Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Tragic Death of William & Andrew Carrick

William Carrick, was born 18 July 1817 in Barony. He married Jean Fleming on 06 Sept 1851 in Airdrie.  Jean was the daughter of James Fleming and Jean Summerville. Jean was born 15 February 1820 in Cumbernauld, Dunbarton, Lanarkshire. Jean and William lived at #19 Lechlee Street, then moved to #26 Lechlee St. Jean and William had four children: Jane (1854), Andrew (1855), Rachel (22/8/1859) and Elizabeth (17/8/1962).

William and his son, Andrew, worked at Greenfield Colliery. This mine was located in Hamilton and was owned at that time by the Hamilton Coal Comapny.  Greenfield, the deepest pit in Lanarkshire, was a large colliery employing 929 men who worked below ground and another 144 men who worked above ground. The Manager at the time was a Mr James Hastie and the Undermanager was a Mr Williamson.  William and Andrew were tragically killed in the coal mine at Greenfield Colliery on October 15 1872 when the cable on their lift suddenly broke, sending the men plummeting 780 feet (130 fathoms) to their deaths.  There were a number of reports with regards to this accident since it was not the "run of the mill" roof fall. Unfortunately, roof falls were all too common and did not require a mine inspector to review the case. However, in the case of William and Andrew, the mine inspector, Ralph Moore, was summoned and his report was as follows:

"By the breakage of a round wire rope at Greenfield Colliery, Hamilton, three persons were killed.  The men were ascending the shaft about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and when near the surface the rope broke, and the cage on which they were ascending fell 100 fathoms to the bottom of the pit.  They were all killed.  The rope had drawn coals all day, and was not overloaded; it had not been in use 12 months, and had only raised 5,000 tons of coal.  The pulley and drum were small (5 feet in diameter), but I could find nothing to account for the sudden fracture." From report by Ralph Moore, Inspector of Mines & Collieries in the Eastern District of Scotland for the year ended 31st December 1872

The accident was also reported in the newspapers. Two such reports were:

From The Scotsman 16 Oct 1872
"Hamilton - Three Miners Killed
At Greenfield Colliery, near Hamilton, yesterday afternoon, three miners, William and Andrew Carrick, father and son, and Thomas Docherty, were killed under painful circumstances. They had ceased work for the day, and were about the last of the workers to ascend No. 2 pit, when by some cause, at present unexplained, the pit-rope broke when the men were within six fathoms of the surface, and the cage and its occupants were dashed to the bottom, a distance of about one hundred and thirty fathoms. Death was instantaneous. The bodies were recovered two hours afterwards, fearfully mangled. Carrick, senior, has left a widow, and resided in Lechlee Streetday before the sad occurrence.  The accident has been reported to the authorities, who are making an official investigation."
. Docherty was unmarried, and had only commenced to work at Greenfield the

From the Glasgow Herald 16 October 1872]"
"15 October 1872
Melancholy accident at Greenfield Colliery three lives lost
About half past four o'clock yesterday afternoon a melancholy accident occurred at Greenfield Colliery, the property of the Hamilton Coal Company, whereby three miners have been killed. The names of the deceased are William and Andrew Carrick, father and son, residing at 26 Leechlee Street Hamilton, and Thomas Docherty, residing at Dixon's Rows Blantyre. They were employed on the day shift in the main coal seam of No 2 pit and had dropped work for the afternoon. They were among the last, if not the very last, of the men who entered the cage for the purpose of being conveyed to the pithead, and reached within half a dozen fathoms of the surface when, by some unaccountable cause, the pit rope broke, and the three miners were precipitated to the bottom of the shaft (the “cage”) in its descent dashing in pieces the wooden beams dividing the separate seams of coal between which they were working.

The pit is the deepest in the district; and as the fall was 130 fathoms, death must have been instantaneous. The bodies were brought up in about an hour and a half after the accident. Carrick, who was 50 years of age, has left a widow to mourn his loss. Docherty was unmarried, and had only arrived at Greenfield the day before the occurrence, and was, it is said, leaving the place yesterday. Mr Hastie, manager, and Mr Williamson, underground manager, were at the works when the accident occurred, and rendered every assistance in procuring the bodies. The sad event created great excitement throughout the town last night, and at the pits work was entirely dropped. The matter has been reported to the authorities, who are making an investigation as to the cause of the occurrence.

Certainly one can only begin to imagine the anguish that befell the Carrick family (and indeed their entire mining community) that day. Young Elizabeth was only 10 when her father and her brother were killed. After William and Andrew died, Jean moved between her daughters.









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