SCAN LogoSCAN Education - Coal Mining in Scotland 1840-1920home | teacher materials | about scan | feedback | contact scan  
Back to topic
Source 2B is the report of a Fatal Accident Inquiry. These inquiries are public and information is presented to a judge, known as a sheriff, and a jury. This source dates from an inquiry held on 17th of January 1896. The Inquiry is about the death of John Findlay.

Study the document (or read the transcript below) and answer the following questions.


1. On what date did John Findlay die?

2. At what time did John Findlay die?

3. What caused the death of John Findlay?

4. How reliable is Source 2B as evidence of dangers for miners in the late nineteenth century?
Fatal Accident Enquiry minutes
Fatal Accident Enquiry minutes
National Archives of Scotland - SC38/20/1
At Lanark the Seventeenth day of January Eighteen hundred and ninety six.

In the presence of Thomas Alexander Fife Esquire, Sheriff Substitute of Lanarkshire.

The List of Assize being called over all the jurors appeared except those for whom relevant excuses were offered & sustained.

Appeared Mr Thomas Tennant Procurator Fiscal Lanark who produced Petition at his instance under the Fatal Accidents Inquiry (Scotland ) Act 1895 relative to the death of John Findlay which took place on 28th December 1895 with deliverance thereon by the said Sheriff Substitute directing a public inquiry to be held at this time and place as to the cause of death of the said John Findlay and as to the circumstance of the accident.

Present also
Mr Andrew Smith Writer for the Haywood Coal Coy
Mr J.P. Atkinson Inspector of Mines for the Eastern Division of Scotland
Mr Alexander Findlay (jr) miner Haywood brother of the deceased

Whereupon the following Jurors were balloted for and all lawfully sworn viz

Special Jurors
1 James Swan Bank Agent Lanark
2 George C Murray Teacher Carnwath
Common Jurors
3 David Ayton No 8 of List
4 George Watson 6
5 John Muirhead 10
6 Colin McKenzie 7
7 Colin Gilchrist 12

Thereafter the following witnesses were examined on oath at the instance of the Procurator Fiscal viz
1 Arthur Brannigan miner 19 Lothian St Greenbank
2 Thomas Murray Chairman Haywood
3 George Gunnis oversman Bank Square Greenbank
4 said Alexander Findlay Jr (27)
5 Alexander Robertson Manager of the Haywood Coal Coy

The Procurator Fiscal stated he had no further evidence to adduce.

The Sheriff summed up the evidence

The jury unanimously find that the deceased John Findlay died on 28th December 1895 between the hours of ten and eleven o'clock forenoon in the main door of the Gas Coal seam in No 8 Pit Haywood and that the cause of his death was the falling upon him and instantly killing him of a large stone from the roof of the place where he was engaged in his occupation as a Miner.
site designed by Wark Clements