DRAWER'S ACTION - In the Court of Session on Tuesday the Lord-President and a jury heard evidence in an action by Robert Bett, miner's drawer, Clark Place, Queensferry, against the Dalmeny Oil Company (Limited), for £500 damages for personal injuries. The pursuer is 17 years of age. On 14th April, 1903, he was working in Dalmeny shale mines, of which the defenders are lessees, and was injured in a fall from the roof of the level road. He averred that the defenders were at fault in respect that they failed to take the necessary steps to protect workmen using the road. Fault was denied by the defenders. All ordinary precautions were taken to keep the pit safe. The roof was of strong shale and if the accident was caused by the fault of anybody, which was denied, it was that of those in common employment with the pursuer. After a short absence the jury returned a unanimous verdict for the pursuer, and assessed the damages at £250.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 29th June 1904

 

BROXBURN SHALE MINERS IN A RUNAWAY TRAIN. This morning a number of shale miners belonging to Broxburn and Niddry, and employed by Young's Oil Company, had a rather alarming experience while being conveyed to their work at Glendevon Pit by train from Niddry Works. On reaching a point where the line has a sharp decline it was found that the engine, which was pushing the carriages, was not coupled to the latter, and the carriages rushed down the line. A number of the miners, anticipating a smash, jumped from the carriages, and were more or less cut and bruised, the worst case being that of a Niddry miner named Hannigan, who had his right shoulder dislocated. The carriages took the wrong road at the points, and came into collision with some waggons, but fortunately they kept the line, and beyond a severe shaking the other miners escaped.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 1st June 1903

 

MINE ACCIDENT AT PHILPSTOUN.- On Thursday afternoon an explosion occurred at No.1 shale mine, Philpstoun, by which Alexander Anderson, residing in Linlithgow, was burned about the face and arms. It appears that the explosion was due to what is known in mining circles as a "feeder" following upon the firing of a shot, and that Anderson in going back to the working place met with his injuries in that way. First aid was rendered at the works which are well provided with ambulance men, after which he proceeded to his home where he was attended by Dr Hunter.

The Falkirk Herald, Saturday 27th June 1903

 

ACCIDENT AT LINLITHGOW OIL WORKS - John Lennox, a labourer, residing at Bridgend, one of the workmen engaged in the dismantling of the plant at Linlithgow Oil Works, met with an unfortunate accident there on Thursday morning. It appears that he had, along with others, been baring what are known as the fine oil boilers, and removing the brickwork. At the particular part where the accident happened a set of rails ran close into the building. A scaffold on which the men were working, projected, and when the bricks were taken off the end of the rail, the scaffold came away, and Lennox was precipitated to the ground. By the fall he dislocated his collar-bone, and was cut about the face and head. The injured man was afterwards attended by Dr Thom, Linlithgow.

The Falkirk Herald, 15th July 1903

 

Accident at Queensferry - Yesterday while John Minelias, miner, residing in Dalmeny Rows, was engaged in one of the working places in Dalmeny shale mine, a large piece of shale fell upon his back, crushing him to the ground, whereby his right leg was fractured at the thigh, and his head and body otherwise injured.  

The Edinburgh Evening News, 5th September 1903

 

KILLED IN A SHALE BREAKING MACHINE - A public inquiry was held at Linlithgow today into the circumstances attending the death of Richard Lees, labourer, who was killed at Philpstoun Oilworks in August last. Deceased had been employed at the shale breaking machine, and it was supposed he had slipped, and, falling into the shoot, was dragged through the breaker, death being instantaneous. Mr John Wilson, miners' agent, addressing the jury on behalf of the widow, suggested that the jury might add a rider to the effect that the company might put on a sliding door in connection with the breaker, so that accidents of this nature might be prevented in future. The Fiscal thought there might be a break on the opposite side of the waggon. The jury, while declining to add the rider, had no doubt the company would do what was possible to prevent any similar accident. A formal verdict was returned.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 22nd September 1903

 

ACCIDENT AT DALMENY SHALE PIT - While at his work on Thursday at one of the working places in Dalmeny Shale Mine, Wm., Marshall, miner, residing at Bellstane, South Queensferry, was bruised on the back by a stone falling from the roof on him. He was conveyed home in a machine..

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 25th September 1903

 

ACCIDENT AT WINCHBURGH - James Beveridge, a young lad employed as a drawer, has been seriously injured in a mine accident at Winchburgh. One of his legs and other parts of his person were severely crushed. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 30th November 1903

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT DALMENY OIL WORKS - At Dalmeny Oil Works this morning a young man named Hugh Paisley was killed by falling over the spent shale tip.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 18th December 1903

 

up 1904

BROXBURN MINER KILLED - A miner named William Anderson, who resided at Ashbank Cottages, Broxburn, was killed this morning at Cousland Mine, near Seafield, belonging to the Pumpherston Oil Company.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 29th February 1904

 

Mine Accident West Calder.—A miner named James Bathgate, residing in Mungle Street, West Calder, and employed in Messrs Young's Oil Company's No. 20 shale mine, was caught between two hutches, and sustained severe bodily injuries.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 15th April 1904

 

PIT ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER - A sad accident took place in No. 32 Shale Mine of Young's Oil Company at West Calder this morning, whereby a young man named J. Balfour Thornton, residing at Tenant's March, West Calder, was severely burned by an explosion. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 5th July 1904

 

MINER KILLED AT BROXBURN - A miner named Patrick Kavanagh, aged 28, residing at East Calder, was killed in No. 1 Roman Camp Mine, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company. Kavanagh, it is supposed, had been engaged pinching some shale loosened by shots, when a quantity came away upon him, crushing him about the head and body. The unfortunate man died almost immediately on being extricated. He leaves a widow and three of a family.

Edinburgh Evening News, 2nd September 1904

 

PIT ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER - This morning a somewhat serious accident occurred at Young's No.20 shale mine at West Calder. A young man named Charles Girdwood was working at the shale face when a large quantity of shale, which had been prepared for bringing down, unexpectedly gave way and fell upon him. Girdwood was conveyed in the ambulances waggon to the station and taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Edinburgh Evening News, 12th September 1904

 

up 1905

MINING ACCIDENT IN WEST CALDER - A miner named Frank Cosgrove, residing in Gavieside, and employed in Young's No.32 shale mine [Limefield], was seriously injured by an accident this morning. He was at work in the mine when a fall took place, and Cosgrove was severely crushed. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He is a married man, and has a young family.

Edinburgh Evening News, 23rd May 1905

 

EXPLOSION AT DALMENY SHALE MINE - EIGHT MEN INJURED - About half past six this morning an explosion of fire-damp occurred at Dalmeny Shale Mine, Dalmeny, whereby eight men were somewhat severely burned. Four of the men, who were more severely injured than the others, were conveyed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in the ambulance, while the other four were taken to their homes. The men in question worked under a contractor names Joseph Summers. In the morning it is customary for the foreman to examine all the workings before the men proceed to their daily tasks. This morning the foreman had made his usual round, and at number one level new dook he informed the men that they were not to proceed there, as, it seems, he had not made the examination. Contrary to this, however, the men, it is alleged, proceeded to the working there with the result that an explosion of fire-damp occurred, injuring all the eight men about the face and arms. The following are the names of the men injured: William Henry, Queensferry; Hugh Fernie, Dolphington; William Innes, Queensferry; A. Gilmour, Queensferry; William Park, Queensferry; James Black, Kirkliston; R. McCreadie, Queensferry; J. McCreadie, Dalmeny. The first four were found to be so seriously injured that on the doctor being called they were conveyed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by an ambulance waggon, which was procured from the Hawes Inn. They were despatched to the Infirmary about nine o'clock, while the other men, as has been said, who were less seriously injured, were sent to their homes. The contractor, Summer, who was down in the dook below was thrown down by the force of the explosion, but was not injured. At the Infirmary it was found that there [sic.] injuries consisted of burns to the face and hands, but no serious consequences are anticipated.

A NEW EXPERIENCE - It seems that the presence of fire-damp was not suspected, not having been met with before, it was stated, in this working and that the men apparently thought though the place had not been examined that it was safe. Fortunately the explosion was not of the worst character, the manager, who was seen this morning, characterising it as slight. So far as can be learned, Innes if the most seriously injured.

Edinburgh Evening News, 30th May 1905

 

MINING FATALITY AT MID-CALDER - John Watson, a miner, residing at Yellowstruthers, Bellsquarry, lost his life by an accident in the shale pit of Oakbank Oil Company at Mid-Calder. Watson had been engaged in filling operations at a place where a shot had been fired some time previously, when the roof unexpectedly gave way. The unfortunate workman was killed on the spot. Deceased leaves a widow and three of a family.

The Scotsman, Wednesday 23rd August 1905

 

FATAL ACCIDENT IN A BROXBURN SHALE MINE.- Yesterday morning a shale miner named Robert Praites [sic] [Praties] [or Fraties], who resided at Mid Street, Broxburn, lost his life in the South Mine, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company.  Praites, was working at the “face” when a fall of shale took place, the material weighing many tons.  When extricated Praites was found to be dead.  He was about 35 years of age, and leaves a widow and six of a family. [see court case below]

The Scotsman, Wednesday 23rd August 1905

 

SHALE MINING FATALITY - H.M. INSPECTOR AND THE PROPPING OF WORKING PLACES - At Linlithgow on Tuesday-before Sheriff Macleod and a jury – a public inquiry was held concerning the death of Robert Fraties [or Praties], miner, Mid Street, Broxburn, who was killed in South Greendykes Mine, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company, on 23rd August last, and the circumstances of the accident. The inquiry was conducted by Mr Main, procurator-fiscal of the county, and the other parties present were Mr McLaren, H.M. Inspector of Mines, Edinburgh; Mr W.C. Dudgeon, W.S., Edinburgh, for the employers; and Mr John Wilson, miners' agent, for the relatives of the deceased.

The witnesses examined were Wm. Clark, mine manager; Jas. Anderson, miner, Jeffrey's Buildings; Geo. Hudson, miner's drawer; and Andrew Ross, mine fireman, and the evidence went to show that on the date in question the deceased was engaged in what is known as "stooping." The fireman, Andrew Ross, had as was customary, examined the workings in the morning between five and six o'clock. He found the deceased's place perfectly safe to all appearance, and he reported it as such to the deceased when he saw him that morning. He (witness) did not sound the place that morning. He did not believe in sounding; but the place seemed to him to be all right and in good working order. There were no props up, as it did not require gibbing. Mr McLaren, H.M. Inspector of Mines, reminded witness that is was not for him to say whether it required propping or not-a special rule, no.9, provided that propping must be done. Jas. Anderson, miner, who worked along with the deceased, said they started work about a quarter past seven that morning. They bored a bench hole the first thing after going down, and they fired that about twenty minutes past seven. The stuff was then cleared away. About nine o'clock they bored a hole in the top shale, and the next thing the deceased did was to measure the height from the roof in order to put in a tree. He intended putting this prop next the "waste" to secure the roof. He was in the act of measuring when the fall took place. The breadth of the fall would be about eight feet, and, speaking roughly, there would be about three tons in the fall. The deceased was completely buried under it. Assistance was procured, and part of the stuff had to be broken up before the deceased could be extricated. He was very much injured. Witness noticed the presence of a "lipe" where the fall had taken place. The top shale had been overhanging during the night. There was no prop under it, but the deceased had sounded the top, and it sounded hard. He thought for all the time he would take in putting up the tree, that it was quite safe. In sounding this top shale it might give a sound indicating it was quite hard when it was not. The deceased was a careful and capable workman. In reply to Mr Wilson, witness said the bench shot had been left the previous night. If they had had props on either side, they could not have fired the bench shot the next morning. Witness could give no instance of a miner having been killed or injured from a fall of top shale unless where there was a skin or "lipe." Evidence was also given by Geo. Hudison, miner's drawer, residing at Port Buchan, who was drawer to the deceased and the last witness. He said he did not observe the roof "working" before the accident. The deceased was working up-hill, so that any weight that came would come down hill. Replying to Mr Wilson, witness said the shale simply fell away from the "skin" or "lipe."

At the close of evidence Mr McLaren, H.M. Inspector of Mines, in addressing the Court, commented on the apparent disregard of the Special Rule under the Coal Mines Regulation Act relative to the propping of working places by miners. They had had {stet} that day from the fireman that in this case he did not think propping was required, and he (Mr McLaren) desired to point out that it was not in the province of a fireman to say whether props were required or not-the Special Rule under the Act provided for that. There had been, he said, within the past few weeks, six successive fatal accidents, which were due to falls of sides and roof in working places, and he was of the opinion that some of these might have been prevented had proper precautions been taken. It was a source of sadness to him (Mr McLaren) to have to be continually calling the attention of managers and workmen alike to the necessity of seeing that the rules were strictly enforced. But in his capacity as inspector of mines he felt bound to do so, in order that these accidents might be reduced to a minimum. If men, he said, would only use their own sense and judgment, apart altogether from the rules, he was sure they would have less of these sad cases of men being killed or maimed for life. Up to the present date of this year there had been more accidents by working places not being properly protected than occurred during the whole of last year.

Mr Wilson said he was sorry to have to demur to Mr McLaren's remarks, because he was a gentleman for whom he entertained the highest respect. At the same time he thought this fireman had been rather roughly handled by the Inspector. It was quite true that Special Rule 9 provided that props should be put up, but it was all a question of whether in a case where the space was less than six feet there was room or not for putting up a prop. In his opinion it was utterly impossible for a man to work in a space such as they had in this case with props up. On the previous day the men had taken out a part of the bench shot next the "waste." The fireman explained that this bench shot was not holed at all. He maintained that the fireman was no more responsible for this place not being propped than the child that was to be born to-morrow. He submitted that suppose they had an half-a-dozen mining inspectors they could not find fault with this fireman. He contended that there was no top shale fell here except that which was next the "skin" or "lipe." Outside this additional Special Rule no. 9, it was all a matter of opinion on the part of the miners, and on the part of the fireman, as to whether the props, in circumstances such as they had here, should be put up.

The Sheriff, addressing the jury, said, like all others, His Majesty's Inspector frankly admitted that mining was an occupation full of danger. It could not be carried on without loss of life, unfortunately. But going about, as he did from one part of Scotland to another, he had borne in upon him this sad fact that in spite of necessary loss of life, there was also a great addition to that in regard to the carelessness of those engaged in the occupation; and having that borne in so strongly upon his mind from what he saw, he (the Sheriff) thought it was the duty of those engaged in that calling to take in kindly part any warning he saw fit to give them. There was considerable difference of opinion in regard to this particular accident, particularly as to whether the Special Rule, which they had heard mentioned, was applicable to it. He thought that when the gentlemen who at present took those widely different views came to look at the matter more calmly, they would all come to be of one opinion. At present there was a difference of opinion, but the duty of the jury, and his (the Sheriff's) duty, in regard to that difference of opinion was a remarkably simple one and that was to give them a fair field to fight it out elsewhere. He suggested that a verdict to the following effect might meet the case; but, of course, the verdict was theirs, not his, and they could adopt it or not as they saw fit: - That the accident to Robert Fraties, a miner, employed in South Greendykes Mine, belonging to the Broxburn Oil Company (Ltd.) took place on 22nd Aug., while he was engaged in his working place, when a large quantity of shale fell upon him and crushed him; that death took place then and there, and that the cause of death was through the shale falling upon him and crushing him as aforesaid. The jury adopted the verdict as suggested by the Sheriff.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 20th September 1905

KILLED BY ELECTRIC SHOCK - In the Sheriff Court at Linlithgow on Tuesday, an inquiry was held concerning the death of Robert McQuillan, labourer, who met his death at Niddry Oil Works, belonging to Oakbank Oil Company, on 14th inst. Mr Main, Procurator Fiscal, conducted the inquiry, and Mr G.L. Kerr, Glasgow, represented the employers.

John Black, manager at Niddry Works, said the motive power at these works was electricity. He was there on 14th inst. when this accident happened. A large beam of wood required to be removed from a haulage shed, and witness instructed the foreman labourer, John Stoddart, to take it down. The deceased and some other men were sent todo this. Immediately after taking down the beam Stoddart came around to him (witness), and he saw that something was wrong. He had come in contact with one of the live wires. Witness resorted to artificial respiration, and he did all he could for the deceased. The power was 300 volts, which was not considered dangerous.

The roof of the building was wet at the time, and the men's clothing was also wet, and all the conditions were such as to render contact with the wires dangerous. But under ordinary circumstances a voltage was not deadly. There were two wires, about 18 inches apart. Witness found a slight mark on the back of the deceased's neck, and another mark on the side of the neck, which was the worst of the two.

Witness's opinion was that the man had first come against the one wire, and getting a sting had come in contact with the other wire. Dr Bently was called in, and, after examining the body, certified death to have been instantaneous.

By the Sheriff -Q.- At the time you had not realised that there was any practical danger?

A.- No. Q.- What is your view now? Do you think something ought to be done to prevent a similar thing occurring again?

A.- No. This place is not a thoroughfare – it was on the top of a house. The beam was only a temporary thing, and we were taking it down again.

Q.- Do you now realise that under certain conditions, what you thought before was not dangerous, might come to be dangerous?

A.- No; I don't think so. We consider that we have taken every precaution and this is the first accident we have had. I don't think we require to take further precautions.

Other witnesses examined were John Stoddart, foreman labourer, and James Lawrie, platelayer, Winchburgh. In reply to the Sheriff, the last-named witness said it was quite easy to have kept clear of the wire. The verdict of the jury was to the effect that the deceased, while assisting to remove a wooden beam from the haulage store, came in contact with a live electric wire, and that he died from the shock therefrom.

The Linlithgowshire Gazetteer, 24th November 1905

 

up 1906

CRANE FATALITY AT TARBRAX - Yesterday afternoon a crane accident occurred at Tarbrax Oil Works which resulted in the death of David Topping, 30, a bricklayer in the employment of Thomas Topping, builder and contractor, Wheatfield Road, Edinburgh, and residing at Stane, Shotts. Topping was working at a building in course of construction when the jib of a crane gave way and struck him on the head, rendering him unconscious. He was removed by train to Edinburgh, but on arrival at the Infirmary was found to be dead.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 27th June 1906

 

FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT LIVINGSTON - The dead body of a workman, identified as that of Patrick Gillespie, was found yesterday on the North British Railway near Livingston Station. Gillespie had come from Ireland recently, and had obtained work with Pumpherston Oil Company. He was walking down the railway on the way to his work, when he was overtaken by a goods train. Death was instantaneous.

The Scotsman, 24th August 1906

 

A young man named Kane residing at Rosebery Buildings, South Queensferry, sustained serious injuries to-day by a fall from the roof of Dalmeny Oil Company's mine, and died on the way to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh wither he was being removed.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 26th September 1906

 

up 1907

SCOTTISH OIL WORKERS KILLED. SERIOUS AFFAIR NEAR LINLITHGOW. - A serious accident occurred yesterday at one of the pits connected with the Philpstoun Oil Works near Linlithgow. There was a heavy fall of roof, by which three men, named Fleming, Lindsay, and Donnelly, were killed, and a fourth, the father of the man Fleming, was badly injured.

The Dundee Courier, 30th January 1907

 

up 1908

DISTRESSING MINE ACCIDENT AT DALMENY. TWO MEN KILLED—THREE INJURED. A DISTRESSING accident involving the death of two men and the serious injury of three others occurred last night in the Dalmeny Pit, the property of the Dalmeny Oil Company (Limited.) Four of the men formed part of the shift which went on at eight o'clock in the evening, the fifth being Mr Scott Lees, the mine manager. The accident occurred shortly after the hour mentioned. The four men were proceeding along the main "road" of the mine, and when about four hundred yards from the foot of the shaft, a large piece of "black" shale became loose and, bringing another portion of the roof with it, fell without the slightest warning upon the men. Together with Mr Scott Lees, who was standing close by, the men were buried in the debris, which weighed several tons. Instantly the alarm was raised, and with all possible dispatch the work of rescue was begun. This proved a by no means easy task as, as the men were all in a more or less dazed condition, and utterly unable to do anything towards their own relief. It was at once seen that one of the men, George Halkett, had been killed outright, and that two of the others, Andrew Henderson and Scott Lees, were seriously injured, Henderson having several bones broken, while Scott Lees was dreadfully injured about the head. The body of Halkett, who was employed, in the mine as a fireman, was removed to his home in Dalmeny, and the other four men were conveyed in the Dalmeny and South Queensferry ambulance waggon to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, which was reached shortly after ten o'clock. Before the waggon got to the Infirmary, however, one of the four, Andrew Henderson, succumbed to the effects of his injuries. The body, which was never removed from the waggon, was subsequently conveyed to Kirkliston, where Henderson resided. At the Infirmary, the injuries to Scott Lees were found to be of a very serious nature, and at an early hour this morning he had not regained consciousness. The other two men were less seriously injured, and hopes are entertained for their speedy recovery. The names of the men are:— KILLED. George Halkett, fireman, Dalmeny. Andrew Henderson, miner, Kirkliston. INJURED. Scott Lees, mine manager, Dalmeny. John Frew, miner, Dalmeny Rows, Dalmeny. Walter Hamilton, miner, Bellstane, Queensferry. Source:

The Scotsman, Thursday 13th February 1908

 

FATAL ACCIDENTS INQUIRY - Joseph Galloway, miner, Dalmeny, sometime in the employment of the Dalmeny Oil Company, Limited, at Dalmeny Pit.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 13 March 1908

 

FATAL ACCIDENTS INQUIRY - Thomas Bell, fitter, 10 Canal Terrace, Linlithgow, sometime in the employment of James Ross and Co., Philpstoun Oil Works.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 13 March 1908

 

FATAL ACCIDENTS INQUIRY - James McDowell, miner, Niddry Rows, sometime in the employment of Young's Oil Company, Limited, at No.6 Shale Mine, Glendevon.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 13 March 1908

 

FATAL ACCIDENTS INQUIRY - Michael McEwan, labourer, 19 Niddry Rows, sometime in the employment of Young's Oil Company, Limited, at Hopetoun Oil Works.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 13 March 1908

 

BLASTING ACCIDENT AT THE MINE - On Monday, Peter Harvie, miner, residing at 22 Hope Street, Philpstoun, met with an accident while at work in one of the "dooks" of No.1 shale mine, belonging to James Ross & Co., Ltd, Philpstoun. It appears that about noon on the day mentioned, Harvie had charged and made ready two shots in his working place. After doing this he lit the fuse of what is called the Yankee or upper shot, and then, with his drawer, retired to a place of safety. In a few minutes the shot exploded, and he and the drawer were returning to the working place to light the second shot, when it suddenly went off, the fuse having apparently been ignited by the first shot. Hardie [sic.] was struck about the head and body by a quantity of the shale and rather badly injured. He was removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by the 12.55 train. It is feared that he may lose the sight of one of his eyes, but otherwise it is understood that the injuries are not so serious as was at first thought.

Falkirk Herald, 3rd October 1908

 

FATAL PIT ACCIDENT AT PHILIPSTOUN [sic].- Yesterday morning an accident occurred at No.4 open shale cast, belonging to Messrs James Ross & Company, Philpstoun Oil Works, near Linlithgow, by which John Naillon (20), lost his life, and another young man named Alexander Dales was severely injured.  The men had been engaged at the bottom of the open cast, when a slip right from the surface, and about thirty feet in depth, fell upon them.  Dales was speedily extricated, but six hours elapsed before the body of Naillon could be got out. 

The Scotsman, Saturday 12th December 1908

 

up 1909

MINING FATALITY AT BROXBURN - Yesterday morning an accident occurred in Stewartfield Mine, Broxburn, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company, which resulted in the death of an oversman named Robert Anderson, and the serious injury of a chain-runner named Archibald McCourt. The mishap was caused by the breaking away of a rake of loaded hutches, which in its downward course overtook the men, who were working about the main road. It was at once seen that Anderson's condition was serious, his left leg and foot being shockingly mangled. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but he died shortly after his admission. McCourt's injuries were about the head and arms, but were not of so severe a nature, and he was conveyed home. Anderson leaves a wife and young family.

The Scotsman, 2nd March 1909

 

THE ACCIDENT AT HOPETOUN MINE - The accident at the Hopetoun Shale [No.44] mine in which Robert Smellie, oversman, was fatally injured was of a similar nature. The deceased had been engaged at No.2 bench of the main dook, when he was struck by a rake of runaway hutches and seriously injured about the head. He had been struck by the rake when crossing the road to get to a place of safety, and was crushed against the props. He died almost immediately. The witnesses in this inquiry were Peter Wilson, underground manager; Alex. Cairns, mining contractor, Threemiletown; and Daniel McMichnel, chain-runner, Broxburn. In this case also the verdict was a formal one.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 26th March 1909

 

AWFUL DEATH OF WORKMAN AND BOY IN STILL AT WEST CALDER WORKS - A sad burning accident took place at Oakbank Oil Works, resulting in the loss of two lives. A boilermaker named James Boyle (50) and a young lad named James Kavanagh (15) were at work inside one of the stills - a large iron boiler in which the oil is distilled. the workers were engaged making repairs on the still when, without any warning, one of the adjoining stills which was full of hot oil took fire. The flames enveloped the top of the still in which the workman and the lad were imprisoned, completely cutting off their retreat. The works fire brigade were at once called out, and by every possible means tried to get at the imprisoned workers. When the flames had been got under and it was possible to reach the still in was found that the boy was dead. Boyle was promptly rescued, but the heat and suffocating fumes had so overpowered him that he only lived a few minutes after being taken from the still. The bodies were taken to the works store and dressed and thereafter taken to their homes. Boyle is a married man, and leaves a widow and nine of a family, while Kavanagh resided with his parents at Oakbank.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 6th April 1909

 

ACCIDENT TO A MINER'S DRAWER - On Thursday evening last John Ward, jun., [possibly John Dwyer] miner's drawer, residing at Kingscavil, met with an accident at No.1 Shale Mine. He had been coming out of the main haulage road with a loaded hutch of shale when his hand was caught between the hutch and the roof supports, and he received a lacerated wound to the little finger of his right hand. He was taken to Linlithgow, where his injuries were dressed by Dr Thom.

Falkirk Herald, 2nd October 1909

up 1910

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT PUMPHERSTON OILWORKS - SIX MEN INJURED - A serious accident took place at Pumpherston Oilworks, Mid-Calder, yesterday, whereby six workmen were injured. All the injured workmen were in the employment of a contractor who was erecting a building to convey the spent shale from the retorts to a new bing about to be formed for the refuse material. The staging on which the men were employed was at a considerable height, estimated at about thirty feet. Without warning, something went wrong, and the workmen were precipitated to the ground. Assistance was at hand, and medical aid was at once secured. The injuries to several of the workmen were found to be of so serious a nature that it was decided to have them at once removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Pumpherston ambulance waggon and the waggons from West Calder and Broxburn were obtained, and five of the men taken to the Infirmary, the sixth being taken home. The injuries to two of the men are said to be of a serious nature. Following are the names of the five men admitted to Edinburgh Infirmary yesterday:- Donald O'Donnell (21), Uphall - injuries to head, chest, and legs. John Duthie (35), Broxburn - injuries to back and cheat. Frank Gallacher (27), Broxburn - injury to head and leg. William McDonald (48), Blackburn - injuries to chest. Peter Clark (34), Broxburn - bruised thigh.

The Scotsman, 11th February 1910

 

MINING ACCIDENT - On Thursday last a serious accident occurred in Young's Oil Company, Glendevon, which latterly led to the death of John Douglas (54), a miner, residing at Faucheldean, Winchburgh. It would appear that Douglas had been engaged taking down "top" shale, and had tried with his pinch a large piece which was quite close to his working "face." This piece would not come away, and he evidently had gone under it to hole it a little further, telling the boy who was with him to put his hand on the piece and give him warning if he found it giving way. The lad had just touched it when it fell, crushing Douglas to the ground. It was not so much the weight of shale that fell as the manner in which he was crushed against a large piece of shale, which was lying in the place at the time, that did the injury to his spine. He was immediately dug out, and conveyed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he died, as stated, on Sunday evening.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 25th February 1910

 

MINING ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER.- Yesterday a miner named Alexander Gallacher, residing in West Calder, was severely injured in Young's Oil Company's West Mains shale mine at West Calder.  Gallacher had been signalling to an engineman who was lowering a rake of empty hutches, when one of the hutches broke away and overtook him before he could get clear.  One of Gallacher's arms was broken, and a leg severely injured.  He was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Scotsman, Friday 12th August 1910

 

CURLDUBS [CARLEDUBS] MINE ACCIDENT - FALL OF TOP SHALE - A public inquiry was held at Linlithgow on Tuesday – before Sheriff Macleod and a jury – as to the death of David Morwood, miner, who resided at I?? Cottage, West End, Broxburn, who was fatally injured by an accident in Curldubs [Carledubs] Shale mine, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company, on 22nd October. The parties present were:- Mr Macknight, Procurator-Fiscal; Mr Robinson, Assistant Inspector of Mines; and Mr R. Gloag, solicitor, Glasgow, for Broxburn Oil Company. Alex. Rae, miner's drawer, said he was drawer to the now deceased David Morwood in Curldubs [Carledubs] Mine. About half-past 11 on the day of this accident the deceased was engaged holing the shale, and was lying on his side. He could not say if he was on his knees. Witness was filling hutches outside, and had his back to him. He heard a fall of shale, and turning round, he found Morwood was in darkness. Witness could see by the light of his own lamp. He shouted, but got no answer. He then went forward, and found a large piece of shale, weighing about 1½ tons, had come away and completely buried Morwood. Witness got assistance, and had the shale levered off the top of him. He was quite dead. The piece of shale had fallen from the roof. Witness had not noticed it previously. Saturday being a short day, he never got time to go near the face. He could not account for the piece of shale coming away from the roof. Examined by H.M. Inspector, witness said, he was in the place several times that morning, and stayed some considerable time. The deceased had put up some timber that morning. He could not say if he put any under this stone. He (witness) gave him three props that morning, and he wanted another, and got it. That made four. He paid no attention as to whether he had set these props or not. Witness had not been in the place since. It was a piece of top shale that came away, and not an overhanging stone. After evidence had been given by John Gibson, miner and Alex. Gilbert, miner, both employed in this mine, and who assisted to have the deceased removed after the accident. Farquhar McIntosh, oversman, who had been acting as fireman on this particular shift, in the absence of the regular fireman, said he made his first inspection between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning. He inspected the roof of Morwood's place. There was no overhanging shale above this place. It was quite safe at that time. His second inspection was made before the accident. At this time he found that a holing shot had been bored in front of the stoop, with one on the broad side, and another further up. At that time is was quite safe. From the second inspection he (witness) did not anticipate any danger whatever. Mr Clark, the manager, and he examined the place after the accident, and they found that a large fall of shale had taken place. He (witness) could give no reason for the shale falling, because the place was in quite safe condition, but the holing shots on the broad side had been fired after he left, and he could say nothing after that. It did not occur to him that there was not sufficient timber in the place. By H.M. Inspector – There were two holing shots to be fired after he (witness) left the place. Q. – Then that would cut out shale from this piece that fell, and leave it overhanging? A. - Yes. Q. - When you left you knew the shots were going to do that? A.- Yes; it could do nothing else. That would expose more shale above him. Q.- What does the rule require as regards the timbering of top shale? A.- It requires 3½ ft. between each gib. Q. - That is your rule. What is the hard and fast rule required by the Act where there is overhanging shale? A. - Six feet. Q. - How long was this piece of shale? A.- It was nine feet. The manager and I examined it after the accident occurred. We found there had been a top hole driven. It had been the intention to blow this top part down. Q. - What necessity was there for him to hole after the holing shot? A. - Well, as a rule, if there is anything left in the hole, they usually take out what is left by the shot. After these shots were fired, it was the rule to support the overhanging shale. He found no timber underneath this stone, or any that was likely to have been set under the stone. As far as he could see, it had not been supported. At the close of the evidence, a formal verdict was returned.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 4th November 1910

 

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT ADDIEWELL WORKS - While two retort men, named James Harvey and James Mulligan, wore employed repairing the hutch road leading to the spent shale bing at Addiewell works, the endless chain by means of which the hutches are raised started. Harvey was struck by it, and thrown over a bridge, while Mulligan was thrown in the opposite direction. Harvey was seriously injured and was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Scotsman, 8th December 1910

 

MINE ACCIDENT AT DEANS THREE MEN INJURED. An alarming gas explosion occurred at No. 5 shale mine, Deans, near Bathgate, late on Wednesday night, whereby three miners, named David Kerr, Robert Kerr, and William Jack, the last-named a married man, were severely burned about the hands, face and body. The injured men were brought to the surface with all promptitude, and their injuries dressed, after which they were conveyed in an ambulance waggon to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Jack and R. Kerr are in a critical condition, and D. Kerr is progressing as well as can be expected.

The Scotsman, Friday 30th December 1910

 

up 1911

EXPLOSION IN SHALE PIT - RESULTS IN INJURIES TO FIVE MINERS - An explosion occurred yesterday at the shale pit, belonging to the Dalmeny Oil Company, situated near the Forth Bridge. The explosion happened shortly before midday in what is known as the Broxburn seam of the Old Pit, when the whole shift of the men were at work. It is thought that the explosion, was occasioned through a light coming in contact with the gas that accumulated in the disused workings. The report was alarming, and of such a nature as to cause fears to arise that the number of men injured would be large. Fortunately there fears were not realised, and the injuries were confined to five employees. There names are: - Arthur Connolly (50), Hill Square, South Queensferry; William Lees (17), Forbes Gardens, South Queensferry (motor boy); Robert Grieve (30), Leadhope, Yarrow, Selkirk; George Livingston (41), Railway Row, Dalmeny (fireman); Frank Gilhooly (34), Railway Row, Dalmeny (pit contractor). There were several others with slight injuries but they were able to proceed home. The five above mentioned were conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in two police ambulances from South Queensferry, their injuries consisting of severe burns on the head, arms, and legs.

The Dundee Courier, 17th October 1911

 

SUDDEN DEATH - George Yardley of natural causes at Loaninghill. [Full article to be added]

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 20th October 1911

 

FATAL MINING ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER - A miner named James Fairley, who resided at Gavieside; West Calder, lost his life yesterday forenoon in Young's Oil Company's No. 32 shale mine. It appears that a shot had been fire, and the shale which had been brought down struck Fairley before he got clear. Medical aid was summoned, but life was found to be extinct. He leaves a widow and children.

The Scotsman, 21st November 1911

 

up 1912

SERIOUS PIT ACCIDENT AT TARBRAX - There were admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary yesterday afternoon two miners who were suffering from serious injuries caused by an accident in a pit at Tarbrax, which was said to be due to an accumulation of gas. The men are Patrick Christie, 32 years of age, and Robert McCarroll, 40, who both reside in Tarbrax. Both men were reported to be in a serious condition, McCarroll suffering from concussion, and probable fracture of the skull. It is understood that another man who was concerned in the accident was fatally injured.

The Scotsman, 26th January 1912

 

MINING ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN.- On Saturday a miner named Samuel Chambers, sen., was hurt by a fall of shale which occurred while he was at work in the North Mine, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company (Ltd.) Chambers was severely crushed by the fall, and he was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from internal injuries.

The Scotsman, 29th January 1912

 

OVERTAKEN BY RUNAWAY HUTCH - The next inquiry had reference to the death of Harry Teeney [Feeney] and George Stirret, mine roadsmen, residing at Abercorn Place, Winchburgh, who were employed in No.1 Shale Mine, Duddingston, belonging to the Oakbank Oil Company. On 27th May last, while the deceased were proceeding to their work down the main haulage road, they were overtaken and knocked down by a runaway hutch. Feeney was killed, and Stirret died on the same day from the effects of the injuries in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. Among those present were Messrs E. Pritchard, H.M. Inspector of Mines, Edinburgh; John McLachlan, solicitor, Glasgow, for the relatives of Feeney; and D.L. Smith, Glasgow for the employers. George Dewar, oversman, Newton, was the first witness. There were, he said, two mines; No.1 was the haulage road, and No.2 the travelling road. These two roads were connected by cross-cuts. There was a double set of rails on the haulage road, and it was worked on the endless tow-rope system. The hutches were fastened to the tow-rope by means of a chain 12 ft. long, with a chain at either end. The men had no business on the haulage road when going to their work. There was a notice at No.27 Bench pointing out that the men were not allowed to travel on the haulage road. In his opinion the hutch had run away through the chain coming off the rope. They had blocks to prevent hutches which were being taken up an incline running backwards. The men were found at No.23 Bench, and they found that the hutch had broken away at No. 9 Bench. The distance between these benches would be about 470 yards, and the incline was about one in four. There was very little to induce men to prefer the haulage road to the travelling road. In reply to Mr. Pritchard, witness said that since this accident had occurred a notice had been put at the entrance of the pit bottom. The men going in that direction could not pass without seeing it. By Mr McLachlan – He expected that the deceased men would have their attention drawn to the notice. They did not do any repairs on the haulage road while the haulage was in motion. Witness did not remember whether he was present when these men left the entrance that morning. He had known of a hook coming out before. By Mr Smith – Their system was one of the most modern. The travelling road was about 10ft wide by 6ft high and the haulage road about 12ft wide by 7ft high. The accident occurred in the early hours of the morning. The hutch had travelled about 200 yards on the Saturday before the haulage stopped, and he thought the hutch must have become detached in some way immediately the haulage started on Monday morning. The distance from where the hutch became detached to where it struck the men was 460 yards approximately. Alex. Granger, bencher, Winchburgh, said he started work shortly after six o'clock on the morning of 27th May. At that time the haulage was not in motion. Shortly before it started he saw eight men, including two deceased and Archibald Gracie, coming from the travelling road to the haulage road at his section. He knew they were doing wrong, but did not think it his business to stop them. Shortly after Gracie and the deceased men passed the tow-rope started, and a hutch ran away and ran right past his bench. Then the haulage stopped, and he heard someone calling for help. When he went down he saw Gracie sitting at the side of the road with his leg broken, Feeney dead, and Stirret badly injured and unconscious. By Mr McLachlan – It was not a very frequent thing for men to go down the haulage road. James Rennie, oncost man, Newton; Wm. Dewar, hanger-on, Winchburgh; and Dr Alex. Galletly, house surgeon, Edinburgh Royal infirmary, also gave evidence. At this stage on the suggestion of Mr Pritchard, the Sheriff gave permission for tow devices for stopping runaway hutches to be explained to the jury. The Sherriff said it would be an excellent thing if those in authority in every mine could be persuaded to adopt some such precaution as they had seen. It must be within their knowledge that a great many valuable lives could thus be saved which would otherwise be lost. He hardly liked to go the length of asking the jury to add a rider to their verdict, because a rider had a tendency to annoy people. He was quite sure H.M. Inspector would bring this matter before the managers of mines, and from what he knew of the latter he felt sure they would be willing to adopt any reasonable suggestion he might make. If H.M. Inspector made a reasonable suggestion, and it was scoffed at, then was the time to add a rider. The jury returned a formal verdict.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 2nd August 1912

 

KILLED IN SHALE MINE - Inquiry was next made into the death of David Smith, miner, Kirkhill Park, Broxburn, who was killed by a fall of coal in No.2 Shale Mine [North], Roman Camp, Uphall, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company, on 13th Jun. Mr George S. Macknight, Procurator-Fiscal for the county, conducted the inquiry, and there were present Messrs E. Pritchard, H.M. Inspector of Mines, and James M. Raeburn, Glasgow, for the employers. Wm Dungavil, miner's drawer, Broxburn, deponed that he worked as deceased's drawer. They proceeded to their work early on the morning of 13th June, and when they came to their place Smith proceeded to examine it. He seemed to think it was in good order. They started work, and all went well until half-past one in the afternoon. Smith was putting in a crown on the stoop side. He put in one end, and while witness held the other end he took the measurement for the leg. Then an enormous fall took place, thrusting witness aside and completely burying Smith. He could give no idea as to what caused the fall. By Mr Pritchard – He thought the wooding of the place complied with the rules. James McConnell, miner, Uphall, gave evidence as to removing the fallen material from the top of Smith. Arthur Cadman, fireman, Broxburn, said he visited Smith's place early on the morning of the accident, and found everything in order. He made a second inspection about ten o'clock. About that time Smith was boring a hole in order that he might fire a shot. The place was well wooded. A "lipe" could have caused the fall, but there was no "lipe" in that place. James Constable, mine manager, Broxburn, stated that this was a stoop place, and there was always a little more weight in such places. In the solid working of that seam they scarcely timbered at all. He thought if more wood had been put in this place there would hardly have been room for the man to work. They had worked that seam for practically twenty years, and this was the first serious accident that had occurred. By Mr Pritchard – If Smith had put in the tree before he fired the shot probably no accident would have occurred. A formal verdict was returned.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 2nd August 1912

 

up 1913

MINING ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER - A miner named Robert Turner, residing at Gavieside, West Calder, was severely injured on Saturday in Young's Oil Company's No.26 shale mine. A moving hutch caught Turner as he was entering a manhole for safety. His left leg was broken below the knee and after being medically attended he was removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Scotsman, 17th February 1913

 

A SHALE MINER'S DEATH - The fourth inquiry was in regard to the death of Charles McQueen, shale miner, 2 George Street, Broxburn, who died on the 15th May at Glendevon Shale Mine, Kirkliston, belonging to Young's Paraffin light and Mineral Company, as the result of a shale fall from the roof. Allan Cowie, miner's drawer, Broxburn, deponed that he was engaged along with the now deceased Charles McQueen at work in No. 2 Glendevon Shale Mine. They were taking down the top shale, when it came away. They had previously got this top shale. They failed to remove a piece of the shale, and after trying it for a time, McQueen started to uncut it. Before doing so, witness did not see him put any props up. There was no wood suitable for props in the place. Witness did not see any. While the deceased was employed in this cut, witness was engaged filling the hutch. When he heard the fall and looked round, he heard McQueen call out. William Gow, miner, living at Winchburgh, said he was working in the mine at a place adjacent to the deceased, when he heard a cry for help. He went to the deceased's assistance, and helped to carry him out.
Thomas Milne, foreman at the mine, residing at Winchburgh, said he made a round of the place at 5.20 or thereabout on the morning of the accident, and found the place quite safe and properly wooded. There was one tree 5ft. 7½in., and a lot of spare timber.
By H.M. Inspector of Mines – There was one spare post of timber in the place, and he considered that it was quite safe. A formal verdict was again returned.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 13th June 1913

 

Last night a fire was discovered to have broken out in No 2 Cawbeam [Cawburn?] Mine, belonging to the Broxburn Oil Company, Ltd., Broxburn, Linlithgow, and despite all efforts the flames continued to spread. In consequence over 100 men were thrown idle this morning, - it is hoped they will be employed in other mines. The mine has been damped down and will probably remain closed for a week or two.

The Lincolnshire Echo, 3rd June 1913

 

MINING ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER - A young man named James Boyd, son of Robert Boyd, residing at Mossend, West Calder, was severely injured in Young's Oil Company's Alderstone shale mine yesterday. Boyd had been pushing a hutch along one of the roads, when he came to a part which is spanned by a bridge. Before he could stop the hutch to get the bridge into position it toppled over and took him with it. Boyd was thrown over the hutch, and fell down the incline, which is steep. Fortunately for him the hutch jammed, or he would have been killed. When the workmen got him, it was found that his right leg was broken, and he had several severe scalp wounds.

The Scotsman, 16th September 1913

 

FATAL ACCIDENT AT UPHALL OILWORKS - At daybreak on Saturday morning, the dead body of a workman was found on the railway within Youngs Company's oilworks at Uphall. The man appeared to have been run over by a waggon on waggons some time during the night. The body was later identified as that of David Nicol (52), who was employed as a fan attendant in the works. He resided at Kirkhill Park, Broxburn, and leaved a widow and grown-up family.

The Scotsman, 1st December 1913

 

up 1914

WEST CALDER - MINER BURIED WITH A FALL — A shale miner named J. Gillespie, married, residing in West Calder, had a terrible experience in Young's Oil Company's No.32 Shale Mine. Gillespie was working by himself when a large fall of material took place, completely burying him. A fellow-workman found him and with presence of mind set to work until he had cleared away as much of the fall as allowed the unfortunate man to breathe. He then hurried to another section of the mine for assistance. The workmen took nearly three hours before they go Gillespie from under the debris. When brought to the surface his injuries were found to be so serious that he was at once conveyed to the Edinburgh Infirmary.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 10th April 1914

 

BROXBURN - SHALE MINE ON FIRE — The miners employed in Stewartfield Mine, Broxburn, are idle, on account of fire having broken out in the mine. The discovery was made early yesterday morning, when dense volume of smoke and flame was seen issuing from the mine mouth. With a view to damping out the fire, the opening was at once closed with railway sleepers and spent shale. About forty men are temporarily out work, but they will probably be accommodated in other mines in a day or two.

The Daily Record, 14th May 1914

 

BROXBURN - SHALE MINERS INJURED - Two shale miners - Robert Hendry, senior, and his son, Robert Hendry, jun. - residing at Port Buchan, Broxburn, were injured as the result of a shot going off unexpectedly while they were at work yesterday on Hayescraig Mine, belonging to the Broxburn Oil Company. Both men sustained numerous small puncture wounds in the body, and were removed home in an ambulance wagon.

Daily Record, 1st July 1914

 

TWO MEN INJURED IN MINE A serious mining accident took place in Young's Oil Company's No.32 Shale Mine at West Calder, by which two miners named John Kane and Walter Mackie were injured. A fall took place, and Kane was severely injured that he had to be conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Mackie's injuries were not so serious, and he was conveyed to his home in West Calder.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 2nd November 1914

 

KIRKLISTON MINER KILLED - Yesterday afternoon a shale miner named David Anthony (46), who resided in the village of Kirkliston, Linlithgowshire, was killed while at work in Ingliston Mine, belonging to Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company (Limited). Several tons of shale fell from the roof of the place where he was at work, crushing him to death. He leaves a widow and four children.

Edinburgh Evening News, 21st November 1914

 

MINE ACCIDENT - A shale miner named Peter Binnie, residing at West Burnside, was working in No.35 Pit, Threemiletown, belonging to Young's Oil Company, Ltd. Binnie was engaged with other two men erecting a heavy prop, when a quantity of shale fell upon him. He sustained a compound fracture of the left thigh, besides a simple fracture to both bones below the knee. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 1st January 1915 [Accident on 25th December 1914]

 

up 1915

 

Workman's terrible death at Deans Oil Works, Thomas Gray.

Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 2nd January 1915

 

A shale miner, named Joseph [or John] Roy, who resided at Livingston Station, Mid Calder, was seriously burned on Tuesday in No.3 mine, Deans, belonging to the Pumpherston Oil Company. He was at once brought to the surface, and, after having his hurts dressed, he was taken in the ambulance waggon to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but died from his injuries.

Hamilton Advertiser, 16th January 1915

 

MINING ACCIDENT - An accident of rather a serious nature occurred in one of Oakbank Oil Company's shale mines at Duddingston on Monday morning, whereby Alexander Haddow, fireman, residing at 94 Midhope Place, and Alexander Greenhorn, oncostman, residing at 86 Midhope Place, were burned by gas. We understand that Haddow, in his capacity as fireman, was showing Greenhorn where to find some material he required when the accident happened. First-aid was rendered to the men in the mine in a most efficient manner by their fellow workmen, after which they were removed home, where they were further attendeed to by Dr Joseph Stark, who later in the day ordered Haddow's removal to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. Haddow has a great record as a pedestrian, and is well known throughout the whole of Scotland.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 30th April 1915

 

SEQUEL TO MINING ACCIDENT - As a result of injuries sustained in the recent accident in Duddingston Mine, as reported in our columns last week, Alexander Haddow died in the Royal Infirmary last Friday morning. The interment took place in Winchburgh Cemetery on Monday afternoon. Much sympathy is extended to the bereaved widow and family.

West Lothian Courier, 7th May 1915

 

MINING FATALITY AT PUMPHERSTON - A miner named Thomas Tafs [or Taft] has lost his life in No 4 Shale Mine at Pumpherston, Mid-Calder. Deceased was at work in the mine when a quantity of material fell from the roof and broke his neck. Death was almost instantaneous. Tafs was a married man, and leaves a widow and family.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 19th May 1915

 

ACCIDENT AT TARBRAX OILWORKS - A shale miner named Donald Ferguson, who resides at Tarbrax has been seriously injured in No.1 Pit, belonging to the Pumpherston Oil Company. The accident was caused by a runaway hutch. His injuries were of such a nature that he was at once removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 11th August 1915

 

DEANS MINER INJURED - About half past three o' clock on Saturday last John Lunn, a miner, residing at Livingston Station, was injured by an accident in No.3 Shale Mine, Deans, occupied by Pumpherston Oil Company. Lunn had been proceeding up what is called "the cuddy brae" in No.20 bench slope dook, when a quantity of shale fell from the stoop side, and part of it struck Lunn, knocking him down. He sustained a fracture to the ribs on the left side, besides which left lung was punctured. He was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, for treatment.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 24th September 1915

 

ACCIDENT - While James McCormack, Newbridge, was engaged at work in Ingliston Pit, a fall of shale occurred, breaking his leg and ankle. The injured man was brought to the surface, and attended to by Dr Stewart, and thereafter conveyed home.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 29th October 1915

 

HOW PIT ACCIDENTS ARE CAUSED - Two cases of mining contraventions were heard in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Alex. McBeth, a fireman, residing at Bell's Quarry, Mid-Lothian, was fined £3 for failing to record that he had found inflammable gas in a shale mine at Mid-Calder. An agent on behalf of the accused said the quantity of gas was so small that accused thought that he had burned it all out with his safety lamp. It was seventy minutes afterwards that an accident occurred to a miner, a flame burning his face and hands. In the other David Bain, a drawer, residing at Tarbrax Lanarkshire, was fined £2 for omitting to close the stop block at the top of a self-acting incline in a pit at Cobbinshaw. As a result a hutch ran down the incline striking and seriously injuring a man.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 9th November 1915

 

up 1916

SHALE MINER KILLED - At No.3 shale mine, Seafield, near Bathgate, owned by the Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd, Alexander Spiers, miner, was fatally injured through a fall of shale. The deceased was 39 years of age, and leaves a widow and young family.

Falkirk Herald, 22nd January 1916

 

ACCIDENT AT PHILPSTOUN - On Tuesday forenoon a regrettable accident occurred at Philpstoun Shale Mine, when a lad, named Andrew Sneddon, 16 or 17 years of age, who lives at 151 High Street, Linlithgow, and is working as a miner, was struck by a hutch which ran against him. He was picked up in an injured condition, and later was sentb to his home after it had been ascertained thathis condition was not so serious as to require infirmary treatment.

Falkirk Herald, 12th February 1916

 

Yesterday afternoon a miner's drawer named Thomas Crawford, who resided in Main Street, Uphall, was killed by a fall of shale in Curdubs [sic] Mine, belonging to Broxburn Oil Company. A miner named Matthew Allan, who resides at Alexander Street, Uphall, received slight injuries and shock.

The Scotsman, Friday 12th May 1916

 

FATALITIES AT PHILPSTOUN MINE - Two Lads Killed by Fall of Shale - A very sad double fatality occurred at Philpstoun Shale Mine at a late hour last Thursday night, resulting in the death of two young lads, Homer Wilson, aged 17, and James M'Kirdy, aged 15, the former residing in Philpstoun and the latter in Bridgend. It appears that while they were at work in the mine, an iron girder, which was supporting a part of the roof, suddenly gave way without any warning, and a large fall of shale buried the two lads. On the news of the accident becoming known, a party was at once organised, including Mr Wilson, the father of one of the lads, and after a lapse of a short time the bodies were recovered. It was found that the lad Wilson was quite dead, while M'Kirdy expired very shortly afterwards. Dr Thom had been communicated with, and arrived from Linlithgow in a very short time, but too late to do anything further than to certify that both were dead.The sad event cast a gloom over the district and deep sympathy was felt for the bereaved parents. The funerals took place on Monday to Linlithgow Cemetery, when there was a very large gathering repreentative of Philpstoun and district, and including many young friends of the unfortunate lads.

Falkirk Herald, 24th June 1916

 

BURNING ACCIDENT IN SHALE MINE - As the result of an explosion of gas and a burning accident in No.26 Shale Mine [Polbeth], belonging to Young's Oil Company, at West Calder, a young married man named Isaac Prentice has died, in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Another miner named Edward Irvine, was also burned and is at present in the Infirmary.

Hamilton Advertiser, 12th August 1916

 

MINING FATALITY - A young man named Robert Prentice, son of Mr. Adam Prentice, Mossend, West Calder, has lost his life as the result of an accident in No.26 shale mine [Polbeth], West Calder. He was found suffering from serious injuries, and was at once conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he died. A few days ago a brother of Prentice lost his life by a burning accident in the mine.

Daily Record, 23rd August 1916

 

FATAL ACCIDENT ENQUIRIES - The circumstances attending the death of John Millar, labourer, 86 Stewartfield, Broxburn, were inquired into. From the evidence led it appeared that Millar had been working on the 24th of October in a sulphate-house at Broxburn, belonging to the Broxburn Oil Company, at the removal of dried sulphate of ammonia from the stall to the grinding-mill, when a quantity of sulphate fell, overbalancing Millar, causing him to stumble into the grinding-mill, where he was killed instantaneously.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 15th December 1916 [relates to 24th October]

 

ACCIDENT AT WHITEQUARRIES SHALE MINE - Last Thursday, as a result of the explosion of shot at Whitequarries Shale Mine, occupied by Messrs James Ross and Co., two miners, John Fleming, 310 High Street, Linlithgow, and Clement Pye, Castle Road, Winchburgh, were rather seriously injured. It appears they had been working at the face with an electrically driven drilling machine, when a shot exploded, and Fleming received the full charge in his face and left side, while Pye, who was working further back at the electric motor, was struck in the left side by the flying fragments of shale. It is feared that Fleming's eyes will be very much injured. Both men Recived medical attention, and were conveyed subsequently to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where, we understand, they are progressing favourably.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 29th October 1916

 

FATAL ACCIDENT ENQUIRIES - The first of these concerned the death of Patrick Gallagher, labourer, Dalmeny, who had been working on the 18th of November at the spent shale bing at Dalmeny, when a large piece of clinker, weighing several tons, became detached from the top of the bing, which is 90 feet high. Gallagher received a warning from his fellow workers, and ran, but the clinker overtook him, rolling over his body and killing him instantly.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 15th December 1916 [relates to 18th November]

 

up 1917

FATALITY AT PHILPSTOUN SHALE MINES - As a result of being knocked down and run over by a runaway hutch in Philpstoun shale mines on Friday morning, a miner named John Connor, who formerly lived at Linlithgow and latterly was staying at Kingscavil, was killed instantaneously. It appeared that he was working at the foot of the brae, and seeing a hutch approaching, he took it to be empty and under control, while, as a matter of fact, it was a full hutch which had run away. The wheels passed over his body, and crushed him terribly. Connor leaves a widow and a family of four.

Falkirk Herald, 3rd February 1917

 

FATALITY AT PHILPSTOUN SHALE MINE - A very sad fatality occurred at No.1 Shale Mine, Philpstoun, on Wednesday, resulting in the death of Mr George Muir, aged 70, employed as a shale miner, and living at 41 Kingscavil Rows. It appears that he was working at a pump, when a hutch came against him, and he was badly crushed and he died soon afterwards. Much sympathy is felt for the family in the sad circumstances. The late Mr Muir had eight sons and two daughters, and his second eldest son, Private George Muir, who was in the army, was killed in action last August. The late Mr Muir was a very respected member and one of the oldest members of the Linlithgow Congregation E.U. Church, and on Sunday evening a memorial service will be held.

Falkirk Herald, 17th February 1917

 

FATAL ACCIDENTS INQUIRIES - Edward O'Donnell, miner's drawer, Livingstone Station, who had been employed in No.4 Shale Mine, Deans, was working there when a fall occurred from the roof, striking and killing him.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 26th October 1917

 

FATAL ACCIDENTS INQUIRIES - The death of Alexander McLiver, shale miner, Broxburn, took place at Faun's Park Shale Mine, Abercorn, on 28th September.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 26th October 1917

 

TARBRAX MINER KILLED - A shale miner named Thomas Hamilton employed by the Pumpherston Oil Company in their No1 Pit at Tarbrax, lost his life as the result of an accident. He was at work when a large piece of shale fell upon him, pinning him to the ground. His neck and back were broken and death was instantaneous.

Edinburgh Evening News, 26th December 1917

 

up 1918

The sad fatality which occurred on Thursday last at Philpstoun [No.1], by which a young shale miner, named James Paris Stein, lost his life, had a sad sequel on Friday night, when the other brother, John Stein, passed away in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as a result of the serious injuries he had sustained. The two brothers were interred in the Linlithgow Cemetery on Saturday afternoon, when a very large gathering, including Mr A.H. Crichton, turned out to show their sympathy with the family which had suffered so tragic a bereavement. At the graveside the religious services were conducted by the Rev. R. Coupar, parish minister of Linlithgow, and the Rev. Mr Philip, minister of Wester Pardovan U. F. Church.

The fatality was due to a fall of shale from the roof of the pit where the brothers were at work. It had been surmised that they received a slight warning from a noise in the roof, but before they could get clear they were buried by the fall. After they had been dug out by the party which came to the rescue, it was found that one of the brothers, James, had been killed outright, while the other had been very severely injured. Everything possible was done for him at the time, but his serious condition rendered it necessary that he should be conveyed at the earliest moment to the Royal infirmary, and this was done. He passed away in this institution about midnight on Friday night. The affair caused a painful impression in the locality, and much sympathy is felt with a family which has of late suffered other bereavements in addition to the latest one which came in a tragic form. The two young men, one of whom leaves a wife and family, while the other was unmarried, were xx respected by those who knew them

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 8th March 1918

 

Last night a young Broxburn shale miner, named William M'Kee, was killed by a heavy fall of shale in Westwood Mine, belonging to the Oakbank Oil Company, Ltd. He died while being conveyed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. M'Kee was releasedfrom the army last November to resume his occupation as a shale miner, and in the Royal Scots had seen a good deal of active service in France. He was only recently married.

Edinburgh Evening News, 22nd June 1918

 

up 1919

The ... inquiry related to the death of Patrick Smith, tipman, 13 Roman Camp, Uphall, who was emplyed at the Roman Camp Oil Works. He and a companion were about to proceed up a spent shale bing to begin work when they heard a hutch which had broken away come rumbling down the incline. The other man got clear, but Smith was unfortunately struck by a hutch with which the runaway hutch had collided, and he died in the Infirmary.

The Falkirk Herald, 1st February 1919

 

The ... inquiry concerned the circumstances attending the death of John Calder, locomotive engine driver, 30 Harthill Terrace, Lower Bathville, Armadale, who had been engaged in the shunting of waggons at Bathville Works, Armadale, on 9th November. While he was applying a brake to a moving waggon, he stumbled, and the wheel passed over his head and killed him instantaneously.

The Falkirk Herald, 1st February 1919

 

KIRKLISTON MINING TRAGEDY - LIABILITY FOR COMPENSATION OF VICTIMS - On 14th April, 1919, a fire broke out in one of the sections of Newliston Mine, Kirkliston, belonging to Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company. All the workers were safely withdrawn, but the fire involved the safety of the mine and the machinery and plant. The company communicated with the local manager and the rescue corps formed by the Lanarkshire Coalmasters' Association at Bathgate, and arranged for members of the corps from Coatbridge and Bo'ness toassist in coping with and extinguishing the fire. Members of the corps wrought in the mine on 14th and 15th April, and again on 17th and 18th April. Early on the morning of the 18th Robert Laird and William Brodie [or Broddie], being within the danger zone, were overcome by the noxious gases, and before they could be rescued received a lethal dose and died. In endeavouring to save Laird and Brodie, Wm. [William] Gibb also received a lethal dose of noxious fumes, and died. Gibb's mother, Mrs Mary Bell or Gibb or Webster, wife of Robert Webster, signalman, 34a Calder Street, Whifflet, claimed compensation for her son's death from the company and the association. In the Sheriff Court at Linlithgow, Sheriff-Substitute Moffatt awarded the mother £200, and found that the association were liable, and that the company were not liable. The association appealed.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 18th May 1921 [relates to 14-18 April 1919]

 

BROXBURN MINER ENTOMBED - Joseph Rafferty, a shale miner, residing Kennedy's Court, Broxburn, was entombed by a large quantity of shale which fell upon him from the roof while he was at work in Fawnspark Mine, near Broxburn, belonging to Young's Oil Company. For 18 hours a dozen fellow-workmen laboured heroically to remove the huge quantity of material and effect his release. When Rafferty was reached, however, it was found that he was dead. Deceased was 45 years of age, and leaves a widow and nine of a family.

The Evening Telegraph, 24th November 1919

 

up 1920

SHALE MINER KILLED AT WEST CALDER - A shale miner named James Torrance who resides in Livingstone, Mid Calder, was killed to-day in Westwood shale pit, belonging to the Scottish Oils, Limited. He was at work underground when a stone fell from the roof, striking him on the back and killing him where he stood.

Sunday Post, 28th March 1920

 

PIT ACCIDENTS IN WEST LOTHIAN - As the result of a premature explosion of a shot in No.5 shale mine Livingstone, Terriss Heggie, miner, received a compound fracture to the right leg and severe injuries to the arm and back.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 7th May 1920

 

MAN KILLED IN BROXBURN MINE - A fatal accident occurred on Saturday afternoon in Curledubs Mine, Broxburn, belonging to Scottish Oils (Limited). Walter Gilbert, residing at Port Buchan, Broxburn, was at work as a drawer, when a large quantity of shale estimated at several tons, fell from the roof and crushed him. The body was extricated after about three hours work. Gilbert was an unmarried man of about 40 years of age.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 27th September 1920

 

up 1921

EXPLOSION IN A SHALE MINE NEAR KIRKLISTON - FIVE MEN INJURED - An explosion of gas occurred on Monday night in Ingliston Pit (No.36), near Kirkliston , belonging to Scottish Oils (Ltd.), by which five men sustained serious injuries to the face and upper parts of the body. The names of the men are:- George Frame (30), married, Kirkliston; Patrick Conway (41), married, Kirkliston; David McPherson (23), single, Newbridge; James Greenan (35), married, Westerton; Robert Sneddon (28), single, Westerton. All the men were conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Frame and Conway are the more serious cases, but it was learned yesterday, that all were as well as could be expected. The men were employed in the safety lamp section of the pit, and at the time of the explosion were all wearing safety lamps. No definite information has been obtained as to the cause of the explosion.

The Scotsman, 26th January 1921

 

PHILPSTOUN & BRIDGEND - ACCIDENT IN SHALE MINE - Alexander McMillan, shale miner, residing at Bridgend, met with an accident in No.7 Shale Mine, belonging to James Ross and Co., on Tuesday last. While engaged in putting up a tree to support a crown, some shale came away from the roof. In trying to get out of the way, McMillan fell over a tree, and the crown fell on his leg, causing a simple fracture below the knee. After his injury was attended to, he was conveyed to the Royal infirmary, Edinburgh.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 13th May 1921

 

ALARMING EXPLOSION IN WEST LOTHIAN - GELIGNITE MAGAZINE BLOWN UP - Yesterday evening, about 7 o' clock, the noise of a very loud explosion was heard in Edinburgh and district. Houses were shaken and windows rattled in various parts of the city. Considerable anxiety was felt as to the cause of an extraordinary report breaking the calm of a Sunday evening. The noise was reminiscent to ex-service men of the blowing up of an ammunition dump during the war. Eventually it became known that the noise was due to an explosion which had taken place in a magazine situated close to the shale mine at Duddingston, a short distance from Kirkliston, the property of Scottish Oils (Ltd.) The explosives stored there were for use in the course of mining. Inquiries showed that the building where the accident took place was a small brick structure situated about 300 yards from the mine. This building contained about half a ton of explosives, including gelignite. Beyond the destruction of the magazine in which the material was stored, no other damage was done, except that the windows in several buildings in the immediate vicinity were shattered. The report was beard in all parts of West Lothian, as well as in Midlothian and Stirlingshire, and it also caused alarm in parts of Fife. Inquiries were immediately set on foot by the Linlithgowshire and other police, but some time elapsed before the scene of the accident was definitely located. The sound at first seemed to indicate that the explosion had occurred in the Forth area, and there was considerable relief when it was learned that the actual effects were comparatively innocuous. On inquiry being made at Duddingston mine, no explanation could be found as to the cause of the explosion.

The Scotsman, 5th December 1921

 

up 1922

BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION - NATIONAL HEALTH PROBLEMS - OCCUPATIONAL AILMENTS - Dr Alexander Scott, Broxburn, read a paper on "The Occupational Dermatoses of the Paraffin Workers of the Scottish Shale Oil Industry," in which he described the skin lesions due to contact with oily paraffin in a crude or semi-refined state. He also described the various methods of treatment, all of which, he said, were purely local and were carried out on the ordinary lines of treatment for skin diseases generally. Occupational comedones, he said, are readily removed by the usual method of expression. Popular conditions readily disappear on ceasing work in paraffin sheds, and as a rule require little or no treatment as in the early stages these tend to heal spontaneously. Mild antiseptic pastes, such as boric ointment, suffice to prevent septic infection, though this is uncommon, as the oily materials worked with are themselves both aseptic and germicidal. In the more acute forms of erythematous conditions sedative applications are of use, the most effective being ichthyol and lead preparations. In the more chronic types these are also useful, or pastes of zinc oxide and salicylic acid, and if wartiness is a prominent feature stronger preparations of salicylic acid are beneficial. In the more rapidly proliferative warty conditions, salicylic and chromic acids readily remove superficial warts, but when these extend more deeply into the skin tissue, carbon dioxide snow is of greater service. On any appearance of warts or nodules proliferating too rapidly with excessive growth, removal by excision is a sure method of treatment, and it is exceptional to find recurrence.

The Scotsman, 28th July 1922

COBBINSHAW SHALE MINER'S ERROR - Before Sheriff Macleod at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, a Cobbinshaw shale miner admitted that while charging a shot hole with gunpowder he allowed a naked light to be within a distance of four feet of the shot hole, contrary to the Explosives in Coal Mines Order. The Procurator Fiscal said the man was preparing to fire a shot, when his lighted lamp, which was on his hat, fell amongst the powder. The charge exploded in his face, and injured him very seriously. He had been compelled to stay off work for some time. Respondent stated that he had had twenty-five years' practical experience, and this was his first accident. It was an error of judgement, Sheriff Macleod admonished him, remarking that respondent had had a pretty severe lesson.

The Scotsman, 21 September 1922

 

EXPLOSION IN A WEST LOTHIAN SHALE MINE - TWO MEN KILLED - Considerable alarm was created yesterday morning by an explosion in the Deans shale mine, belonging to Scottish Oils (Limited). The mine is situated only a short distance from the village of Deans, and when the news spread that an explosion had taken place, there was a period of anxious suspense in the village. Immediate steps were taken to save the lives of the men who were in the mine on the day shift. With promptitude the greater number of men were brought to the surface. A message was dispatched for the rescue brigade, and this revealed to the anxious group gathered near the mine that something serious had transpired underground. Two dead bodies were found in the workings. They were identified as John Maconochie - who filled the position of leading roadman, and who resided at 2 South Street, Livingstone – a married man with three children; and William Wilson – a mine fireman residing at 9 Dean Street, Livingstone, who was engaged as a shale miner – also a married man, having nine of a family, all of whom are young. Another workman, William Morrison, residing at North Road, Livingstone, a shale miner, was found lying severely injured. He was taken to the surface, and his injuries attended to and was afterwards removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Both the manager, Mr James Trivney, and the under-manager, Mr Edward Towe, were in the mine, but both were rescued. The rescue party also came upon a number of men who were gassed, and these were conveyed to the pit bottom, and later brought to the surface. About 60 men were rescued, and of these about a dozen were gassed, but showed signs of recovery. The accident was due to an explosion of gas in the west side section of the mine. Gas explosions are not of frequent occurrence in the shale field, and this was one of the most serious, that has been reported for several years.

The Scotsman, 21st December 1922

 

up 1923

RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT BROXBURN. ENGINE-DRIVER KILLED. A runaway trainload of shale came into collision yesterday with a train of empty crude oil tanks on the branch line between Broxburn Oil Works and Roman Camp Works, belonging to Scottish Oils (Limited.) An engine-driver named Robert Davie, 51, a married man residing at 70 Greendykes Road, Broxburn, was killed, it is supposed, in attempting to-jump from his engine. It appears that the train of nine waggons of shale got out of control while being shunted at Roman Camp Works, and proceeded at a great pace down the slope towards Broxburn Works, the engine being unable to restrain the load owing to the wet condition of the rails. The train of seven empty crude oil tanks was being driven up the incline by Davies at the time, and it was found impossible to avert a collision which took place at Powflats level crossing. Davie was found dead on the lines near his engine and had apparently been struck on the head, death being due to fracture of the skull. Both trains were derailed, and the line was torn up for a considerable distance. The rolling stock suffered damage.

The Scotsman, 9th June 1923

 

WEST CALDER FOOTBALL OFFICIAL'S DEATH. This morning a young man named Charles Kane, residing at Mossend, West Calder, was killed by a fall of material from the roof in No.32 shale mine, belonging to the Scottish Oils Limited. Deceased was one of the leading officials of West Calder Junior Football Club.

The Evening Telegraph, 25th June 1923

 

up 1924

FATAL ACCIDENT IN SHALE MINE.—On Friday, in No.4 Deans Mine, near Bathgate, 70 tons of metal [sic] suddenly came away from the roof. Two shale drawers were covered by the falling mass, and one so severely injured that he succumbed in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Saturday. The young man who was fatally injured was John M'Donald (22), Livingston Station Cottages. It required four hours' hard work before the debris was removed from his body. The other lad, who escaped with slight injuries, was William Pender (22), also residing at Livingston Station Cottages.

The Scotsman, 4th February 1924

 

FATALLY INJURED IN SHALE MINE – William Carr (16), chain runner, Blackburn, Bathgate, was yesterday fatally injured in Westwood Shale Mine. He was crushed by a runaway hutch and died immediately following the accident.

The Scotsman, 6th February 1924

 

SHALE MINER KILLED – Yesterday morning a shale miner named James Struth lost his life by an accident in [No.5] Deans Mine, Livingstone, belonging to Scottish Oils (Ltd.). Struth had prepared a shot and was in the act of getting into safety when the shot went off, and he was struck by the debris. He was so severely injured that he died soon after the accident.

The Scotsman, 25th June 1924

 

SHALE MINER KILLED - While at work in Dunnet Mine, Broxburn, belonging to Scottish Oils (Limited), a shale miner, David Givan, residing at 79 Stewartfield, Broxburn, was struck on the head by a piece of shale, which came away from the roof, and he died before he could be brought to the surface. Another man working with Givan had a narrow escape. Deceased was 35 years of age, and leaves a wife and five children.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 4th September 1924

 

SCOTS MINER KILLED IN MISHAP - An unfortunate accident occurred in Dunnet Mine, Broxburn belonging to Scottish Oils, Limited, by which one man lost his life and another was severely injured. The two men - George Sibbald (25), married, residing at Shrine Place, Broxburn, and George Graham (29), married, residing at Port Buchan, Broxburn who were employed as mines roadsmen - were proceeding along a level in Lamb's Brae section of the mine for the purpose of doing some repairs, when a charged shot exploded about twenty feet from the spot where they happened to be standing. Both men were struck by flying pieces of shale Sibbald receiving serious injuries to his neck and side, while Graham sustained a double compound fracture of the left leg. They were conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where Sibbald died.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 26th September 1924

 

GAS EXPLOSION FATALITY - Victim Married Only Few Days Ago - A fatal gas explosion occurred yesterday at Middleton Works, Uphall, belonging to Scottish Oils, Ltd. James Provan had been engaged welding an empty steel petrol barrel by acetylene gas, when the barrel burst as the result of explosion of gas, the end hitting the man on the head and inflicting fatal injuries. Provan was married only a few days ago. Operations the works were stopped for the day in consequence of the accident.

The Dundee Courier, 29th October 1924

 

up 1925

ACCIDENT AT DUDDINGSTON MINES - On Monday afternoon a miner named J. O'Donnell, married, residing at Clark Place, South Queensferry, and employed at Duddingston No.3 Mine, belonging to the Scottish Oils, Ltd., was badly injured through a fall of shale. On being brought to the surface he was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, where it was ascertained several of his ribs were broken.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 6th February 1925

 

MINING ACCIDENT - On Monday afternoon, near the completion of the day shift, a miner named James Lees, residing at South Queensferry, and employed by Scottish Oils, Ltd., was severely hurt about the body and legs by a fall of shale in the No.3 Mine, Duddingston. He was removed to his home.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 20th February 1925

 

MINING FATALITY AT WINCHBURGH - On Saturday morning, shortly after the commencement of the day shift, a miner named James Cannon, residing at Castle Terrace, Winchburgh, and employed by the Scottish Oils Ltd., at No.3 Mine, Duddingston, received injures by a piece of shale falling on him. He was removed home, where he was medically examined. The following day he was removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he succumbed to his injuries - a fracture to the pelvis and other internal injuries. Deceased, who was 37 years of age, leaves a widow and six children to mourn his loss.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 24th April 1925

 

DANGEROUS SHOT FIRING - Peter Paterson, miner, residing at 76 Seafield, Bathgate, pleaded guilty - before Sheriff Robertson - at Linlithgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday to having, in No.1 Mid Breich Shale Pit, Livingston, on 21st March, failed, before firing a shot, to see that all persons in the vicinity had taken proper shelter, contrary to the Explosives in Coal Mines Order, 1913. The Procurator-Fiscal explained that this was a charge of failure to take precautions when about to fire a shot. The accused's drawer had been out of the place, and was returning with a hutch when a shot went off. Fortunately the drawer managed to protect himself behind the hutch, but his injuries kept him off work for ten days. It was a very narrow escape. The accused said he never heard the drawer coming in with his hutch. He was ordered to pay a fine of 30s, or suffer ten days' imprisonment.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 8th May 1925

 

SHALE MINER KILLED - On Thursday morning a shale miner named Alex. King, 51 years of age, residing at Castle Road, Winburgh, sustained fatal injuries as the result of an accident in No.3 Mine, Duddingston, belongiong to Scottish Oils, Ltd. It seems that he had been helping his drawer to "road" a hutch at the foot of a "cuddy brae," when the "cuddy hutch" broke away., pinning King to the side of the "stoop." He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he died shortly afterwards. He leaves a widow and eight of a family to mourn the loss. At the funeral, which took place to Winchburgh Cemetery on Sunday, a large number of the opublic attended, as did also the Winchburgh Band in uniform. The deceased was a member of Band Committee and was treasurer to the Sports Committee.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 17th July 1925

 

up 1926

FATAL INJURIES TO SHALE MINER. A shale miner named John Brown, residing at Old Livingstone, was injured by a piece of shale falling on him in No. 40 Shale Mine, belonging to Scottish Oils, Ltd. He sustained a compound fracture of the leg, and suffered from internal injuries. After being medically attended he was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but succumbed to his injuries.

The Evening Telegraph, 15th February 1926

 

MINING ACCIDENT - On Friday afternoon a young man named Thomas Haddon, residing in Dalmeny, and employed by Scottish Oils, Ltd., at No.3 Mine, Duddingston, met in with an accident to his head. A piece of shale fell from the side of a stoop, and struck Haddon on the head, causing a wound that necessitated stitching.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 28th May 1926

 

SHALE PIT EXPLOSION. at Whitequarries and the death of William Duff. Read full report

The Scotsman, 27th November 1926

 

up 1927

SHALE MINER KILLED AT WEST CALDER - A shale miner named John McBurnie, a married man who resided at Mid Calder, was injured by a fall of material from the roof of the workings in the Westwood Mine, belonging to the Scottish Oils, Ltd. He was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but died shortly after admission.

The Sunday Post, 16th January 1927

 

BROXBURN MINER KILLED - Early this morning Alexander Scoular or Scouller (29) residing at Main Street, Uphall, was killed in [No.7] Deans Mine, belonging to Scottish Oils, Limited, by a fall of shale. Deceased was just about to finish his shift when the fall took place. He leaves a widow.

The Sunday Post, 30th January 1927

 

FOUR MEN GASSED AT BROXBURN - Four men were gassed yesterday morning in the refining still department of Broxburn Oil Works. Their names are: - Thos. Young (married), Melbourne Road; Henry Begbie (single) Melbourne Road; Alexander Doctor (married), Mid Street; and Wm. Keay (married), Westerton. The men were working at a new tank, the first two names being inside and the other outside, when pumping operations were started in a tank situated below them. The gas from the tar (caustic soda and vitriol) being pumped rose to the other tank, and Young and Begbie were overcome. Doctor and Keay immediately went to their rescue, and succeeded in getting them out of the tank before they were overcome by the gas themselves. Assistance was promptly forthcoming, although not before Begbie and Doctor fell from the steps leading to the tank, both men being injured about the face. All were conveyed home in an unconscious condition, but it is not anticipated that any of them will not make a rapid recovery.

The Scotsman, 14th February 1927

 

SHALE MINER KILLED AT WEST CALDER - Yesterday morning a shale miner, George Ferme, residing at Mossend, West Calder, lost his life by an accident in Westwood Shale Pit, belonging to Scottish Oils (Ltd.) He had fired a shot, and, on hearing it go off, he went back to his working place to fire the second one he had prepared, when it went off unexpectedly. He was so severely injured that he died shortly after the accident. The deceased was a married man, and had only recently started work at Westwood Pit.

The Scotsman, 9th July 1927

 

SHALE MINER KILLED - While a number of men were carrying out repair work at No.4 Deans Mine, Bathgate, belonging to the Scottish Oils, a fall of shale debris occurred. Thomas McVicar was buried beneath the fall, and when brought out was found to be daed. He leaves a wife and family.

Falkirk Herald, 12th November 1927

 

up 1928

FATAL ACCIDENT AT DEANS WORKS - Gloom was cast over the district when it was learned that Robert Gallacher, residing in Main Street, Livingston Station, had met with fatal injuries as the result of a fall from a scaffolding while engaged in his work on Monday [at Deans Crude Oil Works]. He was conveyed to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, but died during the afternoon. He leaves a widow and young family of four.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 25th May 1928

 

ACCIDENT TO MINER - Peter Sneddon, residing at Livingston Station, met with a slight accident while at work in No.5 Mine, Deans, on Monday. A fall of shale from his working place fell on his leg, which was happily only bruised. It was at first thought the leg might be fractured.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 2nd November 1928

 

up 1929

SHALE MINE EXPLOSION - FOUR MEN INJURED - By an explosion of gas in No 35 Pit, near Winchburgh, on Saturday, three shale miners and a fireman were more of less seriously injured, two of them being removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment. The names of the injured are Samuel McGhie, Church Street, Broxburn; George [sic. Charles] Paris, Niddry Rows, Winchburgh; James Jack, Uphall; and Thomas Bell, Three-mile-town, Philpstoun. The explosion occurred in a place being worked by Paris and McGhie, while Jack was working a place adjoining. Bell, who is a fireman, was a short distance away, when the explosion took place. The cause of the explosion has yet to be determined. Paris and Bell were badly burned about the face and body, and their condition was such that their removal to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was considered advisable. Jack received slighter burns, while McGhie was cut about the face and head by falling shale.

The Scotsman, 14th January 1929

 

WEST LOTHIAN MAN DIES FROM INJURIES - Charles Paris, one of the three men who where injured in the explosion which occurred in No 35 shale pit, Three-miletown, Linlithgow, on Saturday, died in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, yesterday. He was not married, and resided in Winchburgh.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 16th January 1929

 

BROXBURN - MINER'S SUDDEN DEATH - The death took place on Friday morning in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, of Mr Robert Linton, Wilson Place, Kirkhill Road. Deceased took ill at his work in the Philpstoun Mine on Thursday, and on being conveyed home and examined by Dr Thomson, he was removed to the infirmary. About 12 years ago he was badly hurt when working in Cauldubs [Carledubs] Mine, and walked rather lame since then. About New Year time he was struck on the head by a fall of shale, and though he carried on at work he had complained of pains in his head. He leaves a widow and one young child. Two others of the family are grown up. Of a very quiet disposition, he was much respected in the town and his death was a great shock to his wife and family and all who knew him.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 8th February 1929

 

SHALE MINING FATALITY John Wynn, The Cottages, Pumpherston, Midcalder, lost his life yesterday in an accident in the Westwood Shale Pit, belonging to Scottish Oils (Ltd.). He was in the act of firing a shot when the gunpowder ignited, and he was seriously injured by the explosion. He succumbed to his injuries while being conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Mr Wynn was well known in the district, and took a prominent part in local-affairs, being treasurer of the Pumpherston Workmen's Institute and a member of the committee of the West Calder Co-operative Society. He was a well-known Midlothian bowler. A married man, he leaves a wife and family.

The Scotsman, 13th September 1929

 

YOUNG MINER KILLED. A shale miner named Robert Dickson, residing at Tenants March, West Calder, lost his life by an accident in No. 26 shale mine, belonging to Scottish Oils (Ltd.) He was at work when a fall took place from the roof of the workings, and he died a few minutes after reaching the surface. The deceased was married only two months ago.

The Scotsman, 26th December 1929

up 1930

CRUSHED BY A "FALL" - While employed on the night shift, between Tuesday night and yesterday morning, in No.5 shale mine Deans, Bathgate, owned by Pumpherston Oil Company ( Ltd.) John Kemmet (34), miner, who resided with his widowed mother, at Harlaw, Bathgate, was crushed beneath a fall from the roof of his working-place. When extricated it was found that he had sustained severe injuries to his back, and it is feared that his spine may have been injured. He was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Scotsman, 16th October 1930

 

up 1931

KILLED BY SHALE FALL - Inquiry was into the circumstances of the death of John Cunningham Marshall Roberts, shale miner, 9 Hillwood Place, South Queensferry. On 2nd June, 1930, while Roberts was employed in No.1 Shale Mine, Duddingston, occupied by the Oakbank Oil Company, Limited Bothwell Street, Glasgow, a quantity of shale fell from the working place upon him and so injured him that he died on the 21st March, 1931. Mark Robertson, miner's drawer, said that he found the deceased lying at the tail of the shale where he had been pinching the shale and his pinch was lying some little way off. He was later removed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Stephen Reid, mine fireman, Winchburgh said that the deceased's injuries were mostly on the arm and head. He saw the spot where the accident occurred, and it seemed to him that the shale had fallen on top of him. Catherine Roberts, the widow of the deceased, said that her husband had been taken to the Royal Infirmary, where he remained for ten days and was afterwards sent to a convalescent home for a period of three weeks. When he returned home he seemed to be getting better, but, in September, he began to complain of pains in the back of the neck, and was attended by Dr Dickson. He died at his home on the last day of March. Dr Dickson stated that he did not examine Roberts at the time of the accident, but attended him in the latter stages. He saw him on the day before he died. The cause of death was due to chronic meningitis due to an undetected fracture at the base of the skull.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 12th June 1931

 

FATALITY AT PUMPHERSTON OIL WORKS - A young man named John Wyllie, who resided at Pumpherston, lost his life by an accident at the oilworks. He was engaged at operations on a cooling tower, and stepped on to planks on a platform. One of the planks slipped, and Wyllie fell from a height of 20 feet. In his fall his head struck a building, and he was killed on the spot.

The Scotsman, 15th August 1931

 

MAN KILLED IN SHALE MINE - Yesterday morning a young man named Henry Sneddon, who resided in Kirkhill Road, Broxburn, was killed by a fall of shale from the roof whiler engaged in repair work in No.35 mine, near Broxburn, belonging to Young's Oil Company. The unfortunate man had only restarted work on Wednesday after a two months' illness. He was treasurer of Broxburn West Church, secretary of Strathbrock Royal Arch Chapter, and a man highly respected in the town. He leaves a widow and one child.

The Scotsman, 30th October 1931

 

SHALE MINE FATALITY - An accident resulting in the death of Alex G. Sutherland (20), shale miner's drawer, occurred in No.4 Shale Mine, Deans, owned by the Pumpherston Oil Co., Ltd., on Thursday morbning. Sutherland had been filling a hutch in a part of the mine known as No.8 Level, north side carriage brae, a short distance from the face, when a heavy piece of shale fell from the roof and knocked him down. The shale landed on his neck and the back of his head, killing him instantly. Deceased was the adopted son of John M'Kinnon, and resided with him at Deans Farm Cottages, Bathgate.

Falkirk Herald, 28th November 1931

 

up 1932

WEST CALDER MINING FATALITY - A shale miner named Thomas Peden, who resided at Dedridge, Midcalder, met with an accident at No 26 shale mine at West Calder. The platform on which he was working gave way, and he fell on a hatch, fracturing several of his ribs. He was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but succumbed to his injuries.

The Scotsman, 14th April 1932

 

MINER KILLED AT WEST CALDER. A shale miner named Charles Crichton, a married man, who resided at Oakbank Cottages, West Calder, lost his life yesterday by an accident in Westwood Shale Pit at West Calder. He was at work when a quantity of material from the roof of the workings fell upon him, The other workmen rushed to his assistance, but when he was extricated life was found to be extinct.

The Scotsman, 2nd July 1932

 

BROXBURN MINER KILLED. A fatal accident occurred in No. 3 Roman Camp Mine, Broxburn. belonging to Broxburn Oil Company, yesterday afternoon, the victim being a shale miner named Thomas Fisher (37), who resided with his sister, Mrs Robert Galloway, at Clifton Buildings, Station Road, Broxburn. Fisher was engaged working at the face, and was within a few minutes of stopping work for the day when a large amount of shale came away from the roof upon him. When extricated life was found to be extinct, the body being badly crushed. Fisher was unmarried.

The Scotsman, 20th July 1932

 

up 1934

ROAD TRAGEDIES

Youth Fatally Burned in Petrol

Lorry Fire Driver Injured

Four people were killed in Scots road accidents yesterday. A youth was killed and a man was seriously injured on the Uphall-Pumpherston road at Uphall Station, when a six-wheeler petrol tank lorry, belonging to Scottish Oils (Ltd.), and containing over 2000 gallons of motor spirit, struck the bridge carrying the Edinburgh-Glasgow railway. James Smith (18), Mid Street, Broxburn, who was in the cab of the lorry, along with the driver, was fatally burned when the petrol ignited. The driver Michael Scott (31), who belongs to Glasgow but who was residing in lodgings at Shrine Place, Broxburn, was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from severe burning injuries. On inquiry being made at the infirmary last night, it was learned that Scott was still dangerously ill. The lorry was proceeding from Pumpherston to Airdrie, via Uphall and Bathgate, with the large consignment of motor spirit. Something appears to have gone wrong with the steering of the vehicle on the steep incline which begins at Beechwood Cottages and continues to Randy Rows. Judging from the marks on the road over a distance of about 50 yards, Scott had apparently applied his brakes, but was unable to guide his vehicle, which crashed into the railway bridge, the near side being jammed against the parapet.

FIERCE FIRE

The petrol immediately ignited, and within a short time the fire became very fierce, igniting the wooden part of the railway bridge, and also a house 20 yards away. Edinburgh Fire Brigade were quickly on the scene, and the firemen prevented further serious damage to property. Meanwhile every effort was being made by helpers to rescue Scott and his assistant. With great difficulty Scott was got out, but the position with regard to Smith was hopeless, and when his body was recovered it was scarcely recognisable. Traffic on the railway was stopped owing to the damage to the bridge, but a breakdown gang had repairs effected by midday, when traffic was resumed. The road underneath was also cleaned for traffic about the same time.

The Scotsman, 13th June 1934 [see 24th August article for further information]

 

FATAL ACCIDENT IN SHALE MINE - While they were at work yesterday in Duddingston Shale Mine [No.3], belonging to Oakbank Oil Company (Ltd.) a quantity of shale from the roof fell upon James Black, placeman, and David Harris, his drawer. The greater amount of the material fell on Harris, and when he was extricated he was found to be dead. Black was found to be injured about the legs, and was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Harris, who was 26 years of age, resided with his widowed mother at Farnkford Place, Broxburn. Black is a married man and resides at Allanpark, Melbourne Road, Broxburn.

The Scotsman, 26th June 1934

 

ACCIDENT AT OIL WORKS - An accident took place at the brickmaking plant of Pumpherston Oil Company on Saturday. The mixer in the lime boiler had stuck, and the lime forced its way out of the boiler and burned a workman named Thomas Wynne, Pumpherston, on the face and chest. After being medically attended he was conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Two other workmen, Charles Morton, Oakbank, and Thomas Findlay, Pumpherston sustained burns on the arms, and after being attended by a doctor they were able to proceed home.

The Scotsman, 30th July 1934

 

BLAZING NAPHTHA TANK

How Broxburn Boy Was Killed

THE FLAW IN THE METAL

IN Linlithgow Sheriff Court yesterday Sheriff Robertson and a jury held a public inquiry into the death of James Boag Smith, motor driver's assistant, 37 Mid Street, Broxburn. Smith was employed on a Scammell motor tank, belonging to Scottish Oils and Shell-Max (Ltd.), 53 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, which was being driven along the road between Pumpherston and Uphall on June 12. It collided with the stonework of a bridge which carries the L.N.E.R. line over the road near Uphall railway station, and Smith was fatally injured. Michael Dunn Scott, who drove the tank, said it contained 2500 gallons of naphtha for delivery from Pumpherston. They went via Uphall station. When going down a decline, and about 100 yards from the railway bridge, he felt the tank sway to the left. He applied the brakes, but found they were not effective. He could see that the tank would strike the bridge. He again tried to turn the tank, but the steering wheel had no effect . The tank crashed against the bridge, and went on fire. He remembered nothing until he recovered consciousness. The boy Smith was sitting next to him before the accident. Examined by Mr Alan McLeod, solicitor. For the relatives, Scott said he was travelling at the normal 10 m.p.h. before the steering wheel and brakes refused to act.

THE BROKEN AXLE

Eye-witnesses spoke to the tank blazing furiously. No one could get within 20 yards of it to render assistance. Smith was fatally burned. Robert Black, engineer employed by Scottish Oils and Shell-Mex, described the tank, and stated that it contained 2500 gallons in five compartments, was of 55 h.p., and weighed 17 tons. The tank was overhauled last November. Everything was on fire at the bridge where the accident happened. The tank was removed to Uphall and examined. The solid axle (produced in Court), which was the driving axle, had sheared off half-way through. The break, it was found, was due to a flaw in the metal, which could not be detected. The flaw in the steering axle resulted in the driver having no control over the tank's steering. It would also affect the brakes. The only the driver could work was the hand brake. The bulkhead was burst, with the result that the 500 gallons in the first compartment was liberated, and the lids of the other compartments burst themselves, and the whole went on fire.

THE JURY'S VERDICT

Sheriff Robertson, addressing the jury, said there appeared to be nothing in the evidence beyond the fact that the unfortunate boy Smith, while travelling on the tank, met his death through the tank breaking the axle and taking fire. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the evidence.

The Scotsman, 24th August 1934

 

ROAD ACCIDENT - BROXBURN SHALE MINER - Shortly after six o clock yesterday morning when riding on a motor cycle to his work at No. 35 Pit, Three-Mile-Town, Linlithgow. A Broxburn shale miner named Thomas M. Sheddon (49) came into violent contact with a motor bus near West End Cottage, Broxburn, and, as a result of severe injuries to the head, died almost immediately. The bus which belongs to the Scottish Motor Transport Co., was travelling very slowly when the accident occurred, having just left a stopping place about 40 yards west of the scene of the collision. Rain was falling heavily at time, and it is thought that Sheddon's attention was directed towards a cyclist immediately in front of him, and that he failed to observe the bus. He was an unmarried man, and resided at East Burnside, Broxburn.

The Scotsman, 27th December 1934

 

up 1935

FATAL MINE ACCIDENT AT WEST CALDER. A shale miner named William Fleming, who resided at Harburn, lost his life as the result of an accident in No.26 Shale Mine, West Calder. yesterday. He was at work when a stone fell from the roof, and broke his neck. Death was instantaneous, Fleming was a married man.

The Scotsman, 13th April 1935

 

MINER FOUND DEAD AT PIT BOTTOM - Linlithgow Shale Mine Discovery - A Linlithgow shale miner, Andrew McMeechan, who resided at 370 High Street, Linlithgow, was found dead early yesterday morning in No.35 Hopetoun Pit, near Linlithgow. McMeechan, who was 58 years of age, descended the pit about 6 AM to start work, but when he did not arrive at his working-place, his drawer, Robert Howard, Court Square, Linlithgow, went in search of him, and found him lying dead in the haulage way. The body was removed to Linlithgow police mortuary, where it is understood a post-mortem examination will be carried out. McMeechan is survived by a widow and a family of five. A member of the family told a reporter that his father had received a head injury at his work the previous day, but had seemed quite normal when he left for his work.

The Scotsman, 26th December 1935

 

up 1937

KILLED BY FALL OF SHALE - A bad fall of shale in Duddingston (No.1) mine, near Winchburgh, was responsible for the death yesterday of James Hunter (47), of Sanquhart Terrace, HopetounRoad, South Queensferry. Hunter was removed by ambulance to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from multiple injuries, and died a few hours later.

The Scotsman, 3rd February 1937

 

OIL EXPLODES - Pumpherston Blaze - MAN FATALLY INJURED - When two oil tanks at the refineries of Scottish Oils (Ltd), at Pumpherston, were involve in an explosion early yesterday morning, an employee was fatally injured. He was William Dornan a former Hibernian footballer. He was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he died a few hours after admission. The accident occurred about 3 am and following the explosion flames shot into the air. The oil tanks are part of an extensive plant adjoining the village of Pumpherston. Dornan had ascended to the top of one of the tanks, about 40 feet from the ground, for the purpose of taking a dip – a routine job of measuring the oil, and performed every two hours. For some unknown reason the hot oil exploded, and the terrific force threw the roof into the air. Dornan fell with the roof, which became entangled in a network of pipes and apparently he either jumped or fell the remaining distance to the ground. His fellow workers rushed to the spot, and the works fire brigade turned out immediately. Dornan was picked up and conveyed in the works ambulance to the Infirmary.

SECOND TANK IGNITED - Meanwhile, a second tank became ignited and the officials promptly called for the help of Edinburgh Fire Brigade. Two detachments were sent out under Lieutenant Brodie, and they were easily guided to the spot by the volume of smoke hanging over the works. The flames were attacked with water and foam mixtures, specially suitable for such outbreaks, and within a comparatively short time the fire was well under control. The tanks are units in a group of 20, and it was stated by the Fire Brigade that 22,000 gallons of oil were destroyed.

From a distance the spectacle was a thrilling one. A motorist returning to Edinburgh from the direction of Carstairs said he saw the reflection in the sky from a distance of several miles. When he got within distance of the refineries the oil was burning fiercely, sending great clouds of black smoke almost straight into the air. The flames shot high above the surrounding chimney stalks, and additional effect was lent to a remarkable spectacle by the ignition of small pockets of gas which apparently collected in the smoke. Thanks, however, to the promptitude with which the outbreak was tackled, the area of the fire was limited. None of the machinery was involved, and there was no dislocation of work.

The Scotsman, 29th May 1937

 

Shale Miner Killed - Henry Hunter (27) 64 Livingstone Station. Mid Calder, was killed to-day in an accident in No.26 Shale Mine, West Calder. Hunter was putting up props to secure the roof in his working place, when he was partly buried under debris. He died shortly afterwards. Hunter leaves a wife and one child.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph 7th December 1937

 

up 1938

FATAL ACCIDENTS AND SUDDEN DEATHS INQUIRY - John Rossa, shale miner, 59 Front Street, Mossend, West Calder.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 4th March 1938

A young shale miner, Daniel Carey, who resided at Stable Row, Bathgate, lost his life in Westwood Shale Pit at West Calder yesterday. He was at work when he was crushed by a fall of material from the roof of the pit workings.

The Scotsman, 20th May 1938

 

up 1939

FATAL ACCIDENTS AND SUDDEN DEATHS INQUIRY - Edward Sharkie, shale miner, 20 Main Street, Livingston Station.

The Scotsman 21st March 1939

 

While at work yesterday in No.6 Mine, Broxburn, belonging to Scottish Oils, Ltd., Alexander McCallum (40), a shale miner, who resided at Main Street, Uphall, was fatally injured by a fall of shale from the roof. McCallum died while being conveyed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The Scotsman 21st March 1939

 

George Kerr, a Mid Calder man who was injured in an accident at Westwood shale pit, West Calder, on Tuesday, has died in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Kerr, who lived in 26 North Street, Livingston Station, was 57. Another man, Hugh Hamilton, Bathgate, was killed at the time the accident occurred.

The Evening Telegraph, 22nd December 1939

 

up 1940

ACCIDENT AT MINE - Mr James Cannon, residing at the Rows, met with a rather serious accident on Friday. He was just putting a finishing touch to his day's work when a large piece of shale caught him, striking him on the head. He was so badly crushed about the head thast Dr Fraser Orr had to be summoned immediately, and he was ordered off to the Infirmary. On examination it was found that his head was badly damaged and that he was threatened with the loss of an eye. He was detained in the Infirmery, and he now appears to be doing well.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 15th March 1940

 

up 1941

Inquiry concerned the death of Andrew Turnbull, shale miner, Morrison's Buildings, Mid-Calder.

Walter Kirk, miner's drawer, employed at Westwood Shale Pit, Blackburn, stated that he worked along with Andrew Turnbull (now deceased), who was the faceman. About seven o'clock on the morning of 18th January he found Turnbull looking over the place generally. Witness then filled his hutch, took it away, and on his return with an empty hutch saw his neighbour's lamp lying on the pavement. He never heard any noise nor cries, and on reaching the face saw Turnbull lying face downwards with a large piece of shale lying over the lower part of his back. He obtained assistance to have the stone removed, but on being extricated Turnbull was dead.

Daniel McKenzie, underground fireman, employed at the same colliery, stated that he was on the day shift, and at about 7.30 a.m., when when he was in the pit bottom, he heard about the accident. On returning to the scene of the accident he found Turnbull lying dead, the large piece of shale, which would be about a ton in weight, having been removed. On examining the place he found that Turnbull had been trying to dlodge a large piece of shale when the other stone came from about eight feet higher and caught him.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 7th March 1941 [relates to 18th January]

 

While at work at Mid-Breich Shale Mine, Breich, James Irving (25), drawer, 17 Leighton Terrace, Stoneyburn, was fatally injured when he was pinned beneath a fall of shale. Deceased is survived by a widow and one child.

Sunday Post, 28th December 1941

 

up 1944

FATAL ACCIDENTS - PUBLIC INQUIRIES - The second inquiry concerned the death of John Murdoch, shale miner, 61 Oakbank, who was buried underneath a "fall" at Westwood Shale Pit on 5th May. John Prentice, fireman, 59 Front street, Mossend, West Calder, said that about 5.30pm on 5th May, he visited the place where John Murdoch was working alone. Three men worked the place on the day shift, and Murdoch came out on the back shift to fill shale. When he visited Murdoch's place, he found it sounding pretty well, and the roof was well supported by props. After visiting other parts of the colliery, he returned to the place to find there had been a "fall," and he found Murdoch with his face on the pavement and practically buried. He got assistance, and when extricated Murdoch was found to be dead. On examining the place afterwards, he found that a large piece of blaze had fallen from a very glossy lype. William Samson, shale miner, East Calder, testified to having helped Prentice to take Murdoch from underneath the debris. The body was stone cold.

Bo'ness Journal, 19th May 1944

Inquiry concerned the death of John Brogan, shale miner, 44 New Breich, Blackburn, who was the victim of an explosion in Mid Briech Pit, Blackburn, on 12th June. An agent for the company, and Mr Henshaw, H.M. Inspector of Mines, were in attendance. William Watson, shale miner's drawer, 29 Seafield, by Bathgate, said he was a drawer with the now deceased John Brogan. About 10.15 a.m. On 12th June he had had his "piece" with Brogan, and at that time William Heggie, the fireman, visited them. After they had their "piece," Brogan returned to the "face," and he went to do some repair work about 100 yard away. At about 11 o'clock he heard a sound as if an explosion had taken place. There was a rush of air, and the place where he was working was filled with dust. He got his safety lamp and went to the place where Brogan was working. They found Brogan sitting about 20 feet from the shale "face." Brogan was burned. Brogan told him that when he was working with the pick he had picked a hole through into an old road, and it was from there that the gas had come. Brogan was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he died shortly after admission. He (witness) had known of the old road, and that they would run into it. In their section of the pit acetylene gas lamps were used, but the men also carried a safety lamp. When he went in to see Brogan after the explosion, the safety lamp was hanging up and was still burning. Replying to H. M. Inspector of Mines, witness stated that when they had their "piece," he saw Brogan going in with his safety lamp, and he expected that he would hang it up as usual. Robert Paterson, repairer, 10 Seafield, by Bathgate, gave similar evidence.

A POCKET OF GAS

William Heggie, underground fireman, 51 Cousland Crescent, Seafield, said that he had examined the place in the morning before Brogan had gone into it, and there had been no sign of gas. When he visited the place again at 10.15 a.m. Brogan and Watson were taking their "piece," and Borgan [stet] had told him that he had fired two shots. He (witness) examined the place and tested for gas, but found none. Along with the manager, he examined the place after the accident, and he found faint traces of where gas had been ignited, but found no traces of gas. They saw the hole that had been made into the old road. They never had had any experience of gas in that section. They had never inspected that old road as there was no way into it. He did not look upon the road as a serious danger. They knew that ultimately the place where Brogan was working would pass the old road, and they expected the old road would be filled with water. Gordon Cowell, manager at Mid Briech Pit, gave similar evidence, and in reply to H.M. Inspector of Mines, said the roof of the old working could have held a pocket of gas when the hole was made by Brogan.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 28th July 1944

 

up 1947

MINER'S FALL DOWN PIT SHAFT - James Fairlie (56), East Burnside, Broxburn, was killed when he fell down the shaft at No 5 shalepit, Threemiletown Linlithgow. While in the pit he collapsed and slipped through the guard of the cage.

The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 7th January 1947

 

FIFTEEN MINERS CUT OFF BY A WALL OF FLAME - The Burngrange Disaster. Read full report

The Scotsman, 11th January 1947 and subsequent reports

 

KILLED BY FALL OF ROOF - BO'NESS MAN'S DEATH - A fatal accident inquiry was conducted by Sheriff Macgregor, K.C., at Linlithgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday into the cause of death of William Gow, shale miner, 107 Main Street, Winchburgh. Evidence was given by John Flucker, shale miner's drawer, 101 East Main Street, Uphall, who stated that he and Gow were working in No.6 Shale Mine, Glendevon, putting new wood into what was known as Gow's level. When witness took in the last hutch, Gow was picking down some shale from the left-hand side of the level. While witness was standing a few feet back he heard a fall. The lights went out with the draught, and when witness went back, Gow was lying with his right foot jammed under a slab of shale. With assistance, he was released, but by the time he was got to the surface he was dead. Evidence was also given by Peter Glen Hamilton, 13 Westerton, Broxburn; David Cairns, 14 Mid Street, Broxburn; James Brow, the under-manager, Glendevon Cottage, Winchburgh; and Mrs Gow, the widow. Cairns said Gow was a very careful and efficient workman. Two large pieces of shale had fallen from a lype. Brown said the roof of the place Gow was working in was about 12 feet high, so that the fireman could not tap it. The Fiscal stated it was next to impossible to spot a lype.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 25th July 1947

 

up 1949

WHITEQUARRIES ROOF FALL - A formal verdict was returned in the case of Thomas Gavin, shale miner, 18 Cardross Road, Broxburn, who was killed by a fall from the roof in No.1 Mine, Whitequarries, on 5th July. Mr Sharpe, H.M. Inspector of Mines, was present, and with Mr J.T. Kidd, Linlithgow, representing the employers, the Oakbank Oil Company, and Mr James McKelvie, general secretary of the national Union of Shale Miners and Oil Workers, representing the relatives. Evidence that four shots which were fired were ineffective, and that three others which were fired later brought down the shale was given by William Henderson, shale miner 26 Auldhill Entry, Bridgend; Robert Turnbull, miner's drawer, 35 Oakbank Place, Winchburgh and Robert Todd, miner's drawer, Westfield Cottage, Philpstoun. They described how, on going back to the face after the firing of the second lot of shots, they were just commencing work when the fall occurred and Gavin was buried under it. Henderson said: "I turned to lift a shovel and felt a whiff of air and saw the shale coming and jumped clear. On looking round again I saw deceased's lamp was out and it was obvious he was under the fall. It was one big block. We had to jack it up to get deceased out and when we did so he was dead." James Burns, mine under-manager, The Avenue, Philpstoun, said he was at the site of the accident shortly before it occurred and was satisfied the men were doing the right thing. He was in the next place when the fall occurred. It extended into what was considered a safe part.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 29th July 1949

 

MINE ACCIDENT - Mr A. Gilbert, Millgate, met with a severe accident while carrying out his employment as a miner at No.3 Mine, Duddingston. A fall of shale injuring his hand and fracturing his leg. Mr Gilbert was removed to the Royal Infirmary and detained.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 4th November 1949

 

up 1950

WORKS ACCIDENT - While following his occupation as oil tank filler at the oil works, Mr John [Haig] Watson, Craigton Place, fell a distance of about 20 feet and sustained a fractured pelvis. He was removed to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, and detained.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 26th May 1950

 

ACCIDENT - While following his employment as a shale miner, Mr James Davidson met with an accident, a fall of roof injuring his back and leg. Mr Davidson is employed at No.3 Mine, Duddingston. The accident occurred last week.

Linlithgowshire Gazette, 4th August 1950

 

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