Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Tuesday, 19 October 2010 09:55 UK
Mining disaster at Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery
The incident at Knockshinnoch is one of the worst in Scottish mining history

Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery in New Cumnock, east Ayrshire, was a deep-mine employing about seven hundred people.

On 7 September 1950, several days of heavy rainfall caused an inrush of moss and peat along a seam near the surface.

There were 135 men working on a late shift when the incident occurred in mine number five, killing eleven miners immediately.

As word of the disaster spread, other miners and volunteers from the local community formed a rescue team to try to save the trapped men.


When day broke, the full extent of the catastrophe became apparent as the rescue team realised the scale of the crater caused by the cave-in.

A telephone cable had somehow remained intact and was to prove a lifeline for those trapped beneath the surface as a means of communicating with those above ground.

Miners' wives
The accident claimed the lives of 13 miners

The men were trapped for two days.

Of the 135 men who were working below the surface, only 116 men survived the disaster.

The bodies of the other two men who had been cut-off from the rest of the miners when they went to fetch a jacket were found some months later as were the 11 men who died at the time.

The thirteen men killed in the incident were: Thomas Goudie Houston, James Houston, William Howat, John Irvine White, John Laine Dalzell, William Lee, James Martin Love, William McFarlane, Daniel McFarlane Strachan, John Park McLatchie, John Smith, John Taylor and Samuel Wightman Rowan.

A memorial has been erected in memory of the miners who died in the disaster, the worst in the history of Scottish mining.

The location of the old mine has been regenerated as a wetland and nature reserve, Knockshinnoch Lagoons, owned by Scottish Wildlife Trust.

In pictures: Knockshinnoch mine
18 Oct 10 |  History


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