1873: Alexander Anderson

1873 Oct 20| Boig No. 1

  • Alexander Anderson (15) | Fall of coal

Alexander Anderson was born in Maryhill, Glasgow in 1858 the second son of Alexander Anderson, iron stone miner and Margaret Miller. The family, now numbering three sons (Matthew, Alexander, Robert), later moved to Kilmarnock where his father found work in the local coal mines.  Here a fourth son, John, was born.

By 1867 the family were living at Peesweep Row, Craigbank, New Cumnock where in late December a fifth son, James, was born and three years later a daughter Margaret extended the family to six children. By this time Matthew (15) and Alexander (13) were orking in the pits of the Bank Coal Company along with their father. The family then made the short move to the miners’ rows at Connel Park, New Cumnock, father and sons now working for the Lanemark Coal Company.

According to the Scottish Mining web-site entry young Alexander, now aged 15 years old (his occupation is recorded as “boy”) was killed on 20th October 1873 at Boig No.1 pit, the cause categorised under “fall of coal & roof” with the details recorded as “fall of coal at the face”.  His death certificate makes no reference to the accident and records the cause of death as “Peritonitis, 3 days”. Peritonitis is an infection of the inner lining of the stomach. There are recorded cases of mining fatalities from this peritonitis (appendix), for example, when lifting a derailed tub and from a fall [1]. It would appear the accident took place on 17th October and that Alexander died at his parents’ home at Connel Park, three days later.

map_lanemarkfarm_south_boig_ConnelPark

Margaret Anderson was expecting another child at the time of her son’s death and when it was born in February 1874 it was named Alexander. Sadly, the baby died in infancy some three years later struck down by scarlet fever at the family’s home, now at the Lanemark Row.  Here two other children, Thomas and Jane were born.

Alexander and Margaret Anderson, along with their younger children moved to Burnfoot Row (their fourth address in New Cumnock) and it was here that Alexander senior passed away in October 1890, aged 55 years old having suffered from “miner’s asthma” for 15 months and “chronic bronchitis” for 2 months.

A sorry tale of three Alexander Andersons that died of common causes of the time – an infant dyiing from carlet fever, a miner killed from injuries sustained in a pit accident and an elderly miner from a side effect of working in a pit.

Acknowledgements

National Library of Scotland

  • http://maps.nls.uk/index.html
  • All maps reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
  • Ayrshire Sheet XLII.SW (includes: New Cumnock)
    Publication date: 1897   Date revised: 1895

Scotland’s People

Scottish Mining Web-site

Reference

[1] “Death on the Warwickshire Coalfield: an examination of the contribution of miners, coalowners and the State to the decline in mining fatalities in the British coal industry in the period of expansion 1840 to 1913. Thomas Anney MA BSc (Econ) Bed