1866-Feb-26: Bank Pit

1.Thomas Patrick44crushed by fall of stone
2.Matthew Morrison36crushed by fall of stone

From the report of the accident given in the Scottish Mining web-site the events leading up to the accident can be described as follows –

On the morning of the 26th February 1866, a group of men including Matthew Morrison working at removing pillars in one of the pits of the Bank Coal Company discovered that there had been a roof fall during their absence which had blocked one of the openings leading into their work place. In anticipation of a further fall they thought it best to remove the rails and other implements before sending for the oversman, Thomas Patrick, who being satisfied with the actions taken, instructed the men to abandon the place for a time.

“at all events there appears to have been very little warning in this case, for before the persons could rush out, who were really sitting at a supposed safe distance, observing the action of the fractured strata, a large mass of roof fell, and four of them were crushed under it. Two were rescued, but the deceased, of whom the oversman was one, if not killed instantaneously, were dead before they could be taken out”.

Scottish Mining Website

The two men killed that day were 44-year old Thomas Patrick and 36 year-old coal miner Matthew Morrison.

1. Thomas Patrick (1821-1866)

This branch of the Patrick family first settled at Newhouse cottage near Dalleagles burn where John Patrick the first child of William Patrick and Elizabeth Riddall was born. Newhouse originally housed men that had come to work in the Lead mines of the Barony of Afton on the banks of Dalleagles burn. The family increased in size with five more children all born at Lanehead farm where no doubt the father worked as a farm labourer.

Ruins of Newhouse cottage (Robert Guthrie)

Thomas Patrick, their youngest child was born on 24th September 1821 by which time the family had settled at Dalleagles Burn. It was there that Thomas Patrick set up home with his wife Margaret Murdoch, born in Auchinleck and the daughter of David Murdoch, boxmaker and Agnes Murdoch. Their first five children were born here with Thomas finding work as a coal-miner.

Map 1 | Reproduced by Permission of the National Library of Scotland

The family then settled along the road at Craigbank, probably at Peesweep Row as tenants of the Hyslops. In the 1861 Census Records the Patricks are living at the Bank Iron Works where Thomas is working as a coal-miner while eldest son William is working there as an apprentice wright. Their last child, John was born in 1864 at which time the family address was given as Bank Furnaces.

Map 2 | Reproduced by Permission of the National Library of Scotland

At the time of the accident, Thomas (44) was working as an oversman, an underground manager, in the Bank coal mine. The cause of death on 26th February 1866 is recorded as “Injuries sustained by a fall of stone from the roof of the underground working in Bank Coal Mine”.

In a tragic turn of events his wife Margaret died the very next day in their home at the Bank Furnaces, leaving the family of eight orphaned in an age range of 2 – 20 years old.  Eldest child,  William along with some, if not all, of his siblings left New Cumnock and settled in the USA.

2. Matthew Morrison (1830-1866)

Born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire Matthew Morrison was the eldest son of coal-miner John Morrison and Christina Barrowman. He married Irish-born Janet Reid born in the ‘Iron Burgh’ of Coatbridge where Matthew found employment in the ironworks. It was at Coatbridge in 1857 where their first child Christina was born and three years later their son John; by which time Matthew was working as a collier.

By 1861 the couple had settled at Craigbank, probably at Peesweep Row along with their daughter Christina (John having died in infancy) and sharing the house with the Richardson family.  Two children, Jane and John, were born over the next 3 years as their father continued to work in the Bank pits. His death in 1866, left his widow Christina with three children, ages 1,3 & 9 years old. The family returned to Coatbridge where son John later found work as a miner and in later years as a stationary engine keeper in the pits.


Scottish Website
Fatal Accidents
National Library of Scotland
Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 | Dalleagles
Map 2 | Bank Furnaces

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