1859-Sep-05: Boig Pit

1.James Kirk42Crushed by cage

James Kirk was born in September 1816 at Auchans, Dundonald the son of Boyle Kirk and Margaret Gray.  In the 1851 Census we find him visiting a family in the Gorbals, Glasgow at which time he was a coal carter. It is unclear when he arrived to work in the New Cumnock coalfield, at a pit run by the South Boig Coal company. 

The pit on the lands of the Boswells of Garallan & South Boig had ‘originally been exploited by James Hood and followed by the firm of Dunlop and Eaglesham who continued to operate it until 1865, when it was taken over by the newly formed Lanemark Coal Company‘ [1].

The farm of South Boig sits on the east side of the junction of the Boig Road and the New Cumnock – Dalmellington Road.  In Francis Guthrie’s map of the New Cumnock Coalfield [1] the South Boig pit is shown on the west side of the junction.

Francis Guthrie (J.L. Carvel)

The only coal-pits shown in ordnance survey maps at the time of Kirk’s fatal accident are  situated near the farm of High Boig and a row of houses but are on the south-side of the New Cumnock – Dalmellington road, which are probably on the lands of Bank.

In later Ordnance Survey maps (1895) a mine is shown across the Boig Road from Ardnith House (neighbouring South Boig farm) and coincides with the location of South Boig pit shown by Francis Guthrie is his map of the coalfield.

Map 1: Boig Pit | By permission of National Library of Scotland

On the 5th September 1859  James Kirk according to his death certificate was killed at Boig Pit ‘by a bruise in the act of ascending a coal-pit‘ . There was no medical attendant while the certificates notes it was reported by J. F Murdoch, Procurator Fiscal and certified by Dr. Hunter. The account in the Scottish Mining Website reports his accidental death as ‘ Got jammed by the cage in the shaft when being drawn up‘. 

James Kirk was buried in the Auld Kirkyard but there is no trace of a headstone. He left behind his widow Jean Reid.


[1] J.L. Carvel, The New Cumnock Coal-field (1946)
Scottish Mining Website
Fatalities 1859
Reproducd with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map1: Boig Pit
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