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From: Coral Beavis
Sent: 6 December 2010
Subject: Missing Link Netherton Colliery Mining Disaster Dec 1850.

I visited your interesting site today but the link for the Mining Disaster Dec 1850 Netherton Colliery  does not work. Thought I would let you know.

Coral Beavis

Thank you very much Coral for bringing this to my attention, linking to other sites is a problem as they do move or disappear completely, as will this one will do one day, not too soon hopefully.

Fatal Coal Pit Accident, Netherton, Maryhill - 6 Lives Lost
A most distressing and singular accident occurred last Friday forenoon, at the Netherton Quarry Coal Pit, situated near Maryhill, about 2 miles from Glasgow, the property of Mr Barclay of Paisley. It appears that there are two shafts to the workings, one of them an old one which is now used as the downcast shaft, and having at the bottom a steam engine with boiler for winding the coal up from a lower level. In this old shaft is placed the pumps. From the steam boiler a flue leads along, but above the gallery between the two shafts, until it opens into the upcast shaft, abut 6 fathoms above the gallery, so that the new or upcast shaft forms the chimney for all the smoke and vapour from the steam engine boiler furnace. Some of the workings extend right and left from the horizontal gallery between the two shafts, and when working properly the heated air passing up the new shaft, caused the current of fresh air to set that way through all the workings. The men were in the habit of descending the new shaft through the smoke and vapour of the engine furnace when going down to their work. On Friday, it appears, Mr Davidson, the manager, saw some cause to divide the air course, by which the ventilation of the pit was carried on, the unexpected result of which was the direction of the air current was reversed, the engine furnaces attracting the current towards the old from the new pit, thus making the up-cast the down-cast. The consequence was, that the smoke, which ought to have escaped by the up-cast shaft, was driven back into the new workings which it completely filled, and five of the unfortunate miners there employed were speedily suffocated. A signal was given from below that something was wrong, when the water that was being pumped out the pit was again thrown back, which so far reversed the current of air as to allow the men in the old workings to escape by the old or down-cast shaft. Only two escaped by the ordinary means of communication with the pit, namely the new or up-cast shaft.

The names of the parties whose lives were sacrificed are:-

Hugh Boyd and his two sons, Thomas, aged 15 years and Lewis aged 13 years; William Brown; and George Spence a boy.

Boyd has left a widow and four surviving children in very poor circumstances. Brown was also married but had no family. Three or four miners who all escaped with their lives were also injured more or less severely. The fearful calamity has caused a deep gloom where it occurred, and the greatest commiseration has been felt for the unfortunate sufferers and their families. We have no doubt the whole matter will be thoroughly investigated by the proper authorities, and the blame, if there can be any, fixed on the proper parties. This

singular seems to be one, that with regular caution, need not have occurred. [Herald Friday Dec 13, 1850]

This Information can also be found on the Scottish Mining Website

Netherton is also mentioned in the FIVEWAYS Disaster, Cladley, Worcestershire
but it was 10th July, 1851.

 The colliery was the property of Mr. George Dudley. Safety lamps were use to test for gas but an explosion took place in which four lost their lives and five later died from the injuries they received.

Those who last their lives were:-
David Holt,
Harry Cartwright,
George Shaw,
David Worrall,
John Holt, two boys,
Smith and
Joshua Perry and two whose names were not recorded.
The inquest was held at the Swan Inn, Netherton when a verdict of ‘Accidental Death’ was recorded with a rider that the explosion was caused by the culpable negligence of  the doggy.

Pit Terminology - Glossary