ith the view of ascertaining the conditions under which the miners are housed.
- In 1913 the industry reached its peak when 42,456,516 tons
were produced in Scottish pits, the greatest figure ever
achieved, with 147,000 men in the industry. However, the mining
industry recorded 1,580 deaths underground in Scotland as
well as 1,273 deaths on the surface.
- In the 35 years since 1878 when the year's output was 18
million tons, about 1000 million tons had been extracted from the
best and most accessible seams.
- About 58% of the production came from the Central Coalfield;
22% from Fife and Clackmannan; 11% from Ayr and Dumfries, and 9%
from Mid and East Lothian.
- The number of working pits was 475, operated by 180
companies: the largest company was Wm. Baird which had about 40
collieries, 27 in Ayrshire.
The County figures were; Argyll 1; Ayr 96; Clackmannan 6;
Dumbarton 9; Dumfries 4; Midlothian 30; Fife 60; Lanark 203; West
Lothian 21; Renfrew 3; Stirling 41; Sutherland l.
- Output per man-year for underground workers in Scotland was
383 tons against the British figure of 325 tons. The Scottish
coalfield had the highest output per man-year of any field.
Output per man-shift was about 20 cwts.
- The Scottish proportion of total UK manpower was 12.7%; the
Scottish miner produced 14.8% of the total tonnage.
- Nearly half of the 6,500 women working at pits were employed
at Scottish pits, mainly on picking tables.
- Over 95% of the coal produced was got by hand.
- The average minimum wage for a mineworker was 7/3d (36p) a
shift. A faceworker's take home pay was 50/- (£2.50)
per week while oncost workers earned 33/- (£1.65) and 28/-
(£1.40) per week, respectively. In addition, allowance in
cash or kind averaged about 1/- (5p) a week.
Earnings in other industries ranged between 25/- (£1.25)
and 35/- (£1.75) weekly.
- General practice was room and pillar working in thick seams
where little or no brushing (roof and road maintenance) was
required or longwall hand-filling in thin seams with a
considerable degree of brushing.
- Shot-firing holes were bored by hand using the
- Wet working conditions were very common but wet working
payments were not.
- Fife had 'coal giants' in 1913. The Minto (Brigghills) and
Lumphinnans pits employed between 1400 and 1500 men, while the
Aitken pit, Kelty, employed about 1500.
Four other pits in Scotland, Bannockburn, Arniston, Glencraig and
Lochhead, had each over 1,000 men. Employing between 700 and
1,000 workers, there was a host of Fife pits with well-known
names such as Michael, Lochore, Wellesley and Rosie.
"Cowdenbeath & Lochgelly Times"
2 July, 1913
COAL DEVELOPMENTS IN WEST FIFE
- Following up the results disclosed by boring operations in West Fife, it is
contemplated that new communities will arise in the not distant future and the exports
of coal from the county will be very appreciably augmented. Recently the Oakley
Collieries bored the Blair field, and there, within short distance from the surface,
some excellent seams were proved. It is understood that the Company intend to
sink two large new pits to work the minerals, which, as they lie at a depth of from
thirty to forty fathoms will be comparatively inexpensive to raise.
At the present time the Coltness Iron and Coal Coy., who have secured a lease of
the minerals on Inzievar, which lies contiguous to their Blairhall field, are proving
the strata there in order to find its commercial possibilities. The same Company
are taking in offers for the erection of about one hundred houses for their workmen
at Blairhall, and it is expected that structural operations will soon be begun there soon.
Taken in conjunction with the Fife Coal Coy., at Valleyfield, the developments at Blairhall
and Oakley should be the means of creating a new population of 20,000 to the west
of Dunfermline within a few years.
The Fife Coal Coy., are also proving a field to the west of Thornton, where they have
struck the Five-feet seam at a depth of fully 200 fathoms. That seam, it is learned, is
of remarkable thickness and quality, and its discovery has given the Fife Coal Coy.,
who have not been awarded with the luck their enterprise deserved in some of their
most recent ventures, the greatest satisfaction.
Operations at Thornton, where it is expected the Company will sink pits at no very
distant date, will be continued until the Dunfermline splint coal is reached. That
seam is also expected to prove a valuable asset.
8 August, 1913
- A MINING DECISION. - Sheriff-Substitute Umpherston has given judgement
at Dunfermline in a case which, although it was on the Small Debt Roll, raised a point
of importance to the mining community, raising, as it did, a question as to the liability
of coalowners for the tools of workmen while the tools are in the custody of the employers
for the purpose of being sharpened. In Fife it is the practically universal custom for the
coalowners to undertake the sharpening of the tools. Under the Coal Mines Regulation
Act, 1911, it is provided that workmen and tools or other materials shall not ascend or
descend in the same cage. Accordingly, the workmen, instead of taking their tools to
the smithy at the pithead, as they formerly did, leave them at the pit bottom, where they
receive them after they are sharpened. Four drills and a copper cleaner were left by the
miner in a hutch provided for the purpose at the pit bottom. These tools went amissing,