Springtime 1940 was remembered by the Miners of Bardykes Colliery as being one that should have been different. Appalling safety lapses resulted in the deaths of two men just weeks apart and instigated inquiries into the safety of the pit.
As war raged on in Europe, many of the men employed in the mines were either too young or too old for active service. By co-incidence a young man and one approaching retirement were the tragic casualties of the mine accidents that Springtime.
Firstly on Wednesday 14th February 1940 Alexander Hutchison, 58 was pinned by a fall of stones and dirt from the roof. On being removed, he was conveyed to the colliery’s ambulance room but died before medical aid arrived. He lived at Logan Street and left a wife and family.
As the accident enquiry was underway, just a few weeks later, tragedy struck again and co-incidentally once again involved the name Logan. This time the chap who died was actually named Logan and his death was far from instantaneous. Seventeen year old George Logan was a pithead worker. Working at the top of the mine shaft on Friday 15th March 1940, he accidentally slipped and fell down the pit shaft. The shaft was almost three quarters of a mile deep, a distance which if laid out would have been as long as Glasgow Road itself. It is possible that with such a great distance to fall in the dark with little air, the shock would have killed George before the impact. George also lived on Springwells Housing Estate. The boy’s father William Logan was a contractor at the colliery at the time and when informed of the tragedy, he collapsed and had to receive treatment in the ambulance room.
It’s incredible to think that there was no safety edging, or barrier around the pithead, something likely to have been inexpensive for the pit owners to attend to. On each modern construction or industrial site, safety laws now ensure safety protection is provided around possible deep excavation hazards.